TV Roundup: Cheers, #10
The list thus far:
21. Kids In The Hall
19. How I Met Your Mother
17. The Simpsons
16. The Daily Show
15. Mad Men
14. Arrested Development
12. The Office (UK & US)
The show had many incarnations, but it's really divided into two halves -- the Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) years and the Rebecca Howell (Kirstie Alley) years. By far, the first was the best - but the show maintained it's spirit and humor with Alley, and had plenty of great episodes. Plus, it's sort of funny to look back and realize there was a time when Shelley Long and Kirstie Alley were both convincing objects of desire.
Cheers is essentially the perfect situation comedy -- it's essentially a single set (even when we visit the back pool room, or Sam's office, it feels odd and a bit disorienting), uses a laugh track and it's characters are truly characters. While the show certainly dealt with adult issues, it never devolved into "A Very Special Episode" territory. The show never tried to be much more than a straight sitcom, and when it did with things like Sam and Diane romances, it lost some of its edge and wit.
Above all, what Cheers tried and succeeded at doing was simple - being very, very funny.
I could probably start another list of at least my top twenty Cheers episodes (in fact, the same can be said for every other show that follows), but not the least of why I love the show so much is because of when I watched it. While Taxi was a show that I almost exclusively saw in reruns, I pretty much saw Cheers from start to finish.
I just love that clip.
I could make another top 21 list of some of the best Norm Peterson lines as he enters the bar - wait, the Internet did that for me, too. Some of my favorites:
"What's shaking Norm?"
"All four cheeks & a couple of chins."
"Women. Can't live with 'em...... pass the beer nuts."
"How's the world treating you, Normie?"
"Like a baby treats a diaper."
I haven't even mentioned Nick Tortelli yet, or Cliff's appearance on Jeopardy ("Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?" remains the best answer ever), or the mania of Frasier and Lilith Crane ... the list, quite obviously, could go on. It's been a little while since I've watched an episode of Cheers, but every time I have, it holds up - the writing is so crisp and witty, and the acting is top notch. It's not a shock that most of the actors involved went on to much more work elsewhere, and the team involved in writing, directing and producing the shows have all had and continue to have major impact in TV and movies.
Cheers is so clearly one of the funniest shows of all time, I only regret not being able to rank it higher on this list. But it's part of my top ten favorite shows ever, so that's pretty good for something.