Cheers To You!
By Cressa | Published on 16 January 2019
‘Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.’ Don’t we all wish we had a place like that? That’s the appeal that Cheers has had for so many people for so many years.
Set in a bar in the eighties, Cheers follows the lives of the owner, barmaids and patrons of a Boston bar. Sam, the handsome, caddish ex-Red Sox player who lost his career to drink, is now on the wagon and running Cheers - a bar he unwittingly bought during one of his drinking fugues. He presides over and tends bar with Coach, his lovable but simple-minded bartender who used to be his coach back in the day. Carla, the spunky, sports-obsessed single mother struts around equally taking drink orders and giving lip to the bar’s patrons. The 2 most loyal patrons of the bar; Norm, a sometimes-happily married accountant, and Cliff, a proud mailman who lives vicariously through his ‘world knowledge’, provide much of the comic relief in each episode.
Much of the first 5 seasons of this beloved sitcom revolves around the tumultous love dance between Sam and Diane, a pseudo-intellectual barmaid who thinks she’s above him and the patrons of Cheers because of her ‘superior intellect’ and refined tastes. Their romance goes through many peaks and valleys, leaving viewers guessing as to where they will ultimately end up.
The latter seasons see Cheers absorbed into a conglomerate, Sam single again, but chasing the ambitious but emotional Rebecca who has taken over as manager of the bar. There are some changes in front and behind the bar, which add fresh new characters and story arcs into the mix.
Largely touted as the first sitcom to follow a continuous arc over its 11 seasons, Cheers had its followers laughing at the gang’s antics and sympathising with their misfortunes, all the while growing alongside them. While the overall tone of the show is light-hearted, Cheers also addresses some heavy issues like same-sex relationships, alcoholism, unemployment and death. The deft writing manages to give these issues their due respect while keeping things light in an all-in-the-gang way. Well-placed double-entendres give the show that little bit of risqué to keep viewers entertained.
The cast, most of whom have rightly won multiple awards throughout the show’s 11-year run, carry the script beautifully. There are no miscasting, as far as this writer is concerned. Ted Danson’s roguish good looks and laid-back charm has melted many a lady’s heart (including this writer’s!). Shelley Long plays the snooty, prim-and-proper Diane to the T and Rhea Pearlman lasers you with her eyes and wit at the same time. Notable mentions are Woody Harrelson as the bumbling country boy awed by the big city, Kirstie Alley as the sultry, emotional wreck trying to hide behind a business-like iciness, and Kelsey Grammar with his straight-faced dry-as-a-bone wit.
The brainchild of ensemble genius James Burrows, notable for sitcom hit ‘Taxi’, Cheers is definitely where you want to go after a long day of hard work. It’s definitely ‘where everybody knows your name.’