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Recap / Cheers S 8 E 13

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Episode: Season 8, Episode 13
Title: Sammy and the Professor
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Brian Pollack and Mert Rich
Air Date: January 4, 1990
Previous: Sam Ahoy
Next: What Is...Cliff Clavin?
Guest Starring: Alexis Smith, Diedrich Bader

"Sammy and the Professor" is the 13th episode of the eighth season of Cheers.

Rebecca is very excited because Alice Ann Volkman (Alexis Smith), her old college professor that she idolized, is in Boston and is going to stop by the bar. Rebecca still worships Prof. Volkman and is eager for her approval, so she's horrified when Prof. Volkman has a one-night stand with none other than Sam Malone.


In the B-plot, Carla is getting audited by the IRS.

Prof. Volkman is played by Alexis Smith, 1940s screen siren and star of movies like Dive Bomber and The Constant Nymph. The waiter at Melville's is Diedrich Bader, in one of his first parts (credited as "Dietrich Bader").


  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Sam likes the motto from Prof. Volkman's advice book—"Dare it, Decide it, Do it"—because "they all begin with D's."
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Prof. Volkman tells Rebecca not to be such a suck-up, saying "You don't have to impress me. You never did." Rebecca notices this.
    Rebecca: I never did have to impress you, or I never did impress you?
    Volkman: Hm, that's a pick 'em.
  • Assurance Backfire: Norm tries to tell Carla that the IRS aren't a bunch of shadowy G-Men, but ordinary people like them. For Carla, this is anything but reassuring.
    Carla: I'm in trouble...
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Rebecca tries to get Woody to stage one so she can leave dinner with Sam and the Professor, only for Woody to inform her Robin Colcord really is asking after her.
  • Compressed Vice: According to this episode, Rebecca's always had a problem with never being able to make up her mind before hearing everyone else's opinion, when generally her problem beforehand has been whatever her opinion was changes to what her superiors have said.
  • Delayed Reaction: Prof. Volkman tells Rebecca that Sam drove her to the hotel, they had drinks at the bar, the conversation moved to her room, they "did it", and they had the hotel's continental breakfast before Sam left.
    Rebecca: So the hotel offers a free continental breakfast whenever—DID IT?
  • The Ditherer: Rebecca is so afraid of upsetting Volkman over anything she can't even order from Melville's. When Sam and the Prof are partway through their main courses, she's still trying to work out what she wants as a starter.
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  • Hypocritical Humor: Sam is not impressed with Rebecca, who wants to impress Prof. Volkman, fussing around with "superficial little things" like gum under the tables. After he says "Who's going to notice?", Rebecca notes that his hair is "clumping up a little bit on one side."
    Sam: (horrified) WHAT? Oh, hey guys, man, you are supposed to tell me when this happens!
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Carla is scared to death of her IRS audit, and the IRS guy, when he shows up at the bar, is indeed a pretty intimidating fellow.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sam, who's got a history of shamelessly going after women for casual sex, is on the receiving end (as it were) from Alice, twice, who sleeps with him, baits him on with the offer of financial advice, and doesn't even bother remembering his name.
  • Servile Snarker: The waiter at Melville's, who snarks about how long Rebecca takes to make an order. After Sam finally orders for her, the waiter hands Rebecca a dessert menu and says "I thought you might like to hit the ground running."
  • Slut-Shaming: Rebecca finally gets the nerve to scream "YOU'RE A SLUT!" at Prof. Volkman, for her casual sex with Sam Malone. Prof. Volkman, who is way too happy about having sex with a younger man (Alexis Smith was 68 years old!) isn't bothered in the slightest, but she's impressed by Rebecca finally showing some spine.

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