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Recap / Cheers S 5 E 1

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Episode: Season 5, Episode 1
Title: The Proposal
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Peter Casey & David Lee
Air Date: September 25, 1986
Previous: Strange Bedfellows, Part 3
Next: The Cape Cad

"The Proposal" is the first episode of the fifth season of Cheers.

We pick up exactly where we left off, with the last scene of Season 4 in which Sam asks a mystery woman on the phone to marry him. The mystery woman is, naturally, Diane. Diane, wearing a skin cream on her face and with a chicken leg in her hand, asks Sam to propose to her in a more romantic way than just calling her up late one night.


So he does. Sam rents a boat and takes Diane out into Boston harbor. They dine on shrimp, they break out champagne, Sam gets on one knee and asks Diane to marry him...and she says no. So Sam throws Diane into the bay, or rather, she jumps into the bay after he tells her either she jumps or he throws her.

Diane frantically explains that she only refused Sam because his offhand mention of Janet Eldridge, briefly Sam's girlfriend at the end of Season 4, ruined the mood. Sam however remains furious and says that he and Diane are through, even after Diane shows up at the bar the next day and gives him an unprompted "YES!" Undeterred, Diane puts her apron on and comes back to work at Cheers, assuming despite Sam's denials that they will soon be married.



  • Black Comedy: Sam says that he had a dream where he killed Diane "and it felt really good." Later Frasier is giving Diane a neck massage and is barely able to restrain himself from strangling her, right there in the bar.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Woody can't.
    Sam: Can you keep a secret?
    Woody: Can I keep a secret? You still don't know that Carla leaves early on your night off, do you?
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Diane insists on one, and Sam obliges, taking her out sailing in the harbor with champagne and shrimp cocktail. She still turns him down.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: After admitting to the gang that Diane rejected him, Sam says "I just don't want to talk about it," then immediately asks Frasier to talk about it.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Diane does this repeatedly throughout the first part of Season 5, starting with this episode, where she invites Sam to make a romantic proposal, then rejects him, then comes back to the bar and states that they're getting married even as Sam refuses to ask her again.
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  • The Pollyanna: Even as Sam is angrily yelling at the end that they're through, Diane is ignoring him, going back to work at Cheers, talking about getting married and all the "little Malones" they're going to have.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Kelsey Grammer was first featured in the opening titles in Season 4's "Cliffie's Big Score", but oddly, he went back to Special Guest billing after that. With this episode and Season 5 he was promoted to the opening titles for good.
  • A Round of Drinks for the House: Still fuming after Diane's mixed messages, Sam decides to celebrate breaking up with her, telling the bar, "To celebrate, drinks are on the house!"
  • Saying Too Much: Cliff lets a little too much slip when talking about Diane rejecting Sam.
    Cliff: Eh, just like all women. If they're not turnin' down your proposal of marriage, they're they're accusin' you of suspicious behavior in the lingerie changin' room.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Frasier recommends that Diane leave Sam alone. Diane, distraught, says "Can you imagine how he must feel?" Frasier, who of course was dumped by Diane at the altar at the end of Season 3, glares at her and says "Gee, I'll try."
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Sam having gone back out on the boat, Diane gets herself ferried back out there on a motorboat. She shucks the long raincoat she's wearing to reveal only a red nightie. What she doesn't know is that Sam came back home and let his friend, a "Monsignor Demarest", use the boat for the rest of the rental period.
  • Shout-Out: Sam whistles a song that he says he always associates with sailing. It's the theme to the old Popeye cartoon.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Getting asked to get married over the phone isn't good enough for Diane. No, she insists on a Grand Romantic Gesture, which makes it that much sillier when she says "no".

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