witty gang at a Boston bar called Cheers provided the focus of this comedy. Sam was the owner and bartender,
a tall, rugged and rather self-assured man with a knack for good conversation, an eye for the ladies, and an interesting
past. Once a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, he'd had a bout with alcoholism
but was now sworn off the stuff for good. Helping him out behind the great oak bar was
"Coach," a kindly, absentminded gent who had been in pro ball as
a coach and manager, and who regaled the customers with his experiences. Carla
was a wise-cracking waitress while Norm (an
accountant) and Cliff (the mailman) were regular patrons.
this bastion of locker-room chatter came Diane, a bright, attractive
graduate student whose interests leaned towards the arts. Stopping by one snowy
evening with her fiancÚ, literature professor Sumner Sloan, on their way
to the Caribbean to be married, Diane expected never to see the place again.
But her fiancÚ jilted her and Diane found herself in need of immediate
employment. Sam hired her for the only job she was qualified to do, that of waitress. She despised
him at first, and the barbs flew thick and fast, but in time a romantic
attraction grew. By the beginning of the second season, Sam and
Diane - despite their sarcastic jibes - were the latest "item" at Cheers.
off-again, on-again romance lasted only about a year until, in the fall
of 1984, Diane found a new boyfriend in obnoxious, insecure psychologist Frasier Crane. They went to Europe to get married but, unable to get Sam
out of her mind, Diane jilted Frasier and eventually returned to working at Cheers.
Meanwhile, in early 1985, "Coach" passed away (actor Nicholas Colasanto had died), and a new bartender joined the
ensemble. Young Woody, a naive farm boy from Indiana, had been taking a mail-order course in bartending
from Coach and had come to Cheers to meet him. The dejected Frasier, also joined
1985-1986 season ended with a cliffhanger worthy of a prime-time soap opera. Sam's whirlwind romance with attractive
city councilwoman Janet Eldridge (Kate Mulgrew) was coming to a head and Sam was ready
to propose - but to whom? In the last scene of the season he was on the
phone asking someone to marry him. It turned out to be Diane but she said
no and the two returned to another season of sparring, ending when Diane announced
in 1987 she was leaving for "just six months" to write her
long-awaited novel. As she walked out the door - and out of his life -
a knowing Sam whispered after her, "have a good life."
then sold the bar and embarked on an around-the-world trip in a sailboat,
but the boat sank and he was soon back looking for a job at the establishment
he once ran. The new manager was Rebecca, a buxom, determined
lady who took him in, but only on her terms. Her main interest in life
seemed to be to score points with her boss Evan, in order to advance in the corporation
that now owned the bar. When that didn't work out, she turned her attention
to Robin, a sleazy corporate raider who promised riches but wound up
in jail. She eventually dumped him at the altar, all the time fighting her attraction
to Sam. But it was a rocky relationship. The boss-employee tables were
turned when Sam regained control of the bar and demoted the haughty Rebecca to barmaid.
Meanwhile, sarcastic Carla married Eddie LeBec
in the 1987-1988 season, and had twins named Elvis and Jesse - making her the mother of eight.
No-good Eddie was then run over by a Zamboni skating rink machine, leaving
her once again a single mother. Frasier recovered from his rejection by Diane and married
acerbic fellow psychiatrist Lilith, in early 1988, and they had a son named Frederick. Woody dated and
eventually married girlfriend
friends and relatives of the regulars showed up from time-to-time, perhaps the
most talked about among fans was Vera, the wife of the
now-unemployed Norm. Only her feet were shown - except once when viewers
did see her face, but covered with pie! The actress undergoing these indignities was George Wendt's real-life wife, Bernadette Birkett.
Cheers became something of an institution
during its long run and was the number one
series on television during its final season. The final episode was one of
the top-rated TV events of all time. In it, not-so-naive Woody was elected to the
City Council; Rebecca abruptly married plumber Dan; and Diane, now a successful TV writer,
returned for a visit. Sam and Diane ran off to get married but at the last
minute called it
off, leaving the gang to sit around the soon-to-be-closed
bar and muse on the meaning of life (Cliff said it was "shoes"). They turned out the lights and went