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Recap / Cheers S 2 E 19

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Episode: Season 2, Episode 19
Title: Coach Buries a Grudge
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: David Lloyd
Air Date: February 16, 1984
Previous: Snow Job
Next: Norman's Conquest
Guest Starring: Arthur Lessac, Don Bexley

"Coach Buries a Grudge" is the 19th episode of the second season of Cheers.

Coach returns from Phoenix, where he attended the funeral of his old minor-league baseball teammate, T-Bone Scappagione. After Coach complains about how no one at the funeral knew T-Bone from back in his baseball glory days, Diane suggests that they hold a second memorial service and invite all of T-Bone's old baseball buddies. Coach agrees enthusiastically, and even obtains a life-sized cardboard cutout of T-Bone from an old promotional eventnote  for use in the service.

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Sam, however, is oddly reluctant to stage the service in the bar. Eventually he tells Diane why: long ago, Coach's late wife Angela revealed to him that when Coach was off on a road trip somewhere, T-Bone made a pass at her. Angela made Sam promise not to tell, and Sam swears Diane to secrecy—but Coach, who was on the other side of the restroom door, hears everything. Enraged by the betrayal of his old friend, Coach decides to use the memorial service to tell everyone else what a dirtbag T-Bone was.


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Tropes:

  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Everybody at the service is marching off to hang T-Bone in effigy (hang the cutout, that is), when Diane takes the podium and starts singing "Amazing Grace". T-Bone's old teammates come back and start singing with her, Coach with his arm around the T-Bone cutout, and the episode ends.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: After hearing the story about T-Bone and Angela, Diane considers the wisdom of full honesty in relationships. Diane says that confessing infidelities is a bad idea, stating that if Sam ever cheated, "I think I would prefer to remain hypothetically oblivious." Sam's answer, a breezy "You got it!", bothers Diane quite a bit.
  • Brick Joke: The teaser has Diane buying Sam a horrifyingly ugly sweater and then laughing when she sees it on him. Later, when Sam is trying to cheer Coach up, he puts on the sweater and says "Don't I look like a dink?"
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  • Foreshadowing: Diane sits down to help Coach write a memorial oration, but as Coach tells Diane more about T-Bone, like how he'd make fun of people until they cried, Diane eventually gives up, writing "he was a hateful and terrible person". This foreshadows all the bad things we learn about T-Bone later in the episode.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Well, it isn't homemade, it's "an Icelandic snowflake rag wool sweater" that Diane bought out of a catalog for Sam. But the trope plays out the same way, as Sam puts on the sweater, Sam looks ridiculous, and Diane chortles with laughter.
  • Kuleshov Effect: The constant shots of the cardboard cutout of T-Bone. Sometimes he seems to be looking on in baleful disapproval, like when his old teammates are ranting about what an awful person he was. Sometimes he seems to be as blank as, well, a cardboard cutout. And when Coach puts his arm around the T-Bone cutout at the end it plays out as a moment of reconciliation.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Coach stands at the podium, ready to denounce T-Bone as a dirtbag. He says "T-Bone Scappagione was a son of a..." and stops. Then he says "That man was a son of a..." and stops. Then he says "T-Bone Scappagione was the son of an immigrant."
  • Percussive Maintenance: Taken to its logical extreme. The TV showing the Celtics game goes on the fritz. The bar patrons call for Carla. Carla points at the TV and says "Work, or die." The TV starts working again.
  • Posthumous Character: Coach's late friend T-Bone. Over the course of the episode we see what he looked like, we learn that he always wiped his nose after talking, we learn that he would make fun of teammates until they cried, we learn that he was always hitting on teammates' wives (and was sometimes successful), and we learn that he borrowed $500 from one teammate and never paid it back.
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