Cheers: A Show Worth Watching

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The show I chose to analyze over the semester was the hit 80s sitcom known as Cheers, the fourth season to be exact.  It was a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” which its’ memorable theme song exemplified before episode. This show is near and dear to my heart as I grew up just fifteen minutes away from its’ setting in Boston, Massachusetts.  It is based off of a real bar on Beacon Street, which is now called “The Cheers Bar.” I have been there several times and it neat to be at the place that influenced this iconic show. It takes place in a small neighborhood bar in the heart of the city, and had a terrific cast.  Each character has qualities and flaws the average person can relate to and is jam packed with hilarity.  This program is absolutely worth watching because of how fully rounded the characters are.

The best part about the show is 95% of show takes place in the bar.  That may sound boring, but it was amazing how much the writers get out of it.  With the camera moving from one end of the bar to another in an array of different angles the bar seems bigger and my opinion makes the show better because it is a place where This season is really where the show hit its’ stride and eventually became one of the greatest shows of all time. According to The Nielsen Ratings website, at the time Cheers was the fifth highest viewed show.

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Something I appreciate about this show is how the seven characters share the lime light for the most part in any given episode or each episode the focus shifts from one to another. This cast was special because they were in essence, a team with no glory hogs. Ted Danson was the definitely the glue that kept everyone together, but he would be nothing without his supporter actors. That is why this show stayed fresh for so long, they had so many lovable people to write for it was hard to run out of ideas. The writers’ material was at such a highbrow level with quick-witted jokes that would affect other sitcoms like Seinfeld, Friends, and Frasier.

I loved this show because of how I could relate to each character and their flaws/qualities. Like Sam I play sports, with Woody I am trusting, and I can be surly at times like Carla.  They were all so believable and it was fun to watch regular, blue collared workers trying to make it in the world while having fun with their buddies. It was a show that could be considered appropriate for a sixteen due to the wholesomeness of the content with a very few swears. It also showed how to drink responsibly because there was very few times a character got obscenely drunk and if they did they always had a ride home. Plus, the writers would make it a point to showcase the designated driver program. This is a show that anyone could watch and enjoy, especially New Englanders.

Let me introduce you to the gang:

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(Up Top) Frasier

(Back Row) Norm, Diane, Sam, Cliff

(Front Row) Woody, Carla

Sam Malone –Ted Danson

Sam is a retired Red Sox pitcher whose career ended early due to his alcoholism. Since then he beat his alcoholic ways and has been sober ever since and decided to buy a little bar on Beacon Street called Cheers. He is exceedingly confident and competitive but is a known sex addict; His dashingly good looks help him attract several one-night stands. Diane and him have an on an off relationship throughout the first five seasons of the show before she leaves. Malone loves having fun but at times has regrets about his past. Without him the show would fall apart, much like the characters do when he leaves for a vacation or day off.

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Diane Chamber – Shelley Long

Diane is a lovely yet pretentious woman who spreads knowledge around the bar (unwantd at times mind you.) Season three ends with Diane leaving Dr. Frasier Crane at the alter terminating their relationship and is also a former girlfriend of Sam. She is a waitress at Cheers even though she believes she will make it as an intellectual in some capacity. Her creativity and attitude can really bug her customers and co-workers. However, in the end they love Diane because of how caring she is. Diane and Sam’s relationship is so interesting because they keep coming back to each other even though only due to their physical attractiveness. They are complete opposites so it is intriguing to see them interact knowing how much they do not have in common.

Carla Tortelli – Rhea Pearlman

Carla Torelli is a spunky, tough, blue-collared single mother of (eight by season 11). She is Sam’s right hand girl/waitress and will always have his back. She comes off as rude to most people who come through the bar, especially Cliff Clavin and Diane whom she despises. In a way she is “one of the guys” and is not very lady-like. In addition, and to keep is blunt; she is known to sleep around a bit. She is loud and mean Bostonian but her sweet side has come out at time but was an absolute fan-favorite.

Norm Peterson – George Wendt

Norm! That is what all the patrons in the bar yell when this man walks in. He is quick with a joke (many of them are self-deprecating) and he is just your average Joe. He will sit at the bar for 12 hours a day drinking beer with the people he loves. Norm will spend so much time there because of the people; he is usually out of work, beer, and getting away from his Vera. She is talked about often but we never see who she is. That gag

influenced Home Improvement character Wilson whose face is never seen. In addition, Norm has an enormous tab at Cheers, which is never paid; Sam said it could be paid in 36 weekly payments. He might be one of the most memorable names in Sitcom history.

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Cliff Clavin – John Ratzenberger

Another barfly, Cliff Clavin is not exactly received quite as well his best-friend Norm. He is the bar “know it all” and although he is rather bright, his statistics about random facts are quite annoying and the other customers sometimes bully him. Carla is always making fun and is often the butt of many jokes. Mr. Clavin is a postal worker (who assures everyone that it is the hardest job in the world) and lives with his Mom. He often lies about his love life and is not the best with the ladies and brags about his accomplishments (which are also assumed to be lies). Nonetheless, Cliff is a loyal customer and friend.

Woody Boyd – Woody Harrelson

Season four, Woody Boyd is a bartender hired to replaced the lovable “Coach” whose actor died earlier that year. Boyd is new to Boston and is from Hanover, Indiana. He is a simple and respectful man who everyone likes talking to. Like Coach, he sometimes does not understand sarcasm or jokes and will take them literally. Woody is very trusting and his misunderstanding lead to funny awkward moments. Woody is the youngest of the bunch, and is quickly welcomed by all of them.

Dr. Frasier Crane – Kelsey Grammer

This successful and highly intellectual therapist, Dr. Crane started off as Sam’s therapist and Diane’s fiancé. However, his character morphed into a main character and season four showcases the after math of his rough break up with Diane. He acts civil with her most of the time but at his weaker moments he will go on tirades about his disdain for her. People go to him for help in their moments of need and he is always there to help.

 

The characters all live different lives and have different personalities but they mesh so well. It is so interesting to see a group of random and everybody people come together to interact and get away from the “real world. In my opinion this is the best show of all time and could be enjoyed by all.  These characters become members of your family and are full of laughs.

 

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