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Recap / Cheers S 2 E 12

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Episode: Season 2, Episode 12
Title: Where There's a Will...
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Nick Arnold
Air Date: December 22, 1983
Previous: Just Three Friends
Next: Battle of the Exes
Guest Starring: George Gaynes

"Where There's a Will..." is the 12th episode of the second season of Cheers.

On a cold Boston winter evening, a lonely, obviously depressed man named Malcolm Kramer (George Gaynes, of Punky Brewster and the Police Academy films) nurses a hot buttered rum at Cheers. Diane's efforts at Christmas cheer lead Malcolm to blurt out that he is terminally ill and has been diagnosed with six months to live.

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After recovering from this jolt Diane gets Sam, who after all is The Bartender and is accustomed to hearing people's problems, to sit down and have a chat with Malcolm. Malcolm eventually mentions that while he's now a very rich man, years ago he tended bar as he worked his way through college, and he had a grand time. Sam suggests Malcolm spend a few hours behind the bar at Cheers, and Malcolm has a grand time once again, leaving the bar in a much better mood than when he entered it.

A little while after Malcolm leaves, Carla finds a scribbled note in her tip jar. It's from Malcolm, and it's a will, leaving $100,000 to "the gang at Cheers." The mood at the bar instantly changes as Carla, Sam, Norm, and the other bar patrons begin squabbling over the money. No one listens to Diane, the only person not carried away by greed, who tells them that they're all behaving terribly and should be ashamed of themselves.

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Tropes:

  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Back in his office with Diane, Sam is positively giddy after having palmed the will and thus secured the whole $100,000 for himself. Diane has to slap him three times to get him to come to his senses.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The episode opens with Sam demonstrating a few sleight-of-hand tricks for the patrons at the bar. This pays off later when he twice palms Malcolm's will and tricks other people into thinking he's burned it.
  • Cool Old Guy: Malcolm Kramer, who apparently is very rich but is still a cool dude, singing drinking songs while mixing martinis blindfolded. He then scribbles out a napkin will leaving the folks at Cheers $100K.
  • The Conscience: Diane, who is appalled when the good news of the bar getting $100,000 (which would break down to everyone in there getting around $2500) almost instantly devolves into everyone arguing that they should get more of the money, with Carla leading the way. She spends the rest of the episode telling them how awful they're being, but only Sam listens.
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  • Greed: Everybody at the bar gets greedy after hearing about the will, and instead of each of them getting around $2500, they get nothing.
  • Macho Masochism: Sam does a little trick where he puts out a match by passing it through his hand. When he's asked "How do you do that without burning your hands?", he says "I don't."
  • That's What She Said: Diane tells Malcolm that the folks at Cheers want him to write a binding, legal will. This sets up some Double Entendres between Sam and Diane.
    Diane: You made a wonderful gesture to these people tonight, and now they're asking you to repeat it.
    Sam: You do that to me every night.
    Diane: (smirks) I'm waiting for you to do it right.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Diane, in the midst of scolding the others for being greedy and selfish, stops for a moment to climb down off her soap box and complain that no one said anything about her new '80s Hair hairdo.
  • What Have We Ear?: Sam does this with a customer and a match early in the episode. Later he does the same trick to show Diane that he still has the real will.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Sam burns the will for a second time. Diane smiles in approval. Then she gets suspicious that he may have tricked her again, and says that anybody who'd steal that money would be haunted by the guilt forever. She leaves the office. Sam pulls the real will out of his desk and burns it, muttering "I hate her. I really hate her," as the show ends with a Smash to Black.
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: The plot, as an affable but terminally ill rich dude writes a note on a napkin leaving the gang at Cheers a hundred thousand dollars. Played realistically, as one of the bar patrons, a law student, says that a will has to be verified by three witnesses and thus the napkin is worthless.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Malcolm Kramer has six months to live.
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