Title: Endless Slumper
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Sam Simon
Air Date: December 2, 1982
Previous: Coach Returns to Action
Next: One for the Book
Guest Starring: John Ratzenberger, Christopher McDonald
"Endless Slumper" is the tenth episode of the first season of Cheers.
A Red Sox pitcher named Rick Walker (Christopher McDonald) is going through a serious slump. On the recommendation of his friends he visits Cheers and asks former MLB pitcher Sam Malone how to break out of his funk. Sam makes some recommendations, but when he offhandedly mentions the lucky bottle cap he's carried around for years, Rick begs him for the bottle cap, and Sam grudgingly hands it over.
This turns out to be a mistake. While Rick instantly starts pitching better, Sam has a sustained run of bad luck. Diane dismisses Sam's superstition, until she finds out the real cause of his stress: the lucky bottle cap had nothing to do with baseball, but was the cap to the last bottle of beer that Sam ever drank. As Sam starts getting more stressed at the loss of his bottle cap, he winds up on the edge of going Off the Wagon.
- The Alcoholic: While Sam's alcoholism was established in the first episode, this was the first episode to really use it for a plot. It turns out that the lucky bottle cap that Sam gave Rick was the cap to the last bottle of beer he ever drank. Losing the bottle cap sends Sam to the brink of a relapse.
- Bar Slide: Sam has a nifty trick where he can slide a glass of beer around the corner of the bar. The first sign that the loss of the bottle cap has really disturbed him is when he can't do it, and the glass plunges off the edge and shatters instead.
- Call-Back: The climax comes when Sam opens a bottle and pours himself a beer, as Diane looks on in horror. He stares at the glass of beer for a long moment...and then does his Bar Slide again, sliding it around the corner, the crisis averted. He then takes that bottle cap to be his lucky one.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: Miss Guilder, a prim older woman applying for the job as tutor for Carla's kids, comes to the bar. Wanting to make sure she can defend herself, Carla tells Miss Guilder 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.
- Last Unsmoked Cigarette: Sam has carried around the bottle cap from the last bottle of beer he ever drank for five years. When he gives away the bottle cap, he's sent into crisis.
- #1 Dime: Sam's lucky bottle cap, which he has carried around for five years, and which sends him into despair
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Diane and Rick have an extended exchange. She's talking about meditation as a relaxation therapy, but Rick, because she butted into a conversation he was having with Sam, thinks she's talking about sex.Rick: What time's good for you?
Diane: Personally I like to get at least a half-hour in before breakfast.
- Side Bet: The bar has a pool going for what unlucky thing will happen to Sam that day. Cliff wins after guessing that Sam will lock his keys in his car.
- Twitchy Eye: This is the first episode that mentions Diane's facial tic, a twitchy eye and cheek that she claims she got rid of in therapy. It comes out in moments of high stress like this episode. This would be an occasional Running Gag throughout the Diane years.