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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Norm Peterson: A hardcore alcoholic who neglects his work and family obligations to spend 12-14 hours per day in a bar? Or a loving husband with a unique relationship with his wife, who just lies about his life to fit in with the other guys? Although there's many jokes about the former, several episodes indicate the latter, with Norm admitting he's lying about neglecting his wife and becoming desperate to keep her when his marriage is actually threatened.
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    • Not to mention Cliff Clavin; interpretations vary whether he's an awkward and unappealing blowhard, who's ultimately harmless and can even be sweet, or a dangerously paranoid, delusional, sexually dysfunctional and possibly matricidal postal worker who stalks TV personalities, writes threatening letters to politicians and has an unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories and government plots.
    • An interesting one involves Diane being a Femme Fatale rather than a nice (if pretentious) girlfriend; considering that her two most serious love interests (Sam and Frasier) end up suffering a lot of emotional trauma thanks to her, Sam multiple times, it's not out of the question. Frasier himself tends to look back on Diane as a Femme Fatale in-universe.
    • Because of Protagonist-Centered Morality and Diane's Moe tendencies, it's pretty clear that viewers are supposed to view Carla as being in the wrong for the way she treats Diane. But look at the situation from Carla's point of view. Not only did Diane put her best friend through hell and back, but it's also hinted that she is quite incompetent at her job and only works there because Sam is sexually interested in her. While Carla is busting her ass to support 4-7 kids, Diane is making the same amount of money for doing considerably less work. Taking all this into consideration, is it any wonder that Carla can't stand her?
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  • Author's Saving Throw: In a season 5 episode, Frasier cheerfully mentions to Lilith that his mother's been dead for years. However, Frasier's mother Hester had been seen alive and well only two seasons previously, and showed no signs of being ill. The writers covered up this Continuity Snarl by subsequently establishing that Hester had died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer, and that Frasier had never properly dealt with her death, something which would later become an important part of his (and his father's and brother's) character in Frasier.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Diane. To her fans, she's the biggest sweetheart, The Cutie, and something of The Woobie. To her haters... well, let's say The Scrappy, and leave it at that.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Diane abandons both Sam and Frasier at the altar, blames Frasier for being upset about it, cheats on both men at least once, and generally shows utter disregard for anybody's feelings and emotions other than her own. Despite all of this, she's not only liked (or at least not disliked) by a good chunk of the cast in-universe, but many of her fans characterize her as a sweet, cute, graceful and put-upon young woman whose only flaw is being a little pretentious.
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  • Ear Worm: "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your naaame..."
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Many. Frasier got his own successful Spin-Off. Nick Tortelli got a Spin-Off too, though it was very short-lived.
    • Al, played by Al Rosen. He first appeared exclaiming "Sinatra!" in one episode, and was such a hit with the writers, he was given more and more punchlines by the writers. If not for his advanced age and deteriorating health (which ultimately claimed his life in-between Seasons 8 and 9), he would almost certainly have become a main cast member. He was later referenced in Frasier episode Cheerful Goodbyes when Cliff told Phil, "You've always been there for me, Al", and Phil retorted, "I'm Phil. Al's been dead for fourteen years, you dumb son of a bitch!"
    • Corrine, the waitress from Norm's favorite eatery, "The Hungry Heifer". It helps she's played by Doris Grau in full Deadpan Snarker mode.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One episode saw Sam give a radio interview in which he makes disparaging comments of Diane. She gets mad. He gets apologetic. Years later, recurring cast member Jay Thomas gave a radio interview in which he made some disparaging comments about Rhea Perlman. She got mad. He got fired.
    • Another episode had Cliff taking medication for work-induced stress. He does comment that he has job security and asks rhetorically "What would we do without the U.S. Postal Service?" Woody replies "Probably fax everything and it will get there faster, cheaper, and more efficiently." This just adds more stress to Cliff. Twenty years later, the Postal Service would find itself falling on hard times due to the proliferation of e-mail which delivers messages "faster, cheaper, and more efficiently".
    • Dr. Simon Finch-Royce in "Simon Says" comes to the conclusion that Sam and Diane's problems will ensure a short-lived marriage and that it'd be better for both of them if they just break up now. Diane is outraged, so Hilarity Ensues until Simon tells them what they want to hear. Thing is, if you watch the Season 5 finale and the Grand Finale itself, Simon ended up having a point about Sam and Diane just not being able to make it work.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Remember the episode when Frasier presented Lilith a prenuptial agreement, and she got pissed off? That scene's a little jarring to watch now, knowing that much later Frasier and Lilith will get a divorce..... because Lilith cheated on Frasier.
    • The part of Diane's paper in "Don Juan Is Hell" that Sam reads aloud easily becomes this—especially her predictions that "Trevor" will end up more and more alone and depressed as he gets older, due to his womanizing hurting his chances at long-term relationships. Honestly, it's eerie how prophetic it is, considering Sam's arc in the series's final season.
    • Frasier makes his first appearance during the intervention for Sam, who had fallen off the wagon. Becomes a lot harsher in retrospect, as by the end of the series, Kelsey Grammer's own battle with alcoholism and substance abuse forced the cast of Cheers (and later Frasier) to hold similar interventions, though thankfully the latter one stuck.
    • During the Season 3 episode "Peterson Cruise," (air date December 13, 1984) Norm has a health scare. Diane says they'll all be by Norm's side, and Coach asks if they have to go through heart surgery along with Norm. It's Played for Laughs, but becomes much Harsher in Hindsight after Nicholas Colasanto's death from a heart attack just two months later.
    • In the first part of the tenth season, Sam and Rebecca have a character arc in which they attempt to have a baby. (This was an attempt to incorporate Kirstie Alley's pregnancy into the show.) The arc ends when Sam and Rebecca realize they're not ready to be parents and Sam imagines the son that will never be fading away. It's rather sad on its own, but it gets sadder when you remember the real reason the arc was abandoned: Alley had miscarried.
      • The would-be son insists that Sam will have him one day. However, the show ends with Sam single and a later guest appearance on Frasier even derails a possible wedding he intended to have.
    • In one season 7 episode, Rebecca gets several comments about gaining weight, to where even Sam pranks her by placing his foot on the scale while she's weighing herself. Kirstie Alley would go on to have much-publicized battles with her weight that turned her into an industry punchline for a while.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: One episode has Woody's parents request that he come home, believing that Boston is too dangerous for him. They change their minds after Al sends them a message saying "Let your son pick his own path and it will all come back to you." Near the end of the series, when Woody is elected to the city council, he's proven right. (Pity Al didn't live to see it.)
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Right after Frasier is first turned down by Lilith, Sam sets him up with an old girlfriend Candy as a one night stand and Frasier ends up impulsively getting engaged to her, prompting Diane to intervene. Later on in Frasier, the same actress plays another cheap date Frasier plans to spend the night with, only this time it's interrupted by the woman he loves walking in. This is more of a case of Casting Gag, according to Word of God.
    • In one episode, Diane keeps pronouncing "mime" as "meme", saying, "Everybody loves a meme!"
    • In Season Five's "Abnormal Psychology", Norm and Cliff return from a "gladiator film festival" arguing about the number of anachronisms in what they've seen. Their exchange about a taxi cab allegedly being in one of the films can easily cause modern viewers to briefly think they're talking about the 1999 movie Titus (famous for its use of motorcycles and cars in Imperial Rome)...though the episode first aired thirteen years before the movie's release!
    • In Season Two's "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Call You Back", Diane is lounging about in her apartment at night, drunk, with the lights off and a host of lit candles throughout the living room. When Sam stops by, he remarks that the ambiance invokes a haunted house (when Diane turns on the lights, Sam chuckles, "No bats!"). Years later, Shelley Long would guest-star in Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a wicked witch.
    • Woody Harrelson plays a character who winds up in the audience of Jeopardy! both in the episode "Who Is Cliff Clavin?" and a few years later, in the film White Men Can't Jump.
      • Another Woody Harrelson example, in the Season 9 episode Rat Girl, Woody, taunting the dieting Rebecca, glows about how much he loves snowballs and shoves one into his mouth whole. In the movie Zombieland Woody's character is frustrated when he comes across a truck carrying only Snowballs on his search for a Twinkie - refusing to settle due to a hatred of coconut.
    • Frasier's mentor, Dr. Bennett Ludlow, has an affair with Carla, an average working woman who's been around the block a few times and seems completely wrong for him. Pretty much the same thing happens again in Frasier, when his other mentor Dr. Tewksbury has a fling with Roz, his producer.
    • In a latter episode Cliff starts out directing a video for Woody's and Kelly's families, but proves such a Prima Donna Director that he gets replaced by Frasier, who turns out to be just as bad. This has an extra layer of hilarity when you consider that John Ratzenberger was a semi-regular director on this series, and Kelsey Grammer later became one of the most frequent directors on Frasier. Plus, Frasier is again a horrible director in his own show's "Ham Radio," often considered one of its best episodes.
    • In the second part of Kelly and Woody's wedding, Sam is attacked by a jealous, sword armed German husband who thinks his wife is cheating with him, before Frasier steps in with his poor understanding of German to convince him to back off. Frasier and his brother Niles are attacked by another German swordsman in Frasier, where infidelity is again the motive.
    • All the Boston Red Sox jokes. The Boston Red Sox, after a long losing streak, would go on to win the World Series in 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018.
    • More minor example. In season 5, there's an episode entitled "The Godfather, Part 3", a few years before there actually was a Godfather III.
    • One episode has Lilith (while she's married to Frasier) become despondent when one of her lab rats dies. Eventually, she becomes so distraught she starts carrying the rat's corpse around in her purse. On Frasier, he finds his mother's journals (she was herself a scientist) and discovers she too became emotionally attached to her lab rats. (Her journal says that one of them dying was the thing she feared most.) In fact, she was so attached to her rats she named her sons after them.
    • "Send In the Crane" has Frasier filling in for Woody as a clown at a child's birthday party. As Woody hands over the equipment, he comments "It takes a big man to fill these shoes" and hands him a pair of massive clown shoes. A little over a year later, The Simpsons had the "Krusty Gets Busted" episode where Sideshow Bob (who like Frasier is played by Kelsey Grammer) frames Krusty for robbing the Kwik-E-Mart. The clue that tips off Bart of the frame-up is that Krusty has small feet compared to his big clown shoes while Bob has huge feet that require large shoes.
    • When Woody first starts doing community theatre, Carla makes some disparaging comments about his lack of success as an actor. Now that Woody Harrelson is the show's most successful former cast member, he's apparently gotten the last laugh.
    • Sam Malone has his own Plan Z in an episode of Season 9.
    • When then-Senator John Kerry cameoed on the show, his surname was misspelled as "Kerrey" in the closing credits. This foreshadowed the much bigger error over his surname a Minnesota electoral college voter would make during Kerry's presidential run in 2004, when they mistakenly voted for someone named "John Ewards", which was taken as a vote for Kerry's running-mate, John Edwards.
    • Norm once remarked that Edward Asner was the only actor who could play his wife. Norm, did you somehow marry Granny Goodness?
  • Hollywood Homely: In an early episode, Carla's son Gino is mentioned as looking "goofy," with Sam being equal parts amused and insulted that Carla chose him out of all her kids to be Sam's supposed son in a prank she was pulling on Diane. When we actually see Gino much later in the show's run, he looks completely normal. Possibly justified by the time span involved, and Gino just growing up to be much better-looking than when he was a kid.
    • Cliff is universally regarded in-universe as extremely physically repulsive. He’s really no worse than average-looking, and he is much easier on the eyes than the obese, slovenly Norm.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Carla.
  • Les Yay: In "Father Knows Last", Carla presumes to demonstrate to Diane "this thing [her ex-husband Nick] does"...which apparently involves putting his lips to a woman's ear. Cliff walks in on them—resulting in a most awkward moment. There's also their embrace in "Truce Or Consequences" when they're totally wasted.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: The show often received letters from fans who wished that their own relationships were like Sam and Diane's. One of the show's creators commented that this was insane, because Sam and Diane had "a totally dysfunctional relationship."
  • Never Live It Down: Zig-zagged for Sam. People like to throw Sam's previous alcoholism in his face as a low-blow, in particular how it ruined his lifelong dream of pitching in the Major Leagues, but others (including Diane) are very impressed that Sam was able to kick the habit and get his life together. It takes a lot of willpower to not drink when you work in a bar.
    • Played straight for Diane. The constant gags Season 3 on, about someone or something happening to remind us of her time at Goldenbrook. These moments invariably have Diane insisting that it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone says....
  • Newer Than They Think: While the show will always be synonymous with the 1980s, it continued to air into the Clinton administration.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Rebecca often tread the line of almost falling into Replacement Scrappy, especially for fans of Diane. (Despite the fact that the writers strove to make her different from Diane from the beginning, the character still suffered a LOT of unfavorable compare/contrasts with her predecessor from fans of the old days, a la "Diane would've never done that!" Especially when letting Robin walk all over her while seeming oblivious to his manipulations of the rest of the gang....) Once the writers switched her from half-Ice Queen/half-hopeless-piner-for-rich-guys to the cutely neurotic mess she was for the rest of the run, fan animosity cooled.
    • Frasier was disliked during his early appearances (Kelsey Grammer even received hate mail). Obviously, things got better.
    • Woody was also looked at as a Replacement Scrappy for Coach. Many fans didn't like the idea of having another dim-witted bartender. He did, however, grow on audiences and was loved by the end of the series.
  • Retroactive Recognition: There are several in the series.
    • Harry Anderson was Harry the Hat for a few episodes. At the time, he was best known as a prop comic. His appearances ceased once he snagged the lead role in Night Court. Harry was also an Actor Allusion for Anderson, who was also an expert at confidence swindles and taught audiences about it during his standup act.
    • Carla's daughter who gets married is played by Leah Remini (The King of Queens).
    • Brent Spiner appeared in a two part episode as a man who was on trial for attempted murder.
    • Frasier regulars Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney appeared in separate episodes.
      • John Mahoney plays Sy Flembeck, a jingle writer - whose skills wind up being criticized by Frasier. In Frasier, Martin helps Frasier write a jingle.
      • Peri Gilpin plays a jaded reporter who has all of the same mannerisms and snarkiness as Roz.
    • Kate Mulgrew was a romantic partner for Sam in a three episode Cliffhanger.
      • While Max Wright appears in the same story arc as a campaign opponent that Diane and Frasier helped.
    • George Gaynes appears as a dying businessman who has a fun night with the gang and wills them a million dollars.
    • Nancy Cartwright]] appeared as Andy-Andy's fiance. Fellow Simpsons (and The Critic) castmember Doris Grau had a few appearances as Corrine.
    • Michael Richards appeared as a man who made a bet with Sam that he could marry Jacqueline Bisset.
    • Thomas Hayden Church appears in Death Takes a Holiday on Ice as another member of the ice show.
    • Diedrich Bader appeared as a snarky waiter in episode Sammy and the Professor.
    • Lisa Kudrow appears as a young, dark haired community theater actress in the episode Two Girls for Every Boyd.
    • Jim Norton appeared as the brother-in-law of Cliff's co-worker Twitch, who conned him into thinking Pimp Duds were the new official postal uniform.
    • Carmen Argenziano is the furious husband who tries to shoot Sam for sleeping with his wife.
    • John Allen Hill (Keene Curtis) later voiced The Pastmaster.
    • A very young Marcia Cross plays Rebecca's sister in Season 7.
    • Corey Feldman, in a possible allusion to his role in the series version of The Bad News Bears plays a Little League team member in Season 2.
    • Rob Long co-wrote 34 episodes. Long is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Sullivan & Son.
    • David Angell wrote 17 episodes. Angell is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Wings and Frasier.
    • Peter Casey and David Lee wrote ten episodes. Both also served as co-creators and co-executive producers of Wings and Frasier.
    • Sam Simon wrote five episodes. Simon is best known as co-developer and co-executive producer of The Simpsons.
    • Earl Pomerantz wrote four episodes. Pomerantz is best known as developer and executive producer of Major Dad.
    • Tracy Newman and Jonathan Stark wrote three episodes. Both are best known as creators and executive producers of According to Jim.
    • Jeff Abugov wrote two episodes. Abugov is best known as developer and co-executive producer of Fugget About It.
    • Michael J. Weithorn wrote an episode. Weithorn is best known as creator and executive producer of Ned & Stacey and co-creator and executive producer of The King of Queens.
    • Glenn Beck was a Recurring Extra on this show.
  • The Scrappy: Cheers is a bit of a unique example. Because all the characters are intentionally written to be troubled people, many fans of the show can be fit into their own personal category of their preferred Scrappy. To go into detail about every character would take up a page in and of itself.
  • Seasonal Rot: At the very least Season 11, the show's final year, is widely seen as sub-par, with the writers often falling back on storylines that had been done earlier in the show, just a lot more mean-spirited. Some fans feel that the rot started even earlier, around Season 8, with some even going so far as to consider the entire "Rebecca era" starting in Season 6 as one long Dork Age for the show.
  • Shipping Bed Death: Apparently, the show creators decided to break up Sam and Diane at the end of Season 2 because they were afraid this was starting to happen. Actually lampshaded by Diane herself in that Season's "Coachie Makes Three", when she openly worries if she and Sam are starting to become "routine".
  • Strawman Has a Point: Carla is treated as just irrationally hating Diane when she insists that Diane only keeps her job because Sam's got the hots for her. There's a fair point, though, since Diane casually performs a number of things that would normally get a waitress fired immediately, but Sam doesn't fire her because of their relationship.
  • Super Couple: The "Sam & Diane" pairing is one of the most influential and well-known on-screen romances in the history of American television.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Many fans often express their dissatisfaction with much of the first half of Season 5, regarding how it handles the Sam/Diane relationship. The season's second episode wonderfully explores many dramatic implications for their dynamic (including the implication that Diane is only clinging on to her hope that Sam will propose again because she doesn't think she'll be able to deal with the alternative) but everything after that is filler until the episode Knights of the Scimitar, which picks it back up, and Sam and Diane are eventually broken up completely. Shelley Long would later strongly imply that the writers' constantly putting off answering the question of Sam and Diane marrying was a major factor in her decision to leave the show.
    • In Season 5's "The Book Of Samuel", Diane tells Woody that, as she effectively got him into an awkward situation (involving lying to Woody's former girlfriend that he's now seeing someone else), she should help him find a way out of it. At this point, the episode seems to be building up to Diane offering to be Woody's pseudo-date for the evening so he can save face. Such would have been a great way to truly address the implied crush Woody has for Diane—and ultimately, how Woody has tried reconciling it both with their "Like Brother and Sister" dynamic and his Shipper on Deck attitude towards her and Sam. Alas, Diane is basically interrupted before she can propose any solution—and we get Woody rummaging through Sam's black book, and...
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Probably the record for shortest time interval between the example and the values shift: Rebecca's dilemma with her spring-chicken boss's unwelcome advances, which is treated fairly humorously, was only three years before the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings made sexual harassment a major workplace concern all over the country.
    • Also, Sam's constant come-ons to Diane, especially before their first relationship and him being her employer, could be interpreted by some as "harassment" today, even though in-show it's treated as completely harmless.
    • The episode "The Boys In The Bar" has the gang paranoid about which two men in the bar are gay (as Diane indicates there are two gay men in the bar, but not which ones.) One of the behaviors that seems to confirm that two men they suspect are gay is the fact that they order light beer. Back then, light beer was seen as something only women and gay men drank. Nowadays, light beers are most widely consumed by straight men. More importantly, through their paranoia, the gang implicitly accepts that being gay is wrong or disgusting.
    • In Season 9's "Uncle Sam Wants You," Sam decides he wants a baby. He propositions a woman, who is offended he asks her to be his "breeder," an "incubator" for his child. Not such a big deal later on, with celebrities such as Ricky Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker having children via surrogate.
  • The Woobie:
    • Diane; as naive and clueless as she is, she ends up getting crushed constantly, purely by expecting better of people and getting her expectations disappointed. That's not counting some of the worse things that have happened to her in the early seasons—-she begins the very first episode getting jilted (in a very embarrassing way) by her fiance. Her longtime best friend and family cat passes away when she wasn't able to be with her in her last moments, she's almost choked to death by a mentally ill ex-con (which is shown to have traumatized her to where she has nightmares of him killing her when she hears he's been released,) and is almost sexually assaulted by Norm's boss. There's also her relationship with Sam; as much grief as she gives him, she suffers a lot from Sam's womanizing ways in turn, and is absolutely heartbroken in Season 5 when Sam, frustrated from Diane's waffling on accepting his proposal earlier, pledges he will never propose to her ever again. Even Sam gives in when he sees her break down in tears. By the time of her appearance on Frasier, her life has become a mess and the one thing she has going for her is a narcissistic play that she later admits isn't ready to show to the public.
    • Woody. Every time he thinks he's done something wrong, he breaks down in hysterical tears. Though this is played for laughs, one can't help but feel really sorry for him.
    • Sam, a recovered alcoholic who (it's revealed in one episode) had to live in the shadow of his better older brother for his whole childhood and who ruined his own baseball career because the pressures of living up to everyone's praise drove him to drinking. He's put through hell by Diane (especially in the later seasons) and the series gradually unveils how self-destructive even his womanizing is, womanizing which is partially driven by his need to be praised by his peers and which ruins any relationship he tries to have with a woman. He eventually has to get himself treated for sex addiction, and is still struggling to find real happiness by the time he shows up on Frasier.

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