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Played by: Ted DansonFormer relief-pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and also a recovering alcoholic. Sam bought the bar during his alcoholism and kept running it since. He's in love with Diane and can't admit it.
- Addiction Displacement: Sex seems to have mostly replaced alcohol (and in later seasons he even seeks help for that), and he also has a subtle coffee addiction. Not to mention his incredibly co-dependent relationship with Diane.
- Always Someone Better: His brother, who is naturally never shown onscreen but said to be more handsome, more popular, and generally better in every way.
- Later, John Allen Hill.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lampshaded and Discussed often as a major reason for why he's such a success with the ladies.
- All Men Are Perverts: At least on the outside.
- At Least I Admit It: Part of his conflict with Diane is he knows how shallow he is and refuses to hide it like she does.
- The Bartender: It's his profession, and he has a congenial personality to match.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Diane.
- Benevolent Boss: Friendly with most of his employees and generous with pay, giving Carla a raise whenever she got pregnant, for example. He also lets them get away with a lot without firing them.
- Berserk Button: Harbours a deep hatred for both mimes and barbershop quartets, for some strange reason.
- Broken Ace: Sam was a star baseball player in his heyday, and only missed out on national fame by dropping out of the team too early—but the extreme pressure to do well drove him to alcoholism. As the proprietor of Cheers, he's lauded for his many romantic flings and treated as the guy every man there wants to be—but again, the pressure to maintain his masculinity in such a way drives him to being an unhappy sex addict, and he ends up needing therapy for it.
- Byronic Hero: Most apparent throughout the Diane era, especially in Seasons Two (his constant angsting and inner conflict regarding his feelings for Diane) and Three (his recovery from the traumatic aftermath of their breakup)—but hints of this pop up throughout the show, one way or another.
- Cannot Spit It Out: To Diane—much to her delight. She understands.
- Carpet of Virility: Much to the delight of female fans he's got hair on his chest.
- The Casanova: Generally this, although he does have certain standards—like never messing around with married women. Deconstructed when Diane uses him for a term paper as an example of Don Juanism - and Sam is dismayed to learn that he has a real sickness. It doesn't come up again til very late in the series.
- The Charmer: Zig-zags with The Casanova. He as a rule knows his limits with Diane, any of Diane's female friends, and with Rebecca.
- Chivalrous Pervert: For all his ladykilling ways, he's very protective of the women in his life, whether friends (Carla), lovers, or both (Diane).
- In a beautiful (and beautifully understated) moment of chivalry, he protects Diane in "Personal Business", when she is struck with a moment of temptation to forget her would-be employer's less-than-noble overtures upon hearing his most generous offer. Sam gives her a very pointed Look and a hint of a head-shake. Diane snaps out of it.
- As early as Season One, in "Friends, Romans, and Accountants", Sam makes it a point to covertly water down Diane's drinks so she'll be sober enough to resist Norman's boss, should he try and take advantage of her. Needless to say, the man does try.
- Later in the series, when Diane's offered another job as a teacher's assistant, Sam warns her to be careful, fearful as he is of the professor treating her like Sumner Sloan did. In this case, though, it causes poor Diane to feel paranoid during her interview, leading to a serious misunderstanding...and her not getting the job.
- Much later in the show, when Sam discovers that Robin Colcord is seeing other women while dating Rebecca, he makes it a point to warn her, despite Colcord's attempt to bribe him out of it with a golden opportunity to get back the bar. The worst part: Rebecca quickly forgives Colcord and chooses instead to view the other women as worthy opponents.
- They also make it clear that Sam has plenty of lines he won't cross, such as never going after a woman who's married.
- In a beautiful (and beautifully understated) moment of chivalry, he protects Diane in "Personal Business", when she is struck with a moment of temptation to forget her would-be employer's less-than-noble overtures upon hearing his most generous offer. Sam gives her a very pointed Look and a hint of a head-shake. Diane snaps out of it.
- Commitment Issues: Big time. In Season Four's "Don Juan Is Hell", Diane briefly implies she suspects Sam might have a Freudian Excuse for this.
- Season Five's "One Last Fling" seems to imply that he's overcome this with Diane, by then. (Indeed, that seems to be the entire point of the episode....) After she leaves in the season finale, though, he's effectively back to his old problems. This even extends to Frasier's spinoff series, where he breaks up with another woman he wanted to marry.
- Determinator: His iron-willed resistance to returning to drink—even though he's running a bar.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Season 5's "I Do, Adieu." Later again in the series finale.
- Distracted by the Sexy: If a pretty woman walks into the bar it can be assured Sam will immediately drop whatever he was doing and make her the focus of his attention.
- Do You Want to Copulate?: Many examples, from and to Sam, but the biggest subversion is when Sam tries to date a psychologist friend of Frasier's. She dresses him down as a supremely pathetic, shallow womanizer with no thoughts or dreams beyond immediate sex, and will never find happiness or a partner in old age. She's still willing to have a one night stand, however. When an incredulous Sam asks why, she admits that since he's a shallow womanizer with no thoughts or dreams beyond immediate sex, he must be really good at it. Sam is less than amused.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: His reaction in "Take My Shirt, Please" when he finds out the only bid for his old baseball jersey...was made by Diane. It's a bit of a Berserk Button.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Sam loves doing this. Of course, he prefers to go further with the gal, but at times looking's enough.
- Everyone Has Standards: Draws the line at married women.
- Glory Days: Sam always rambles on about those he had in baseball, to get laid, get free stuff, or get laid some more.
- Good People Have Good Sex: And in his case, revels in it.
- Informed Flaw: Diane and Rebecca love to make jokes about Sam being dumb, which comes off as rather unusual since he's one of the smarter people in the bat. Sam dropped out of high school and possesses simple tastes (Baseball, slapstick comedy, childish pranks) but he's been successfully running a small business for years and is much more savvy than the girls in many areas. If you listened to the two of them, you'd think he was much dumber than Coach or Woody.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A notorious ladykiller and likes to engage in mean-natured ribbing, particularly to Diane. But he's also very dedicated to making his bar a place where everyone can feel welcome and highly protective of his friends when they need him.
- A Lady on Each Arm: Quite often—much to the delight of the guys:"Samm-Y! Samm-Y! Samm-Y!"
- But to the utter dismay of Coach, because he's also fallen off the wagon. Hard.
- Ladykiller in Love: His main conflict with Diane.
- The Leader: His real role at Cheers. In fact, Nicholas Colasanto told Ted Danson that he was the leader of the group, so he should play his character that way. Danson wistfully recalled that after Nick's death in the bonus content of the first season DVD set.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: As long as she's pretty (and unmarried) he'll go out with pretty much any woman, even ones that have insulted and belittled him in the past. He's actually well liked in the bar because of it.
- Love Redeems: He repeatedly admits to Diane—and occasionally someone else—that knowing that she cares for him has encouraged him to be more and more concerned with "doing the right thing"—presumably to be "worthy" of her....
- A Man Is Always Eager: Always portrayed as being into sex with random women, even when the situation causes him distress, such as when his advertising agent used him for sex and dumped his career when he broke it off—he almost kept it up just at the suggestion of sex later, even though that exact thing was what he had been complaining about to Diane.
- Manchild: Basically his other major trait besides his skill with the ladies. He's in his 30s at the beginning of the series and his 40s by the time it ends, but still has prank wars with other bars.
- Men Are Uncultured: So naturally he falls for a brainy, book-smart, naive girl.
- Must Have Caffeine: Since quitting drinking his beverage of choice has become coffee, and his cup is never far away. Downplayed in that he also constantly holds a bottle of seltzer as well.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Despite his typical lady-killing ways, Sam often noticeably balks at the idea of Diane having a "casual" sex life—coming to a head in the climax of "One Last Fling", when he gives an amusingly Diane-like speech—to Diane—on the importance of romance and commitment, when he thinks she's been "out all night".
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Sam can detect when a ravishing woman has entered the bar. When one particular sexy woman enters, Carla counts down from 5. Sam emerges a few seconds after zero, demanding, "Okay, where is she?" Carla muses that Sam may be getting older but he still has it; Sam retorts that his radar was hampered by being in the wine cellar.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: Sam considers his hair his best feature. He even has it insured.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: When Diane enters Pollyanna mode in the first half of Season 5, and basically semi-chases him to no end while teasing him with wedding plans...Sam is nearly driven insane with frustration.
- One Head Taller: Over six feet. As Diane noted once, he looks even taller because of his slightly thin build.
- One True Love: Diane...much as he struggles to deny it.
- Phrase Catcher: Diane's affectionately amused "Oh, Sam..." whenever he says/does something particularly cute in her presence. Conversely, he catches a shocked and dismayed "How could you?!" from her, too.
- Piss-Take Rap: Did one of these during his brief stint as a sportscaster. Could also count as Stylistic Suck, as it was about as awful as one might expect.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Carla.
- Rated M for Manly: The reason the male patrons look up to him as their inspiration.
- Really Gets Around: All the bars patrons love him for it. Even Carla. This ends up being deconstructed in later seasons, where Frasier advises him to seek counseling for it and he admits in a group session that his obsession with sex has ruined his chances of having any long term romantic relationships, and that it doesn't even make him happy anymore. Sam Malone is a recovered alcoholic who is also a professional bartender. He replaced alcoholism with a caffeine addiction.
- In an early Season 1 episode, Sam declares there are three types of women he will not have sex with: married, underage, and comatose. Norm notes he added one.
- Recovered Addict: A recovering alcoholic.
- Red Baron: "Mayday," from his days as a relief-pitcher.
- Sexy Man, Instant Harem: At times. Much to the delight of himself—and the guys. (See: entry on A Lady on Each Arm)
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: He even slaps Diane on the rear with a ping pong paddle once, after she pulls an I Surrender, Suckers on him in "King Of The Hill". (It happens off-screen—Smash to Black with the sound, and Diane's yelp.)
- Small Name, Big Ego: He often has to re-learn that his celebrity status is not what it used to be.
- STD Immunity: Apparently, the writers had briefly considered a storyline involving Sam angsting over whether or not an STD would result from a certain tryst. They ultimately decided against it, though we did get an episode where he freaks out over the possibility that he got a woman pregnant. (Carla is not sympathetic, chortling, "Looks like Sammy finally got caught with his hand in the cookie jar!) In that episode, Sam says from now on, he'll drop by the drugstore (for condoms).
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: As he admits to Diane in Season 3's "King Of The Hill", his dad was such a perfectionist that nothing Sam could do would ever please him. Diane speculates that that is what's led to Sam's competitive nature...before noting that she was a bit of a Daddy's Girl (see: below).
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Often, with Diane.
- Would Hit a Girl: Mostly in retaliation. Diane learned that first hand.
Played by: Shelley LongGraduate student whose fiancé dumped her at Cheers the night where they were supposed to be married. Worked as a waitress in Cheers for five seasons.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Strongly implied to have been one as a girl, reading The New York Times faithfully and so on. Her mother gave her a copy of Being And Nothingness when Diane was young, too.
- Adorkable: She's quite eccentric (in the non-Cloud Cuckoolander sense). While several characters take her quirks as off-putting (such as her tendency to over-speak), they're also a big part of what makes her so adorable and charming to her love interests. The fact that she's pretty as heck doesn't hurt.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Diane often tries her best to verbally avert this trope—convincing few around her. When she tells Cliff in "Cliffie's Big Score" that women as a rule prefer "sweet and vulnerable" guys, Cliff isn't too reassured, leading to this exchange:Cliff: Then, uh, how come Sammy always scores?Diane: (Dreamily blurts out) Because he's gorgeous. (Beat) I-I mean...he has low standards—he'll go out with any floozie who comes down the pike!
Frasier: Well, that's what it's there for, baby...!
- Interestingly enough, when Frasier starts to show some "bad-boy" tendencies in "The Heart Is A Lonely Snipehunter", Diane is quite turned on....
- Am I Just a Toy to You?: The reason for Diane's reluctance, when mulling over whether to start/rekindle her romance with Sam. Sam throws it back in her face, saying the only reason she returned to Cheers was because she was hot for him, pointing out if she hates the job, and the only thing Sam has going for him is his looks, what other reason could there be?
- The Atoner : In the Season 4 premiere, we find out Diane has been spending her days working at a convent, to atone for some debauchery in Italy after she left Frasier.
- Badass Adorable: Her Waif-Fu moment in "Sam At Eleven" (see below).
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Sam. Deconstructed—it gets downright dark between the two of them by the end of Season Two, to the point where both end up running like the wind from their relationship.
- Break the Cutie: She goes through a lot of these, often overlapping with her Break the Haughty moments (see: below). For all her stuffiness, Diane also has an innocence and honesty that naturally sets her up for this sort of thing.
- They do manage to break her, in a big way, in "Diane Chambers Day". She doesn't come back to work the next day because she can't stop crying. However, the gang manage to make her feel like she belongs by taking her to the opera (well, not Carla, but that's her gift to Diane - not coming. Diane thanks her.)
- Break the Haughty: Gets a pretty big one in "Everyone Imitates Art" where, after boasting about how she received a "promising" rejection letter from a poetry magazine, realizes it was just a standard form letter and the publisher really wasn't interested in her work."I've struggled so hard for so long to keep my dreams alive, and I haven't fooled anyone but myself. I know all along you all considered me a pretentious, self-deluded windbag. Apparently you've all been right. I'm never going to be Diane Chambers, renowned poet, world-famous novelist, revered artist. I've gone as high as I'm going to go. I'm a waitress in a beer hall. And not a very good one. A waitress." (Shrugs) "A waitress!" (Shakes head, deflates) "A waitress...."
- Then a customer asks her if she could take his drink order...and she bursts into tears.
- Another major moment of self-awareness happens in "Someday My Prince Will Come", after she discovers the man she's been fantasizing about, while intelligent and witty, is also pretty nerdy in appearance. Particularly when you consider that Sam's been warning her about this possibility—and Diane kept insisting that such petty things as appearance mean nothing to her. At last, however:Diane: (sigh) I'm such a pooh.Sam: ...Beg your pardon?Diane: You heard me — a pooh! (eyes welling up) After all these years...I have to admit it, I'm — all talk!Sam: Oh... well, of course you are, honey—but we've all gotten used to that!
- Another major moment of self-awareness happens in "Someday My Prince Will Come", after she discovers the man she's been fantasizing about, while intelligent and witty, is also pretty nerdy in appearance. Particularly when you consider that Sam's been warning her about this possibility—and Diane kept insisting that such petty things as appearance mean nothing to her. At last, however:
- Then a customer asks her if she could take his drink order...and she bursts into tears.
- But I Would Really Enjoy It: She and Sam have a sort-of agreement to try out being Better as Friends throughout Season 4. This doesn't keep Diane from admitting this trope (sometimes even out loud), whenever they flirt....
- Butt-Monkey: Her ego gets deflated regularly courtesy of cutting remarks from bar patrons.Diane: You know, Sam—if I'm to serve both as a waitress and the butt of jokes, I think I should make more money.
- To her credit, we find out in "Suspicion" that, in her heart, she actually looks forward to the jokes at her expense, as it actually means that, in her own way, she's one of the gang.
- Catchphrase: Her affectionately amused "Oh, Sam...."
- To a lesser extent, her teary-voiced "How could you?!" Again typically said to Sam, and usually signals her entering Drama Queen mode.
- Character Filibuster: Diane is notorious for launching into tangents without a second thought. Bonus points for when she's only half-awake....
- Character Tic: Poor Diane has a twitch in her cheek, which makes her look kinda like she's fighting a smirk. It appears a few times in Season 1 whenever she becomes extremely self-conscious. We rarely, if ever, see it again until her appearance on Frasier—in a sequence that plays it up for all it's worth.
- The Chick: Her central purpose among the gang, aside from her romances with Sam and Frasier.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Sometimes, she crosses the line into this territory—such as when she joins in the football betting pool and with a straight face picks winners based on uniform colors, mascots, state flowers, and foreign-born conductors. (For some strange reason, it actually seems to work for her!)
- Comically Missing the Point: In a different sense than Coach or Woody, but it's there.
- Daddy's Girl: Claims in "King Of The Hill" to have been one, in contrast to Sam's account of his overly-critical parents."My father built me an elaborate rec room when I was a child." (Sweet smile) "My daddy liked me!"
- According to her (in "Little Sister Don't Cha"), he even had a pet name for her ("Muffin", "Because I was so sweet and toasty....")
- Deadpan Snarker: Holds her own pretty well against Sam and Carla, when she's not trying to correct them on the basic points of their quips—or the wording.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: One of the central sources of angst for her that doesn't involve her romance with Sam—and the reason for her major Heroic B.S.O.D. in "Everyone Imitates Art". Diane strives to find some sort of career to channel her creative passions—and one way or another, keeps failing until the Season 5 finale.
- Devoted to You: Even after Season 5, neither Sam nor Frasier ever seem able to get over their feelings for her. The implications of their respective feelings, and how they deal with them, naturally differs. She has her own "permanent basis" feelings for Sam, too, of course.
- Disapproving Look: A lot, usually when someone—usually Sam—seems to be (often deliberately) Comically Missing the Point.Sam: (On their false romantic account) Okay...we went out for Chinese, told each other you-know-what—Diane: (Rolls eyes; Look)Sam: Then we went back to my place and tore one off.Diane: (Slumps; Facepalm)
- Distracted by the Sexy: An occasional running gag has her telling Sam that she's above such things as falling for mere physical attractiveness—only to find herself helpless at the sight of an extremely handsome guy.Diane: (On going out with a student) I know, I shouldn't even be considering it, but—when I look at him, I...consider it!"Sam: Excuse me, but what happened to the woman who said "It's the inner man who counts"...?Carla: (super-dreamily) So did this one....
- Ditzy Genius: Diane is well-educated, and can quote any philosopher you want, but even after extensive training isn't the most efficient waitress (though she has on occasion shown improvement on this)—and her try at running the bar ("Pick A Con, Any Con") shows her as pretty comically helpless.
- In general, actually, her basic innocence in the ways of the world constantly gets her into a lot of trouble, so that she tends to need the more streetwise Sam to help her recover.
- Drama Queen: She's such a little girl at heart—which remains apparent even as far forward as her appearance in Frasier. While it's a significant part of her charm, it's also caused poor Sam in particular (and often Frasier) no small amount of headaches. She often makes a big deal over little things, at times driven to angry tears while ranting about how disgracefully someone's just acted.
Diane: (SMACKS counter) Love...bunny?!?Sam: (frowns) What's wrong with that? I—Diane: (BOLTS up; teary-eyed) How dare you callously and cruelly lump me in with the other—conglomeration of TWINKIES that constitutes your—sexual PAST?!? (Storms off)"How could you? After all we've been through...! What we had together was real—and special—and now you've...cheapened it for—all eternity—by broadcasting to the entire Boston Metropolitan Area!—that I was...nothing but—an odelisk! In your...seraglio!"
- Classic example: her reaction to Sam referring to her (not by name—not that that apparently matters...) as a "love bunny" during an interview on the radio, in Season 4's "Love Thy Neighbor". After Sam finishes:
- Later, after she forgives him, Sam calls her a "love bunny" again - she enjoys it that time.
- Dude Magnet: A big running gag in Season One, where many a guy out of the blue would suddenly seize her and kiss her passionately (or worse, as in "Friends, Romans, and Accountants"). Toned down, but still played with, for the rest of her time on the show.Diane: (On Cliff asking her out) Sam, look at all the people who've fallen hopelessly in love with me with only the slightest encouragement: You, Frasier...Sam: Yourself....
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Constantly. Lampshaded in one episode where she complains no one greets her like they do Norm. Sam tells her she's right, and invites her to re-enter. When she does, everyone greets, "NORM!"Diane: There. Was that so hard?
- Eating the Eye Candy: She does this pointedly with Lance. When Sam asks her about all her talk about inner beauty, she replies she just envisioned Lance picking flowers in his briefs. Carla joins in on that fantasy.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Diane certainly seems to think so. A Running Gag consequence of her sophisticated nature is that she will sometimes seem to forget that, for example, the French proverb she drops in her resignation letter in "Personal Business" would probably have been best written in English, for Sam's sake.
- The Fashionista: Fond of dresses, pearl necklaces, and so on. The Rule of Glamorous is often a law for her.
- She puts this to good use in "Abnormal Psychology" with Lilith.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Seemingly zig-zaggs with Lethal Chef, depending on the dish. Sam usually acts pleased with her work—but it's often a running gag that she can't cook typically "simple" dishes...due to her presuming to "getting a little creative". When the abbess in "Birth, Death, Love and Rice" samples Diane's rice, her reaction is hilarious.
- Fox News Liberal: Not typically, but on occasion she appears to be of the "sane liberal" variety—most memorably in Season 5's "Tan N Wash", when she half-praises Ronald Reagan, then denies that's her intent:"Well in my case, it's not a gamble...but—rather, a great show of faith in our great free enterprise system. Yes even Diane Chambers is not immune to the...renaissance of American patriotism in the 1980's—although I hasten to remind you this does not imply any shifting of my support toward the current administration...."
- Friendly Enemy: With Carla. Despite their mutual surface-hatred, Diane is always ready and eager to help Carla out with her troubles—and despite herself, Carla always seems grateful.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Played with. Diane had very strained relations with the gang sometimes—Carla moreso than most, though that might have been partly due to envy over Diane's relationship with Sam. Diane's true allies at the bar sometimes seems limited to Coach (with whom Diane had a surrogate father-daughter relationship) and later Woody (who she treats like a brother). Still, she has enough Heartwarming Moments with the others to keep this trope from truly solidifying with her.
- Friend to All Children: Strongly indicated whenever a kid shows up at the bar. As Season Four's "Relief Bartender" notes, the kids don't always return her affection.
- Gentlewoman Snarker: During her more "superior" moments, her zingers are often quite classy and at times accompanied with a sweet, innocent smile. In short, Passive-Aggressive Kombat is a favorite style of hers. Many of her more sly comebacks to Sam count as this:"You could make love to all five of those women and I would feel nothing. As, I'm sure, would they."
"Excuse me, but youíve obviously come here to belittle my friends. Why, I can only speculate; perhaps youíre compensating for some physical shortcoming..."
- Perhaps her greatest use of this trope involves her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Gary in "From Beer To Eternity":
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: A roomful of them—all with names and personalities.
- Sam learns the hard way that she actually cares about the members of her collection—deeply. To the point of being driven to angry tears when she discovers Carla's been using Brian the Lion for a dish rag ("Coach In Love, Part I").
- She even gets set off in response to Sam reluctance to accept her collection into the fold (in "Power Play")—much less as Diane's "friends".
- Sam learns the hard way that she actually cares about the members of her collection—deeply. To the point of being driven to angry tears when she discovers Carla's been using Brian the Lion for a dish rag ("Coach In Love, Part I").
- Go-Getter Girl: How she want to be regarded. Sometimes she lives up to it, but not always.
- Good People Have Good Sex: With Sam and any other possible paramours, if her exchanges on the subject are any indication.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: It's probably just a coincidence that the stage lighting will often give her hair an angelic glow....
- The Heart: As a rule, she's the "conscience" of the gang, letting the rest of them know when what they're doing just isn't right.
- Higher Education Is for Women: Zig-Zagged, as the trope applies nicely when contrasting Diane (who is close to achieving any one of 37 different master's degrees) with the vast majority of the guys in the bar. (Sam doesn't even have a high-school diploma until Season 3!) The trope's subverted, though, whenever a "highbrow" male character shows up—particularly after Season 3 begins, with Frasier.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Zig-zagged, as Diane isn't blind to imperfections. As a rule, though, her natural innocence leads her to assume the best in people. As "Homicidal Ham" in particular indicates, this can get her into a lot of trouble....
- I Am Not Pretty: Has this issue in the pilot episode, telling Sumner this early on, and then reacting in astonished gratefulness when Sam tells her (after Sumner dumps her) that she's "a very attractive young woman." There's a slight implication that Sam's Season One flirtations with her are what help her snap out of this trope.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: And when they well up in tears, Sam's left completely helpless.
- Insufferable Genius: The main reason why everyone treats her with little regard. Her main contrast with Fraiser—who, while a stuffy egghead, usually doesn't act like he's smarter than everyone else in the room."I can be there for you, Carla—I want to be there for you. Please—benefit from my depth!"
- The punchline being that while intelligent, she's nowhere near as smart or highly-regarded she thinks she is. Also, several other intellectuals on the show behave much worse than her—most notably Sumner Sloan...and Diane's own mother.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Played with, throughout. One of the major sources of angst for Diane is her fear that she will always be an outsider among the rest of the gang. Emphasized the most in Season 4, with "Suspicion" and "Diane Chambers Day", which both ultimately involve the gang reaching out to make her feel better.
- It's for a Book: When serving a pair of well-to-do-looking bar patrons, she claims this is the only reason she works at Cheers.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Her beloved Elizabeth dies in Season One, leading to a major Break the Cutie and Tear Jerker for poor Diane that's the main plot of "Let Me Count The Ways". By Season Five's "Dance, Diane, Dance", she has another cat, implied to be a kitten.
- Kubrick Stare: Half the time briefly shoots one as she's struggling her hardest not to just explode at someone who's gone too far (Carla, for one). Half the time it's just how she looks when she's speaking/listening intently to someone, or when she's really playing her romantic game with Sam (in possible homage to Lauren Bacall).
- Lady And A Scholar: One of her main goals in life is to be this. In her better moments, she often is.
- Lets Wait Awhile: Something of a modus operendi for when Sam gets particularly eager in Season 4, especially in "Dark Imaginings" and in "Diane Chambers Day"note As far as Diane's concerned, it's so they can more properly process a "new step" in their relationship, or generally to just keep from trivializing things....
- Once, she just wanted to fool around, but Sam imitated her. Unfortunately, his joke killed the mood for her.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Woody. Diane is very affectionate towards Woody, and loves educating him on culture, and the like—to the point that she eventually gives him a book her mother had given her. In return, he's the most likely to react positively to something she says/does. She once goes to him as a confidant of sorts, in the Season 4 finale.
- She's also implied on occasion to have this sort of dynamic with Norman; for example, she does the most to help him adjust to his new job in Season Five.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: A blatant visual contrast to the tomboyish Carla—who has short, curly hair.
- Lysistrata Gambit: Downplayed, as it's implied she isn't being serious, but she does tease Sam with this a couple times in Season Two (prior to the crumbling), when he's being particularly immature. "Implied", as Sam never wants to risk otherwise.
- Moe Stare: Rare live-action example.◊ And she's a grown woman at that.
- Morality Pet: For Sam, but occasionally Norm views her as this for situations involving Vera.
- Ms. Fanservice: On occasion—most famously in the final sequence of Season Two's "Power Play", and in the "Jumping Out Of A Cake" sequence in Season Five's "One Last Fling".
- NaÔve Newcomer: Introduced as such to the Cheers bar in the first and second episode, her sheltered nature playing off of the rest of the patrons.
- Never My Fault: At first. For much of Season Four, where she doesn't seem willing to admit that Frasier's bitterness towards her for leaving him at the altar (after a long and drawn out relationship between them, with her still having strong feelings for Sam) was particularly warranted, going so far as to blame Frasier (in "Woody Goes Belly Up") for loving her in the first place. It's implied at points that the guilt was so overwhelming she just couldn't face it. She finally does apologize to Frasier for hurting him in "Strange Bedfellows, Part II" and tries to again in her appearance on Frasier, after it looked as if she was once again brushing off how cruel what she did was.
- Nice Girl: As a rule, when one of the gang needs emotional support, she's always ready to lend a kind ear and a helping hand.
- Not So Above It All: As much as she prides herself on being sophisticated, she can be incredibly immature.
Sam: (On why their Season 2 relationship "never worked") It's because you always had to have the last say. You always had to be on top—and you're still doing it! You know, you are just as competitive as I am.Diane: ME? I'm not competitive! ...I'm intense.
- This trait has at times resulted in a Moment of Awesome for her—particularly her memorable stint at the bowling alley...and what she says to punctuate it.
- As much as she mocks Sam for chasing skirts, after one of their many break-ups, she spends a fair amount of time badgering him and sabotaging his dates to try and get him back.
- In a way, her entire relationship with Sam is based on this. All of their arguments are instigated by the fact that one is just as petty, vindictive and competitive as the other, always trying to have the last word in any discussion. Lampshaded and Discussed in Season 3's "King Of The Hill":
- In Season 3's "Cheerio, Cheers", she muses about herself circa Season 1, "What a prissy little snot I was!"
- One True Love: Sam. She even makes it a point to admit in the finale that her life is not particularly full, without him.
- In her Frasier appearance, Frasier witnesses her sharing a big kiss with a Sam Malone Expy, and much later in the show, Frasier conjures her up in his imagination...still carrying a torch for Sam.
- Old Shame: In-Universe, Diane has many, from Poke the Poodle incidents ("I'll never forget the day I brought home a utopian socialist. Unbelievable—I know! Unbelievable. I was a rebel, then....") to her skill at bowling, which she fears would threaten her "refined" image ("If you utter a word of this to anyone who matters, I will find you—and kill you.").
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Diane is so pretentious when a British marriage counselor (John Cleese) pops by Cheers, she adopts a bad Brit accent herself - though only while in the bar.Sam: Hey, what's with this English accent? Ever since he walked in here, you've been talking like the Queen was your Aunt Betty or something.Diane: Oh, tosh! What twaddle.
- Our Love Is Different: Though she at times struggles with the question of Am I Just a Toy to You?, Diane knows in her heart that the answer's "no", as far as Sam's concerned.
- The Perfectionist: As it turns out, Diane reveals in "Manager Coach" that she used to be quite obsessive compulsive—but insists she's much better, now. She's not.
- Plucky Girl: Particularly before most of her Break the Cutie moments had happened—even though she had been left by her fiance and was now working in a dead end bar, she was determined to make the most of the experience and still enjoy herself.
- The Pollyanna: Zig-zagged, but in the first half of Season 5 (after rejecting Sam's initial proposal—and repenting of her reasons), she constantly grins and gives off a sunny glow while insisting on Sam's love and asserting that he will propose to her again! Sam, meanwhile, is driven nuts by this, insisting it will not happen. Alas...precious little can assuage her of her attitude.Diane: How are you...love of my life?
- This keeps up until "Chambers vs. Malone", where Sam flat-out tells her it will never happen—and with that, unintentionally puts poor Diane through a major Break the Cutie moment. He proposes to her again, with this—her tears breaking him down.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of season 5. She promises Sam she'll come back—and she does, in the series finale.
- Rousseau Was Right: Typically asserts her firm belief that everyone has some good within them—and will frequently try her best to appeal to someone's better nature, when the other characters have given up.
- Runaway Bride: To Frasier—and Deconstructed. Her leaving him at the altar is an indication of how much she loves Sam and believes they're meant to be together, sure. But the show doesn't pull punches in how it thoroughly and horribly humiliated and emotionally scarred Frasier, to the point where years later he describes the experience as leaving him with "a sucking chest wound where there once dwelled a heart". The fact that it took her a very long time to completely own up to how much she hurt himnote didn't help.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: She even loves finding ways to work in her knowledge of French terminology—saying "nom de plume" instead of "pseudonym", for example....
- Silk Hiding Steel: Very sweet-hearted, feminine, and innocent—but she will take no garbage from anyone, once she catches on to them.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Has trouble realizing that nobody's opinion of her is as high as her own. Especially since, unlike Sam, she was never famous to begin with and hasn't made any major intellectual accomplishments that would get her well-known.Diane: Excuse me, I overheard Dr. Crane's remarks; if it's any consolation I can empathize with your hurt feelings. If you'd like to share any of them with me, as a fellow woman, I'd consider it an honor.Lilith: (Beat) Who are you?
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: In "Personal Business", she finds to her dismay that the job she lands outside of the bar is only given to her because her would-be employer has less-than-dignified ideas about her....
Diane: (Sigh) "This is my saddest...romantic legacy." (Beat) "But I refuse to hold myself responsible—do I beg men to fall in love with me?"
- She invokes this trope in "Woody Goes Belly Up", in response to the sight of a broken Frasier temporarily working as the bar janitor:
Sam: Come on! What, you had—what, a few casual dates with him? What's the big deal?Diane: Yes, but...as often happens in my life, this gentleman is becoming much too serious, much too fast. He's wearing that smitten look I know so well.... I've got to do something before it goes any further.
- When it's not as serious, she's usually more bitterly/tiredly amused by it than anything else. From "Someday My Prince Will Come":
- Sophisticated as Hell: Despite the airs she typically puts on, Diane has quite a few moments where she proves quite willing and eager to relax and have fun with the others.
- Turns out she's quite fond of the music of Bob Dylan, if "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Call You Back" is any indication. She also loves "Our House".
- Squee!: She's known to really let out her inner "little girl" when encountering (among others) Dick Cavett, Tip O'Neill, and Gary Hart. Her biggest example is probably in Season Five's "Abnormal Psychology", when Sam gives her tickets to a concert of a certain flautist:
- Straw Feminist: Downplayed a bit. Diane is verbally devoted to feminist dogma and makes a point to undercut Sam's chauvinism, among other things, in the first two seasons. She's hardly militant and man-hating, however, and even falls for the alpha-male Sam Malone; the implication becomes stronger over time that her feminist ideals are far more problematic for her life than they're actually worth. The closest she comes to this trope is in Season One's "No Contest", and during a brief moment in her televised acceptance speech in the series finale.
- "No Contest" exemplifies this in particular, where she enters a beauty pageant with plans to verbally tear it apart during her acceptance speech on television. However, during her acceptance speech, she keeps getting interrupted by the emcee telling her about the prizes she won. When she learns she won an all-expenses paid trip to Bermuda, she becomes ecstatic and behaves like a normal contest winner. Afterwards, when she moans she sold out womankind for a trip to Bermuda, Sam gently reminds her that it only means she's Not So Above It All.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Played with. In Season One, she seems to really enjoys giving brush-offs to Sam's come-ons. Played more straight in Season Three, where she often goes back-and-forth between vehement denials that she's still in love with Sam and sharing nice Heartwarming Moments with him indicating this is not the case.
- Surrounded by Idiots: On occasion, Diane would feel this.Diane: If ignorance is bliss, this is Eden.
- Tearful Smile: Diane does this a lot, in response to someone saying/doing something particularly touching or heartwarming, as Woody does, here.
- Tears of Joy: In the end of "No Help Wanted", she finds herself wiping away Tender Tears in response to Norm and Sam reconciling:Diane: W-well, this is such a...beautiful moment—seeing you two friends reconcile, I could almost cry...! (reaches for a tissue)Norm: Hm! Girls....note
Norm: So, where's Diane?Sam: Ah, she's...powdering her nose—she started to cry again. I mean—what a woman, huh?—do you believe that? She started to cry when we told her we were gonna take her to the opera...she cried when she saw us in her tuxes, and she cried when she saw the limo. (Beat) She's got it under control, though—she promised she won't do it anymore.(Diane comes in through the curtains onto the balcony; the guys stand up for her)Diane: (Beat, then bawls) OH, this is the BEST, guys...!
- An even bigger example is in "Diane Chambers Day", at the opera, when the guys arrange for the best seats in the house:
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Romanticism's a point of pride with her—down to her telling Sam (in the Season Five premier) she wants an "enchanting" proposal that does not involve "sports arenas, theme parks, or miniature golf". In the previous season, she gives a rather embellished example of what an ideal declaration of love would be like. (See: "Eternal Love" entry on the main page.)
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Carla's Tomboy.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After Season 1, Diane gets noticeably ruder and more selfish—causing Sam no end of headaches as his off-again on-again girlfriend (which culminates in publicly humiliating him into proposing to her under threat of jail-time,) temporarily ruining Frasier's life and refusing to even apologize until way later, and even her demeanor towards many of the regulars at Cheers becomes more barbed and condescending than in the first season. She still has moments of kindness, but it's all too clear that she thinks more of herself than anyone else.
- Unkempt Beauty: Her "drunk" sequence in "How Do I Love Thee?" has her completely wasted; it's one of her sexiest moments in the whole show.
- Lilith speculates in "Abnormal Psychology" that Diane wakes up every morning "all blonde and perky".Diane: Well, I must admit in my case, there is some labor involved.Carla: Some? She calls in Local 314!
- Lilith speculates in "Abnormal Psychology" that Diane wakes up every morning "all blonde and perky".
- Vague Age: Diane makes it a point to never directly discuss her age. (She comes close to blurting it out in "Thanksgiving Orphans"—but catches herself just in time, with a blush.) All we know is, Diane storms over to Sam in "Pick A Con, Any Con" to say (after an opening sequence where he teases her about her reluctance), "Sam you are at least six or seven years older than I am—now, admit it!"
- She gets something of a Ma'am Shock in "Dark Imaginings", when Sam's doctor reveals he was tutored by her, way back when. However, keep in mind an MD has to undergo ten years of grad school.Diane: (morosely) I'm old and alone in Boston.
- She gets something of a Ma'am Shock in "Dark Imaginings", when Sam's doctor reveals he was tutored by her, way back when. However, keep in mind an MD has to undergo ten years of grad school.
- Vanity Is Feminine: In Season Two's "Where There's A Will", Diane randomly notes out of nowhere:Diane: By the way...with all the insanity about the will, no one's said a word about my new hairdo.Patrons: It stinks!Diane: There, now was that so hard?
- Vapor Wear: The Jerk Ass boyfriend of Coach's daughter verbally "notices" she isn't wearing a bra—much to Diane's chagrin.
- Waif-Fu: She's able to flip Sam onto the pool table with barely an effort, as seen in "Sam at Eleven". She noted she learned it in "Practical Feminism" class....
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Her antics towards Sam often result in this.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Her major defining trait, along with her relationship with Sam, her intellectual pretentiousness, and her lack of real-world know-how. Poor girl tries her best to inspire and improve the world around her—but ends up never knowing what's hit her after the plot's done with her.
- Women Are Delicate: For better and for worse. Practically everything about Diane is immensely feminine. So naturally she falls for a tall, strong-built and stronger-willed sports jock who's the opposite of her in so many ways....
- Women Are Wiser: Zig-zagged. Diane can be very insightful—and often serves as Sam's conscience, when his pragmatism would otherwise border on amorality. Still, both Diane and Sam have their failings, and either one can call the other out on it, at any time.
Played by: Rhea PearlmanBitter single-mother working as a rather unfriendly waitress at Cheers. A fan of Sam from his baseball days, but holds a strong resentment towards Diane.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Inverted in Frasier, when she attempted to say something nice about Cliff when he's leaving for Florida, but kept getting tongue-tied. When she finally manages to say her true feelings, it's a long rant of exactly all the reasons why she hates him!Carla: (to Frasier when he tries to interrupt) Back off, I'm toasting!
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: After one watches Season 5's "House Of Horrors With Formal Dining And Used Brick", her taunts of Cliff suddenly seem to take on a whole new undertone.
- Berserk Button: Don't make jokes about Sam's alcoholism in front of Carla.
- If Diane has left, do not mention her around Carla.
- Bouncer: It's not overt, but if you're not welcome at Cheers, Carla'll be the one to show you the door.
- Brutal Honesty: If Carla likes you.(On Sam and Diane's feelings toward each other, in front of Diane's mother)Carla: Admit it, he's got you steaming under the silks!Diane: (Bolts up; clearly counts to ten) This happens to be my mother!Carla: Well, that's why I'm being delicate!
- The Bully: With Cliff, Diane and Lilith being easy targets.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dysfunctional Family: She's got 8 kids (four at the start of the series, and has four more through the course of the show), and it's hell. Her mom is also pretty manipulative. Unfortunately for Sam, when he pointed this out to the Tortellis, they took offense, attacked him and locked him in a closet.
- Enfant Terrible: The way Carla describes her kids.Carla: You remember that show The Brady Bunch? Now picture them with knives.
- Friendly Enemy: With Diane. For all their clashes, there are enough moments between the two to indicate that, at the very least, the two women respect each other.
Carla: Hey, uh—Diane...you know, I was skeptical about you finding something, but, uh...guess it won't kill me to—come out and say...congratulations.Diane: Oh, thank you, Carla—Carla: GASP!!!! (Topples forward, out cold)
- These moments often end with Carla coming this close to making a (mild) declaration of friendship—only to back out at the last second with a snarky save. And when she does manage to say something nice...
- They certainly view one another as worthy opponents in their constant snarkfest.Carla: Hey—uh, wait, I got an idea!Diane: (Innocently) You mean you actually conceived something besides a child?
- Carla also has this relationship with Rebecca. There's this one memorable exchange, after Rebecca paid $10 to Carla for a fake explanation of why she was called "Back Seat Becky" in college:Carla: Wait a minute. Why do they call you "Backseat Becky"?Rebecca: (deadpan) That will cost you a hundred.Carla: Hey, you know, you're kind of a pig. (beat) Maybe we can be friends.
- Carla also has this relationship with Rebecca. There's this one memorable exchange, after Rebecca paid $10 to Carla for a fake explanation of why she was called "Back Seat Becky" in college:
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Easily irritated and explosive towards everyone but her closest friends, like Sam. She's likely sleep deprived from all the kids.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Gets REALLY set off whenever someone calls attention to a "good deed" she does.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Carla despises Sumner Sloan. Lest we think it's because his dumping Diane had led directly to the latter working at the bar...Diane notes in the end of "Sumner's Return" that it was Carla who just threw Sumner out.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She often treats people like crap, but all in all she's just a mother trying to make a living. And she does have her moments of nobility.
- Perhaps the best example of her heart: when she counsels Woody and Kelly to not have sex for the wrong reasons.
- She was also the first to panic, and run to find Frasier when the gang catch him on the news, threatening to kill himself. And later, when he officially calls of his marriage to Lilith, who wanted him back, she and Sam don't look happy.
- When Sam prepares to break his n-sex vow to God, Carla says a prayer for him.
- And a casual moment when she offers to walk Woody to his car when they leave.
- Kavorka Man: A rare female example; she's not the prettiest chick in the world, and her personality stinks, yet she still gets around...
- The Lad-ette: Carla's got no problem with listening in on the guys' sex stories, and neither do they. At one point when the lady's room is out of paper towels she casually strolls into the Men's room to grab some and nobody bats an eye.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Carla regularly complains about how her many kids drive her nuts...and yet, she somehow refuses to stop "getting around".
Carla: There's only been one form of birth control that's ever worked for me and it makes me sick to my stomach.Diane: What's that?"Carla: Saying no.
- She's pretty self-deprecating about it, though; she's snarked that all a guy needs to do is look at her a certain way, and she's "three months along"....
- When Carla adopts a cat, Woody notes that the cat just had kittens while in the box. Carla is aghast, saying, "I swear this cat was not pregnant when I got her. I swear, the minute you become a Tortelli, you start dropping kids like flies!"
- The Masochism Tango: With John Allen Hill. Interesting spin on the trope in that they both REALLY look forward to one-upping each other's insults and vitriol—as much as hitting the sheets together.
- The Napoleon: At around 5'0", most everyone in the bar towers over Carla. Most everyone tries their hardest not to cross her as well.
- The Nicknamer: Much to Diane's chagrin, in particular. "Stick", "Stiff", "Whitey", "Bleach-bag", "Bone-butt"....
- Lilith inherited Carla's "Whitey/Bleach-bag" insults, eventually.
- Overly Long Name: Carla Maria Vittoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Sam.
- Really Gets Around: The reason she has so many kids even after her husband left her.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Diane's Girly Girl.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Amid her tough-gal nature, she does have her "soft" moments. At times....
- Too Kinky to Torture: Carla has strange sexual appetites.Carla: Woody, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. I mean, those guys at Gary's are vicious. They could strip you naked, paint you red, and put you on a subway.
Woody: They wouldn't do that.
Carla: They did it to me. But I got the best of them.
Norm: How's that?
Carla: (chortling) I loved it.
- Tsundere: Type A. Don't worry, she only calls you an idiot out of love.
- Unfortunate Name: Not for her, but her eldest son. The rule was, give him your father's first name and mother's maiden name. Carla's father was named Benito. Her mother's maiden name was Mussolini.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Norm, Woody and Frasier. She insults them quite a bit, but it's also obvious that she likes them all to some degree. Cliff thinks that he and Carla are this, but in truth she just flat-out hates him.
- Wrench Wench: When the men's room has a problem with the plumbing in "Coach Returns to Action", guess who's called upon to tackle it.
Ernie "Coach" Pantusso
Played by: Nicolas ColasantoSam's assistant bartender in season 1 -3; Also Sam's former coach in their Red Sox days.
- Batman Gambit: Coach's plan to get Sam and Diane back together in Season 3 was to privately tell Sam that if Diane doesn't work at the bar, she'll go mentally ill again. He then tells Diane that if she doesn't work at the bar, Sam'll hit the bottle the second she leaves. He then privately tells Frasier than if she doesn't work at the bar, she'll fantasize about Sam, and if they work at the bar, they'll continually snipe and start hating each other.
- Beware the Silly Ones: He's a forgetful, slow witted old man, but get him riled up and he can verbally kick your ass. Such as getting Sam to end a relationship that was causing him moral conflict, or dealing with him when he was an alcoholic.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Mostly the result of all his brain injuries over the years—he seems to be in his own little world the majority of the time, a combination of him being not too bright and having bad memory problems.
- The Confidant: As slow-witted as he is, he's got a pretty firm grasp of common sense. Even Diane's gone to him for insight.
- The Ditz: Not very bright at all, and we learn why when he tells Diane about his playing career; his favorite way to get on base was to intentionally get hit by pitches, so much so that he led the minor leagues in that statistic. A lot of those pitches hit him in the head.
- Eccentric Mentor: The whole bar listens his every word...even if they don't make sense.
- Establishing Character Moment: Coach's first lines. When Coach answers the phone:Coach: (aloud to bar) Is there an Ernie Pantuso here?Sam: That's you, Coach!Coach: (to phone) Speaking!(The look on Diane's face can't be described with words.)
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls him "Coach", as he used to be a baseball coach. Hilariously, he assumed they were referring to the class of seat he always rode in.
- Happily Adopted: Hilariously inverted. According to Sam, Coach once received an invite to a family reunion. The family was black and Coach got the invite by mistake, but he showed up anyway because he didn't want to be rude. The kicker? By the time viewers hear this story, Coach has already attended several reunions and will be hosting that year's one.Sam: They call him "Uncle Whitey."
- Literal-Minded: He and Woody were pen pals. According to Woody, it was Coach's ideas to exchange pens.
- Name Amnesia: The very first episode has a Downplayed example of amnesia, since Ernie doesn't forget everything about himself, just his own name. He's been called "Coach" for so long, he didn't recognize it.Coach:(answering the phone) Cheers. Just a second. (to the room) Ernie Pantuso?
Sam: That's you, Coach.
Coach:(into phone) Speaking.
- The Pollyanna: He believes everything will work out in the end, though sometimes he'll say it with Brutal Honesty.
- Retired Badass: Let's put it like this. He's one of the few people who can command Sam's respect, chiefly because it's implied Coach was the only member of the Red Sox who remained loyal to him.
- "Shaggy Frog" Story: A Running Gag; Coach will often seek to give a kindhearted insight via a story of his past...and then end up focusing on a detail that has nothing to do with what the issue at hand.
- Shipper on Deck: He wants to see Sam and Diane get married - his fantasy of their union involves him living with them.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit : How Coach gets most of his dates. In Season One, after a woman turns down a date with him, he throws himself down Melville's stairs.
Played by: George WendtUnlucky accountant and Cheers most frequent customer. Regularly avoids going home to his wife.
- The Alcoholic: He once gave up membership at a men's club because beer was not allowed at the meetings.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He really does love Vera. He'd just rather you not know about it.
- Big Eater: A running gag involves him constantly going to a restaurant who's food everyone—including Norm—complains about.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Norm has lots of business sense and many skills, and has even started a profitable business or two, but mostly idles his days away at Cheers.
- The Chew Toy:Woody: How's life treating you, Mr. Peterson?Norm: Like it caught me in bed with its wife.
"Oh, it's a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy. And I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear."
- In the more literal sense:
- Cool Loser: Fat, lazy, unmotivated, never pays his tab. Everybody at the bar loves the guy.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mainly to Cliff and Rebecca.
- Embarrassing First Name: Hilary. Norman is his middle name.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He seems to spend more time with fellow bar fly Cliff than with his wife Vera.
- Hidden Depths:
- Norm believes he is a failure at life, and resigns himself to Cheers because he's too scared to face the real world. Also, he tends to break down when faced with the prospect of losing Vera.
- Norm is a handy painter and actually quite brilliant at interior design.
- Like Brother and Sister: Hinted at, with Diane. He's quite chivalrous towards her: at least three times, he's the one to save Diane from a guy's unwanted advances. They've also been each other's confidant, on occasion.
- Never Gets Drunk: Despite his constant beer intake, he's rarely if ever visibly intoxicated.
- Odd Friendship: Norm gets along really well with Rebecca after he consoles her after a disaster.
- Phrase Catcher:
- Every time he enters the bar, all the patrons yell "NORM!" (All the staff except for Diane do too; Diane would always greet him with "Norman," a second after everybody else.) In fact, this was actually the first word spoken by Frederick Crane, Frasier and Lilith's son. When the bar was remodeled at the premiere of the sixth season, no one recognized him, which he couldn't abide. Later that episode, when no one was supposed to know who he was, one patron piped up, "NORM!" Norm muttered, "Not now, you idiot!"
- This also sets off a Couch Gag of sorts. Norm enters the bar, is asked if he'd like a beer, makes a joke about it, then is asked about how his life is going and makes some joke about things being bad.
Played by: John RatzenbegerChatterbox postal worker who's Norm's best friend.
- Alliterative Name: Cliff Clavin.
- Ascended Extra: Cliff was a minor barfly in the first few episodes, essentially a bone thrown John Ratzenberger's way after complaining during casting. Ratzenberger in the second half of the first season got his name added to the opening credits.
- Butt-Monkey: Cliff's everybody's personal joke, but especially Carla's. He once proudly admits that he was forced to infiltrate another bar while dressed in only a Speedo.
- Cannot Talk to Women: Until Maggie came along, that is.
- When asking Diane out in "Cliffie's Big Score", he had to pull out a written speech, and read out loud!
- Of course, Early Installment Weirdness has Cliff being very smooth with women, picking up Carla's sister without any nervousness or ineptness.
- Casanova Wannabe: A running gag has him bragging about his alleged prowess with women—leading to Norm giving an obvious snark a la "What world do you live in?"
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Many of Cliff's Little Known Facts plant him in this territory.Carla: You know what? You've got a big mouth, Clavin. (storms off...)Cliff: She's right, you know. Yeaah, you see, every male descendant in the Clavin family has an extra set of molars in their lower jaw. It's the only way to identify ourselves as the true heirs to the Russian throne.Frasier: (bemused) Hello in there, Cliff. Tell me, what color is the sky in your world?
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Even without martial arts training, he smashed boards in half with barehanded strikes. Of course he needed to be taken to the ER afterwards. And he nearly cleaned up on Jeopardy! with his knowledge of useless trivia.
- Delusions of Eloquence: It's his native tongue!
- Dumbass Has a Point: At times, his Little Known Facts are actually true.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Most apparent when he appeared on Jeopardy!
- Feigning Intelligence: It's strongly implied that many times, he just improvises his Little Known Facts off the top of his head. One time, involving the Mayans inventing basketball, he acts quite surprised when it's confirmed!
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Comes to a head years later on Frasier where he's leaving for good and absolutely no one is sad he's leaving. Even his best friend Norm. Many people were actually celebrating.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Norm.
- Hidden Depths: Any episode involving his family, or Maggie.
- Jerkass: His Jeopardy!-style "expertise" often really goes to his head....
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He's the former Trope Namer. Cliff's main character trait is bringing up half-baked trivia to impress his friends at the bar. Ratzenberger originally auditioned for the role of Norm, but came up with Cliff based on the fact that Cheers had no "bar know it all" in the cast.
- Little Known Facts: Thanks to him, the trope has its name.
- Momma's Boy: He's in his 30s and still lives with his mother, Esther. Cliff isn't very knowledgeable or socially apt (unlike her, whom he tries to take after) so Mrs. Clavin treats him like a kid.
- Silent Snarker: Early Installment Weirdness had him throughout the first three seasons as a kind of Straight Man to Coach's Cloud Cuckoolander antics—often just by reacting with a tired look and implied Facepalm.
- Straw Loser: When Sam appears on Frasier (in the same episode he learns about his fiancee sleeping with Cliff), he tells Frasier what everybody at the bar has been up to. Sam says that Cliff read an article about flesh-eating bacteria, and that it scared him enough that he stopped visiting the bar (and going out in public entirely) so that he wouldn't catch it. Sam then mentions that since Cliff's been gone, older customers have started showing back up.
Frasier Crane, M.D.
Played by: Kelsey GrammerPsychiatrist and second fiancé of Diane. After Diane abandoned him at the altar, Frasier became another regular at the bar, and later married Lilith.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: As Frasier would later reveal, Freud is his childhood hero.
- Ascended Extra: He was originally meant to be a brief, barely used character. He became so famous that not only did they make him a regular, but he earned himself a spinoff which lasted a whole eleven seasons.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Tries to invoke this by holding Sam up at gunpoint after Diane leaves him at the altar for him. Sam sees right through this though because the gun was visibly not loaded.
- Breakout Character: Got his own spinoff, which itself lasted for 11 years.
- Facepalm: All. The. Freaking. Time.
- Green-Eyed Monster: For a while, he resented Sam because Diane left Frasier for him—this jealousy even started before the ill fated marriage proposal, knowing their prior relationship. He got over it though, after hooking up with Lilith.
- Henpecked Husband: Lilith will get her way. No questions asked.
- Insufferable Genius: Less so than Diane, but it's there. It's part of the reason why he was embraced by the bar patrons (and perhaps the fans as well) much more quickly than Diane was.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Amusingly, the reason Sam knows Frasier isn't about to shoot him isn't because he thinks he's a wimp- it's because he's using a revolver and Sam can easily see that the chambers are empty.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Frasier is a bit of an Insufferable Genius and was quite bitter after Diane left him at the altar, he does care about his friends and tries to give them legitimate advice for free, such as helping Sam with his sex addiction.
- Not So Above It All: He's got class, but he takes part in his fair share of bar pranks and tomfoolery and no one respects him less for it.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: It's his main language, such as using the old yuppie term for shacking up, "POSSLQ".note
- The Shrink: His profession, which he eventually makes a radio career out of.
- Sophisticated as Hell: His way of clarifying himself for the lesser-erudite bar patrons.
- Spinoff: Frasier moves to Seattle, where his antics would go on for 11 years.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Embodies this trope for 20 years.
- Took a Level in Badass: His arc in "The Heart Is A Lonely Snipehunter". This is the episode where he transforms from a kind of lovable goof into "one of the guys".
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Diane leaving him at the altar left him quite bitter for a very long time, most notably in Season 4—as indicated by his first exchange with Woody—"Just get me a whiskey, punk!"
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: A broken Frasier threatens to kill Sam for ruining his life, but it was really just an attempt to see him quake in his boots.
Woodrow "Woody" Boyd
Played by: Woody HarrelsonSam's assistant-bartender after Coach passed away. Born and raised in rural Indiana.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Woody, for the first part of his tenure in the bar. So much so, that he has himself hypnotized into loving kale so he can do a commercial for a veggie drink. He goes into a Heroic B.S.O.D. when asked to lie about whether he parachuted from a plane. Later, he starts getting good at lying.
- Chick Magnet: Ladies think he's cute. Actually has quite a few potential love interests pre-Kelly.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander:Carla: These guys always ask stupid questions, like, "If the Brady Bunch crashes in the Andes, who's gonna eat who first?"
- Comically Missing the Point: One of the guiltiest of the regulars, regarding this.Eddie: What did you used to do to break out of slumps when you were pitching, Sam?Sam: Me? Well, I, uh, drank myself into a coma.Woody: Did it work?
- Country Mouse: From his very first episode, where his remarks on the bar prompt Sam to ask if he's from out of town.
- Embarrassing First Name: Huckleberry.
- Formerly Fat: When the gang brings over one of his old love interests to visit, she mentions that he used to be pretty big.
- Genius Ditz: Woody speaks simply and is completely blind to double talk, but his upbringing has given him a useful, if unorthodox insight in the big city.
- Also shows a shocking natural aptitude for Chess, beating the pants off Frasier every time they play together (much to the suffering of Frasier's ego).
- And another episode has him lose a $20 bill, which Cliff finds (not knowing Woody lost one) and announces to the bar. When it's suggested that it rightfully belongs to Woody, Cliff suggests facetiously that Woody give him the serial number. Woody does, surprising everyone, and explains to Sam that he memorizes the serial numbers on all his currency for just such an occasion.
- It may run in the family. When asked by Woody's father didn't like the Le Film Artistique; made by Diane, Woody replied that his father thought it was too derivative of Jean-Luc Godard.
- Then we have this in Tan 'N Wash on why he won't invest.Woody: You know, when I left home, my father gave me some very sound advice. Never trust a man who can't look you in the eye, never talk when you can listen, and never spend venture capital on a limited partnership without a detailed analytical fiduciary prospectus.
- Good People Have Good Sex: With Kelly. In the Season 10 two-part finale, they can't keep their hands off each other!
- Henpecked Husband: Played with. Kelly even gets poor Woody to change his church denomination. Frasier makes it a point to warn him it's only the beginning....
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Even if he's slow on the uptake, he manages to keep things in line at Cheers pretty well, especially when Rebecca takes over.
- Innocently Insensitive: His slowness in many things sometimes leads him to be this. Mainly towards Carla.
- Carla took a picture of herself with a cardboard Elvis at Graceland:Woody: Wow! You look almost lifelike!Carla: (in stride, smiling) So do you, Woody.
- Poor Diane's a victim too, at times. When Diane reveals she had a wild fling after she left Frasier at the altar:Woody: Was that before or...after you dumped Dr. Crane and sent him into an alcoholic tailspin?Diane: (Timidly) Um—after....Frasier: (piping in, snarky) How long after?
- Poor Diane's a victim too, at times. When Diane reveals she had a wild fling after she left Frasier at the altar:
- Carla took a picture of herself with a cardboard Elvis at Graceland:
- Insult Backfire: As part of their annual attempt to outdo Gary's Old Town Tavern, Sam proposes a Basketball game with, as a ringer, a member of the Boston Celtics. Larry Bird is suggested, and Woody immediately rejects him.Woody: I know Larry Bird. He's from Indiana. He's a doofus.Carla: So, you're from Indiana and you're a doofus.Woody: Yeah, but he's from French Lick, and everybody from Hanover knows that everybody from French Lick is a doofus.
- They get Kevin McHale instead, which leads to a Brick Joke, as McHale says that Bird had told him that everybody from Hanover is a doofus.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: As sweet as a small child and about as intelligent.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Diane. Interestingly enough, he's often described Diane as "beautiful/pretty"— even in her presence!—but any attraction is downplayed, as he strongly supports Diane's relationship with Sam.
- Manchild: Even more than Sam. Sometimes he openly pouts or cries when he doesn't get his way.
- Mood Whiplash: A lot of his stories about his family can be like this. Seems sweet, takes a swerve and then goes back to a sweet outlook.
- My Beloved Smother: Implied in one episode, where Woody follows up his constant phone conversations with his mother by going to the men's room to wash out his mouth—because Mom took offense at his choice of words.
- Nice Guy: Always eager to help.
- Obfuscating Stupidity:Frasier: (On Woody beating him in chess) Woody! You must be some kind of idiot savant!Woody: Yeah...but I cover it by smiling a lot.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Notorious for his innocent responses to sarcasm or rhetorical questions.
- Seen It All: "Ah, the old 'boy loses, girl wins, boy wins, girl loses jinx reinforcement' theory. If I've seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times."
- Shipper on Deck: For Sam and Diane—to the point where he eagerly lets himself get recruited in one of Diane's plans to draw Sam out of his shell, in Season 5's "Tan N Wash". (See: the "Funny" page.)
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of Coach. But he grows into his own character over time.
- Troll: As sweet as he usually is, Woody can be a major troll. He mocks Frasier when he beats him at chess, and when he's winning a poker tournament, he becomes a major taunting Jerkass.
- What Might Have Been: Apparently, the show creators had been considering continuing the show in Ted Danson's absence, with Woody as the lead. However, Woody Harrelson refused to do it.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Such is his outlook that a tearful, honest plead to the voters won him a seat on the City Council.
Lilith Sternin, M.D.
Played by: Bebe NehwirthFrasier's wife, and later ex-wife. Also a psychiatrist. Very stoic, but there's feelings in there somewhere.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted. In "Veggie Boyd" when Frasier talks about what Freud would make of Woody's condition, Lilith snorts in derision.Lilith: Honestly, Frasier. You must be the last psychiatrist on Earth who hasn't abandoned Sigmund Freud's theories.
Frasier: What are you saying?
Lilith: Merely that his theories are outdated sexist superstitions unsupported by a shred of clinical evidence.
Frasier: You're drunk.
- It's established in "Abnormal Psychology" and later in Frasier that Lilith is a fan of Gestalt.
- Ambiguously Jewish: A subversion. There's nothing about her that is remotely Jewish. She even celebrates Christmas.
- Brainy Brunette: About as, if not more intelligent than Frasier, with very dark black hair.
- The Comically Serious: It takes until a few seasons into the spinoff show, Frasier, before she actually gets a sense of humor. That doesn't mean other characters can't play off of her for humor.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hell, she's a deadpan everything.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Courtesy of Diane, in Season 5's "Abnormal Psychology". Zig-zagged in that Lilith's rigid nature can apparently only "defrost" for so long.
- By Frasier, she's managed to loosen back up a bit. Maybe too much, because she once sleeps with Frasier's brother behind his back.
- Drama Queen: Believe it or not, it happens. Examples include when she learns of the extent of Frasier's relationship with Diane...or when she over-mourns her lab rat.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Her incredibly pale skin and dark ensemble is used to show how socially removed she is from the rest of the characters.
- Emotionless Girl: Lilith is ridiculously stone-faced, even when she's angry, or cracking a joke...or even when she's flirting her brains out with Frasier.
- After a separation from Frasier, she is finally driven to tears...and even her crying sounds robotic.
- Granola Girl: Which is what happens when a yuppie gets pregnant. She and Frasier go beyond even granola, with Frasier proudly proclaiming he has created life with his seed and Lilith responded she is his fertile soil with which to grow it. Of course, when they try a more agrarian life, it takes them a few hours to abandon it and head to a posh restaurant.
- Hot Librarian: She is rather attractive, but almost never sheds her outer layer of sophistication.
- Hypocritical Humor: Lilith once called her yuppie friends "the very definition of the Y-word". When Norm puzzled over the expression, Frasier snarked, looking pointedly at Lilith, "It's the yuppie term for yuppie."
- Insufferable Genius: Surprisingly averted, as she rarely rubs her expertise in anyone's face. Still, she notably makes an exception in Frasier's case....
- Lethal Chef: For example, when Lilith asks in Season Five's "Dinner At Eight-ish" if the group wants more lasagna, then leaves to get coffee:Diane: Lasagna?!Frasier: I wasn't even thinking Italian!Sam: Well, I was closest. I said "something with meat".
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Claims to have been pregnant with Frederick for 15 months - considering her flat delivery, it's impossible to tell if she's being sarcastic or not.
- Lysistrata Gambit: Lilith pulls this more and more as the Rebecca era progresses. It hits Frasier hard.
- Men Are Uncultured: Parodied. Frasier is very cultured but still has his moments. Lilith is the kind of girl who just doesn't enjoy things that the average joe does.
- My Beloved Smother: Frederick certainly thinks this of her during his bar mitzvah.
- Next Sunday A.D.: One episode ended with this kind of future, where Frederick is grown-up, and he and Lilith are listening to a reading of Frasier's will. Thanks to incidents at the bar in the present, Frasier's will got mixed-up with Sam's sperm test results."That damn bar."
- No Sense of Humor: Early on, any attempts at joking with Lilith would be met by a blank stare.
- It goes both ways; Lilith thinks of herself as a cut-up, but Frasier humors her. Cliff genuinely thinks she's as funny as she thinks she is.
- Not So Above It All: Lilith partakes in the shenanigans going on in the bar from time to time, sometimes at Frasier's urging, sometimes with the pretense of being interested from a psychiatric standpoint, sometimes just because.
- Odd Friendship: Implied, with Cliff. In "Heeeeeeeeeeeere's Cliffy", she's the only one who thinks the jokes Cliff wrote out are funny.
- Replacement Flat Character: Played with. When she becomes a recurring secondary in Season 5, her interactions with Diane make the latter look surprisingly easygoing and down-to-earth by comparison, emphasizing how far she's come in five years.
- Later, in the Rebecca era, Lilith has quite a few moments of Snark-to-Snark Combat with Carla that seem very familiar....
- The Scottish Trope: Lilith evolved into this over time; just mentioning her name sends shivers up people's spines. The Spin-Off, Frasier, shows Frasier's superstitious maid Daphne getting psychic backlash whenever Lilith is nearby.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Bedroom talk between her and Frasier must've been interesting.
- Spock Speak: Uses clinical terms in every-day speak, without irony.
- The Stoic: In an episode of the spin-off, Frasier, in which she and Frasier run into each other on vacation with their respective dates, Frasier is convinced that she's having sex in the next room over based on the dead silence.
- Surrounded by Idiots: She tolerates the goings-on in the bar...but not without some eye-rolling. Becomes more and more apparent as time goes on—amid Frasier acting more and more laid-back in his interactions with the guys....
- Women Are Wiser: She's the wet-blanket superego to Frasier's more laid back ego. Who's in the right tends to vary.
Played by: Kirstie AlleyCheers's manager when Sam sold the bar to a corporation. Aspires to climb up the corporate ladder and/or marry a rich man.
- Butt-Monkey: Once Diane left, Carla needed a new target.
- The Chew Toy: Audience opinion of her went up the more her life fell apart. The ham handed neurotic breakdowns helped.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: This was the main idea behind the character when she was first introduced, but then the writers found her funnier as a neurotic mess.
- Drama Queen: BIG one! When Diane finally meets her in the series finale, she notes to Sam that Rebecca strikes her as "the emotional equivalent of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride". (Yes...even Diane looks reserved compared to Rebecca.)
- Feigning Intelligence: She's got no idea how to run a bar and refuses to admit it.
- Flanderization: Into a Nervous Wreck. By the last season she was constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
- Gold Digger: Her goal in life is to find a rich guy who will marry her.
- Hypocritical Humor: Main source of it on the show.
- Hysterical Woman: By the Final Season.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: With every boss she has, save Robin Colcord, who dates her only to keep her from revealing his misdeeds with the company.
- Iron Lady: In her earliest appearances she's depicted as a cool, no-nonsense businesswoman, although the facade doesn't take long to start crumbling.
- It's All About Me: Rebecca can be immensely self-centered at times. Actually, most of the time.
- Jerkass Ball: In her worse moments.
- My Beloved Smother: Gender-inverted. As of Season 11, she's still receiving an allowance from her father.
- Nervous Wreck: As her arc went on, she went into more and more frequent breakdowns.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Running Gag in the last season was that she rarely did much actual work.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Rare female example.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Alley took the vacant spot of the female lead when Shelley Long left. Rebecca and Diane were different characters though.
- Too Dumb to Live: According to her, in "Cry Hard"—upon discovering that she's let Robin Colcord use her and basically walk all over her from day one.
- Women Are Wiser: Subverted. She puts on this act to annoy Sam, but is so immature, it eventually becomes the norm that Sam looks like a sage compared to her.
- You Need to Get Laid:
- Carla makes this diagnosis after Rebecca's pining leads to awkward attempts to write dirty letters to Robin. Considering how tense Rebecca had gotten by then...
- Sam makes the diagnosis even earlier when she reveals she hasn't had sex in two years.Sam: (to Rebecca, genuinely concerned) The way I see it, you haven't had a date with a guy for about two and half years. Now, I think this date of ours could be good for me but sweetheart, I got to say it's looking real necessary for you.
Played by: Paul Willson
- Abhorrent Admirer: In the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes", Paul announced that Cliff has been a "role model" to him. Cliff doesn't take this too well....
- Ascended Extra: Started off as just one of many background patrons who'd get a line on occasion. Ended up a popular recurring secondary.
- Butt-Monkey: Took the mantle of "default target" from Cliff once he became a semi-regular—much to Cliff's relief and delight.
- Kavorka Man: Somehow, he gets to sleep with Carla and Sam's fiancé, and even attracts a hot blonde (though she self-admitted she was a Chubby Chaser.)
- Running Gag: As he lampshades in the series finale, "big", interesting things seem to happen after he walks off to do something and end before he comes back.(Long pause) "I missed something, didn't I?"
Played by: Al Rosen
- Abhorrent Admirer: Of Diane.
- Ascended Extra: Became a fan favorite on the basis of one word alone:"SINATRA!" (It Makes Sense in Context)
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: When the actor, Al Rosen, passed away, his character's absence was not explained. His absence was later explained in the Season 9 Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes" when Cliff gives a toast to Phil.Cliff: "You've always been there for me, Al",Phil: "I'm Phil. Al's been dead for fourteen years, you dumb son of a bitch!"
- Corpsing: He's the sole member of the cast who would noticeably do this, which was okay because the rest of the actors had trouble not corpsing at his line deliveries as well.
- Deadpan Snarker: And how. In response to Cliff giving another of his Little Known Facts...Al: Get outta here...!Cliff: You question my figures?!Al: No! I want you to get outta here!
- Dirty Old Man: A walking stereotype. Even goes so far as to rummage through a suitcase of Diane's lingerie! When she finds out and smacks his hands away, he doesn't mind....Al: That was the most fun I had since '59!
- Hidden Depths: In "Cheers: The Motion Picture", he turns out to be the one who convinces Woody's father to let Woody stay in Boston—by sending a surprisingly heartfelt and meaningful postcard.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Played for Laughs when Diane gets stuck in the floor, her face visible through the grid:"Pucker up, baby!"(Diane screams—Sam shoves Al away in time)
- Troll: Occasionally.Al: DANCE, mailman!
Harry "The Hat" Gittes
Played by: Harry AndersonA con man who occasionally frequents Cheers.
- Card Sharp: most notably in "Pick a Con, Any Con".
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: "I don't like the idea of someone else plucking my pigeons."
- Nice Hat: His fedora.
- Put on a Bus: Disappeared after Season 2 due to Harry Anderson's commitment to Night Court. When he made a return appearance in Season 6, Harry simply explained, "Two to ten, with time off for good behavior." He made one more appearance in Season 11.
Played by: Joel Polis / Robert DesiderioThe proprietor of Gary's Old Town Tavern and a fierce rival of Sam's.
- All Men Are Perverts: He verbally taunts Diane in the bowling alley by challenging Sam to "raise the stakes" by adding a date with her in the betting pool—and then mocks her earlier intellectual smackdown of him by suggesting the members of her sorority "had quite a reputation"—to Diane's face. (Bad idea....)
- Break the Haughty: After nearly six seasons of Karma Houdini in the Rebecca era...Gary finally gets what's coming to him when Harry the Hat cons him into demolishing his own bar.
- Insufferable Genius: His response to Diane's rebuke and appeal to "higher attainments"—"I graduated magna cum laude in American Literature from Princeton."Diane: Oh? Couldn't make summa?
- Jerkass: He makes it a point to rub in Sam's face any real or anticipated victory.
- Jerk Jock: Though the bullying is more verbal/mental than anything else.
- Lounge Lizard: Diane sums him up as one before rendering him silent with her bowling prowess.
- Smug Snake: He only seems to respect fellow Jerk Asses—such as the members of his clique.
- The Other Darrin: Sort of, Gary was basically played by two actors who alternated throughout the series based on availability.
Andy Schroeder, aka Andy-Andy
Played by: Derek McGrathThe wannabe Shakespearean actor who did time for murder—and then, for attempted murder of Diane.
Played by: Jackie SwansonWoody's girlfriend and eventual wife.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Well, not on purpose, but the old man definitely didn't care for Woody.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Played with as, in Kelly's case, it's Barbie dolls. Sam snarks upon discovering this that G.I. Joe would have a great time in Kelly's room....
- Good People Have Good Sex: Once she's "deflowered" (by Woody, don't worry), she and Woody have a really hard time keeping their hands off each other!
- The Ingenue: Up to 11! The girl's a big sweetheart, but her complete obliviousness to people's darker motives can at times lead to irritation in the other characters (even Woody).
- Replacement Flat Character: For Woody. She has the same naiveté and simple-mindedness that Woody had back in the beginning. Meanwhile, over the years Woody becomes more worldly-wise and experienced. The "Henri" arc in particular emphasizes all this.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense + The Ditz: Honestly, there are times when Woody looks streetwise compared to her.
- Selective Obliviousness: Refuses to acknowledge Henri having anything less than perfectly innocent motivations (no matter how blatantly obvious...which is the norm).note
- Spoiled Sweet: Her character in a nutshell. "The Gift of the Woodi" shows that until she dated Woody, Kelly had no concept of being broke; she had assumed Woody was rich as well, and that his mediocre birthday gifts were fake outs. When he explains it thoroughly, however, she immediately sympathizes and tells him that she could never accept a gift from him if it would break his bank.
Played by: Tom SkerrittOwner of the Lillian corporation for a time. Rebecca's big crush until he left the show.
- Deadpan Snarker: He seldom ever gets angry. He just pulls off a quip and moves on.
- Oblivious to Love: He has no idea Rebecca has the hots for him, which leads to a few Innocently Insensitive gags.
- Put on a Bus : Went to Japan after just one season, possibly so Tom Skerritt could move on to other roles.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He and Sam have a good working relationship and understanding of each other.
Played by: Roger ReesRebecca's boss and major Love Interest in later seasons.
- Ascended Extra: Roger Rees eventually became regular enough that he appeared in Cheers cast photos late in the series' run.
- The Atoner: Has become this by the time of his final appearance, where he reveals that he gave away what money he still had left, and now travels the world seeking to educate people on how foolish and damaging greed can be.
- British Stuffiness: A bit less tight-knit than most, though.
- The Chessmaster: Skilled at games of will and intellect and The Plan. He's also shown to be literally this in one episode, when he challenges Sam to a chess match, forcing Sam to rely on help from the regulars and a chess computer, and not only does Robin immediately work what's going on, he nearly beats the computer until a communication breakdown causes Sam to make a fluke move that wins him the game.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ziz-zags. Whether he really is corrupt or not is a major question fueling his arc.
- Crazy-Prepared: Robin brings a shredder in his briefcase... to his marriage proposal to Rebecca.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though he does do some pretty admittedly slimy stuff, he does have his moments—such as encouraging Sam to re-discover his motivation to do whatever it takes to buy back Cheers.
- Not So Above It All: He challenges Sam to a thumb war at one point.
- Secret Test of Character: Had some money stashed away, but pretended to be dirt poor to see if Rebecca would marry him anyway. When she backed out, he revealed the money and left. In his final appearance she thinks he's pulling the same trick again, but this time he's not faking it.
John Allen Hill
Played by: Keene CurtisExtremely pretentious and snobbish fellow who buys Melville's (and, somehow, manages to get possession of part of Cheers for a while). Seems to enjoy making life hard for the staff and patrons of Cheers. Eventually has a passionate (yet belligerent) relationship with Carla.
- Catch Phrase: "Sam...!" (done in an incredibly condescending, smug tone). Sam even lampshades this in one episode.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Somehow managed to secure ownership of the bathrooms and pool room of the bar...just so he can blackmail Sam.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Actually breaks down in tears and begs Sam not to continue dating his daughter.
- Hate Sink: Seems to have been created specifically so the audience will have someone they hate.
- It's All About Me: When Sam tries to reason with him by appealing to mutual benefit, Hill just gloats, "I don't need you."
- Love Redeems: Once he and Carla fall for each other, his rivalry with Sam more-or-less ends—though they still snark at each other.
- Manipulative Bastard: Master of blackmail—and plays Sam's frustrations like a flute.
- The Masochism Tango: With Carla. It would be called a "romantic relationship", except, well...
- Smug Snake: Seems to live solely for having everyone around him constantly acknowledging his power over them.
Played by: Anthony CistaroThe Frenchman who accompanies Kelly when she returns to the U.S. Seemingly obsessed with flaunting how much of a womanizer he is. Has his eyes on Kelly until she marries Woody. Obsessed with finding ways out of having to work...and into women's beds.
- Arch-Nemesis: To Woody, in Season 10.
- French Jerk: Mm-hmm....
- Hidden Depths: Averted. During his contest with Sam, actually drops the French accent and confesses to a girl he's a fake and just pretends to be a French Jerk because it gets him laid. When she leaves, he returns to his normal French accent and proudly announces he's scored another one.
- It's All About Me: Selfish to the extreme. Has no concern over who he hurts to get the girls.
- Jerk Ass: His constant taunting of Woody to the effect that "I Will Steal Your Girl". In front of Kelly. With no shame whatsoever.
- Kavorka Man: Quite gangly and scrawny, and has little sense of manners and no desire to work (as he admits without a second thought)—and he's a chronic liar, to boot. And yet he manages to give Sam a run for his money, in picking up women. Must be the accent.
- Lazy Bum: The idea of actually "working" for a living seems so alien to him, he more or less makes staying on unemployment an art form.
- Actually balks when Sam actually hires him temporarily to fill in for Woody.
- Manipulative Bastard: Comes this close to making Kelly one of his conquests, and she is completely oblivious to it. And Woody feels powerless to do anything, for fear of upsetting Kelly.
- Not So Different: He's basically a French Sam without the latter's scruples or ambition to actually succeed in life. As such, he loves to compare himself to Sam...or rather, Sam to him. How Sam takes this basically depends on his mood....
- Pretend Prejudice: One episode has him dropping slurs against "lazy/fat" Americans (enraging the gang in the process)...but it's just to bait Sam into facing off against him in a bout.
Esther "Ma" Clavin
Played by: Frances SternhagenCliff's mom.
- Cool Old Lady: Can pull pranks with the best of them, and is generally quite well-up on "modern" culture.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially when putting up with her son's awkward behavior.
- Little Known Facts: Apparently, it runs in the family....
- Genius Bonus: Her facts are actually true - and Cliff often repeats some of them in the bar (and bungles them.)
- My Beloved Smother: Ma can certainly be this way.
- In her defense, Cliff's a bit immature, though how much of it is due to her babying of him is anyone's guess.
- Actually averted in that when she leaves, she remark's Cliff's almost 40 and it's time to cut the cord.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: It's vaguely implied that she spends as much time making fun of Norm as he does making fun of her. It's also made clear that she loves him too.
- The Faceless: She "appears" this way in a couple of episodes.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: She's never seen, only talked about by the other characters.
- Your Cheating Heart: One of the episodes centered around Norm's fear that she was having an affair.
Played by: Dan HedayaCarla's slimy, yet oddly charming, ex-husband.
- Butt-Monkey: But then, he tends to have it coming.
- Deadpan Snarker: Usually at the expense of Loretta and Carla. Sadly, the nature of his snarks (Loretta's slowness in understanding most things; Carla just being hard to handle) arguably tends to lead to Jerkass Has a Point.
- Jerkass: Especially in "An American Family", when he tries to take one of Carla's kids.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Every once in a blue moon, he has a nice Pet the Dog moment.
- Kavorka Man: His looks are (let's be honest) every bit as repulsive as his personality. And yet he's a charmer—even affecting Diane once, actually making her faint just by whispering in her ear.Diane: This is the part I don't get. Here's a man that quicksand would spit up and yet he has this strange Svengali-like power over you.
- Kubrick Stare: For some reason, this seems to be his normal expression.
- Not So Different: Repeatedly insists this is the case with Sam. Sam is never amused by this.
- Spinoff: Briefly, with The Tortellis. In fact, the Cheers Season-Five episode "Spellbound" is actually a crossover of sorts!
- What Could Have Been: Originally was to be played by Danny DeVito, which would have been a Casting Gag, since Rhea Perlman played Louie's erstwhile Love Interest in Taxi. DeVito's rise to stardom in film made him too expensive for the sitcom, so Dan Hedaya was cast instead.
Played by: Jean KasemNick's trophy wife, who is basically the exact opposite of Carla in just about every single way.
- Asexuality: Hinted at.Loretta: And I'm good at (sex), too! (pouts) Even though I don't like it very much.
- Catch Phrase: "Hi, gang at Cheers!"
- "Oh, no!"
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Up to 11. Everyone sharing a scene with her looks down-to-earth by comparison.
- Comically Missing the Point: Endlessly. Once mistook Sam telling her the name of the song "I've Got You Under My Skin" as a come-on, and panics...even though she just quoted the song's Title Drop!
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Which makes her being part of a singing troupe for a time especially amusing....
- The Ditz: Just when you think she finally gets it...her awareness fades away.
- Drama Queen: Gets extremely childish. At times tries her hand at Melodrama, which is especially hilarious with her high-pitched voice.
- Dumb Blonde: Up to 11. Basically why she's able to put up with Nick's antics. They just don't register with her. For example, she says Nick's cheating on her because she found a blonde hair on his sweather. Diane reminds her that Loretta is blonde too.Loretta: Sure! Take his side!
- Easily Forgiven: When Nick wanted Carla to give up Gino to him, Loretta momentarily grew a spine, refusing to force a mother to give up one of her children to him. Nick takes her into the backroom. When she returns after a second, she coldly tells Carla to sign the papers.Sam: (amazed) Even a dose of Vitamin Sammy doesn't work that fast!''
- Innocently Insensitive
- Nice Girl: Has a good heart, to her credit. Rarely has much courage of her convictions, though.
- No Indoor Voice: And it's pretty thin, to boot.
- Statuesque Stunner: Compared to Nick, the woman's a giantess.
Played by: Michael McGuireDiane's ex-fiance...and former employer. Professor of World Literature at Boston University.
- Alliterative Name: Sumner Sloan.
- Book Ends: Sumner brought Diane to Cheers, and Sumner takes her away.
- Insufferable Genius: So much so, Diane looks filled with humility next to him."Diane, I may not be perfect." (Beat) "Then again I may...."
- Jerkass: They way he dumps Diane in the series premier—without even a call or a hint. As Diane noted, he's going to have to live with his "creep" reputation.
- Manipulative Bastard: Regularly tempts Diane with her own insecurities about not fitting in among the rest of the gang.
- Smug Snake: Even treats Dr. Frasier Crane with complete derision.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Depends on the episode. In the series premier, he briefly joins in the guys' discussion on "the sweatiest movie ever made" (his suggestion of Cool Hand Luke apparently settles the argument). In his later appearances, however, his attempts to sound casual make him look like an arrogant klutz.