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, Kirstie Alley joined the cast as Rebecca Howe. While 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, 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 modelled 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 spinoffs - 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.
This show provides examples of:
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.
Acting for Two: Rhea Perlman appeared in one episode as Carla's sister Annette.
Actor Allusion: A strange case. For a while, Carla's ex-husband Nick was The Faceless, and was described as Danny DeVito. Rhea Perlman played Zena, Louis DePalma's girlfriend on Taxi. DeVito was going to play Nick, but his movie career took off and Dan Hedaya was hired to play the role instead.
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, where 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.
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.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Diane and Carla, in the ending sequence of "Truce of Consequences". After they share a BIG laugh (with Sam) over the episode's events (involving a lie Carla had told Diane during a prior attempt to "reach out" to each other), the two women have a warm exchange that points towards a legitimate friendship beneath all the surface volatility.
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!
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 graffito 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 then goes on to remark that at least it isn't the right number, and Carla laments "I got it right off your application!"
Batman Gambit: Robin Colcord and Gary of "Gary's Olde Towne Tavern" pull these a lot. And while 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.
Berserk Button: Never say anything bad about Cliff's mom in front of him. And never, ever suggest that someday she will die.
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).
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?
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?
It's even funnier when you consider Diane met Frasier as a patient in a sanitarium.
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 had 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 comes back to Cheers and lures Diane away.
Bottle Episode: Many episodes, especially early on, never leave the bar.
The entire first season never left the bar. The first time an episode took place somewhere else was the first episode of season 2 in Diane's apartment.
The Bus Came Back: The last season saw several. Besides Diane's Back for the Finale appearance, recurring characters Harry the Hat, Nick and Loretta Tortelli, Robin Colcord, and Andy-Andy made guest appearances in Season 11 after long absences. Lilith also popped back up after being written off the show at the beginning of Season 11.
But Not Too White: Carla used to mock Diane Chambers for being white-bred, and mocked her as "whitey". Diane would defend her pale skin as "alabaster". Then came Lilith (who was played by Bebe Neuwirth, whose real skin tone was very pale.)
Butt Monkey: Diane became more and more of one during her time on the show, and long after she left, the other characters were still getting in digs at her.
To say nothing of Cliff. And Lilith. And Rebecca!
Call Back: 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 2nd episode, a patron rushes into the bar and pleads with Coach to let him talk to "Gus", leading hime to receive the reply 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.)
The Cast Show Off: 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.
Character Outlives Actor: Nicholas Colasanto died on February 12, 1985, while the third season of Cheers was still in production. Various references were 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 premiered and Woody Boyd arrived to replace Coach.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Al, the old barfly with acerbic quips, was a minor character who appeared regularly throughout the first 8 seasons of Cheers. Al Rosen, the actor who played him, died in 1990, and the character was never seen or mentioned again. The season 9 episode "Norm and Cliff's Excellent Adventure" has a dedication for Al Rosen in the credits, but no in-story explanation was given for Al's disappearance.
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 that ended with a Cliffhanger was 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 was something of an Anticlimax, as Rebecca goes back to Robin and she and Sam are never a romantic item again. Then Season 9 ended with Rebecca and Sam deciding to conceive a childnote This didn't make them a romantic item, as neither one of them had romantic feelings for one another. While they enjoyed sex with each other, their only reason for doing it was 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 had 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.
Closed Door Rapport: In "Dinner at Eight-ish", Lilith, Frasier, and Diane each retreat into the bathroom after different arguments over their relationships.
Comically Missing the Point: Most of the cast is susceptible to this, but Diane is probably the biggest offender on the show, as evidenced by Dr. Simon Finch-Royce's (John Cleese) famous sarcastic rant at Sam and her, after Diane keeps refuting his insistence that she and Sam were 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 - (speaks into his 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 promise I will take my own life in the most disgusting manner possible." (shoves tape recorder at Diane) Here, take the tape, NO, take the whole machine. It's my wedding gift to you. THE MOST PERFECT COUPLE SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME!!!!!!!!!!!
Diane:(long pause, then turns to Sam and grins)See?
Continuity Nod: 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.
And Lilith's reaction when she learns of the existence of the child is priceless.
Oddly enough, the character was named Woody before Harrelson got the part.
All of the minor barflies, such as Paul (Paul Wilson), Al (Al Rosen), Pete (Peter Schreiner), Alan (Alan Koss), Tim (Tim Cunningham), Steve (Steve Giannelli), Phil (Philip Perlman, Rhea's father), Hugh (Hugh McGuire), Tom (Thomas Babson), Larry (Larry Harpel), Paul (Paul Vaughn) Tony (Tony DiBenedetto), and Mark (Mark Arnott).
Lampshaded when Woody won the lead in Our Town and remarked that his co-star was named Emily (same as her character), so she wouldn't have to worry about difficult things like responding to a new name.
Dartboard of Hate: Frasier takes shots at a dartboard with Lilith's face on it in "Is There a Doctor In the Howe?".
Deadpan Snarker: Carla mostly, but Diane and Norm both enjoy getting their shots in.
Demoted to Extra: The show was originally supposed to include a crotchety old spinster named "Mrs. Littlefield" among the bar regulars. But 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).
Development Gag: Former NFL star Fred Dryer was up for the part of Sam Malone, while 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.
In "I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday", needing a loan from Sam, Diane more or less tries to ensure success by giving a sensual "air" to her posture as she "builds up" to the subject in his office. Beforehand, she even lampshades this:
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)
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 was his Establishing Character Moment, and he didn't do it because he was mean or angry - he accepted being a victim of a snipe hunt because that's what guys do - and screwing the others would also be what guys do. At that moment, Frasier earned some Hidden Depths.
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.
Drunk on Milk: Cliff gets trashed on fake beer in "License to Hill".
Easily Forgiven: 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 working hard doing odd jobs in the bar for a while. Even Diane, who has 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.
Ensemble Cast: Not really true in the Diane years—various characters got screentime and episodes devoted to them, but Danson and Long were the stars of the show and the Sam-Diane relationship was the central arc. After Shelley Long left Cheers became more of a true Ensemble Cast.
Escalating War: Sam got 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..."
The Film of the Book: When an old boyfriend of Diane's showed up, Cliff suggested that, since the guy was a literature professor, Sam should read War and Peace so he could 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 roars "There's a movie?!" and runs off to attack Cliff.
Finale Credits: The final episode ended 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 played instead of the usual clarinet theme.
555: "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)", "How to Win Friends and Electrocute People"
Foiler Footage: A fake ending to Sam and Diane's wedding and season finale was filmed with the audience present so no one would spoil the ending and reveal it to be Diane's last episode.
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.
Gainax Ending: The series had many. Perhaps the most famous and heartbreaking was 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 while 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 had 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 had 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?"
Hide Your Pregnancy: In Season 3 Shelley Long was mostly shot from the neck up or behind the bar.
Hit Me Dammit: 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 teaser 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 60's, pops her a good one.)
Hypocritical Heartwarming: 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 to give Sumner Sloan the what-for, for the pain he's caused Diane—to the point that Carla throws him out (off-screen) by episode's end.
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.
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.
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:
"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 locked Rebecca inside the ventilation system overnight, or when she forced Cliff to eat a bug on his birthday which later laid eggs in his stomach.
Nash, Kelly's boyfriend.
Jekyll and 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:
Norm: She left halfway through the Godzilla series.
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.
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 WITH JOHN 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").
Mother-Daughter Threesome: An episode had Sam daydreaming about this ó the teen-aged daughter of one of his girlfriends (who called him "Uncle Sammie") started talking to him about male-female attraction. It turns out she was actually talking about her new boyfriend.
Frasier's mother was definitely one in "Diane Meets Mom".
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: An episode involved a guy who wanted to be a priest, who was having cold feet one day before being ordered, who managed to touch an old piano in the bar that has been out of order by years. The piano worked! Cloud Cuckoo Lander Coach even says: ďI canít believe itĒ. All the cast convinced the guy that it must be a signal that he was special and he must become a priest. He agrees and left the bar. When all comment 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.
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.
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 drank a lot, drunkenness was very rarely shown, although the aftermath was 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.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: This is a show about a bar in Boston, Massachusetts, but of the regular characters Cliff is the only one with even an approximation of a New England accent (and it got noticeably less New England as the show went on).
Justified, however, in that Carla is an Italian from New Jersey, Sam and Coach (who has an Italian accent) came to Boston when sent to the Red Sox, and Norm is from Chicago. Frasier is from Seattle, Woody is from Indiana (and has a thick Midwestern accent), while Diane has a generally snooty upper class accent. Rebecca is from San Diego. The only character from Boston is Cliff.
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 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: An episode featured 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 (since 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: While Woody is a simpleton, but his father seems to be intelligent. For example, he bowed 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."
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.
The Other Darrin: Two different actors played Gary in the various "Bar Wars" episodes.
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.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Diane is a waitress at Cheers, but she seems to spend a lot more time reading a book at the bar or flirting/arguing with Sam than she does serving customers. This is just one of the many reasons Carla hates her.
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.
Previously On: A couple of parodies and variations were used for the show, including an amusing recap narrated in a rambling fashion by Coach, who forgot significant plot details, started giving the audience directions to his daughters house and had to start over.
Another recap featured Cliff explaining what happened in an episode that happened to be Frasier's first appearance, while showing a slideshow of his (Cliff, that is) vacation in Florida.
One episode began with one that featured various actors trying to tell family members/friends what happened before being interrupted.
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.
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.
Romantic False Lead: Frasier Crane fit this trope exactly when he was introduced in Season 3 as Diane's new boyfriend. What was unusual was how the character was 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 19 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 left 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, such as:
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.
Second Face Smoke: Rebecca does this to Sam when he tries to get her to give up smoking.
Other series continuity errors with Frasier, mainly Frasier referring to his father as 1) an eminent psychiatrist and 2) dead, were 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 desribe 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. Since Hester died somewhere between her one Cheers appearance and the beginning of Frasier, it's possible that everyone wanted to remember only the good things about her, but this discrepancy is never addressed.
Not true, during one of Shelley Long's guest appearances on Frasier ("Don Juan in Hell") her character Diane mentioned 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.
Shout Out: 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 off stage 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.
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 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.
Star-Making Role: True for almost the whole cast, except for Kirstie Alley who got her big break a few years earlier with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and arguably Bebe Neuwirth with her stage experience. Most dramatically true for Woody Harrelson, who went on to a very successful film career.
Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: Follows the template pretty closely. Rebecca leaves first, and apparently permanently (to marry Don, although Frasier let us know she'd 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.
Technology Marches On: In the Season 3 finale everyone at the bar is impressed by Sam's new answering machine. In Season 4 Sam is jealous when Diane's boyfriend has a car phone.
In "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" Frasier mentions the bar TV's "sixteen wonderful cable channels",
As Cracked noted, the Know-Nothing Know-It-All, here personified by Cliff Clavin, is basically extinct. In an age of ubiquitous portable communication devices, anyone could smack down Cliff's BS. However, in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes", Cliff proved immune to corrections.
Similarly to the above, in one episode the gang has an argument about what Sam Malone's big-league batting average was. Now they could just look it up on their phones.
Rebecca's "very expensive calculator" in "My Son, the Father".
More than one scene where the bar telephone rings, Carla or Sam asks "Who isn't here?", and everyone raises their hand. Remember when people could actually go out and not be always reachable by cell phone?
Cliff totes around an enormous video camera in Season 11's "Sunday Dinner".
In "Norm and Cliff's Excellent Adventure", Woody buys Rebecca "a portable, solar-powered phone".
In "Those Lips, Those Ice" Frasier needs a briefcase to carry around his "portable cellular telephone".
Acknowledged by Cliff in "Cheerful Goodbyes" that email has hurt postal mail, but dismisses it as a "fad".
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.
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.
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 was a jarring plot twist, given that Sam was able to stay faithful to Diane when they were dating, and his Casanova ways had been 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.
Under New Management: Between seasons 5 and 6 Sam sold the bar to a corporation and left to live on a boat. Unfortunately, he crashed and sank the boat in the Caribbean. Without any money or assets left, he came back in the first episode of season 6 and took 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 rehiring her as a waitress.
Uptown Girl: The relationship between Woody the bartender and the millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines.
Also Sam and Diane—if only to an extent. Much is made of the wealth of Diane's late father...but Diane herself notes that she made it a point to reject any inheritance on her part, so as to seek her own path to success.
What, Exactly, Is His Job?: After Rebecca gets fired from her corporate job and Sam buys back the bar, she works as the bar's manager and then later goes into partnership with Sam—but in fact she doesn't seem to do much of anything. This was a Running Gag towards the end of the show's run.
Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: A season one episode featured many of the regulars fearing that the bar will become your 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 was pretty good at never having the entire staff away from the bar during working hours.
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 the show did the same thing with Sam and Rebecca, but it wasn'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.
Worth It: Cliff tricks Carla into being nice to him by making her think he's a judge in a waitressing contest and humiliating her by having her give him foot messages. 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 had been 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 really did believe 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 Look Familiar: Paul Willson first appeared 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 played for 53 episodes, becoming a semi-regular in the show's later years.
Interseries example with Frasier. John Mahoney and Peri Gilpin both guest-starred on "Cheers" as different characters.
Averted with Bernadette Birkett, who appeared 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".