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Recap / Cheers S 1 E 16

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Episode: Season 1, Episode 16
Title: The Boys in the Bar
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Ken Levine and David Isaacs
Air Date: January 27, 1983
Previous: Father Knows Last
Next: Diane's Perfect Date
Guest Starring: John Ratzenberger, Alan Autry, Harry Anderson, Kenneth Tigar

"The Boys in the Bar" is the 16th episode of the first season of Cheers.

Sam's good buddy and former Red Sox teammate Tom Kenderson (Alan Autry) has written an autobiography, and Cheers is hosting a book signing event. Sam, as it happens, has not read Tom's book, and is shocked to discover that the book is mostly about Tom coming out as a homosexual. Sam initially reacts by freaking out, but after Diane appeals to his better nature Sam gets over himself and offers Tom a drink on the house. They part on good terms.


The book signing attracted some publicity and a picture of Sam and Tom ran in the newspaper with the story. The regulars at Cheers, led by Norm, start to worry that Cheers may start attracting more gay customers and possibly even turn into a gay bar. Diane calls them out as bigoted morons and says that in fact there are at least two gay men in the bar right now. Norm and company then go on a hunt to find out who the gay bar patrons are.

In The Teaser, Harry the Hat uses some wordplay to scam free drinks out of Diane.



  • All Gays Love Theater: As Sam is ranting after finding out the truth about Tom, he remembers one time that the two of them went to a piano bar together and Tom requested a show tune.
  • Characterization Marches On: The portrait of Norm as a homophobe doesn't match up well with the mellow, live-and-let-live Norm of later years. The Norm of future seasons wouldn't care how many gays are in the bar as long as he can get beer.
  • Gay Aesop: Sam learns a lesson in tolerance and respect, eventually refusing Norm and Cliff's demands that he throw the (supposedly) gay customers out of the bar. And Norm is the butt of the joke at the end when the real two gay bar patrons kiss him on the cheeks.
  • Gaydar: Norm and the gang think they have excellent gaydar, which is why they zero in on the handsome, mustachioed young men at the front of the bar. The ending reveals that they were totally wrong and the real two gay guys were part of Norm's entourage.
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  • Manly Gay: Sam's friend Tom, a big tall strapping guy who also happens to be a homosexual.
  • Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With: Diane manages to get her Grammar Nazi on even while praising Sam, after Sam angrily refuses to eject his gay customers from the bar.
    Sam: It's not going to turn into the kind of bar I have to throw people out of!
    Diane: That's the noblest preposition you've ever ended a sentence with.
  • Two-Act Structure: The first part of the episode deals with Sam's initial shock and later acceptance after finding out that his old friend Tom is gay. The second half, after Tom leaves, deals with the regulars at Cheers worrying that it may become a gay bar.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Discussed Trope. Norm says he used to hang out at a place called Vito's Pub until it started drawing a larger and larger gay crowd and accidentally turned into a gay bar.

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