Cheers Chats #4: Homicidal Ham

Annddd we’re back. And in season two, no less! We’ve been going through some classic episodes of Cheers since the beginning of this year (you can find the rest here) and we’ve moved on to season two, in which Sam and Diane are finally together and the rest of the crew has to deal with it. This particular episode has a storyline that seemingly comes out of nowhere, but provides for quite an entertaining show. Here we go with Homicidal Ham!

Episode 2.04: Homicidal Ham

Originally aired: October 27, 1983

Netflix synopsis: Against Sam’s better judgement, Diane tries to help her former homicidal blind date, Andy, become an actor.

T: No matter how many times I read the episode title, I still picture a honeyglazed ham holding a knife. I’m sure this says something about my pscyhe.

M: I’ve been staring at the title in our post queue for weeks, and every single time I read Cheers Chats #4: Homicidal Ham as “Homicidal 4 Ham,” which I imagine would be a Hunger Games-y Hamilton lotto that a lot of people would be into.

Previously, on Cheers

(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)

T: Carla gave birth to her baby in the second episode, but instead of showing up as Carla, Rhea Perlman pulls a Tatiana Maslany and plays Carla’s sestra who seems like an uptight gal and totally opposite from her sibling. It was a fun ep. Also, Rhea Perlman was pregnant IRL in 1989, but I think by the time they shot season 2, she had her daughter already, so I think she’s wearing a fake belly for the first episode?

M: Also was the sister even the same one that Carla said “gets everything” because she was a cosmetologist and like 5’1?

One Hit Wonders

(Characters we don’t expect to be seeing again)

In full disclosure, this entire episode is based on a character I don’t think we’re ever going to see again. But who knows.

T: The ex-convict Sam paid to date Diane shows up at Cheers. He allegedly murdered a waitress? How is he an “ex-convict” if he murdered someone? Unless it’s just hearsay on the streets of Boston.

M: Wait, you’re right! If his conviction is on unsexy tax stuff or whatever, that doesn’t make him a waitress-murderer.

M: Maybe the world has changed a lot since the early 80s (OK, the world has changed a lot since 2 weeks ago and I need like 3 memes explained to me), but this plotline would maybe never fly now? Surely some sort of group would launch some kind of Twitter thing?

T: Yeah, this would definitely not go over well in 2016. Anti-gun groups, Pro-pig groups, Actors Equity Association…

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

T: Holy shit Andy is STILL crazy and pulls out a gun because he’s holding up this entire bar. This is v jarring to me, as I don’t expect a gun-wielding nutjob to be walking into America’s Favorite Bar™. Is this going to be an Orange is the New Black/Making a Murderer type of life lesson in this episode? This show keeps surprising me.

Photo Apr 16, 12 53 15 AM

M: Yeah, definitely wouldn’t happen now, unless it was a Very Special Gun Episode like that Family Matters one where everyone turned in their guns. I feel like in the 80s a rando pulling a gun in a bar was still sort of a wacky tv plot, and from the sunny shores of 2016 we’re nodding along like ‘yeah, that IS a thing that sometimes happens in our public spaces. As you were, Cheers.”

T: He def wants to get caught because he hates life in the real world and has no skills wants to go back to prison. His dream is to become an actor. In fact, he sounds like an actor, which makes sense because this show isn’t real and he’s legit an actor. Diane agrees to help him become an actor by running lines with him, and sets him up with a potential job by having him audition for Fake James Lipton.

“Prison is my home.” Andy, who I’ve deemed Crazy Andy.

M: Doesn’t Crazy Andy have a creepy face? He has beady Ted Cruz eyes and emotes like a community theater actor.

T: Diane is friends with “America’s foremost drama coach” because of course she is. This dude has “contacts with every theater on the Cape.” As someone who worked at a theater in Boston, I am offended she’s not looking for a job for Crazy Andy within Boston proper.

M: I think maybe she’s trying to get him into summer stock. Anyway, I’m going to be a lot of not fun for a moment, but I left my last fuck behind in around 2013 and I don’t have any left to give.

IT IS NOT DIANE’S JOB TO SAVE CRAZY ANDY AND IT IS NOT ANY OF THE DIANES JOBS TO SAVE ANY OF THE CRAZY ANDYS OF THE WORLD.

I’m’a send Diane a copy of The Gift Of Fear from the future, and the writers a manual on how to write believable female characters who would have made it to their 30s (?) without getting serial killed, also from the future.

Okay we can have fun now.

T: 

T: Diane’s mission to save Crazy Andy has turned into her being his acting sensei and she’s a) taking advantage of boyfriend Sam being her boss and just taking a break whenever and b) forgetting that 5 minutes ago she thought he was an insane killer and now she’s offering to go out alone with him to help him with scene work.

M: Diane = a less murderous Alison Hendrix, sometimes. Of course she loves amateur theatre.

T: Plot Twist – After spending time together running the Othello scene, Crazy Andy thinks Diane is into him romantically. He says I love you to her and she says it back, but clearly not in the same way he means it. Ruh roh.

M: Didn’t this happen in a Full House episode? Or some kind of 80s-90s family sitcom.

T: Or nearly all 80s-90s sitcoms.

T: So when Crazy Andy walks out in his Shakespearean garb and sees Diane kissing Sam, he has CRAZY EYES.

T: He’s using his anger towards Diane for the scene and surprise, surprise, his lines involve love, jealousy, and murder. I know it’s not going to happen but, sincerely concerned Crazy Andy is going to actually kill Diane during this scene and everyone’s going to think he’s just a really good actor. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t kill her.

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

T: “He stands here as an embodiment of the failure of our penal system. This man doesn’t belong in prison. We, mostly I, can save this man’s life.” In regard to this quote, I actually don’t want Diane to shut up because she’s spitting the truth but stays humble at the same time. 

M: Okay. I actually really hated what they did with Diane this episode. Someone waving a gun around for attention – even unloaded – may not need prison, but they probably need more help than Diane DeWitt-Bukater. Sam called the police and then Diane had him call the police back and tell them not to come which a) isn’t a thing police do; and b) is probably preventing a sorely needed mental hygiene hold.

“One murder does not a murderer make.” Diane? Shut up.

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: Diane secretly carved her and Sam’s initials into the actual bar wood, because apparently she’s a 13 year old girl who likes to deface property. (ugh I’m old)

“If you want romantic, we should have our buns tattooed.” Sam, who is a reasonable adult and is annoyed Diane carved into his bar.

M: Which also doesn’t even feel like a Diane thing? Diane would calligraphy their names with an 18th century replica quill on recycled parchment, if anything.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

(In which we gush over dreamy yet often grumpy bartender Sam Malone)

T: CA assures Sam his murder was a “terrible moment of temporary insanity”, and that he doesn’t hear the voices in his head anymore. SAM MALONE. DO NOT LET YOUR WOMAN GO TO A SECOND LOCATION WITH THIS MAN.

M: Sam is surprisingly cavalier about this Crazy Andy’s waitress-killing predilections. But since he’s Sam Malone, Dream Man I’m just going to focus on how he lets Diane live her life (stupidly) the way she wants to (which is like an idiot).

T: Sam apologizes for thinking Crazy Andy was still crazy – which is a sure sign he’s still right about this in the sitcom world. (otp)

T: “Yeah, sure she’s just gagging, Coach” SAM. LISTEN TO COACH. YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR GIRLFRIEND GET STRANGLED BY A MURDERER DRESSED IN ELIZABETHAN CLOTHING IN YOUR BAR RN.

Carla’s My Boo

T: After Crazy Andy pulls out his gun, Carla makes a run for it and is a freaking bad ass by grabbing his arms, and Sam takes the gun away while Coach takes the money back Crazy Andy attempted to steal. Beavis and Butt-Head (Norm and Cliff) take action 5 seconds later. Diane is…. who cares.

M: Carla’s first suggestion was that Diane run around flapping her arms to draw his fire. I feel you, boo boo.

T: During Crazy Andy and Diane’s “audition” in the bar, Carla sits in the front row and asks, “What time’s the second show?” with sandwich in hand.

M: Diane’s background work in this scene was the very definition of ‘giving me life.’

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

When CA holds up his gun, these fools are *whispering* and trying to come with a plan to take Crazy Andy over, but they’re speaking at full volume.

M: I mostly LLOLed here because it felt like this was neither the first or the last time Carla has had someone waving a gun around at her.

T: This is brilliant- the barflies are deeply engrossed in the boxing match on TV and when it goes to commercial, Sam has already set up a conveyor belt of sorts for full glasses of beer. This is NOT what the real Cheers does. Or any bar does, for that matter. Norm goes up like four times.


T: Diane realizes she actually might die in a sec and tries to put off the scene, and when Sam tries to calm her down, she yells, “DON’T TOUCH ME, I BARELY KNOW YOU” as to not anger Crazy Andy more and oh my GOD I just think Shelley Long’s delivery is so perfect I am laughing so hard and had to watch it multiple times.

M: I rewound it too! To be clear, I sometimes don’t like how Diane is written, but Shelley Long is one of the best things to happen to this show or any show. She was killing it like Crazy Andy this whole ep. Too soon?

T: Cliff and Norm holding down CA after he chokes Diane is solid gold.

Are you going to be OK? – Sam

I’m having a little trouble breathing. – Diane

No, I meant for tonight. – Sam

OH MY GOD I LEGIT LOLED hahahaha you crazy horny kids

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

T: Carla comes back from maternity leave in this episode, and she’s pretending to still be pregnant because she says she’ll get better tips this way.

Coach is not advocating this, and says to Sam, “Maybe you should tell her to get rid of it.” To which Sam replies, “I can’t coach, she’s Catholic.” Abortion jokes, what a riot!

M: When Crazy Andy is choking her, Diane says “help, he’s trying to kill me” which Coach calls “the only line of Shakespeare I’ve ever understood.”

T: Coach, still problematic, legit tells Crazy Andy to not call him by his real name Ernie and says, “Please, call me Coach”, as he takes the money out of the register. You are being held hostage have some emotion.

“You know what they say, “Use a gun, go to Cape Cod.’” – Sam, basically ripping off motivational signs you find at Michaels

Cheers Queries

T: Why are they doing CA’s acting audition in the bar??

M: And where did they got these medieval costumes? I could see Diane going to Ren Faires sometimes TBH.

T: Is this episode titled Homicidal “Ham” because Crazy Andy is a first-class over actor??

M: Crazy Andy seems relatively young, so exactly how long was he in prison for killing that waitress?

T: Does this episode remind anyone else of the Saved by the Bell ep where they do Snow White and the Seven Dorks, and Kelly and Slater essentially sabotage the show because they think Zack and Jessie have a thing for each other after catching them kissing (as practice for the show)?

M: The hip-hop musical has come so far.

Barfly Fashion

Diane’s outfit looks more modern than usual?

Her hair wings also seem to be going a different way than they used to.

Crazy Andy in a 12 year old hardy boy’s outfit

Everyone in this picture

  • Diane in her RenFaire dress
  • The acting coach and his cane
  • Crazy Andy’s little league uniform

Sam looks exceptionally tall in these pants.

When I first saw it I thought “Sam should wear more blue,” so there’s a note for wardrobe, I guess.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Season two, episode 17, Fortune and Men’s Weight.
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Saturday Spotlight: The One Where Sam And Diane Finally Kiss

HERE
  • It’s the moment our whole blog lives have been leading up to for 7 months – okay, our whole LIVES have been leading up to for 7 months: we finally reached the Cheers episode where Sam and Diane kiss! Check out our thoughts in this month’s Cheers Chats.
THERE

Cheers Chats #3: Showdown Part, 2

Hey there chums! Welcome to the third part of our Cheers Chats series, where we breakdown 12 of the best episodes over the course of Cheers’ 11 seasons. Today we’re at the home stretch of the first season, and delving into the second part of the two part season one finale. Things are really heating up in the bar, so let’s check in with our current favorite TV Bostonians and see what the haps is as we wrap season one.

(BTW, we’re going by this list from AV Club if you’re wondering what our plan of attack is).

Episode 1.22: Showdown, Part 2

Originally aired: March 31, 1983

Netflix synopsis: Sam’s brother, whom he feels inferior to, shows up at the bar and sweeps Diane off her feet. Sam doesn’t have the guts to admit he wants Diane.

Previously, on Cheers

(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)

T: Boy oh boy was Part One of the finale great. Sam’s brother Derek is in town (face not seen for some artistic reason I guess?) which Sam is not happy about. Derek ends up hitting on Diane and Sam is totally jealous. At one point, Carla points out that ever since Diane walked into the bar, Sam hasn’t been as much of a ladies man like he used to be, which is also something I noticed over the past few episodes, and I appreciate that it’s been a slow realization of his affinity towards Diane instead of all at once. Anyways, Derek invites Diane to jet off to Martha’s Vineyard with him, but she’s torn because she knows in her heart Sam feels the same way she feels about him, and it results in one of my favorite scenes to date:

Sam: Whatever you and my brother Derek want to do is OK with me. I don’t care.

Diane: Fine.

Sam: (under his breath) Please don’t go.

Diane: What? What did you say?

Sam: I said I have no feelings about this.

Diane: No, after that. You said something. It sounded like ”Please don’t go.”

Sam: Please don’t go? Are you crazy? You gotta get over this egotism of yours. Go, with my blessings. Have a good time, really. (under his breath) Please stay here.

Diane: Wait a minute. What was that? There at the end you said something.

Sam: You’re hallucinating. Get outta here and have a good time. Go on.

Diane: OK, l’m glad you understand.

Sam: (under his breath) If you go, l’ll die.

Diane: What? l heard you say something.

Sam: You’re coming unglued. Please go. Have fun.

Diane: OK, l’ll go. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go freshen up. (under her breath) I’d rather stay with you.

Sam: What? What did you say?

Diane: I didn’t hear anything.

Carla’s My Boo

T: I’m pretty sure this is the first time it’s happened, but in a voiceover, Carla (not Rhea Perlman – Carla the character) recaps what happened in the previous episode. She says: “Last week on Cheers – is Diane about to fall for Sam’s brother? Will Sam’s heart be broken? Will Norm find happiness in his new job? (Norm got fired and hired somewhere else) Will Coach return to coaching in Venezuela? (he got an offer to coach for a baseball team there) Will Carl Yastremski please call Cheers and ask for ‘The Spitfire’?” This whole thing is odd but endearing because Carla says it?

M: It is so weird to hear a “previously on” for Cheers. Especially since I just watched 5 episodes in a row. (BTW, the full previously segment was just reasons Sam and Diane should do it already.)

M: Carla calls Diane Lady Di Job. STOP IT CARLA. Stop it, my boo. You’re too much.

T: Carla’s so so preggo. I researched it and Rhea Pearlman was also so so preggo with her first kid, daughter Lucy, who is also an actress.

M: Several episodes ago, Carla went from zero to very, very pregnant in, like, a minute. But as Carla said in part one of this episode, she always falls for “the wrong man, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, with the wrong birth control device.”

By the way, like Sam, Carla has a sister who “got everything” (read: she’s 5’2. And a beautician.)

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

T: Diane’s in the bar on her day off and she’s bummed bc Derek is flying off to Paris and she doesn’t know what to do.

M: How about Sam?

M: Sam refers to Diane as Carla’s “skinny coworker,” so I guess we were still going with skinny being an insult in the early ‘80s.

T: “Well, l, Diane Chambers, bred and educated to walk with kings, once offered a full scholarship at the Sorbonne, have become attracted to a six-foot-three-inch bubble-gum card.”

M: WHO WROTE THIS CHARACTER. Also, finally.

T: At one point during her fight with Sam, she goes into his office with a blackboard and scrapes her nails on it and I legit said out loud “OH NO. OH NO NO NO NO NO.”
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M: Know who’s got a lot in common with nails on a blackboard? DIANE.

(On the serious, I am somewhat warming to Diane, am v much a Diane/Sam shipper, but just have some problems with how the character is written.)

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: The tension between Sam and Diane that has been building up the entire season explodes in this episode, so a lot of the plot centers around these two maybe lovebirds. Diane ended up going to the Vineyard with Derek and when she comes back a week later, Diane tells Sam that Derek also asked her to go to Paris with him so she’s saying goodbye. His solution to this is to fire her and tells her good riddance. Obviously. Carla is happy about this.

M: As I brought up in our Gilbert Blythe post, if you hate somebody, it’s not because you secretly love him. This is a harmful trope that makes people think someone who antagonizes them does it because they really like them. But in the case of Sam and Diane, sorry, they clearly hate each other because they secretly love each other.

T: But before Diane bids adieu to Sam, she basically attempts to make him jealous (read: secretly get him to stop her from going).

“We’ll be Diane and Derek Malone. We’ll buy a spread somewhere and call it the Double-D. It’ll make a nice brand.”

T: In full disclosure, they are really stretching this out and it’s killing me. Just get together already. However, I will commend them for making the entire scene between Sam and Diane feel like a Sorkin-esque scene or a really good tennis match. It’s such great writing and acting on their part. For example, instead of just going in for the smooch, they’re talking through their first kiss and fighting on how it should happen, which makes so much sense for their characters and potential relationship. In another line, Sam says this whole thing might be a mistake. They’re breaking up and they literally haven’t even started dating.

M: Do not Dawson and Joey this, Cheers. Do NOT. (To be clear, I’m Pacey/Joey all the way, but the way they set up the audience to want Dawson/Joey to happen, then broke them up after a few episodes, was low).

T: The phrases “phoniest fruitcake”, “shut your fat mouth”, and “I always wanted to pop you one (possibly domestic violence inspired?)” are all said during this heated exchange. (Diane also threatens Sam that he’s going to be “walking funny tomorrow”). Finally it happens.

Sam: You disgust me.

Diane: I hate you.

Sam: Are you as turned on as I am?

Diane: More.

*they go in for a kiss. pause. then kiss.*

::Roll credits::

Sam: I’m gonna nibble on your ear.

Diane: Don’t tell me.

M: They have such good chemistry, and they go back and forth like they work in a newspaper office in a 1930s detective movie.

T: I get why it’s one of the most memorable first kisses in TV history. Because of James Burrows tribute last month, Entertainment Weekly did a article about the kiss in a recent issue, and I was v excited to see some behind-the-scenes secrets from a show that was on 33 years ago.

Pour It Up, Pour It Up

(Drinks at the bar)

T: There are two ladies who Carla waits on who can’t make up their damn minds. They legit start with orders of hot tea and sherry, and it goes to white wine then beer then a shot of whiskey then boilermakers (which is apparently a glass of beer AND a shot of whiskey) featuring Wild Turkey and a Budweiser. It’s taxing.

M: Those women are like two Dianes in 20 years.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

(In which we gush over dreamy yet often grumpy bartender Sam Malone)

T: Cold open Sam has his leg up on the counter in such a precarious way it’s distracting. 

Photo Mar 23, 10 45 49 PM

M: You ever notice how in older shows (70s – 90s) men used to always sit weird ways and act casual about it? See: A.C. Slater, always backwards on his chair.

T: It’s also worth noting that I just noticed you can see the lights at the top of the photo, as seen in the screenshot above. Apparently this is a thing that happens often with shows not made in the past few years (you can see lights, etc. in the Netflix versions of the early seasons of Gilmore Girls) because the show was originally shot in (get ready nerds) an aspect ratio of 4:3, but when transferred to streaming services like Netflix, they use 16:9 – basically means a larger version that was meant to be cropped out when originally aired. Nerd time over.

how it aired on the teevee

M: Sam apologizes to a woman for “shrieking the wrong name.” With God as my witness, that name better have been Diane.

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

THE ENTIRE BAR AT THE DOOR LISTENING TO SAM AND DIANE FIGHT IN HIS OFFICE. THAT IS TV GOLD

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

  • Sam: It took my mind off my brother and your skinny co-worker. I don’t even care where they are any more… Where are they? Carla: Well Bobby and Susie saw them at the drive-in sharing a Cherry Coke and fries.
  • Norm: Those are rich people cheating on taxes. And who has to foot the bill? Honest folks. Like me and you, and all you nice people at the bar that l’ve listed as my dependents.
  • Coach: “It’s a damn sure bet that if he’s not expressing himself to you, he’s nuts about you… Or he couldn’t care less.”

Cheers Queries

T: Am I the only one who doesn’t care for Coach? I don’t really care for his character. I mean he’s sweet and all, but some/all of the jokes they write for him aren’t that funny.

M: Like when Coach says “crazy, Carla?! Crazy like a doorknob.” What is the joke? I assume it’s just that doorknobs aren’t crazy but I wonder if it was culturally relevant at the time, maybe?

To your point, I sort of feel like Coach is the character they keep around in case they need something poignant to happen to someone. Like, if someone has to get cancer or lose their house, it’ll be Coach.

T: James Burrows won a directing Emmy for this ep but there were a few weird zoom-ins that felt weird to me, did it feel that way to you?

M: There were a lot more times where I watched it and went “oh, Cheers is definitely trying something here.” Even the opening shot of the street outside the bar looked different. But ultimately Sam and Diane are finally doing it and that’s a little ditty I’ll always be about.

T: Speaking of James Burrows, he directed 243 of the 270 episodes of Cheers, including the pilot. One of the reasons why James is such a successful director is because he’s directed a ton of classic sitcoms, including more than 60 pilots of TV shows. And he’s def rolling in the dough because if a director helms a pilot and that pilot gets picked up to series, the director will get royalties on every episodes that airs thereafter, even if they never direct another episode again. For example, he lucked out when he directed only the pilot of The Big Bang Theory, but maybe not so much with the pilot of S#!t My Dad Says.

Barfly Fashion

T: Diane’s pale pink suit seems like a more mature? look for her? Or more upscale librarian? And  also is her hair is straighter?

T: Carla’s plaid shirt that reminds me of an azn woman selling fish at an outdoor market in Thailand.

M: You’ll also notice that Carla has started wearing her hair in a ponytail with some barrettes. Barrettes were huge in the ’80s. I feel like either she’s growing it out or can’t perm it during pregnancy.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Season two, episode 4, Homicidal Ham.

Cheers Chats #2: Truce Or Consequences

Welcome to our second installment of our year-long Cheers Chats series, where we travel back in time to revisit one of the most acclaimed and revered sitcoms in history, Cheers. Incidentally, today’s post comes a couple days before we get to see the Cheers cast reunited once again for Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows. Or, you may know it as the “Friends reunion” aka five of the six friends got together on a couch (not at Central Perk) to talk about their beloved director Jimmy Burrows. The cast of Cheers sat on the same couch and had a similar conversation about their time on the show with James. At this point, only eight episodes into the first season of Cheers, we’re not as emotionally involved as we are with Friends, a show that shaped our youth. But despite that, we are both greatly enjoying our binge of Cheers a mere 30+ years later, so we’ll check back at the end of the year and freak out about the following reunion at the James Burrows tribute:

Anyways, back to season one. Last time we covered the Pilot, and this time we’re on Season 1, Episode 8: Truce or Consequences (We’re going by this list from AV Club if you’re wondering what our plan of attack is). There is some serious girl power in this ep, so get ready for a lot of Carla and Diane talk.

Episode 1.08: Truce or Consequences

Netflix synopsis: When the constantly bickering Carla and Diane call a truce over drinks, Diane loosens up and professes her desire for a friend.

M: The only friends I can think of are her bookish chum who showed up in the last episode (which made me wonder if, as college educated single ladies, we would have been like Diane and Diane’s Friend in the 80s??), and, of course, Sam.

T: I do find myself trying to figure out which one of the characters I’m most like on this show, and I usually err to the side of Diane. Fantasy: Carla. Reality: Diane.

Chit-Chat Club

(Off-topic Cheers chatter.)

T: I just realized that all of these episodes so far have been bottle episodes, which could be its secret weapon.

M: I think you’re really onto something, and I wonder if this will keep up for the whole series? This also explains why we weren’t interested in it as kids: a group of adults talking in a dark bar every week.

T: Now that we are adults, talking with a group of friends in a dark bar that’s not a nightclub sounds like a dream.

Bahhston Tahhlk

T: Coach says he’s never driven home alone before? The man is like 60 years old. Then Norm offers to let him drive him to Kenmore (which isn’t too far from the Cheers bar) then take a cab back to the bar. This seems ridiculous. I guess that’s the point.

M: Was about to question whether Coach just hangs out at the bar and doesn’t drink, then I remembered that the answer is yes. Because he works there. Shouldn’t some of these people be taking the T, anyway?

T: Yes! They should be taking the T! No one lives in this area except rich people like John Kerry. That’s a fact. When Molly came to visit me in Boston, we stood outside his brownstone and took a pic.

M: I probably don’t even have to say this, but it was 2005.

Carla’s My Boo

T: Carla (under the influence of the Leap Into an Open Grave) starts telling Diane she has a secret, and wants to get it off her chest but doesn’t know if she can trust her. Carla decides to go for it, and the way she’s telling the story makes me think it’s all a joke and she’s gonna yell PSYCHE at the end. She does not. She tells Diane that years ago, Sam got drunk, she drove him home, one thing led to another, and nine months later Sam’s son Gino was born. WHERE IS THE PUNCHLINE.

Carla’s never told anyone. I feel like this is a test. Is Diane even going to remember this?

M: Is Gino Sam’s April Nardini? Because usually they don’t pull that shit in Season One.

“Question: Who is my dad?”

FYI, in an earlier episode Carla says that she gets pregnant if you wink at her so at least they’re keeping her character consistent.

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

M: Since the pilot, one of my favorite things is the Carla/Diane rivalry. It’s also how I came to start to almost like Diane. Carla said that Diane wasn’t blonde in college, and Diane growled something like “look in the yearbook, Carla. Carla. Look. In the yearbook.” It was like Leslie Knope serving it to Eagleton.

T: They hug and Diane starts singing People because of this moment they’re sharing. I don’t find myself making up with rivals too often, but I can tell you I won’t be singing any Barbra Streisand during the make-up sesh.

M: I was really warming to her, but nope. SHUT UP DIANE is still a necessary Cheers Chats feature.

Also why does Diane act so traumatized by this news? She knows Carla has a bunch of kids with different fathers. File under: Diane is impossibly prissy.

M: Carla told Diane the story knowing she’d blab it everywhere, so basically an entire episode based on the Shut Up, Diane premise.

T: It’s like we wrote her character from start to finish based on the pilot alone.

M: Sam snaps “Stay out of it, Diane” which is a Shut Up, Diane of his own.

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: BTW since the pilot, it’s becoming more clear that Sam & Diane are feelin each other. Like in the way that Sam gets jealous of men interested in Diane and vice versa.

M: Also, these little gestures…. like, Diane playfully unties Sam’s waist apron in lieu of totally doing it with him. Diane. Sam. Do it.

T: Oh Sam comes in to save the day, Diane is passed out in an “Open Grave” drink and he offers to take her home. Carla explains that she “told the biggest lie I could think of and she started to sing!”

T: Diane’s hangover acting is not good. She can’t find the hook on the coat rack. She’s hungover not blind.

T: Diane def remembers the lie Carla told her about Gino and tries to hint to Sam that she knows the secret. COME ON DIANE.

M: Diane: who put my pajamas on? Me: SAM AND DIANE. Do it.

Pour It Up, Pour It Up

(Drinks at the bar)

“We call it ‘Leap Into an Open Grave’ all the liquor some OJ, an egg, blended.” In these ridic glasses.  They look like fishbowls you’d try to shoot a ping pong ball into at a carnival.
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Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

Carla to Diane – “Listen pencil neck, you’re starting to get on my nerves!”

Sam to Diane and Carla: “Two women who hate each other left alone in a room with glass and alcohol.”

Diane to Carla: Let’s have a bottle of wine. I think we have your favorite, Chateau Guam?

Carla to Diane: You hold your secrets like you hold your booze

Women fighting is very unlady like. Unless of course they’re wallowing around in mud pits.

Diane, re: Carla: I reached out to this “little twerp”

Carla: You sound like a lady getting tired of her teeth. (Ed. note: Whenever Carla gets feisty she sounds like one of the mean orphans in Annie.)

Cheers Queries

T: Diane and Carla haven’t been getting along over the past few episodes, I just didn’t realize it was bad enough for them to have a sit down convo?

M: Yeah, I thought they were just being snarky at each other, like it’s their love language.

T: Sam and Carla start hysterically laughing because they both know that Gino is ugly and so is her husband I feel uncomfortable about this. They’re laughing at a seven year old kid because he’s ugly?

M: It’s less bad because they don’t show him. Kind of like Karen’s stepchildren in Will & Grace (or did they show them eventually?)

It is kind of refreshing that Carla can laugh at her own kid being ugly, since the popular thing now is for parents to think their kids are gorgeous even when they’re not. Note: I may just be saying that because Carla’s my boo.

Barfly Fashion

  • Everyone has great winter sweaters on. It reminds me of the sweaters we had to wear as a uniform in high school. Photo Feb 15, 12 00 31 AM
  • Carla and her bright red pants 

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Carla’s shirt with random shapes on it:

Photo Feb 19, 1 02 29 AM

Also, all of the women have fluffy Q-tip hair (the bathroom tool, not the rapper/actor).

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Episode 1.22, Showdown, Part 2.

Cheers Chats #1: Give Me A Ring Sometime

Let’s take it back. It’s 1982, we’re not alive, and maybe you aren’t either. The wacky, Studio 54-era disco-and-drugs ’70s were over, but the serious perm and shoulderpad business of the ’80s hadn’t really started. If you wanted to pitch a tv show about normal-looking people who wear a lot of brown and go to a bar sometimes, you were right in the zeitgeist. That’s the world that gave us Cheers.

Okay, now let’s take it … well, a little bit less back: August 2015. We got together to knock out a quick Pop Culture Blind Spots post. Neither of us had seen Cheers and together we were going to change that. By the end of the pilot, we were absolutely obsessed with this 33-year-old show that everybody else already knew was good. It became clear that we needed to devote more than a single post to Sam (The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston), Diane (Shut Up, Diane), Our Boo, Carla and all the others who we’d prefer you not tell us about because we haven’t seen the whole series yet, thanks. We shelved the post until we had more time to devote to the series.

So here’s what’s up: the last Friday of every month we’ll be posting Cheers Chats, where we discuss the top-ranked episodes of the 1980s smash hit, Cheers. Come join us, because our love for this neighborhood bar and grill is only going to grow. If you love the show too, or are watching along, jump into the comments … because sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Episode 1.01: Give Me A Ring Sometime

For starters, here’s our collective Cheers knowledge:

  • It’s Boston
  • They’re in a bar.
  • Sam and Diane are a thing, maybe. Like Ross and Rachel?
  • Norm is the mailman. No, scratch that – CLIFF. Cliff is the mailman.
  •  Norm is George Wendt – aka Jason Sudeikis’ uncle. He is a barfly. Barfly’s a word right?
  • It’s just that “barfly” looks like it would be pronounced “Barflee” and would be the name of a mischievous dog on a PBS sitcom from the 90s (which originally aired on CBC).
  • Frasier is a spin-off of Cheers. (Traci typed this; Molly exclaimed “yes, that’s right!” like a child correctly recited the Alphabet for the first time. I repeat: we did not watch Cheers.)

Chit-Chat Club

(Off-topic Cheers chatter.)

M: Netflix says Cheers is from 1992. Like … is it sure? I feel like this started in the late 80s and that I was super, super little when it was on. I also felt like it was one of those shows that ran for a million seasons.

T: 1992 is 23 YEARS ago. That is a college graduate.

M: WE WERE RIGHT. 1982 – 1993. 1992 is neither of those years. It’s just … a year. We were 6. Home Alone 2 came out. I wore a lot of stirrup pants.

T: Who do we write to about this? Mr. Netflix? I’ve got a strongly worded comment box for you.

T: This is the first time we’ve live-blogged together in the same room. And it’s weird.

M:  I feel like we’re about to turn it into the chit-chat club up in here and forget to type.

This Theme Song

We love this tune by super well-known singer/songwriter Gary Portnoy, but in the pilot, they play the theme song for real and it sounds kind of depressing? Maybe it’s the old-timey cartoon illustrations of folks in the 1900s in the opening credits (because they’re like, all dead)? Either way, this song still holds up.

Later on, they do that thing where they play the theme song, but instrumental and sad, before what would have been the commercial break.

Bahhston Tahhlk

Last week, Seth Meyers did this absolutely brilliant sketch about actors and Boston accents and it is so incredibly dead on. In saying that, not everyone in Boston has an accent, and if they do, it’s not always thick. At one point in the pilot, this kid attempting to get a beer at the bar says, “How bout a beeahh (beer), chief?” Stop exaggerating. Like, did he “Park his car in Hahhvahd Yahhd” too?? (NO ONE DOES THIS).

Also,  it felt like everyone was talking like they’re from a 1930s movie. At one point, it felt so garbled that we had to rewind three times then turn on closed captioning to figure out what they’re saying ( it was: How long is the wimp convention in town?”). Again, everyone is very muffled, like if you listened to that 1930s movie through one headphone.

Photo Jan 28, 10 47 33 PM

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

So Ted Danson – kind of a hottie? We never really put too much thought into him before, but NOW we are. You want to know why? Because Molly realized that Sam Malone is such a Luke Danes (Traci promptly shrieked “That’s why!” and dissolved into laughter upon this epiphany. She also started sweating because of this fact). (Note: That was very diplomatic of her, but if Traci was sweating that’s because it was August and 90 degrees and I don’t have an air conditioner. Enjoy the cooling breeze of a BOX FAN, friends! – M)

The Netflix description for the pilot reads: “Sam Malone, an ex-baseball player turned bar owner, operates a saloon that’s always filled with quirky customers and even more eccentric staff.” Hey, you know who ELSE played baseball?

scott was seriously too handsome to be a baseball player. he needed to share his good looks with the rest of the world as an actor.

GUYS I CAN’T UNSEE IT. I CANNOT. Also, does that make Diane Lorelai? Let’s dissect this – Diane’s husband-to-be is a professor at BU who references Proust – MAX MEDINA, MUCH?? And at some point, Sam gives Diane a drink JUST LIKE LUKE GIVING LORELAI COFFEE.

Photo Jan 28, 11 02 43 PM

Unrelated to Luke Danes, Sam is a recovering alcoholic who owns a bar. In season 7, are we going to see a dark storyline of Sam battling his demons and has to go to rehab? (Read: Ted Danson filmed Three Men and a Little Lady). Probably. Picturing a Bailey Salinger plotline.

Carla’s My Boo

Rhea Perlman busts into the bar and immediately goes on a rant:

“OK, I’m late! My kid was throwing up all over the place. You don’t buy that excuse, I quit. I don’t work for a man who has no compassion for my children. And you’re not exactly swamped here. I’m usually punctual. If you don’t like it, fine. This ain’t such a great job. I’m gonna change.”

A) Love her already.

B) She’s younger than we remembered.

C) She’s clearly the feminist of the show. Later on, she suggests to Diane that she stop waiting around for her fiance to come and just leave him. This coming from a woman whose husband used her to go to TV repair school then left her and their 4 kids behind once he graduated. All day Carla. All Day. Forever.

LLOL

(We used the LLOL acronym when we’d talk on AIM as teens – it means LITERALLY laughing out loud, as opposed to LOL as the typographic version of a smirk)

We genuinely LOLed throughout this entire episode. Like way more than we typically would during a pilot.

Exhibit A: 

Carla, after answering the phone: “Who isn’t here?”

Every male sitting at the bar in the middle of the day: “ME!”

Exhibit B: 

Cliff: Women have fewer sweat glands than men, but they’re larger, more active. Consequently, they sweat more…  (To Diane) How about you, miss? What are your perspiration patterns?

Exhibit C: 

Sam: Still working on that novel?

Coach: Yeah, coming on six years now. I got a feeling I might finish it tonight.

Diane: You’re writing a novel?

Coach: No, reading one.

 One-Hit Wonders

(Characters we don’t expect to be seeing again.)

This episode features Diane and her version of Rachel’s dentist husband. We hadn’t bothered to remember his name, which is a sign he might not be returning for the rest of the series.

Photo Jan 28, 10 50 36 PM

T: Also, I haven’t even bothered to remember Diane’s fiance’s name. I’m assuming he’s gone by the end of this episode.

M: Same. Barry, for now?

T: Barry it is.

M: Where Everybody Knows Your Name… except Traci and Molly. Who don’t care. He is very old.

T: Barry is going out to talk to his ex-wife, and leaves Diane behind, but why is he leaving her in a bar by herself in Boston? This bar is not the only place to visit in the city.

M: Old North Church is open, like, all the time.

T: EW DIANE’S FIANCE’S NAME IS ‘SUMNER’

Carla (answering phone): Cheers. Just a minute. (To Barry) If you’re not, I apologise, but is your name Sumner Sloane?

Barry/Sumner: Yes, it is.

Carla: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

Diane’s got a book out and a bunch of pencils while sitting at the bar. GO TO THE LIBRARY, DIANE. To add more to the Gilmore Girls parallel, Diane could also be one of Paris’s friends, Louise and/or Madeline. Or Lindsay’s crazy mom Theresa. Or the mom who convinced Luke and Lorelai to speak at Stars Hollow High for career day.

Diane and Sumner act rich, even though we’re pretty sure professors don’t make that much money.

Diane uses the bar phone to cancel the flight reservations to Barbados since Sumner hasn’t come back.  A) a PHONE. B) She knew the number to the airline by heart? C) She immediately got through to a customer representative? She says she wants to change the flight reservations and Traci screams ‘THEY’RE ON IT!’ As in that dumb Sumner took his ex-wife to Barbados on his wedding day to Diane. Not even mad that we called it.

Diane says “now look, Buster!” because this sitcom was written by a man at a typewriter wearing a trilby with one of those journalist tags in it.

Sam ends up hiring Diane to be a waitress after Barry/Sumner leaves her, but why is she acting like a hostess? I thought bars don’t have hostesses? All Day Carla would NEVER.

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: We’re at the first scene between Sam and Diane and TBH, I ship it already. Why am I so into Ted Danson right now??

Barfly Fashion

Diane. It is your first day on the job. What are you wearing? This plaid peasant shirt. Why is the apron so short? Is this a denim skirt? And with these knee highs?

This elderly lady is living her BEST LIFE. In a wheelchair, wearing a fancy hat, and sipping on a beer. Goals.

We are Team Carla All Day, but can we just discuss this empty purse? She’s a mother of 4, why is it filled with nothing. Also these pants. V 80s.

Cheers Cheers

(Raising a glass to our new favorite old sitcom.)

We literally had to adjust the TV set during Cheers because we thought it was too dark. The TV was fine. The show is dark. That’s also why we weren’t watching it in 1992. Too dark, no appeal to 6-year-olds. But now we’ve seen it, and while we shouldn’t feel surprised that the most beloved sitcom pilot of all time is good, here we both are. Those 22 minutes went by so fast, which is what we were afraid was going to happen. Looks like we’ll both be binging on Cheers for the next several months. Like Sam of two years ago, we think we may have a problem (too soon?). 

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons  (plus one, because the Pilot didn’t make the cut). We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Episode 1.08, Truce Or Consequences.