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Cheers was a hugely popular sitcom, which aired on NBC for eleven seasons (1982-1993), about the goings-on at a friendly neighborhood bar in Boston. When it began, it was notable for the fact that the entire show took place in the bar, never venturing outside, but this was dropped after a while. The Sam-Diane relationship was the most over-elaborate relationship in television history, until Ross and Rachel came into the picture.For its first couple seasons, Cheers was teetering on the brink of cancellation despite acclaim from critics and actually came in dead last in the ratings its first year. However, it slowly became one of the most popular shows on television. Its final episode, which aired on May 20, 1993, was one of the most watched finales for a sitcom in American television history.Cheers can be neatly divided into the Diane years and the Rebecca years. Shelley Long played Diane Chambers for five seasons, in which the Sam-Diane romance was the central theme. After Long left for a less-than-brilliant career in movies, and to raise her child, Kirstie Alley joined the cast as Rebecca Howe. Though the sexual tension between Sam and Rebecca remained a plot element, the show became more of an ensemble for its last six seasons.The first draft of the Cheers script was originally set in a hotel of all places, with wacky guests coming and going (the creators were inspired by Fawlty Towers). After the vast majority of script ideas ended up set in the hotel's bar, the producers just dropped the hotel concept entirely.Cheers was modeled after the real-life Boston bar The Bull and Finch, which was used as the exterior. The two bars do not share a layout indoors, the Bull and Finch being completely different, so a replica of Cheers as it appeared on the show was built at Faneuil Hall. Most consider it a cheap tourist trap (the Bull and Finch less so, and it has some damned good baked beans).The show produced two spin-offs: The Tortellis, a mainly forgotten one-season show featuring Carla's ex-husband Nick and his family, and the very successful Frasier which ran for 11 years.
"Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your trope":
Abhorrent Admirer: Martin Teal, who tries to pressure Rebecca into marriage in Season 7. He looks like he's about sixteen and is five feet tall if he's lucky—but he's also her boss, so corporate lackey Rebecca has a hard time saying no.
Actually Pretty Funny: In "Sam Turns The Other Cheek", Diane can't resist dropping one Pun after another when Sam reveals to her that he accidentally shot himself in the behind. Even Sam soon finds himself struggling to keep it together at her quips.
Airplane of Love: In "Showdown, Part I," when Sam thinks he's lost his chance with Diane due to his brother, he hears a plane fly overhead and turns to look upward.... (To Be Continued....)
The Alcoholic: Sam is a recovering one. (When asked what happened to his baseball career, he says, "Elbow trouble. Bent it too often.")
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sam is a definite beneficiary of this trope. It's even lampshaded in one episode when Lilith invites him to appear on a television show to promote a book she's written about the phenomenon.
Sam still briefly checks with the acting coach to make sure "Help me, Sam! This psycho's trying to strangle me!" isn't part of the original text of the play. Coach exclaims, "That's the only line of Shakespeare I ever understood!"
Always Someone Better: Sam's never-seen brother Derek is wealthier, more popular, and more attractive to women than Sam, giving Sam a lifelong inferiority complex.
Amazing Freaking Grace: "Coach Buries a Grudge", wherein Coach and his old friends get together to bury a deceased teammate, and they get caught up in how much they hated him until Diane leads everyone in the hymn.
Phillip: I make love to everything I paint! Diane: Your most famous painting is of the Harvard-Yale football game! Phillip: Yes, I spent three months in jail. College types don't understand me. [wistfully] I do, however, still get a few Christmas cards.
And the Adventure Continues: Despite a lot of the characters getting better jobs in the finale, it's strongly implied that their everyday lives will continue to be mostly the same as they have been throughout the series. Even Woody, who was elected to the city council, says that he intends to carry on working in Cheers whenever he has the time to do so. The only major change is Rebecca quitting to get married, and even then we later find out in Frasier that it lasted barely a year.
Art Imitates Art: The opening credits try to match up the tavern-goers in the painting with the characters on the show as the actor credits flash by.
Artistic License Ė Religion: Woody and Kelly are on opposite sides of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod/Evangelical Lutheran Church in America schism; this is played up as a parody of more severe religious disputes between couples, as represented by Frasier and Lilith (neither side believes that members of their competing denomination worship Satan).
Most surprisingly, Cliff Clavin was a background character when the show premiered, one of the barflies with a line or two an episode. John Ratzenberger was not promoted to the main cast credits until the second season.
Kelsey Grammer was originally supposed to guest star in a handful of Season 3 episodes as Diane's new boyfriend. He parlayed that into a featured role and then into his own Spin-Off.
Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) first appeared in one Season 4 episode in which Frasier has a disastrous date. The character returned in Season 5 and eventually Neuwirth joined Grammer in the opening titles.
Paul, originally just a background character, was promoted to semi-regular status in the last couple of seasons.
As Himself: Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics starred in two different episodes.
Likewise Wade Boggs.
As well as Tip O'Neill, Alex Trebek, Gary Hart, Dick Cavett, Robert Urich and The Righteous Brothers.
Don't forget Michael Dukakis, Admiral William Crowe Jr., Johnny Carson, Arsenio Hall, and John McLaughlin.
Carla: Hey, look, uh, Whitey—I'm sorry. I know I can be a real pain, sometimes.... Diane: And I know, that—I take things a little too seriously, at times. I guess I need to be reminded of that. Carla: Well—I'll always be there for ya! [Pats Diane on the back] Sam: Listen—I want you two to, uh...shake hands. [They do. Pause] Carla:[Hesitates; shrugs] You're all right. [Beat] Hey—maybe we can go to a movie, one night! Diane: Fine! When? Carla:[Beat] I'll get back to ya....
Frasier: It took all afternoon, but I finally washed off all of Carla's phone number in the men's bathroom. Carla:[Appalled] Would you mind your own business?!
Shout-Out: In "Coach Returns to Action," a graffiti reads "For a good time call Diane Chambers 867-5309" (Carla was responsible for that as well. When Diane discovers it and tries to erase it, Carla huffs, "Last time I play Cupid for you!")
Diane: Thank God the number isn't right! Carla: I got it right off your application!
Batman Gambit: Robin Colcord and Gary of "Gary's Olde Towne Tavern" pull these a lot. And though Harry The Hat usually just cons people or steals from them when he appears, he also has two spectacular Batman Gambits to his name, both of which helped Sam.
Carla and John Allen Hill have this in later seasons.
Bed Trick: Woody and Sam get into a little contest in which the winner is the one who kisses Rebecca. She gets wind of it from Carla, and ochestrates it so that Sam and Woody kiss in the dark. Both are disgusted, but Woody makes Sam uncomfortable when he asks him to rate his kissing ability.
Never talk smack to Cliff about the U.S. Postal Service (e.g., merely saying "Federal Express").
Don't make jokes about Sam's alcoholism in front of Carla.
If Diane has left (even only for what the characters didn't know would be a summer break and the season premiere), do not mention her around Carla.
Diane loses it in "I Call Your Name" when Sam reveals that he knows she's been calling his name during her nights with Frasier. Hilarity Ensues as she struggles with exactly how she should vent (including grabbing Sam by the shirt).
Subverted in an early episode when an obnoxious New Yorker tries to goad Carla into assaulting him, in the hopes of suing the bar. Sam tries to warn him not to say anything bad about the Boston Bruins, so he of course launches into a diatribe about how crappy they are. Seconds later, we find out that it wasn't Carla whom Sam was worried about being offended, but rather another customer who happens to be a player for the Bruins. Things go From Bad to Worse when it turns out that the reason he's currently in the bar is because he's serving a suspension for violent behavior...
Sam and Diane, of course, have a famous one in Season 1 finale "Showdown (Part 2)." See Slap-Slap-Kiss below.
They have another one in Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar."
Sam: Diane! Diane: Yes, Sam...? Sam:[Walking up to her] It would've bothered me if he'd done this: [Big Damn Kiss...lasting for a LONG time] Diane:[Breathless and weak in the knees] Yes, I can see where that might have given you cause for concern!
This is how the very first scene of Season 8 ends after Rebecca dreams that she finally yields to Sam's unwelcome advances.
Blunt "Yes": In "Diane Meets Mom" Diane is shocked after Frasier's mom (played by Nancy Marchand) threatens to murder her if she doesn't break it off with Frasier. She goes to Sam for advice.
Diane: Sam, I have to ask you a question. Promise me you won't make a joke out of it. Sam: Yeah, I promise. what's up? Diane: Do you think I'm crazy? Sam: Yes. Diane: Ha! ha! Now that we've gotten the joke over, will you please help me? This is a strange question, but it's important. Do you think I'm crazy? Sam:Yes.
It's even funnier when you consider Diane met Frasier as a patient in a sanitarium.
The Board Game: Cheers actually had two. One—The Cheers Game—was made in 1987, and has Diane as a token. The other—a trivia board game, just called Cheers—was made in 1992, and has Rebecca instead.
Book Ends: The first episode opens with Sam Malone coming out of the back room, turning on the lights and opening the bar. The final episode ends with Sam locking the bar, turning off the lights, and strolling back into the back room.
The Diane years have their own Book Ends. In the show's first episode snooty professor Sumner Sloane brings Diane to the bar and she winds up staying there to work after he dumps her. At the end of Season Five, Sumner's visit to Cheers sets in motion a chain of events that lures Diane away.
Bottle Episode: Verging on Bottle Series. Especially early on, The show almost never leaves the bar.
The entire first season never leaves the bar. The first time an episode takes place somewhere else is the first episode of Season 2 in Diane's apartment.
The Bus Came Back: The last season sees several. Besides Diane's Back for the Finale appearance, recurring characters Harry the Hat, Nick and Loretta Tortelli, Robin Colcord, and Andy-Andy make guest appearances in Season 11 after long absences. Lilith also pops back up after being written off the show at the beginning of Season 11.
But Not Too White: Early in the series Carla mocks Diane Chambers for being white-bred, and mockingly calls her "whitey." Diane defends her pale skin as "alabaster." Then along comes Lilith (who is played by Bebe Neuwirth, whose real skin tone was very pale.)
In one episode Sam pays a random bar patron to be Diane's blind date, and he turns out to be a convicted murderer. A few episodes later, the man returns and holds up the bar because no one will hire an ex-con. Diane helps him follow his dream of being an actor and he falls for her, but then he sees her kiss Sam and tries to kill her.
Two episodes eight seasons apart focus on the Miss Boston Barmaid contest (Diane wins in Season 1 and Carla finishes second in Season 9).
Practically a Bookend, they were separated by so many years, in the show's second episode, a patron rushes into the bar and pleads with Coach to let him talk to "Gus," to which Coach tells him to go back "two owners ago." Fast-forward all the way to "The Last Picture Show," one of Season 11's last episodes, and we meet Gus, who was apparently the man who sold the bar to Sam. A reference to Coach is even made.
(See, early in the episode, Sam DOES say it, but Diane becomes upset when he claims he says it casually to everyone—including his previous tricks. His inability to say it in the end reassures her. So first it's an Averted Trope, but it's played straight in the end.)
Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: In the last handful of episodes in Season Two, Sam seems to be going out of his way to undermine his relationship with Diane—eventually acting like a bit of a Jerk Ass in the two-part season finale. Come the Season 3 premiere, we learn that their breakup had driven Sam back to the bottle and Diane into a temporary emotional breakdown.
Norm subverts this: "Women. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts."
Both occasions end with "career" winning out, for both of them. For now, at least...
The Casanova: Sam is renowned as a ladies' man among the main cast and is looked up to by all but Diane for it. The guys at the bar (mostly Cliff and Norm) enjoy his skirt-chasing antics as a form of entertainment.
In "Mr. Otis Regrets," everyone jokes about Lilith's lack of singing ability when she takes lessons so she can sing to her baby, until the ending, when Lilith sings a beautiful lullaby. In Real LifeBebe Neuwirth was (and is) an excellent stage singer who was famous for playing Velma Kelly in Chicago long before she was cast on Cheers.
Shelley Long has quite a beautiful voice, as well—which is used to dramatic effect in Season One's "Father Knows Last" and Season Two's "Coach Buries A Grudge."
Between Lilith and Frasier's first wife (played by Emma Thompson) in "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't."
Frasier: You know, I'm going to suffer for this tomorrow, but today, right now, at this exact moment, I'm the happiest man on Earth.
Discussed and then averted between Kelly and Woody's friend Emily in "Two Girls For Every Boyd":
Cliff: Uh oh, looks like Woody's babes are comin' to blows. Bar:[eagerly]CAT FIGHT. CAT FIGHT. Kelly: You get outta my way right now or, so help me God, I'll... I'll hurt your feelings. Emily: You do that and I'll hurt yours right back. Frasier:Kitten fight. Bar:[disappointed] Kitten fight. Kitten fight.
Diane and Carla are known to come close to breaking out into one. One time, they even cat-hiss at each other!
Celebrity Paradox: On the 1988 episode "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," the guys are talking about female celebrities they find attractive. Norm mentions Jill Eikenberry of L.A. Law, which aired at 10 PM on Thursdays at the time, and which raises questions about how that show exists in the Cheers universe, and, if the Cheers gang were to have turned on NBC on a Thursday night at 9 PM, what would they see.
Character Filibuster: Diane, who has written a long-winded novel, recorded a long-winded answering machine message, and makes long-winded speeches.
She even once writes a letter of resignation to Sam that goes on for about 20 pages.
It even has at least one graph.
Her novel becomes a screenplay only after several thousand pages are cut. She is baffled as to why the original novel was never picked up.
Character Outlives Actor: Nicholas Colasanto died on February 12, 1985, while the third season of Cheers was still in production. Various references are made to Coach being away: in one episode he is off in Vermont taking a drivers' test, and in another he is at a family reunion. After Colasanto died, three episodes were shot without him, but finally, a Deleted Scene featuring Coach was used as The Teaser for the Season 3 finale. (Fans will notice that in the teaser, Carla's not pregnant.) Finally we learn that The Character Died with Him when Season 4 premiers and Woody Boyd arrives to replace Coach.
The Chew Toy: Rebecca. The writers seemed tireless in finding ways for her life to fall apart.
Cliff Hanger: Used frequently in the "Diane" years and sparingly thereafter.
Each of the first four seasons ends with a cliffhanger that has to do with Sam and Diane's relationship. The most extreme case is the 4th season finale, which consists of the last three episodes of that season. The first and second episodes have cliffhangers of their own, and the third one ends the season with a massive one: Sam makes a phone call to propose, but the episode ends before the recipient is revealed.
The first Rebecca season that ends with a Cliffhanger is Season 8. After Robin Colcord flees from police after his plot to take over Rebecca's corporation is exposed, Rebecca finally sleeps with Sam—only to have Robin come back and burst in on them in the last scene of the finale. The resolution is something of an Anticlimax, as Rebecca goes back to Robin and she and Sam are never a romantic item again. Then Season 9 ends with Rebecca and Sam deciding to conceive a childnote This doesn't make them a romantic item, as neither one of them has romantic feelings for one another. Though they enjoy sex with each other, their only reason for doing it is to have a baby.—only to have that plot abruptly ended in Season 10 (see Real Life Writes The Plot below).
Clip Show / Milestone Celebration / Something Completely Different: The "200th Anniversary Special," which has John McLaughlin (of the syndicated political show The McLaughlin Group) hosting a panel discussion with the show's cast, writers, and producers, interspersed with clips from earlier episodes.
Comically Missing the Point: Most of the cast is susceptible to this, but Diane is responsible for probably the biggest offence on the show: her reaction to Dr. Simon Finch-Royce's (John Cleese) famous Berserk Button breakdown, after Sam and Diane keep showing up at his hotel room so Diane can keep refuting his insistence that she and Sam are a disaster waiting to happen.
Diane: Doctor, there's still one thing you haven't considered... Dr. Simon Finch-Royce: Ok. Sam... Diane... You two are... perfect together. I'm sorry I made a mistake before but you are the most perfectly matched couple ever. But, why am I telling this to you? Let's share it with the rest of the world. [Opens window]Hear this, world! The rest of you can stop getting married—it's been done to perfection! ENVY them, sofa—ENVY them, chair, for you shall never be as cozy as they for their union shall be an epoch-shattering success—and I STAKE MY LIFE ON IT. Wait a moment, let me get this on record—[speaking into tape recorder] "I, Dr. Simon Finch-Royce, being of sound mind and body, declare that Sam and Diane shall be happy together throughout all eternity, and if I am wrong I hereby promise that I will take my own life in the most disgusting manner possible!" [shoves tape recorder at Diane] Here, take the tape, NO-no, take the whole machine. It's my wedding gift to you: THE MOST PERFECT COUPLE SINCE THE DAWN! OF TIIIIIIIIIIME!!!!! Diane:[long pause, then grins wickedly at Sam] See...?
Four years after Carla is knocked up in "Whodunit?" by Dr. Bennett Ludlow, their son Ludlow Tortelli pops up in "I Kid You Not" as a little egghead that Frasier and Lilith take an interest in.
In Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar," Diane is conflicted on whether or not to take up a guy's offer of a weekend-long date. Sam acts cooly indifferent—but Diane strongly suspects that he's covering for his own romantic conflict with this. When the guy (Lance) shows up to take Diane away, and Diane looks to Sam for an answer, he softly says, "Send me a postcard"—a reference to late Season 3, when he says the same thing to Diane over the phone when she's gone to Europe with Frasier. The reference isn't lost on Diane—who takes this to mean her suspicions are right.
Cool Car: Sam's Corvette. In last-season episode "Love Me, Love My Car" Sam dates the widow of the man who bought the car in an effort to get it back.
Corpsing: Al Rosen, as barfly Al, often laughs at his own punchlines. He is so dead-on with his crusty delivery, however, other cast members often corpse along with him.
The Couch: The one in Sam's office sees a lot of action.
Deadpan Snarker: Carla mostly, but Diane and Norm both enjoy getting their shots in.
Derailing Love Interests: Apparently, Shelley Long was getting increasingly concerned that the Sam-Diane-Frasier arc in Season 3 was starting to become this—hence her appealing to the writers to put a stop to the Diane-Frasier Romantic False Lead.
Development Gag: Former NFL star Fred Dryer was up for the part of Sam Malone and Julia Duffy (later of Newhart) was up for the part of Diane Chambers. Both later guest-starred on the show, Dryer as Sam's crasser, dumber sportscaster friend, Dave Richards, and Duffy as Diane's even more pretentious, even snootier best friend, Rebecca Prout.
Diane: Now, how best to approach Sam...? [Shrugs] I could appeal to his... generosity—his good nature. Heh! Wouldn't hurt to—remind him that... [fingers a button on her blouse]... I'm a woman... [Tosses her hair] Carla:I'd carry a sign. [Diane freezes—and re-buttons]
Subverted this time, however, as Sam surprisingly doesn't seem to take much notice.
Also Loretta, the trophy wife of Carla's ex-husband Nick Tortelli.
The Dog Bites Back: Frasier in "The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe-Hunter." It is his Establishing Character Moment, and he doesn't do it because he is mean or angry—he accepts being a victim of a snipe hunt because that's what guys do, but screwing the others would also be what guys do. At that moment, Frasier earns some Hidden Depths.
Double Date: Sam and his blind date with Diane and Andy-Andy.
Dream Within a Dream: "Diane's Nightmare" has Diane dreaming of Andy-Andy and then waking up—into another nightmare.
Drop-In Character: Many. Perhaps most notably, there's John Allen Hill, the owner of Melville's in the later seasons.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Jay Thomas once insulted Rhea Perlman's physical attractiveness on national radio. The producers, let's say, weren't thrilled, and soon not only was Eddie LeBec killed in a humiliating way, it turned out he was a polygamist, souring the audience's opinion on the character.
Dropped After the Pilot: The show was originally supposed to include a crotchety old spinster named "Mrs. Littlefield" among the bar regulars. However, according to series writer Ken Levine, the character "didn't really score" and she was reduced to a background part in the pilot episode and omitted entirely after that.
Drunk on Milk: Cliff gets trashed on fake beer in "License to Hill."
In the episode where Nick gets dumped by Loretta and wants Carla back, everyone else in the bar seems willing to forgive him for all his deplorable behavior just because he continues to talk about Carla, and has been working hard doing odd jobs in the bar for a while. Even Diane, who found Nick disgusting before then, seems to think he has legitimately changed. Every previous appearance of Nick's showed him flaunting his infidelity, selfishness and manipulations in full view of the others—even to the point of trying to take one of Carla's kids to give to his new wife in one of the episodes, and the major point of it was that Carla was able to overcome his influence in order to get her son back.
Actually justified in Diane's case, as she has as a rule been willing to give others (such as Andy-Andy) the benefit of the doubt as far as redemption is concerned—Wide-Eyed Idealist that she is.
Averted by Carla herself, who refuses to accept that he has changed until everyone else gets on her case about it. When she finally caves, his other wife comes back to him, and after telling her he doesn't want her back, convincing Carla, he realizes it wasn't a test and gives an excuse about having a sudden disease that needs cured, leaving Carla and proving her right.
In the episode when Dave tries to break up Sam and Diane ("Old Flames"), he gets Sam to almost sleep with another girl. Sam tells Diane—in detail—about how close he came to sleeping with another woman before stopping, and Diane is utterly devastated ([hands over mouth] "How could you!") and about to break down. Then, Dave comes in and Sam tells him off a bit, saying his and Diane's relationship is too strong for Dave to break them up, and Diane affectionately looks at him and says, "Oh, Sam," and everything's fine again.
Speaking of Dave Richards...the next time he "appears" (as a voice-over over the radio in "Love Thy Neighbor", as he interviews Sam on-air), Sam's on perfectly good terms with him, despite the bad manipulation Dave put him through in "Old Flames".
Frasier: She said she'll never allow this marriage, especially to a pregnant hussy who's only trying to trap her son. Then she said that she'd rather be dragged around town by her tongue, or else she called you a small grapefruit.
Enemy Mine: Carla and Diane put aside their typical animosity to crack wise and share snickers at Janet Eldrige's expense in "Strange Bedfellows." They even high-five each other after some particularly good snark.
Ensemble Cast: Not really true in the Diane years—various characters get screen time and episodes devoted to them, but Danson and Long are the stars of the show and the Sam-Diane relationship is the central arc. After Shelley Long left Cheers became more of a true Ensemble Cast.
Enter Stage Window: Sam and Woody climb into Kelly's bedroom so Woody can have a chance to discuss his relationship with her, before she goes off to school.
Escalating War: Sam gets in one of these with Gary's Olde Towne Tavern every year.
Establishing Shot: Many of the Bull and Finch in Boston, both in the opening credits and within episodes, as well as other Establishing Shots of the Boston skyline from time to time.
Et Tu, Brute?: Diane says "Et tu, Woody?" in "Save the Last Dance for Me" after Woody echoes Sam and talks about "picking up the babes."
Even the Girls Want Her: In the second episode of the series Norm and Coach ogle the legs of a woman outside the bar window and nervously go back to their normal business when they realize she is about to enter. Diane begins to give a speech about how grown men should be above ogling women only to be interrupted when the woman enters the bar and is revealed to be a total bombshell. Diane's respone? "Holy..."
Coach:[After answering the phone] Is there an Ernie Pantuso here? Sam: That's you, Coach. Coach:[To phone] Speaking!
Everyone Can See It: Sam and Diane in Seasons 3 and 4. No one, no one, thinks Sam and Diane are broken up, even when Diane is dating Frasier. Invoked by Frasier verbatim when he gives the couple a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Carla sighs at one point when she sees Diane back, stating that either Sam will kill Diane (Carla wins!) or Diane will kill Sam (Carla tells the police, Diane gets executed, Carla wins!) It takes a lot of convincing during those seasons for Sam and Diane to accept that the feelings they had in Season 2 really were of a permanent basis.note And then Shelley Long leaves the series.
Everyone Hates Mimes: Season 3's "2 Good 2 Be 4 Real"—with the unsurprising exception of Diane, who even insists on pronouncing it "meem".
Norm:[Sarcastically] I suppose that means the coyote is the ANTICHRIST!
Everything Is an Instrument: The cold open for "Severe Crane Damage" starts with Norm tapping his pencil on the bar, which leads to two of the extras tapping a deck of playing cards and other people, including Woody and Carla, tapping on the bar and the cash register. Some guys come out of the back banging pool cues on the floor, other extras clap and stomp, Rebecca comes out of her office with a box and finally Woody starts singing, "We will, we will rock you!" while high-fiving Sam and everybody singing along.
Expy: Sam Malone is an Expy of Jim Lonborg. The photo of Sam pitching behind the bar is Lonborg, and Sam even wore Lonborg's number.
The Faceless: Norm's wife Vera. Also, his horny niece Donna.
Face Doodling: Sam draws a mustache on Rebecca's face after she passes out drunk in "One Happy Chappy in a Snappy Serape."
After getting fired by the Lillian Corporation, Rebecca takes a demeaning job doing demonstrations at an auto show. Eventually Sam brings her back on as manager of Cheers.
Feigning Intelligence: Cliff often drops random "facts" of questionable value. However, he does sometimes add something intelligent to the conversation.
Fidelity Test: An interesting spin on this happens in Season Five's "One Last Fling."
The Film of the Book: When an old boyfriend of Diane's shows up, Cliff suggests that, seeing as the guy is a literature professor, Sam should read War and Peace so he can compete with the guy. Sam does, and when Diane finds out she says the only thing better than him reading War And Peace for her is reading it to her. He starts to do so, but she's feeling frisky and takes the book from him and says, "Let's just watch the movie." Sam jumps to his feet and yells, "There's a movie?!" and runs off to attack Cliff.
Finale Credits: The final episode ends with white credits against a solid black background, instead of the usual yellow credits over a still of the bar. In addition, a Lonely Piano Piece version of the closing theme plays instead of the usual clarinet theme.
555: A phone number begins with 555 in "Any Friend of Diane's," "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Everyone Imitates Art," "Never Love a Goalie (Part 1)," and "How to Win Friends and Electrocute People."
Five-Man Band: Played with, as the types are sometimes split/shared/paired-up, and the roles change with the cast lineup. Basically, it runs like this:
Carla is upset because her husband Eddie is out of town and didn't remember Valentine's Day, so the guys all pitch in to buy her a flower delivery. She catches on when she sees that the card is signed "Eddie," which isn't her husband's real name.
In the Ballet Episode Sam forges a letter from the Boston Ballet saying that Diane would've been a perfect fit for their company 10 years ago (which in context should be perfectly acceptable to Diane, as she knows she's "over the hill" to become a ballet dancer). But then she decides to try out anyway and is terrible.
French Jerk: Henri, perpetually trying to steal Woody's girlfriend.
Frothy Mugs of Water: In-universe example. One episode has Rebecca manage the bar while Sam and the guys play poker in the back room. In short order, Rebecca discovers the bar's liquor license has expired (the renewal was returned due to insufficient postage) and she's forced to sell non-alcoholic drinks.
When basketball great Kevin McHale comes by to bar-tend so he can be a ringer in a game against Gary's Olde Towne Tavern, Sam explains that the NBA has a policy against players promoting alcohol, so McHale will just be serving water. Norm responds, "To whom?"
Perhaps the most famous and heartbreaking is the end of "Dark Imaginings." Sam is feeling old because of a hernia, but Diane and a fellow patient manage to convince him he's only as old as he feels. However, when he finds out the young woman visiting the fellow patient is the patient's daughter, and she calls him "sir", Sam is rocked. The final shot is of Sam sitting at a window watching the rain, realizing that although he's not an old man, time is slipping away for him, and he has nothing to show for it.
The conclusion of the second season has Sam and Diane fighting over her having obnoxious artist Philip Semenko (Christopher Lloyd) for a portrait. Sam even threatens to destroy the painting sight unseen. They end up physically fighting, but instead of a Slap-Slap-Kiss, Diane decides that they're too combative to be a couple, and announces she's leaving Cheers—and does so. Sam angrily rips off the cover of the canvas to see the picture, which is a Pablo Picasso-like abstract representation of Diane. Philip predicted there would be no way that Sam could appreciate the non-traditional portrait, but instead, Sam gazes at it, and makes a breathy, awed, "Wow."Smash to Black. Credits Roll.
Game Show Appearance: One of the most famous episodes involves Cliff appearing on Jeopardy. The show was even responsible for some Defictionalization: anytime a contestant blows an automatic win during Final Jeopardy!, it's called "pulling a Clavin." It is also responsible for an Ascended Meme, as several contestants have copied his Final Jeopardy! response of "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?"
Get OUT: In "Cliffie's Big Score." Diane does not take kindly to Cliff pulling a sudden Mood Whiplash by 1) faking the car running out of gas and then 2) coming on to her (even stroking her shoulder!). (Interesting spin on the trope in that she seems willing to forgive him... until he holds firm to the "out of gas" lie.)
The Ghost: Vera Peterson, although she later becomes The Faceless. Also, Sam's brother Derek in Season 1 finale "Showdown (Parts 1 and 2)."
Girlfriend in Canada: In "The Belles of St. Clete's" Cliff regales the bar with tales of his girlfriend in Florida, who is supposedly writing him love letters.
In a subversion of the trope, Cliff's real girlfriend Maggie ends up living in Canada.
Sam: It was... it was great, wasn't it? Diane:[warm smile] It was wonderful. Sam: Yeah — I think we gave new meaning to the word "cookin'!" Diane: Sometimes I thought it would go on forever. Sam: Hey — I came pretty darn close a couple times — didn't I? Diane:[laughing] That's not what I meant.... You were wonderful. Sam: Yeah, you were pretty wonderful, yourself. Diane: It can be so wonderful, can't it, Sam? Sam: You bet.
Well, the idea's pretty much emphasized all throughout their interactions with one another (verbal or physical).
Go-to Alias: Sam's are "Lance Manyon" and "Honeyboy Wilson", according to Diane in "Dark Imaginings."
Grand Finale: "One for the Road," a 98-minute episode involving Norm finally getting a job, Cliff getting a promotion, Rebecca getting married, and the return of Diane Chambers.
Hello, Nurse!: Diane has a moment of this in "Cliffie's Big Score", when she enters the bar in a glamorously sexy evening dress—with all the guys responding by whistling and otherwise expressing their admiration. She doesn't mind—in fact, she basks in it.
Woody: Miss Chambers, can I tell you something? Diane: Sure, Woody! Woody:[Nervous smile] You look like a hundred bucks! Diane:[Chuckles] Thank you, Woody! Woody: Aw, what am I saying—two hundred! Diane:[Cooing]Woody, you're turning my head! Woody: Ah-all right—one hundred....
Coach holds the minor-league record for being hit by pitches and demands that Diane throw a baseball at him. The streak stays alive—though poor Diane reacts with a non-verbal My God, What Have I Done?.
One episode shows a prim older woman applying for the job as tutor for Carla's kids; wanting to make sure she can defend herself, Carla tells the woman to punch her. She does when Carla tells her how much she'll pay her, and Carla enthusiastically hires her after the applicant, a woman in her 60s, pops her a good one.
House Fire: The bar catches fire in "The Little Match Girl."
How's Your British Accent?: In "The Magnificent Six," French Jerk Henri, played by American actor Anthony Cistaro, uses an American accent to pick up a girl who doesn't like French guys.
Sam and Diane regularly make cutting barbs at each other's expense—but each is sure to stand up for the other when an outside party goes too far (Gary, for one).
Also Diane and Carla—though downplayed, in that as a rule the "sticking up for the other" is limited to Diane.
Still, even Carla has her moments. "Sumner's Return" in particular strongly implies Carla's willingness throughout the episode to give Sumner Sloan the what-for for the pain he's caused Diane. Though the possibility arises that it's because Sumner dumping Diane is the reason Diane works at the bar at all—the fact that Carla throws him out, off-screen, by episode's end (after Sumner tries to tempt Diane away) ultimately supports the trope. Also, back in the pilot, Carla tosses a few "cheer-up" quips Diane's way when it becomes increasingly clear that Sumner's dumped Diane.
The fact that Carla's the victim of being dumped on by a lover (husband, in this case) herself actually makes the above instances seem less surprising for her—"deadbeat men" putting her and Diane in a sort of Enemy Mine situation....
Norm: Anybody else curious about [Woody's hometown in Indiana] Hanover? Frasier: Oh I'm sure it's just a nice, regular rural town in the Midwest. Norm: Ever thought about visiting there? Frasier: And end up being sacrificed to the "Corn God"?! No way!
Ice-Cream Koan: In Season Five's "Dog Bites Cliff", Diane goes off to a Buddhist monastery-retreat to contemplate. Sam is concerned she might not come back, to which Diane smilingly says, "I won't...but I will!" She refers to it as a koan, which Frasier then tries to explain to Sam.
In Season 5's episode "Chambers vs. Malone," after Diane turns down Sam's proposal (after hounding him to propose all season), Sam gets a brief flash of being walked down Death Row to the electric chair after murdering her.
Sam: I just had a flash that I got the electric chair for killing you. Diane: Well, that's silly. Massachusetts doesn't have a death penalty. Sam:What?
Informed Flaw: Diane and Rebecca both make jokes about Sam being dumb, but Sam is rarely portrayed as being stupid. He's definitely crass in his attitudes towards women, and a man of simple tastes (babes, baseball, The Three Stooges), but not usually dumb. Contrast him with Coach and Woody, who actually do say dumb things all the time.
Innocent Fanservice Girl: In late Season 3's "The Bartender's Tale," the elderly (yet charmingly boisterous) English waitress Sam hires as a replacement for Diane has a daughter that happens to be a European lingerie model (who on occasion has posed nude). She even goes so far as to show the patrons samples of her work—and seems blissfully unaware of the immense lust she generates with it....
Zig-zagged as it's very ambiguous as to whether she's serious about the Sex Is Evil thing, or if she's just teasing Sam with a "challenge." (The earlier "come-ons" were pretty convincing, after all...) Either way, poor Sam is driven to complete frustration over this woman's antics.
Is That What They're Calling It Now?: In "Everyone Imitates Art," Diane compares the discovery that a poem of hers has just been published to "The first time I ever"—[blush/squirm/nervous smile]—"rode a bicycle...."
Sam calls her out on this a few minutes later, after further excitement leads Diane to quite literally throw herself at him:
Sam: You wanna go to my place, and, um... ride a bike?
It's Been Done: Woody's subplot in the episode "Young Dr. Weinstein" has him trying to create a new beverage to get into the Bartending Hall Of Fame. His first attempt, which he calls "Woody's Blue Boyd of Happiness", turns out to already exist (a Blue Moon).
With an occasional extra dollop of Comedic Sociopathy on Carla's part, such as when she locks Rebecca inside the ventilation system overnight, or when she forces Cliff to eat a bug on his birthday which later lays eggs in his stomach.
Jerkass Has a Point: In "Diane Meets Mom," Frasier's mother threatens to kill Diane if she doesn't stop seeing her son and, when confronted over this, she points out Diane's several major character flaws and her belief that Diane would end up ruining his career and life. Considering Frasier himself later blames Diane for the alcoholic tailspin his life took after she jilted him at the altar, it's hard to argue that his mother wasn't completely accurate in her assessment of the relationship.
Jekyll & Hyde: Norm and "Kreitzer," the alter ego he invents to force his slacker employees in his paint company to work.
Le Film Artistique: In episode "Cheers: The Motion Picture," the gang makes a home movie, "Manchild in Beantown," to convince Woody's protective parents to let him stay in Boston. Diane recuts the movie into a bizarre art film before sending it. This leads to the following Gilligan Cut exchange:
Diane: After Woody's father sees this...there is no way he will be able to order Woody to leave here against his will. [Wipe] Woody: Well, I guess this is goodbye, then.
When Diane asks why his father didn't like her film, Woody replies that his father thought it was too derivative of Jean-Luc Godard.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Season 11's "The Last Picture Show," some of the gang go to an old drive-in theater and see a Godzilla movie. Cliff notices that the lead actress in this edition of the Godzilla series has been recast. Cue the following bit of dialogue:
Like Brother and Sister: Woody and Diane. The two are very close, and Diane cares deeply for his well-being. And despite a "Hello, Nurse!" moment in "Cliffie's Big Score" (and a couple other times where Woody openly describes Diane as pretty/beautiful), it's all strictly platonic.
The Loins Sleep Tonight: Sam deals with this in "Baby Talk" when thinking about making a baby with Rebecca makes him unable to make a baby.
Long Runners: Probably the only scripted TV series to both qualify for this honor and have a Spin-Off that qualifies for this honor.
Look Behind You: Sam uses "Oh my God, look at the size of that cat!" to get out of a restaurant bill in "Young Dr. Weinstein."
Love at First Sight: "Coach in Love (Part 1)", in which Coach instantly falls in love with a pretty older lady who enters the bar.
Love Will Lead You Back: Norm's final exchange with Sam in the series finale centers around this subject. Exactly what "love" Norm's talking about has been the source of much debate among critics and fans alike. (See The Power of Love below)
In one of the most touching moments in the show, Sam finds himself getting "allergic to cat stories" in Season One's "Let Me Count The Ways" upon hearing Diane describe, through tears of her own, how much her late cat had meant to her.
In Season Five's "Everyone Imitates Art," Sam sheds a few again after he thinks he's convinced Diane he doesn't love her anymore. He hasn't—and she catches him with his collection of her love letters within a minute.
The Masochism Tango: Sam and Diane go through this late in Season 2, beginning in the final sequence of "Fortunes and Men's Weights" and culminating in their big breakup in the season finale.
Also played withsix ways to Sunday with Carla and John Allen Hill. By day, they insult each other (and try their hardest to one-up each other's insults) on a seemingly regular basis. By night...
Here, the only thing that would keep the Carla/Hill relationship from being the trope played straight is that it's emphasized that they mutually love their insult-fests—and the more caustic, the better.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: One episode involves a guy who wants to be a priest, who is having cold feet one day before being ordained, who manages to touch an old piano in the bar that has been out of order by years. The piano works! Cloudcuckoolander Coach even says: "I canít believe it." All the cast convince the guy that it must be a signal that he is special and he must become a priest. He agrees and leaves the bar. When all comment on the miracle, Coach says he repaired the piano a week ago. When they ask him why he said ďI canít believe itĒ if he knew the piano was working, he answered that all those years he left the piano broke without any further thought, but just a week ago he felt the irrepressible urge to repair the piano, before it was too late.
Meet Cute: How Diane meets Sam. She finds herself being recruited into a phone brush-off to a jilted ex-lover of Sam's. Trouble is, Sam is rinsing his mouth, and can only mime the instructions—which leads an exasperated Diane to finally "explain" that "He had to go to mime class!"
Sam: Well? Diane: You're "a magnificent pagan beast"! Sam: Thanks; what's the message?
Metaphorgotten: When Sam finds out Carla had sex with his nemesis, John Allen Hill.
Carla: Please don't be angry.
Sam: No, I'm not angry.... Well, the way I see it, you let down the whole team. It's like, you know...bottom of the ninth, one out, runner on first. You're up at bat. The coach tells you to bunt. The team expects you to bunt. The runner on first expects you to bunt. But instead of bunting, YOU SLEEP WITHJOHN ALLEN HILL!!!
The Missus and the Ex: In "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't," Frasier and Lilith run into Frasier's (previously unmentioned) ex-wife.
Mistaken for Gay: Evan Drake thinks Rebecca is a lesbian ("A Kiss Is Still a Kiss").
Moment Killer: As a rule, when Sam's wooing of a girl is happening on-screen (and it's not a brief "one-scene" chick)... it's almost a given this will happen.
In the case of Sam and Diane, the "killer" often involves one of them saying something that the other blows out of proportion.
Momma's Boy: Cliff is very attached and protective of his mother.
Mother Daughter Threesome: One episode has Sam daydreaming about this when the teen-aged daughter of one of his girlfriends (who called him "Uncle Sammie") starts talking to him about male-female attraction. It turns out she was actually talking about her new boyfriend.
Mrs. Robinson: In Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar," Diane finds herself the crush of a certain college student named Lance Apollinaire. At once disturbed by his pursuit of her and drawn to his immense attractiveness (he's practically a young Christopher Reeve), she remarks that "the last thing I need is to become that man's Mrs. Robinson!"
Nails on a Blackboard: In "Showdown, Part 2" (the Season 1 finale), Diane does this to force Sam to admit his feelings.
Named Like My Name: Sam discovers that, while drunk, he had bet a stranger that he could marry Jacqueline Bisset within a year. On learning that the other party plans to hold him to that bet (and has a binding contract), he reads over the terms of the bet and realises that it doesn't specify Jacqueline Bisset the actress. He immediately sets out to find another woman of the same name to marry him.
Nausea Dissonance: Parodied. Woody is unperturbed by Carla's graphic description of how varicose veins are removed—while eating spaghetti no less!—but is disgusted when Frasier loudly exclaims about an article about psychological distress full of technical jargon, unable to eat anymore.
Negative Continuity: The show mostly averts this trope, but sometimes uses it when it comes to Cliff's romantic life. Humor is often drawn from Cliff being a very inexperienced bachelor, and occasionally it's even implied he's a virgin. However, in two different episodes he starts dating a woman only for her to be completely forgotten by the next episode, so that Cliff can become the butt of jokes again. His third girlfriend, Maggie, has a steady relationship with him and appears in several episodes, yet between her appearances Cliff is still treated as a sad loner. For example, in a season 10 episode Paul is amused by the idea that Cliff would ever get married, even though he almost married Maggie earlier during the same season.
Never Gets Drunk: For a show in a bar about about people who drink a lot, drunkenness is very rarely shown, although the aftermath is shown more than a few times.
Diane borrows $500 from Sam to buy a first-edition Hemingway. Sam says he's not going to expect her to pay it back, but then Carla eggs him on by pointing out Diane's expensive clothes, lunches, etc. Finally Diane gives Sam the book as collateral; he drops it in the bathtub while reading it. A buyer offers Diane $1000 for the book, and Sam is forced to outbid him.
Norm suddenly comes into money and Sam starts harping on him about his bar tab. When Norm buys a boat with the money, Sam loses it and starts yelling at Norm. Norm reveals that the boat is for Sam for being such a good and patient friend.
Noodle Incident: How Rebecca got nicknamed "Backseat Becky" during her college years.
For Woody, it's just merely "The Incident." Recalling it prevented him from babysitting Frederick Crane & watching the bar for a day. Norm assumed it was an effective excuse.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the show being set in Boston, the only main character who speaks with a notable Boston accent is Cliff. Partially justified as several characters are not Boston natives.
Not So Above It All: Both Diane and Frasier, the longer they stay at Cheers. When Sumner Sloane returns, Diane muses about herself when she first arrived at the bar, "What a prissy little snot I was!" Sumner Sloan is also gobsmacked when Diane tells him to "cut the crap." Also highlighted when Diane gets involved in the food fight at Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, Frasier finds he enjoys hockey and doing "guy stuff" at the bar; for him, it's cathartic.
Not So Great Escape: One episode features Norm being hired to paint the bedroom of Rebecca's millionaire crush Evan Drake while the latter is away on a business trip. Rebecca then convinces Norm to let her tag along for her to "see where he sleeps." Unfortunately, Drake returns early leaving only enough time for Rebecca to hide in the closet, making Norm go to increasingly ludicrous attempts to make the exhausted Drake leave the room (as he would probably find Rebecca in the morning), culminating in Norm convincing Drake to help him carry out his "fantasy" of "carrying a rich man across the lawn in his pajamas".
Obfuscating Stupidity: Woody is a simpleton, but his father seems to be intelligent. For example, Woody bows out of investing in Norm's Tan 'N' Wash because he states, "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.'"
Also, Diane and Cliff. Closer to the show's beginning, Cliff's sort of a know-it-all Jerkass who at times make remarks that sound slightly misogynistic—much to Diane's annoyance. As Season Two progresses his sweet/vulnerable side comes out, most notably in Season Two's "Cliff's Rocky Moment." Diane also goes the extra mile to be the ideal "date" for him in Season Four's "Cliffie's Big Score."
Official Couple: From the beginning, Sam and Diane were conceived as having a flirtatious (and eventually romantic) parallel to Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn.
In the Rebecca era, Woody and Kelly inherit the title.
Off The Wagon: Happens to Sam when he and Diane break up in the Season Two finale. And never again.
Oh, Crap: In the series premiere, Diane at first bursts out laughing when Sam offers to hire her. This is immediately followed by Carla reading a long, complicated list of drink orders to Sam, which Diane clearly pays no real attention to. She declares her intention to instead go out into the world and look for "a job that's perfect for me," as opposed to one as a mere waitress. Just as she's about to leave, Sam realizes he's forgotten Carla's orders and asks her to repeat. Cue an exasperated Diane, without batting an eye, reciting the entire list word for word. Carla and Sam stare at her in amazed silence... and Diane visibly realizes she's just doomed herself.
One-Hour Work Week: Diane gets a lot of time off for her personal pursuits, which is one of the reasons Carla dislikes her (having to cover for her.) One of the Running Gags late in the show's run is that Rebecca doesn't seem to have an official job at Cheers.
The Oner: The last shot of "Sam at Eleven," the series' fourth episode.
One True Love: Sam and Diane; Woody and Kelly; (arguably) Cliff and Maggie.
Orphaned Punchline: In "Money Dearest" we hear Sam finish a joke with "Well that may be so, but this one's eating my popcorn!". This Orphaned Punchine, also featured in The Sting and Men in Black, happens to be the punchline to a real joke.
Diane on more than one occasion tells a mostly off-screen joke with an onscreen French punchline: "Si vous parlez lentement, je ne peux pas comprendre!" (In English: "If you speak slowly, I can't understand!")
Overcomplicated Menu Order: In one episode Diane convinces Sam to let her be the bartender for the evening rather than just being a waitress. An order comes in for a Bloody Mary, a particularly complex mixed drink. Naturally Diane doesn't know how to make it so she looks it up in a bartender's manual, taking a long time to make sure it's just right. As she finishes, she remarks that it is a complicated drink. Sam agrees, which is why he always mixes up a big batch before the evening starts and stores it in the minifridge behind the bar.
Overly Narrow Superlative: Sam gets a gig as a sportscaster and does a rap on air. Rebecca tells him, "As news rappers go, I thought you were fine."
Pants-Positive Safety / Reckless Gun Usage / Shot in the Ass : An angry husband comes into the bar looking for Sam with a revolver for having an affair with his wife. After the man is talked out of the shooting and the gun is taken from him, Sam puts it in his back pocket for storage. Afterward, he goes to sit down, and shoots himself in the butt. The situation spirals out of control when he attmpts to explain the injury by claiming he got shot in an attempted hold-up.
Phony Veteran: The first scene of the first episode involves a kid (who looks about 12) with a phony military ID claiming to be a 'Nam vet.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Diane is a waitress at Cheers, but she seems to spend just as much time, if not more, reading a book at the bar or flirting/arguing with Sam than she does serving customers. This is just one of the many things Carla berates her about.
Plot Allergy: "Diane's Allergy" is brought on by Diane's anxiety over moving in with Frasier.
Politician Guest Star: From Boston, Mayor Raymond Flynn and Speaker of the House Rep. Tip O'Neill. From the state of Massachusetts, Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Michael Dukakis. Also, Senator and two-time presidential candidate Gary Hart of Colorado—much to Diane's Fangirl-ish delight.
Poor Man's Porn: Norm subscribes to the Victoria's Secret catalogue. Cliff looks at Renaissance art books in the library for the nudity.
The Power of Love: Invoked by Diane in Season Two's "Old Flames": "Sam... he can give us twenty-four hours, twenty-four days, or twenty-four years. We have transcended time."
She may not be far wrong. Throughout the Diane years, there are moments such as Sam feeling a shudder just as Diane and Frasier move up their wedding plans in the Season Three finale. And of course, there's the fact that they keep ending up back in each other's arms.
Even after Diane leaves, the fact that Sam's only other real, continuous attempt at a meaningful, long-term relationship (with Rebecca) just plain never seems to work out on his end either would also seem to support Diane's assertion.
Lampshaded by Norm to Sam in the ending sequence of the series finale: "You can never be unfaithful to your One True Love. You always come back to her." It's implied that he means the bar—though he had earlier repeatedly described Diane as "the love of Sam's life."
In a way, this is a nod to a moment in an early Season One episode, "The Tortelli Tort," when Diane drives Sam nuts by repeatedly correcting him to the same effect. (Of course, as dream-Sam lampshades, as the series progresses, Diane often "slips" and dangles propositions without any thought.)
Previously On: A couple of parodies and variations are used for the show.
An amusing recap is narrated in a rambling fashion by Coach, who forgets significant plot details, starts giving the audience directions to his daughter's house, and has to start over.
Another recap features Cliff explaining what happened in an episode that happened to be Frasier's first appearance, while showing a slideshow of Cliff's vacation in Florida.
One episode begins with one that features various actors trying to tell family members/friends what happened before being interrupted.
Sam: Uh, can I have the chocolate fondue? Waiter: You realize that will take 20 minutes to prepare? Sam: Yes. Yes I do.
Rapid Hair Growth: Subverted in an episode when the guys have a beard growing contest over the course of a month or so; Cliff's beard doesn't grow in much during the contest, then on measuring day he comes in with a full, lush beard and wins. Then he calls his mother over for some help: he cheated by supergluing hair to his face and now he needs her to take him to the hospital to get it removed.
Real Life Writes the Plot: After Kirstie Alley got pregnant during Season 9, the writers crafted a storyline in which Rebecca and Sam decided to conceive a child together. After Alley had a miscarriage, Sam and Rebecca change their minds.
Really Gets Around: Carla, who not only Really Gets Around but is seemingly constantly pregnant. Sam is portrayed this way right at the end of the series, which was something of a departure for a show that previously seemed to view him as a Casanova.
It's how Rebecca got her Embarrassing Nickname "Backseat Becky" Howe, due to her party girl reputation while at the University of Connecticut.
Revision: The writers wanted to do a centennial episode in 1989 despite the fact that the bar was actually established in 1895 (per the famous sign seen throughout the show's history) so they had Sam claim that "1895" was a number he made up to please Carla and her superstitious belief in numerology.
Rich Bitch: Kelly, but somewhat courteously averted by Woody. After Woody serenades Kelly as his birthday gift to her, she then embarrasses and humiliates him in front of her affluent family & friends by asking just where her gift was. He then returns to Cheers, has 11 sips of his beer, and dares to insult her but, darn him, he can't come up with a word that rhymes with "rich."
Frasier Crane fits this trope exactly when he is introduced in Season 3 as Diane's new boyfriend. What is unusual is how the character is used afterwards. Frasier proved so popular that he stuck around for two more seasons after the Diane-Frasier romance ended, then six more seasons after Diane left Cheers, then for eleven more years on his own show. Not many Romantic False Leads have been on prime time television for 20 years.
Ironically, however, Shelley Long actually despised the Frasier character for simply being a Romantic False Lead, and frequently lobbied hard to get Kelsey Grammer removed from the show. The producers, of course, naturally rejected her demands each time.
Councilwoman Janet Eldridge (played by Kate Mulgrew), who has a relationship with Sam in the three-part Season 4 finale "Strange Bedfellows."
Runaway Bride: Diane leaves Frasier at the altar. It's not played entirely straight, though; Frasier is left bitter and angry and takes a very long time to get over it. In fact, he never gets over it during Cheers itself; it takes a couple of seasons of his own show on the other side of the country, and giving the visiting Diane an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to expunge the last of the venom.
Running Gag: All the time, both series wide and episodic. Just a few examples:
Harry the Hat's scams
Sanity Slippage: Diane, after breaking up with Sam. She ends up in an insane asylum, which she insists is a "health spa." Everyone who saw her there, however, is shocked she was released so quickly.
Scary Black Man: Louis the mailman in "I Call Your Name" plays this trope very straight.
Second Face Smoke: Rebecca does this to Sam when he tries to get her to give up smoking.
Interseries example with Frasier. In Season 10's "I'm OK, You're Defective" the audience is presented with a Flash Forward in which Lilith, Frasier's widow, is there for the reading of his will. In Frasier they are Amicably Divorced. However, it's possible that Frasier and Lilith may have gotten remarried sometime in the future, with both displaying a lingering attraction towards the other throughout the latter series.
Other series continuity errors with Frasier, mainly Frasier referring to his father as 1) an eminent psychiatrist and 2) dead, are explained away on Frasier as Frasier basically lying because he was not on good terms with his father at that time.
Also, the way various characters in Frasier describe Hester Crane, the mother of Frasier and Niles, makes her sound quite different and much more sympathetic than the character seen in an episode of Cheers. Seeing as Hester died somewhere between her one Cheers appearance and the beginning of Frasier, it's possible that everyone wants to remember only the good things about her, but this discrepancy is never addressed. The idea is supported when in Frasier Martin reveals that Hester once had an affair that he tries to keep secret so his sons can keep their saintly picture of her.
A notable exception: during one of Shelley Long's guest appearances on Frasier ("Don Juan in Hell") her character Diane mentions that Frasier's mother once threatened her with a gun.
The final teaser for Season 3 featured a scene with Coach (after Nicholas Colasanto had passed away) and Carla. Astute viewers would have instantly noticed that the scene was shot a long time before the airing because Carla (and Rhea Perlman herself) is not pregnant. The writers and producers knew this, however—it was used as a tribute to Colasanto since Coach was talking about a man who could see much farther than anyone realized.
In the second episode of the series, "Sam's Women," someone comes in looking for "Gus," a previous owner, and Coach tells him that Gus is dead. In Season 11's "The Last Picture Show," Gus O'Malley, who sold Cheers to Sam 17 years prior, comes back to the bar.
In Season Two's "Little Sister Don't Cha," Diane claims she was born late. In Season Four's "I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday," she says she was prematurely born at eight months.
In that episode, Cliff is regularly having sex with Carla's sister. Somewhere in the middle of the series, he becomes a virgin.
A certain Valentine's Day episode late in the Rebecca years focuses on Sam's once-a-year relationship with a woman. Aside from the fact that the episode ends with the two of them being quite keen on the idea of extending their relationship beyond once a year (we never hear about her again)... Norm states early on that Sam and the woman have had this Valentine's tradition for nearly 20 years. The problem, of course, is how on Earth that's supposed to fit with the Diane years—especially during Seasons 2 and 5, when the two are together during that time. Diane of all people would not have settled for anything less than Sam spending Valentine's with her, and no other woman, during their relationship.
It's even worse when you recall that in "A Ditch In Time" Diane's lines in the final sequence establish—in no uncertain terms—that Sam was around for Valentine's during Season 2.
In Season 2 episode "Little Sister Don't Cha" Carla goes to St. Eligius to have her baby.
After Nicholas Colasanto died, a picture of Geronimo was taken from his dressing room and hung in the main set, where it stayed for the rest of the show's run. Sam Malone straightens the Geronimo picture before walking offstage in the final scene of the series.
Show Some Leg: Diane does this in "Sam Turns The Other Cheek" in an attempt to distract the guy holding Sam at gunpoint.
Smart People Play Chess: Played with in "Spellbound" when resident egghead Frasier humbles everyone at the bar at chess—except apparent numbskull Woody, who beats Frasier every time. Frasier flips the table in frustration. (Or he really just sweeps the table of chess pieces & ironically misses Woody's king the first try.)
Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: After a rash promise in "Swear to God," Sam feels obligated to the Lord to go three months without sex. After three weeks without it, a too-sexy-to-resist old flame comes into the bar and Sam cracks, looking to Heaven and saying, "If you're going to smite me down, please make it quick and painless."
Smug Snake: John Allen Hill, the owner of Melville's Restaurant directly above Cheers. Invoked by Carla in one episode.
Stealth Insult: In "Friends, Romans, and Accountants," after a very close call with Norman's (now ex-)boss, Diane confides to Sam that her falling into the man's trap made her feel like "a cheap harlot." Cue Sam's reply:
Sam: Aw, come on. We all know you'd starve to death before you made a living with your body. Diane:[Smiles] Thanks, Sam. Sam:[Walking off] You're welcome, Diane.... [Diane's head snaps up; a "Wait a second" look fills her face...]
Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: Follows the template pretty closely. Rebecca leaves first, and apparently permanently (to marry Don, although Frasier lets us know she returned to Cheers as a barfly), the rest of the cast strolls out the front door, Norm hangs back for a bit to have a talk with Sam, and then Sam exits into the pool room after turning off the lights and telling a late-arriving customer (andthe viewer) "Sorry, we're closed."
Thanking the Viewer: After the closing credits of the last episode, the message "Thanks for having us over on all those Thursday nights—Cheers" appeared on the screen.
That's What She Said: Invoked by Sam in Season Two's "Where There's A Will," when Diane tells the rich man who wrote a napkin-will pledging money to the Cheers gang (that is declared by Tom the law student to be legally invalid) that the gang want him to repeat his wonderful gesture. "She", of course, is Diane.
The Thing That Would Not Leave: After hurting his back at the Cranes' house Norm gets very comfortable there in "The Norm Who Came in from the Cold." He eventually brings the whole bar there.
This Is My Chair: Norm and his stool. At one point (just after John Allen Hill buys Melville's and starts using Cheers as the restaurant's "lounge") a yuppie steals it and Norm seems dumbstruck that he even has to explain who he is and why that's obviously his stool. He points out that he's been sitting there "since the Ford administration." He and Cliff get the stool back.
In the final scene of the series, Norm announces "I love this stool!"
This Is Your Song: Woody does this for Kelly because he's broke and can't afford a present.
Tropaholics Anonymous: In the next-to-last episode of the series, "The Guy Can't Help It," Sam decides that he is a sex addict and joins a support group. This is a jarring plot twist, given that Sam was able to stay faithful to Diane when they were dating, and his Casanova ways are generally Played for Laughs during the show's run.
True Love Is Boring: Though it's arguably painfully apparent that Sam and Diane are each other's One True Love, the show creators sure seemed stuck on preventing them from ever seeming able to work out all their issues. Shelley Long herself noted that this was a major reason for her ultimately deciding to leave the show.
Twitchy Eye: Diane's facial tic. (Accompanied by the corner of her mouth twitching—making it look like she's fighting a smirk.) It becomes a Mythology Gag in Frasier.
Two-Timer Date: Cliff invites both Diane and Carla to the postman's ball in "Cliffie's Big Score."
Under New Management: Between Seasons 5 and 6 Sam sells the bar to a corporation and leaves to live on a boat. Unfortunately, he crashes and sinks the boat in the Caribbean. Without any money or assets left, he comes back in the first episode of Season 6 and takes a job as a bartender at the bar he used to own.
For the next couple seasons, Sam works to save up money to buy the bar back. After some difficulties, Sam alerts the corporation that Robin Colcord is embezzling money from the corporation's coffers, and they sell him back the bar for less than a dollar out of gratitude—creating new old management. Rebecca, for her part, gets sacked from her position for keeping silent on the matter, and Sam ends up rehiring her as a waitress.
For a few episodes after Sam buys the bar back, a sign hangs in front of the stairwell—"Under Old Management." Incidentally, when Rebecca is fired by letter she claims it was because of Robin, but Woody says they didn't much care for her work. The corporation could be making a subtle allusion to her involvement with Robin, but seeing as the executive Sam spoke to says he's surprised Rebecca worked for them she actually could've been just excess baggage to their business.
The Unfair Sex: For all his skill with the ladies, even Sam isn't immune to this. One of the craziest examples is when Sam tries his best to atone for a mild-at-best manipulation of a girl to get his car back in Season 11—and ends up having to be humiliated by her in front of a class-full of kids for it.
Bless her heart, even Diane comes across as a little hypocritical in the final sequence of Season Two's "Fortune And Men's Weights." There, though she is admittedly more than a little guilty over having gone to an art show with a male companion, she still tries her hardest to downplay any Unfortunate Implications when she confesses to Sam, insisting it was just "as friends"—despite her admitting to letting the man kiss her. She then gets miffed at how hard Sam takes it. Of course, earlier in the season ("Old Flames"), Diane freaked out over Sam going out with another woman and apparently kissing hernote although, to be fair, Sam did make peace with her quickly enough—and in the episode immediately following "Fortunes" ("Snow Job"), she will play emotional games with Sam when she suspects he may be going to Vermont to hang out with friends behind her back.
It gets worse when, in "Fortunes," she plays a cruel trick on Sam by getting him to admit (by hugging him with a tearful voice) that they aren't broken up—just so she can one-up him in their "who-broke-up-with-whom" argument. And then, in "Snow Job," she lectures Sam on the importance of honesty and trust in a romantic relationship.
Fortunately, she apparently wises up to this by Season 3's "A Ditch In Time," when she makes it a point to begin her remarks to Sam about the crumbling of their Season Two relationship with the caveat-confession that she was far from guiltless in all that had happened.
Frasier suffers from this too—particularly with Lilith's attempts to justify her cheating on him and subsequent intention to leave him and their son Fredrick. Played with in that none of the gang is moved by her plea for sympathy... except for Frasier himself (eventually).
His relationship with Diane may also count—but Diane constantly apologizes for breaking his heart, never once trying to excuse herself for itnote though she does at times, understandably, get ticked off at his childish constant snarking at her expense over it—and, further, tries her hardest to tread carefully with him throughout Season 4.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Carla is often indicated to have some sort of feelings for Sam, though they both agree it would never work out.
Also, Woody is strongly implied at times to have a "sort-of" crush on Diane, if his innocent near-flirtatious moments with her (offering to take her to the flautist concert, etc.) are any indication. Again, he keeps it reined in, as he's ironically the big Shipper on Deck for Sam and Diane.
In "Coach in Love Part 2," after Irene calls off her wedding to Coach and shortly thereafter gets engaged to another (richer) man, Coach remains in denial until their wedding day. When the phone rings, he interrupts the speaker to give his blessings before hanging up, not actually hearing her voice. When the phone rings again, Sam goes to pick it up, but Diane stops him before we (or any of them) can find out who really was on the other end.
The relationship between Woody the bartender and the millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines.
Sam and Diane, to an extent. Much is made of the wealth of Diane's late father... but Diane notes that she made it a point to reject any inheritance on her part, so as to seek her own path to success.
Vanity Is Feminine: For a professed feminist, Diane sure cares a great deal about her physical appearance. She complains in "When There's A Will" that no one seemed to notice her new curly hairdo. In "Thanksgiving Orphans" she notes that, after finding out she was only invited to a class party to serve the other guests, "I...dropped the tray, burst into tears—took a moment to freshen up my mascara, and fled!"
In "Fear Is My Copilot", when she's in a panic, she mutters that after the plane crashes, they'll be identified by dental records—and she hasn't seen her dentist in over a month. Later, she freaks out when Sam (missing the point of something she just said) claims he's found a grey hair on her head.
Carla loves teasing Diane about this, with her running barb about Diane supposedly not being a natural blonde. Diane is not amused.
We Want Our Jerk Back: Cliff tries to cure his insensitivity with a bizarre shock therapy. The gang feels he's overcompensating.
Wedding Day: Subverted a lot; occasionally played straight.
Subverted with Sam and Diane in the season 5 finale, "I Do and Adieu", when Diane leaves Sam (and the show) for a writing career.
Likewise before that, when Diane leaves Frasier at the altar.
Also subverted with Rebecca and Robin Colcord, in season 9's "Wedding Bell Blues", when Rebecca refuses to say "I do" (see Gold Digger above).
Subverted yet again in "A Fine French Whine" when Woody interrupts Kelly and Henri's Citizenship Marriage.
Still another subversion in "Someone Single, Someone Blue" when a clause in Diane's father's will requires Diane to get married so Diane's mother can keep the family fortune. After Sam and Diane's sniping blows up into an argument during the ceremony, they give up.
Believe it or not, played straight with Carla and Eddie in "Little Carla, Happy at Last (parts 1 and 2)."
Also played straight with Woody and Kelly in the season 10 finale, "An Old Fashioned Wedding."
A BIG part of the Sam/Diane dynamic—even as early as the second episode:
Diane:[On Sam's typical choices in women] Sam—wait a minute: Now, I don't mean to criticize. In a way, I was complimenting you—I think you can do better! Sam: I don't want to "do better." You see, Diane, there are certain things in this life that I really like—and nobody's gonna change my mind about them. You see, I like fun women—hot dogs!—game shows!—and I don't care what anybody says about them! Diane:[Squirms]Did you read where they foundrat parts in hot dogs? Sam:I LIKE "rat parts"—it's my favorite part of the hot dog! Diane:[Fighting a chuckle] O-kay...?
Diane: You're a rapidly aging adolescent! Sam: Well, I would rather be that than a snob! Diane: And I would rather be a snob. Sam: Well, good! Because you are!
Interestingly enough, in Season Four's "Fools And Their Money," Frasier seems to want to encourage this dynamic between Diane and himself—presumably thinking it's a turn-on for her. It leads to her storming off, and Frasier inevitably invokes the trope:
Frasier: Oh! Well, I'm so sorry to disappoint you, Miss "God's gift to men!"
Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: "The Boys in the Bar" features many of the regulars fearing that the bar will become a stereotypical gay bar once it starts accepting gay clientele; the episode ends with Diane revealing that the men they've been worrying about are actually straight, and two of the regulars are gay.
Who's Watching the Store?: Often applicable in a show where there are never more than four people serving customers. Usually the show is pretty good at never having the entire staff away from the bar during working hours.
One episode has Diane leaving Norm to close the bar (he taught her how to do it, after all), with a Foregone Conclusion.
Norm: Alone in a bar. Diane was right, dreams do come true!
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Carla is afraid of flying, which prevents her from visiting Eddie when he's out touring with the ice show. Frasier attempts to help her with her fear.
Will They or Won't They?: Sam and Diane are arguably the Trope Codifier for American television. Later on the show does the same thing with Sam and Rebecca, but it isn't as big a deal; Rebecca has a one-night stand with Sam and then goes back to Robin Colcord.
Wipe: Used in "Cheers: The Motion Picture" and "Carla Loves Clavin."
Work Com: To the exclusion of all other locales until Season Two.
Cliff tricks Carla into being nice to him by making her think he's a judge in a waitressing contest and humiliates her by having her give him foot massages. She naturally finds out and Norm states that Cliff is dead meat. Cliff invokes the trope.
In "Homicidal Ham," Diane turns off the bar TV so she and Andy-Andy can rehearse Othello—even though the patrons were watching a game. Norm whines to Sam, "I hope she's showing you one hell of a good time." Sam answers with a big grin.
Yes-Man: Rebecca will do anything her bosses at the Lilith Corporation tell her to, no matter how menial—organize a kiddie party, babysit a superior's dogs, etc.
Yes Virginia: In one Christmas Episode, Frasier is in an all-time cynical mood about Christmas—Lilith can't even say "Merry Christmas" without earning a snark from him. Norm comes into a bar with a group of other mall Santas, which Frasier can't help but mock. However, one convincing Santa with a real beard leaves the group a little early, saying he has a big night ahead of him. Norm and the other Santas don't recall him ever working a mall. Frasier says he hears sleigh bells, and starts to wonder if it really was the real Santa Claus. However, said Santa comes back in, complaining his car needs a jump. However, Frasier remains overjoyed with the Christmas spirit. When asked why by Lilith, Frasier explains that for the first time, he believed there really was a Santa Claus, however briefly—that was enough to put him in the holiday mood, and he leads a round of "Deck the Halls."
You Are Not Alone: When Carla gets a little desperate when she discovers she's pregnant—again—Diane organizes a bar-wide fundraiser for her... and leads everyone in a rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone."
You Look Familiar: Paul Willson first appears in first-season episode "Someone Single, Someone Blue" as a character named Glen. In second-season episode "Little Sister Don't Cha" he plays a character named Tom. Then, in fourth-season episode "Fools and Their Money" he appears as Paul Krapence, the character he plays for 53 episodes, becoming a semi-regular in the show's later years.
Interseries example with Frasier. John Mahoney and Peri Gilpin both guest-star on "Cheers" as different characters.
Averted with Bernadette Birkett, who appears in one episode ("Fairy Tales Can Come True") as Cliff's date, and then four times without ever showing her face as Vera Petersen.
Your Cheating Heart: Lilith tells Frasier she's having an affair, and then leaves him, in "Teaching with the Enemy."
Your Mom: Of all people, it's none other than Diane Chambers who drops this! When the gang faces off against Gary's Olde Towne Tavern in a bowling match, Gary makes the mistake of daring to insult Diane's sorority. Diane's response is to stun the haters silent by joining the game, and throwing a strike on her first throw... following which, she gives Gary a devilish look, letting loose a throaty-voiced "Your MAMMA!"
Zip Me Up: Rebecca tempts a temporarily celibate Sam in "Swear to God."