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Recap / Cheers S 1 E 1

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Episode: Season 1, Episode 1
Title:"Give Me a Ring Sometime"
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Glen Charles and Les Charles
Air Date: September 30, 1982
Previous: none
Next: Sam's Women
Guest Starring: John Ratzenberger, Michael Mc Guire

"Give Me a Ring Sometime" is the first episode of one of the most popular series in the history of American television, Cheers.

Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and her fiancé, Professor Sumner Sloane (Michael Mc Guire) enter into Cheers, a pub in Boston. Diane and Sumner are about to get married and fly off to Barbados together, but first, Sumner wants to retrieve a family wedding ring from his ex-wife Barbara. He zips off, promising to be back shortly, leaving Diane to wait at the bar.

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The first person in the bar whom Diane meets is bartender/owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson). Sam is a former baseball player, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and a recovering alcoholic. A long time ago, while in the depths of alcoholism, Sam bought the bar, and he still runs it long after his drinking ended his baseball career. Diane meets the other regulars at Cheers as they arrive, one at a time. They include gentle if dim-witted Coach (Nicholas Colasanto), Sam's former baseball coach and now the second bartender at Cheers; Carla (Rhea Perlman), the bitter, sarcastic waitress; and Norm Petersen (George Wendt), bar patron who spends far more time at Cheers than he does at his home.

As the evening wears on it becomes clear that Sumner is not coming back for Diane. Finally Diane finds out that Sumner has gone to Barbados after all—with Barbara. With her whole life upended, and no employment prospects in sight, Diane accepts a job as the second waitress at Cheers.

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John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin) was officially one of the guest stars, and was not made a regular and added to the opening titles of Cheers until the second season.


Tropes:

  • Book-Ends: The first shot of the series, and the last shot of the series in series finale "One for the Road", form bookends. This episode begins with Sam coming out of the hallway to the pool room and opening the bar. The series finale ends with Sam closing the bar, and walking back down the hallway to the pool room.
  • Bottle Episode: The first of many episodes of Cheers that never leave the bar. (In fact, the whole first season never leaves the bar; the first scene taking place anywhere else is in the Season 2 premiere, in Diane's apartment.)
  • Break the Cutie: Diane is left humiliated when it's finally revealed that Sumner took Barbara to Barbados, as Sam predicted.
    Diane:(crying) How did you know?
    Sam: Bartender's intuition.
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  • Brick Joke: The episode begins with one of Sam's paramours asking Diane to tell him he was a "Magnificent pagan beast." At the end, as Sam is offering Diane a job one of the reasons given for why she should take it is because she hasn't been able to get "Magnificent pagan beast," out of her mind.
  • Captain Obvious: Norm tries to make small talk with Diane by asking "Whatcha reading? A book?"
  • Celebrity Paradox: When the gang is debating the sweatiest movie of all time, Cliff suggests Body Heat—which featured Ted Danson.
  • Comically Missing the Point: A hallmark of the character of Coach.
    Coach: (praising Sam's baseball skills) He was one of the best, as sure as the earth is round!
    Sam: (modestly) You don't believe that, Coach.
    Coach: You know Sam, I never used to believe it, until I saw those pictures from the Space Shuttle.
  • Demoted to Extra: The original script for the pilot featured a Racist Grandma character named Mrs. Littlefield. She was cut and never seen again, but she can be spotted in this episode, sitting in the front area of the bar in a wheelchair.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Cold Open is followed up on directly in the episode proper, something that typically doesn't happen in Cheers. Also, there's no "Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience". That won't show up for several episodes more.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Coach's introduction shows he's nice but utterly ditzy, not even remembering his own name.
    • Carla storms into the bar, absolutely furious and ranting a mile a minute, not allowing Sam to get a word in edgeways before she slams into his office.
    • Cliff rattling off one of his Little Known Facts, then turning to Diane to ask her about it, showing he's a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Diane insists she doesn't need to be a waitress, she's got better prospects waiting for her elsewhere. Then Sam asks Carla to recite the long drink order she just got, and Diane starts doing so, her voice trailing off as she realises what she's just walked into.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Diane's tendency to be pretty bad at reading people gets off to a running start here, when she takes Sumner at his word that he's just going to visit his ex-wife briefly, and never suspects there's anything off about just how long he takes until she phones the airport and finds he's already run off with Barbara.
  • Little Known Facts: A Running Gag for the entire 11-year run with Cliff, the first one coming in the first episode, when Cliff spouts some absolute nonsense about how men and women sweat.
    Cliff: Women have fewer sweat glands than men, but they’re larger and more active. Consequently, they, uh, sweat more.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Diane asks Coach "Where is your bathroom?", and Coach replies "Right next to my bedroom."
  • 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?
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: A boy who may be 13 tries to get beer with a fake ID.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication: Diane picks up the phone when a caller is trying to reach Sam. Sam doesn't want the call, so first he makes his fingers walk to indicate "Tell her I left" which Diane understands, but when looking for an excuse, he makes scissors with his fingers and makes hair-cutting motions. Diane's interpretation: "He had to go to mime class!"
  • Phony Veteran: The boy with the fake ID has a fake veteran ID. When Sam observes that the supposedly 38-year-old veteran must have served in Vietnam, the boy says Vietnam was "gross".
  • Running Gag: Coach and his habit of agreeing with the last person who talks to him, even as the others argue about everything, like whether or not the Patriots should have drafted a linebacker.
    Coach: Gee I've got an awful headache all of a sudden.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: It was a part of Cheers before Seinfeld ever aired, and this was the first one, as the gang debates what is the sweatiest movie of all time. (Sumner wins with Cool Hand Luke.)
  • Welcome Episode: Diane arrives at Cheers, meets the gang, and takes a job as a waitress.
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