I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season One: 1982-83
1982-83: THE FIRST SEASON
Year-End Rating: 13.1 (75th place)
The friendliest bar in Boston opens its doors to a comic assortment
of chronic misfits and eccentric regulars in a first year written under
the careful supervision of Glen Charles, Les Charles, and first-year
co-producers Ken Levine and David Isaacs. Along with executive story
editor David Lloyd, they will contribute the bulk of scripts for the
The freshman year is produced by Glen Charles, James Burrows, and
Les Charles. Burrows also directs every episode, as he will--with few
exceptions--for each of the seasons to follow. Tim Berry is the series's
On the eve of her intended elopement, Diane Chambers sits on a Cheers
barstool and watches her life crumble before her eyes.
"Where better than here to study life in all its facets?" Diane asks,
rationalizing why she has stooped to accept Sam's offer of a job as
a cocktail waitress. "People meet in bars, they part, they rejoice,
they suffer, they come here to be with their own kind."
It's a flimsy rationale from a perennial student who is suddenly confronted
with the fact that her entire life has prepared her for nothing more
challenging than serving drinks in a bar. In her shallow appraisal of
Cheers, Diane even misses the irony that Sam and the gang have offered
her sanctuary--even though they have just met--while the man with whom
she planned to spend her life didn't think twice about dumping her on
their doorstep. Though she complains that her stay at Cheers is a form
of purgatory, Diane, too, has come to Cheers to be with her own kind.
She just doesn't know it yet.
Diane chides Sam for dating women of limited intellect; and a visitor
to Cheers demands to speak to the former owner.
The show's producers were well acquainted with writer Earl Pomerantz
from his many contributions to Taxi during their own tenure on
Sam is slammed with a lawsuit after Carla assaults an outspoken Yankees
fan who dared to wander into Cheers.
During a TV interview with a local sportscaster, Sam reveals how much
he misses the spotlight of his major-league days.
The loudmouth sportscaster was played by Fred Dryer, who, along with
film star William Devane, had been a contender for the role of Sam Malone
in Cheers's original casting sessions.
Coach meets his daughter's fiancé, an obnoxious salesman who's
so thoroughly detestable that even the Coach can't stand him.
Philip Charles MacKenzie would become better known as the flighty
Donald on Brothers, cable TV's first sitcom; and Allyce Beasley
found much greater renown as Miss DiPesto, the gal Friday of Moonlighting.
An old school chum of Diane's arrives at Cheers and hankers for an
afternoon of lustful abandon with Sam.
Julia Duffy, who, along with film star Lisa Eichhorn, was one of the
actresses considered for the part of Diane in the series's early development,
soon landed the plumb role of Stephanie, the self-absorbed maid on Newhart.
After a disastrous office party at Cheers, Norm tries to score points
with his boss by fixing him up with Diane.
Norm succeeds only in losing his job--which helps explain how he was
able to spend so much time at the bar. Norm, Cheers's all-purpose
underachiever, was based on a real-life guzzler Les Charles remembered
from his days as a bartender in college.
Carla calls a truce with Diane to reveal a shocking secret.
Sam participates in an unwitting rivalry with Coach when both have
designs on the same woman.
Sam becomes an accident-prone wreck after he lends his good-luck charm
to a Red Sox pitcher who's stuck in a slump.
An aging doughboy holds a lonely World War I reunion in Cheers; and
a novice monk comes looking for one last night of debauchery before
he checks into the monastery.
The gang at Cheers copes with an inveterate liar who's convinced Diane
that he's a poet, while Carla is certain he's really a spy.
Sam feels used when an attractive theatrical agent lands him a string
of lucrative commercial endorsements in exchange for his romantic favors.
After Diane and Sam debate the barkeeper's options, Coach arrives
to offer Sam his own no-nonsense solution--along with a well-placed
kick in the pants. For all his confusion, the simple-minded Coach was
often the only person in Cheers capable of straightforward thought.
Glen and Les Charles admitted that their model for Coach Ernie Pantusso
was baseball's legendary Yogi Berra, who was also well known for the
peculiar logic of his public utterances.
Distraught over the death of her housecat, Diane finds few shoulders
to cry on at Cheers during a Celtics game.
The script, the first of many written by Rhea Perlman's sister, Heide,
opens with a precredit "teaser" scene, as did every episode of the series.
Here, Diane arrives, bursting with enthusiasm after attending an Indian
film festival--only to leave screaming in abject defeat a moment later,
after Coach and Carla describe their own favorite Indian film, Fort
Apache. Given the soap-operatic overtones of the show's continuing
narrative line, the producers designed the opening teaser as a hook
that would serve as an instant introduction to the show and its characters
for the uninitiated--a useful weapon in the uphill ratings battle the
series faced during the first year.
Diane attempts to prevent an injustice when Carla schemes to convince
an unwitting computer programmer that he's the father of her baby.
After Sam publicly supports an old teammate who has just come out of
the closet, the regulars are convinced that Cheers is turning into a
trendy gay hangout.
Sam unwittingly fixes Diane up with a man who was just released from
a prison for the criminally insane.
The date begins when the ex-offender refuses to eat in an Italian
restaurant where he once killed a waitress--and goes downhill from there.
Andy Andy would return to Cheers about once a year over the next few
Diane attempts to sabotage the Miss Boston Barmaid contest after she
discovers that Sam entered her in the competition without her knowledge.
The cameo appearance of Bostonian Cheers fan, Speaker of the
House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, was a stunt designed to draw attention--and
viewers--to the show during the first fledgling season.
Sam convinces Cheers's resident con man to stage an elaborate sting
to retrieve Coach's money from a traveling card shark.
Stand-up comic and magician Harry Anderson--soon to be the star of
Night Court--was typecast as Harry the con man.
Diane and Sam plan a marriage of convenience to protect her mother's
fortunes from a bizarre stipulation in her late father's will.
Diane's mother is played by British stage and film actress Glynis
Johns, in the first Cheers episode scripted by David Angell,
who would become one of the show's chief contributors.
Sam can't conceal his resentment of his visiting brother--a rich and
talented charmer with something to offer everyone, especially Diane.
Sam's brother sweeps Diane off her feet with an invitation to Paris,
but the waitress finds it harder to leave Cheers than she imagined.
"We didn't want to have two people just flirting with each other ad
infinitum," explained Les Charles. So he and his brother, Glen, planned
this season's finale--a quirky cliff-hanger that ends with the lovers
poised on the brink of consummating their season-long tryst. It's an
unlikely romantic encounter that begins when Sam pledges his feelings
under duress--Diane has threatened to run her fingernails on the chalkboard
if he doesn't--and ends with the lovers locked in a violent embrace.
At least for the time being.