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Recap / Cheers S 5 E 4

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Episode: Season 5, Episode 4
Title: Abnormal Psychology
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Janet Leahy
Air Date: October 16, 1986
Previous: Money Dearest
Next: House of Horrors with Formal Dining and Used Brick
Guest Starring: Bebe Neuwirth

"Abnormal Psychology" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of Cheers.

Frasier is due to appear on the Boston talk show "Psychology This Week". However, at the last minute his scheduled opponent has to cancel, and his place is filled by one Doctor Lilith Sternin, whom Frasier briefly and disastrously dated one year previously (in Season 4 episode "Second Time Around"). Time has not done anything to improve either party's opinion of the other.

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Enter Diane, who watches the argument between Drs Crane and Sternin and comes to the conclusion that their antipathy stems less from professional dislike of one another and more from Belligerent Sexual Tension. Naturally, she decides to help out with turning those sparks into an inferno.

In the episode's B-plot, Diane, who has gotten two tickets to see a jazz flute performance, pesters Sam into going with her. In the C-plot, beer-drinking couch potatoes Cliff and Norm try to dodge Woody's invitation to go fishing.

Bebe Neuwirth returns as Lilith Sternin, and will remain a recurring character for the remainder of the show's run, as well as through Frasier.


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Tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: Discussed Trope. Cliff and Norm go to see a gladiator movie, where they compete to see who can spot the most anachronism.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: What Diane thinks is going on between Frasier and Lilith. For once, she turns out to be completely on the ball.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Frasier promises Lilith he's going to kiss her, and kiss her hard, like she's never been kissed before. He takes so long, Lilith leaps into his arms and kisses him instead.
  • Double Entendre: Frasier and Lilith's TV debate gets a little side-tracked by the debatees having other things on their... er, minds. Thrusting and probing and surging in sensitive spots are mentioned.
  • Flat Joy: When Diane tells Lilith she thinks the arguing with Frasier is a case of BST, Lilith coughs three times, then, in her usual monotone, thanks Diane for giving her the most laughs she's had in years.
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  • The Glomp: Lilith takes a flying leap and jumps into Frasier's arms, leading to The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Diane gives Lilith a bit of help with her appearance for the debate. It works alright, hitting Frasier and his libido like a lead pipe. His stunned reaction makes him start focusing on other matters, which gets to Lilith, and by the end of the debate neither of them are capable of remembering what the hell they were supposed to be talking about.
    • In the bar, after everything's over, Frasier realizes Sam and Diane are trying to set him up with Lilith again by tricking her into taking her hairpin out. He tells her to just do it and indulge them so everyone can move on. She does... and Fras gets turned on again.
  • Hands Play in Theater: In the bar, technically, but Sam and Diane really get into it while watching Frasier and Lilith's... interview.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Lilith. Diane says that Lilith needs to undo the bun, and sure enough, Lilith coming onto the set of the interview show with that thick, wavy black hair gets Frasier majorly turned on. Later, when it seems an embarrassed Frasier and Lilith are going to part ways, Diane uses a transparently phony excuse to invoke this trope by getting Lilith to let her hair down again. The trope is promptly lampshaded/defied by Frasier.
    "Don't you see? What these two people, who are such geniuses at romance, are trying to do is to get your hair down, thinking that it will stimulate me like some kind of Pavlovian dog."
    • It still works, of course.
  • She's Got Legs: The other thing Diane's makeover does for Lilith. Instead of her conservative suit Lilith comes into the interview wearing a knee-length skirt that shows off gorgeous legs.
  • Strangely Arousing: Just watching the debate is enough to get Sam and Diane sweaty under the collar.
  • Stunned Silence: The first sign that Lilith letting her hair down has had more of an intended effect than Diane could ever have hoped for is when, after she enters the studio, Frasier just sits there slack-jawed.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: At the end of the episode, as Diane is waffling about going to the opera, her constant refusal to just go (since she wants Sam to come with) finally gets to Carla, who gets up close to Sam and bellows "GET HER OUT OF HERE!"
  • You Need to Get Laid: Lilith's professional opinion of Fras - he's got too much sexual tension, and needs a girlfriend. Or psychiatric help. Lilith's a psychiatrist, remember.
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