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YMMV: Cheers

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Remove the laugh track live studio audience, and you have a pretty sad story of a hardcore alcoholic, Norm Peterson, who neglects his work and family obligations to spend 12-14 hours per day in a bar.
    • Norm has admitted to Sam and Diane he's lying about neglecting his wife. Any time his marriage is threatened, Norm becomes desperate to keep it together. It's also hinted that Vera is quite beautiful.
    • Not to mention the dangerously paranoid, delusional, sexually dysfunctional and possibly matricidal postal worker Cliff Clavin, who stalks TV personalities, writes threatening letters to politicians and has an unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories and government plots. Hell, even WITH the laugh track the character is slightly uncomfortable to watch at times.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In a season 5 episode, Frasier cheerfully mentions to Lilith that his mother's been dead for years. However, Frasier's mother Hester had been seen alive and well only two seasons previously, and showed no signs of being ill. The writers covered up this Continuity Snarl by subsequently establishing that Hester had died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer, and that Frasier had never properly dealt with her death, something which would later become an important part of his (and his father's and brother's) character in Frasier.
  • Base Breaker: Diane. To her fans, she's the biggest sweetheart, The Cutie, and something of The Woobie. To her haters... well, let's say The Scrappy, and leave it at that.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: "Simon Says", the episode famous for guest-starring John Cleese as Dr. Simon Finch-Royce—a couple's therapist who's supposedly famous for being able to solve any marriage problem—derives much of its humor from his early insistence that Sam and Diane are not only a mismatch, but "You two should never see each other again!" Diane is eventually driven to tears by his obstinate refusal to even consider her arguments to the contrary. In addition, it's implied the man isn't really doing his job, here—he just wanted an easy $1500 from Frasier, who'd hired him as an early wedding gift to Sam and Diane. (He even brags about having just extorted Frasier of said money, over the phone.) Remove the laughter of the Studio Audience, and you have a pretty dark story of a contemptible character who basically puts undue mental pressure on our couple out of sheer laziness and greed.
    • Two notable instances of Studio Audience laughter arguably intruding on an otherwise powerful sequence: a couple moments in the Tear Jerker climax of Season One's "Let Me Count The Ways", and (as noted by this Cheers blog/tumblr) during Sam's more caustic barbs in Season Five's "Knights Of The Scimitar" (again, Diane's near tears at at least one point).
  • Ear Worm: "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your naaame..."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Many. Frasier got his own successful Spin-Off. Nick Tortelli got a Spin-Off too, though it was very short-lived.
    • Al, played by Al Rosen. He first appeared exclaiming "Sinatra!" in one episode, and was such a hit with the writers, he was given more and more punchlines by the writers. He was later referenced in Frasier episode Cheerful Goodbyes when Cliff told Phil, "You've always been there for me, Al", and Phil retorted, "I'm Phil. Al's been dead for fourteen years, you dumb son of a bitch!"
  • Freud Was Right: Frasier and Lilith, naturally.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Dr. Simon Finch-Royce (John Cleese) of "Simon Says" is a famous marriage counselor. After describing his reputation for successful curing of marriage problems, Diane notes that rumor has it he even counseled Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Uh-huh. Considering what happened between that famous couple, soon hindsight, this can easily be seen as something of an accidental indication that maybe Diane, after hearing his "advice", is on to something—Dr. Finch-Royce really is highly overrated.
  • Fridge Horror: Closer to Fridge Sadness. In the first part of the tenth season, Sam and Rebecca have a character arc in which they attempt to have a baby. (This was an attempt to incorporate Kirstie Alley's pregnancy into the show.) The arc ends when Sam and Rebecca realize they're not ready to be parents and Sam imagines the son that will never be fading away. It's rather sad on its own, but it gets sadder when you remember the real reason the arc was abandoned: Alley had miscarried.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One episode saw Sam give a radio interview in which he makes disparaging comments of Diane. She gets mad. He gets apologetic. Years later, recurring cast member Jay Thomas gave a radio interview in which he made some disparaging comments about Rhea Perlman. She got mad. He got fired.
    • Another episode had Cliff taking medication for work-induced stress. He does comment that he has job security and asks rhetorically "What would we do without the U.S. Postal Service?" Woody replies "Probably fax everything and it will get there faster, cheaper, and more efficiently." This just adds more stress to Cliff. Twenty years later, the Postal Service would find itself falling on hard times due to the proliferation of e-mail which delivers messages "faster, cheaper, and more efficiently".
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Remember the episode when Frasier presented Lilith a prenuptial agreement, and she got pissed off? That scene's a little jarring to watch now, knowing that much later Frasier and Lilith will get a divorce..... because Lilith cheated on Frasier.
    • The part of Diane's paper in "Don Juan Is Hell" that Sam reads aloud easily becomes this—especially her predictions that "Trevor" will end up more and more alone and depressed as he gets older, due to his womanizing hurting his chances at long-term relationships. Honestly, it's eerie how prophetic it is, considering Sam's arc in the series's final season.
    • Frasier makes his first appearance during the intervention for Sam, who had fallen off the wagon. Becomes a lot harsher in retrospect, as by the end of the series, Kelsey Grammer's own battle with alcoholism and substance abuse forced the cast of Cheers (and later Frasier) to hold similar interventions, though thankfully the latter one stuck.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Right after Frasier is first turned down by Lilith, Sam sets him up with an old girlfriend Candy as a one night stand and Frasier ends up impulsively getting engaged to her, prompting Diane to intervene. Later on in Frasier, the same actress plays another cheap date Frasier plans to spend the night with, only this time it's interrupted by the woman he loves walking in.
    • In one episode, Diane keeps pronouncing "mime" as "meme", saying, "Everybody loves a meme!"
    • And what of Frasier's all-too-prescient advice to Woody before the latter's election to City Council, concluding with "Just say the word 'Change' about a hundred times!" Remind you of anyone?
    • In Season Five's "Abnormal Psychology", Norm and Cliff return from a "gladiator film festival" arguing about the number of anachronisms in what they've seen. Their exchange about a taxi cab allegedly being in one of the films can easily cause modern viewers to briefly think they're talking about the 1999 movie Titus (famous for its use of motorcycles and cars in Imperial Rome)...though the episode first aired thirteen years before the movie's release!
    • In Season Two's "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Call You Back", Diane is lounging about in her apartment at night, drunk, with the lights off and a host of lit candles throughout the living room. When Sam stops by, he remarks that the ambiance invokes a haunted house (when Diane turns on the lights, Sam chuckles, "No bats!"). Years later, Shelley Long would guest-star in Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a wicked witch.
    • Woody Harrelson plays a character who winds up in the audience of Jeopardy! both in the episode "Who Is Cliff Clavin?" and a few years later, in the film White Men Cant Jump.
    • Frasier's mentor, Dr. Bennett Ludlow, has an affair with Carla, an average working woman who's been around the block a few times and seems completely wrong for him. Pretty much the same thing happens again in Frasier, when his other mentor Dr. Tewksbury has a fling with Roz, his producer.
    • In a latter episode Cliff starts out directing a video for Woody's and Kelly's families, but proves such a Prima Donna Director that he gets replaced by Frasier... who turns out to be just as bad. This has an extra layer of hilarity when you consider that John Ratzenberger was a semi-regular director on this series, and Kelsey Grammer later became one of the most frequent directors on Frasier.
      • Plus, Frasier is again a horrible director in his own show's "Ham Radio," often considered one of its best episodes.
    • In the second part of Kelly and Woody's wedding, Sam is attacked by a jealous, sword armed German husband who thinks his wife is cheating with him, before Frasier steps in with his poor understanding of German to convince him to back off. Frasier and his brother Niles are attacked by another German swordsman in Frasier, where infidelity is again the motive.
  • Hollywood Homely: In an early episode, Carla's son Gino is mentioned as looking "goofy," with Sam being equal parts amused and insulted that Carla chose him out of all her kids to be Sam's supposed son in a prank she was pulling on Diane. When we actually see Gino much later in the show's run, he looks completely normal. Possibly justified by the time span involved, and Gino just growing up to be much better-looking than when he was a kid.
  • Les Yay: In "Father Knows Last", Carla presumes to demonstrate to Diane "this thing [her ex-husband Nick] does"...which apparently involves putting his lips to a woman's ear. Cliff walks in on them—resulting in a most awkward moment.
  • Mary Sue: Sam's brother Derek, a successful (and supposedly handsome) lawyer, who stops by the bar at the end of the first season spends the entire episode offscreen in the backroom wowing the regulars with his singing, piano playing, tap dancing and pool tricks. Over the course of the night he gets the unemployed Norm a job at a high end accounting firm, teach Coach fluent Spanish, seduce Diane into going away with him on his private jet and have all the customers fight over who should get the pleasure of buying him a beer. All while Sam stands alone at the counter in the front room having to hear from anybody who steps in how terrific his brother is. Sheesh, no wonder he has an inferiority complex.
    Diane: Oh Sam, he's not that great. The man can tell an interesting story, he's met a few interesting people, but he's just a man, like any other man you'd meet in Greek mythology.
    • On the other hand, no one benefited from Derek, like Norm, in the end. When Derek leaves, the bar expresses disappointment. Derek may have talents, but Sam has friends.
  • Memetic Mutation: Almost everything in "What is... Cliff Clavin?", when Cliff goes on Jeopardy!, especially his "Final Jeopardy!" answer "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?". Since then, host Alex Trebek often warns players not to "pull a Cliff Clavin" (endangering a definite win) in FJ!.
    • "NORM"!
  • Misaimed Fandom: The show often received letters from fans who wished that their own relationships were like Sam and Diane's. One of the show's creators commented that this was insane, because Sam and Diane had "a totally dysfunctional relationship."
  • Never Live It Down: Zig-zagged for Sam. People like to throw Sam's previous alcoholism in his face as a low-blow, in particular how it ruined his lifelong dream of pitching in the Major Leagues, but others (including Diane) are very impressed that Sam was able to kick the habit and get his life together. It takes a lot of willpower to not drink when you work in a bar.
    • Played straight for Diane. The constant gags Season 3 on, about someone or something happening to remind us of her time at Goldenbrook. These moments invariably have poor Diane insisting that it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone says....
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Rebecca often tread the line of almost falling into Replacement Scrappy, especially for fans of Diane. (Despite the fact that the writers strove to make her different from Diane from the beginning, the character still suffered a LOT of unfavorable compare/contrasts with her predecessor from fans of the old days, a la "Diane would've never done that!" Especially when letting Robin walk all over her while seeming oblivious to his manipulations of the rest of the gang....) Once the writers switched her from half-Ice Queen/half-hopeless-piner-for-rich-guys to the cutely neurotic mess she was for the rest of the run, fan animosity cooled.
    • Frasier was disliked during his early appearances (Kelsey Grammer even received hate mail). Obviously, things got better.
    • Woody was also looked at as a Replacement Scrappy for Coach. Many fans didn't like the idea of having another dim-witted bartender. He did, however, grow on audiences and was loved by the end of the series.
  • Retroactive Recognition: There are several in the series.
    • Carla's daughter who gets married is played by Leah Remini (King of Queens).
    • Brent Spiner appeared in a two part episode.
    • Frasier regulars Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney appeared in separate episodes.
      • John Mahoney plays Sy Flembeck, a jingle writer - whose skills wind up being criticized by Frasier. In Frasier, Martin helps Frasier write a jingle.
      • Peri Gilpin plays a jaded reporter who has all of the same mannerisms and snarkiness as Roz.
    • Kate Mulgrew was a romantic partner for Sam in a three episode Cliffhanger.
      • While Max Wright appears in the same story arc as a campaign opponent that Diane and Frasier helped.
    • George Gaynes appears as a former employee of the bar who worked there long before Sam's ownership.
    • Nancy Cartwright appeared as Andy-Andy's fiance. Fellow Simpsons (and The Critic) castmember Doris Grau had a few appearances as Corrine.
    • Michael Richards appeared as a con-man who tried to bilk Sam out of his bar.
    • Thomas Haden Church appears in Death Takes a Holiday on Ice.
    • Diedrich Bader appeared as a snarky waiter in episode Sammy and the Professor.
    • Lisa Kudrow appears as a community theater actress in the episode Two Girls for Every Boyd.
    • Jim Norton appeared as the brother-in-law of Cliff's co-worker Twitch, who conned him into thinking Pimp Duds were the new official postal uniform.
    • Carmen Argenziano is the furious husband who tries to shoot Sam for sleeping with his wife.
  • Scrappy - Cheers is a bit of a unique example. Because all the characters are intentionally written to be troubled people, many fans of the show can be fit into their own personal category of their preferred Scrappy. Almost every major character on the show has their own Hatedom and even Hate Dumb. To go into detail about every character would take up a page in and of itself.
  • Shipping Bed Death: Apparently, the show creators decided to break up Sam and Diane at the end of Season 2 because they were afraid this was starting to happen. Actually lampshaded by Diane herself in that Season's "Coachie Makes Three", when she openly worries if she and Sam are starting to become "routine".
  • Strawman Has a Point: Seemingly inverted, or otherwise played with—whenever the writers have a character challenge the validity of the Sam & Diane relationship, there's invariably a blatant context that arguably destroys said challenger's credibility. As is the case with the trope played straight, this rarely seem to be said writers' intent:
    • The most famous example is Dr. Simon Finch-Royce—an allegedly brilliant and super-successful marriage counselor. Ostensibly, the point of the episode is supposed to be to "prepare" viewers for Diane's departure, via a "reassurance" that they couldn't have worked, anyway. Problem: We see him basically violating standards of professionalism and decorum by 1) seeming to have tuned out Diane's account of her background (and any clues he could have gleaned from her seemingly detailed depiction of the relationship), 2) deviating from the session to speak admiringly with Sam about his past conquests, and 3) basically manipulating Sam and Diane into what he then labels "terrible communication". And that's before he extorts Frasier (and then brags about it over the phone), refuses to give recommendations for how Sam and Diane could improve the chances for their relationship note , and then refuses to hear the evidence Diane had researched to challenge his attitudes.
    • Carla's disapproval is colored both by her vitriol with Diane and an implied Unresolved Sexual Tension of her own towards Sam.
    • Frasier chewing them out in the series finale is strongly hollowed by his clear inability to deal with his own "past-love" bitterness.
    • Sumner Sloan's past general tendency towards dog-kicking Diane overshadows his "argument" that Diane should leave Boston to finish her book, rather than stay to marry Sam.
  • Super Couple: The "Sam & Diane" pairing is one of the most influential and well-known on-screen romances in the history of American television.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many fans often express their dissatisfaction with much of the first half of Season 5, regarding how it handles the Sam/Diane relationship. Though Diane as The Pollyanna (driving Sam nuts in the process) is admittedly cute, these fans argue it gets old pretty fast. The dramatic implications of the dynamic (including the implication that Diane's being a Type-A Stepford Smiler, clinging on to her hope that Sam will propose again because she doesn't think she'll be able to deal with the alternative) are explored quite wonderfully in the Season's second episode, "The Cape Cad"—and it's picked up again a while later in the excellent "Knights Of The Scimitar". Everything in between may have its moments...still, when taken as a whole, it seems very much like mere "filler"—and could easily be interpreted as the writers stalling for time before settling on whether or not they should bite the bullet and put the show's Super Couple on the path to marriage.
    • The worst part? Shelley Long would later strongly imply that the writers' constantly putting off answering the question (posed by her and by Ted) of "When will Sam & Diane marry?"...was a major factor in her decision to leave the show.
    • In Season 5's "The Book Of Samuel", Diane tells Woody that, as she effectively got him into an awkward situation (involving telling Woody's former girlfriend that he's now seeing someone else), she should help him find a way out of it. At this point, the episode REALLY seems to be building up to Diane offering to be Woody's pseudo-date for the evening so he can save face. Such would have been an awesome way to truly address the implied crush Woody has long had for Diane—and ultimately, how Woody has tried reconciling it both with their "Like Brother and Sister" dynamic and his Shipper on Deck attitude towards her and Sam. Alas, Diane is basically interrupted before she can propose any solution—and we get Woody rummaging through Sam's black book, and...
  • Values Dissonance: Probably the record for shortest time interval between the example and the values shift: Rebecca's dilemma with her spring-chicken boss's unwelcome advances was only three years before the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings made sexual harassment a major workplace concern all over the country.
    • Also, Sam's constant come-ons to Diane, especially before their first relationship, could be interpreted by some as "harassment", today. The fact that Diane never seems to mind dulls this a bit, fortunately.
  • The Woobie: Diane. It's always hard to watch our girl's heart break, or otherwise see her crushed emotionally. The entire main storyline of Season One's "Let Me Count The Ways" is probably the best example of this.
    • Though we may have been on Sam's side in Season 5, when he expresses his frustration over Diane turning down his proposal in the season premier, her teary-eyed reaction to his pledge to never propose to her again is enough to turn even the hardest of hearts. Including Sam.
    • Another particularly dramatic example is in "Strange Bedfellows, Part II", when poor Diane is forced to bear witness to Janet making out with Sam (and trying to convince him to fire her).
    • Woody is probably the biggest example. Everytime he thinks he's done something wrong, he breaks down in hysterical tears. Though this is played for laughs, one can't help but feel really sorry for him.

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