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Recap / Cheers S 5 E 26

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Episode: Season 5, Episode 26
Title: I Do, Adieu
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Glen Charles and Les Charles
Air Date: May 7, 1987
Previous: A House Is Not a Home
Next: Home Is the Sailor
Guest Starring: Michael McGuire

"I Do, Adieu" is the twenty-sixth and final episode of the fifth season of Cheers.

After months (years, for viewers) of debating Will They or Won't They?, Sam and Diane finally decide they're going to tie the knot, really, absolutely, definitely get married.


But first Sumner Sloan, who dumped Diane at the bar in series pilot "Give Me a Ring Sometime", returns to Cheers. He's got news for Diane: a while back, he was poring through some of Diane's old works, and sent one off to a publisher. The publisher doesn't think it's great per see (among the words used were "embryonic"), but there is potential, and he'd like to offer Diane an advance to finish it. Problem is, Sloan doesn't think Diane can finish the novel if she marries Sam. After all, she's been working at Cheers now for five years, and in all that time, what has she actually done?

Diane is naturally upset by this. She does want to finish her book, but she also wants to marry Sam. Sam, for his part, imagines what life would be like with Diane in old age. They're happily married with grandkids, Norm and Cliff come around for a visit, but Diane's still wondering what life would've been like if she'd written that book. Also, Carla's still wondering why the hell Sam married Diane in the first place ("I don't know, Carla, maybe because I love her!").


Sam and Diane decide not to wait. They're going to get married that very day, at Cheers. At the bar, the mood is mixed. Carla is beside herself with grief. Meanwhile, everyone else is a little uncertain whether anyone's going to say "I do". Frasier is convinced Diane won't, and small wedges of green are already passing back and forth.

The moment comes. Sam actually does say "I do". Just as Diane is about to say it as well, the phone goes off. It's Sumner, saying Diane's got the money in advance, but she insists on going through with the wedding. Now it's Sam who's changed his mind (*massive shuffling of bills exchanging hands*), but not because of his own cold feet. As he puts it to Diane, she's stunk at just about everything she's tried her hand at - cooking, ballet, filming. But not writing. She's actually good at that, and he doesn't think she should waste that talent just being Mrs. Sam Malone.


With no small amount of reluctance, Diane agrees. She tells Sam she'll only be gone six months, and she's coming back. Sam still says goodbye. After all, they don't know what could happen. One of them could die. Or lose their memory. Or their actor might go off to try their luck in films and not return for the next season. So he's saying "have a good life".

And with that, Diane and Shelley Long leave Cheers, not to be seen again for six years, leaving Sam alone in the bar.

In his mind, Sam imagines the future once more. We see in silence as an elderly Sam comes home to an elderly Diane, and the two dance happily together, as the show, and that future, fades to black...


  • The Bet: Everyone at the bar is betting on whether Sam and Diane will get married at all. Cliff thinks they will.
  • Bookends: Of the entire five years of Diane's time at Cheers. In series premiere "Give Me a Ring Sometime", Sumner abandons Diane at Cheers and, with no other immediate options, she takes a job as a waitress. In Diane's last episode, Sumner stops by the bar and sets in motion the events that lead to Diane's departure.
  • Brutal Honesty: Sam points out to Diane the number of things she is, despite her pretentions, utterly terrible at.
  • The Bus Came Back: Sumner Sloan returns to help Diane get on it.
  • Call-Back: Some of the things Sam brings up to Diane are things she's already tried through the years, so we know he's not just saying it.
  • Career Versus Man: After five years of going back and forth this is what finally drives Diane from the bar and out of Sam's life, the prospect of a book deal. She thinks it'll just be a six-month break, but Sam knows better.
  • Downer Ending: After five long maddening years of tension, bickering, fighting, breaking-up, heartbreak, insanity, Frasier, and tears, Sam and Diane do not get together. And Sam's very much aware she's not coming back.
  • Elderly Future Fantasy: Two. A fairly long one takes up the middle of the episode, with Sam thinking of what life will be like with Diane (mostly him sitting in a chair being Happily Married and too decrepit to move), and the one that ends the episode, as an elderly Sam and Diane dance together at home.
  • Fade to Black: Virtually every episode of Cheers ended with a Smash to Black, but not this one. Instead there's a fade to black as elderly Sam and Diane dance in the second Imagine Spot, emphasizing the melancholy ending and the happy marriage that will never be.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Carla, at the wedding. Just not with joy. She's crushed at the thought of Sam and Diane actually are marrying, and overjoyed when they don't.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sumner phrases it in his usual jerky way, but he does have a point that Diane, who's already done squat for most of her time at Cheers, won't be able to continue her literary pursuits if she also wants to be a suburban mom, with all the demands that would place on her time.
  • Jump Cut: A jump cut from the Imagine Spot to Sam on the couch back in the present day.
  • Silence Is Golden: The last two minutes of the episode are silent, as Sam contemplates a happy future with Diane that now will never be.

Have a good life.

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