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Recap / Cheers S 1 E 21

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Episode: Season 1, Episode 21
Title: Showdown, Part 1
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Glen Charles and Les Charles
Air Date: March 24, 1983
Previous: Someone Single, Someone Blue
Next: Showdown, Part 2
Guest Starring: John Ratzenberger, George Ball, Deborah Shelton

"Showdown: Part 1" is the 21st episode of the first season of Cheers. It's the first part of a two-part series finale.

Sam's brother Derek arrives in town for a visit. It turns out that Sam is hugely jealous of his brother, a hotshot "international lawyer" who is rich enough to buy his own plane, as well as being handsome and charming and always the life of the party. (Derek, who is The Voice for this whole episode, even tapdances to amuse the patrons of Cheers.) Derek gets Norm a job with an accounting firm and teaches Coach Spanish so Coach can get a job coaching winter ball in Venezuela.

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But Sam gets really depressed when Diane starts showing a interest in Derek, who is not just rich and successful but can carry on the sort of highbrow conversations about stuff like Wuthering Heights that Sam can't. Derek invites Diane for a weekend in Martha's Vineyard, which leads to a confrontation in which Diane demands Sam say what he feels but Sam refuses. The episode ends with Diane going off for her weekend, and Sam looking up as the sound of a plane is heard overhead.


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Tropes:

  • Airplane of Love: Sam is trying to bury his distress about Diane leaving on a trip with Derek by going out with his babe of the week. As they are canoodling in the front of the bar, a plane whooshes overhead, and Sam looks up.
  • Always Someone Better: Sam, who washed out of baseball and is now left running a barely profitable bar, seethes at mention of his brother Derek, the rich jet-setting lawyer.
  • Cliffhanger: Ends with a freeze-frame of Sam looking up at the sound of a whooshing plane, wondering what is happening with Derek and Diane.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: Ends with a freeze-frame of Sam looking up as a plane, symbolizing Diane's departure with Derek, whooshes overhead.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As Diane tunes the bar TV in to opera, Coach says "I hope they don't use that canned laughter." Cheers of course used a live Studio Audience.
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  • Multi-Part Episode: The first part of a two-part series finale in which the Sam-Diane Will They or Won't They? relationship comes to a head.
  • Romantic False Lead: Does anybody really think Diane is going to go away with Derek?
  • Shout-Out: Diane tries to get the bar patrons interested in a public television broadcast of The Ring of the Nibelung. She fails.
  • The Voice: Derek is never seen in this episode, being either in the pool room or hidden behind a group of people, but we hear him singing and talking. (An actor named George Ball provided his voice.)
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