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Recap / Cheers S 4 E 18

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Episode: Season 4, Episode 18
Title: The Peterson Principle
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Peter Casey and David Lee
Air Date: February 13, 1986
Previous: Second Time Around
Next: Dark Imaginings
Guest Starring: Kelsey Grammer, Daniel Davis

"The Peterson Principle" is the 18th episode of the fourth season of Cheers.

Norm's formerly uninspired career as an accountant might be headed in a promising new direction, as he is up for a promotion to supervisor. A junior accountant at Norm's firm drops by the bar and, while obsequiously flattering Norm in order to get a promotion himself, drops a bomb. It seems that the guy who Norm is going up against for the job has been having an affair with Mrs. Reinhardt, the boss's wife. Now Norm has to wrestle with whether or not to use this inside gossip in order to get his promotion.


In the B-plot, Frasier is still boiling with rage over Diane dumping him the year before. Sam decides to take him out for a night on the town.


  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Norm, who has ragged on Vera every available chance he's got, is outraged and offended when told she's the reason he doesn't get the job, even calling her a wonderful woman. As he informs her, he doesn't tell her she's the reason, instead saying he loves her.
  • Brutal Honesty: Sam offers to take Frasier out for a night on the town. After Frasier says "This is a pity offer, isn't it?", Sam replies with "Basically." Frasier's response is a cheerful "OK!", and they go out on the town.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the episode Norm mentions that Vera went out for a lunch with the executive wives. In the end that turns out to be why Norm didn't get the job; the executives decided his wife doesn't fit in.
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  • Continuity Nod: Cliff still has his slides from his vacation to Florida, from over a year ago.
  • Funny Background Event: When Woody misunderstands something Norm says, Diane takes him into the background and explains things to him.
  • Gilligan Cut: Jeff lets slip the gossip about Mrs. Reinhardt having an affair with Morrison. He then thinks better of it and asks Norm not to spread the gossip. Norm says "Jeff, I'm insulted." Cut to Norm telling the whole bar the story.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: When Sam tells Frasier he can use the bar's slide projector, Diane asks why he said it was broken when she wanted to show everyone her collection of Colombian art. Sam explains it's because she wanted to show her collection of Colombian art.
  • Left Hanging: Well, what was the result of Sam and Frasier's night out on the town? It seems like the setup for one more gag but we never find out how it went.
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  • Mama Bear: In the cold open Carla is grilling a boy of about thirteen or so who wants to take out her daughter Anne-Marie on Anne-Marie's first date. While making pleasant small talk, Carla whips out a Polaroid and takes the boy's picture, full-face and then left and right profiles. After the boy leaves Carla puts his glass in a plastic bag and tells Sam to keep it until "the boys from the lab" come to pick it up.
  • Morality Chain: Diane encourages Norm not to use inside gossip.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Immediately after Norm tells Vera he loves her, she asks him just how much he's been drinking, and he has to explain only two or three beers.
  • Perfumigation: Another instance of the running gag about Sam's cologne. When Sam slaps some on Frasier's cheek, Frasier reacts like he was tear-gassed.
  • Series Continuity Error: Just one of several examples from Cheers that later became an inter-series continuity error with Frasier. Frasier's dad has apparently died and left Frasier his stuffed owl. The dead part was later hand-waved on Frasier as Frasier lying because he was on bad terms with his dad, but still, Martin Crane would not have an owl named Plato.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: After hearing from Mr. Reinhardt that Vera was judged to be not good enough for an executive's wife, Norm quits his job with Reinhardt's firm.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: Frasier comes into the bar with "Plato", his father's stuffed owl. He tries to palm the owl off on Sam but when a creeped-out Sam refuses he throws it away.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Norman's better instincts prevail and he doesn't use his inside gossip. Even when Mr. Reinhardt comes to the bar and tells him that Morrison got the job, and then insults Norm's wife, Norm keeps it a secret, quitting the firm instead.

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