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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Cheers
Season One: 1982-83



SEASON ONE: 1982-83
SEASON TWO: 1983-84
SEASON THREE: 1984-85
SEASON FOUR: 1985-86
SEASON FIVE: 1986-87
SEASON SIX: 1987-88
SEASON SEVEN: 1988-89
SEASON EIGHT: 1989-90
SEASON NINE: 1990-91
SEASON TEN: 1991-92
SEASON ELEVEN: 1992-93
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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"Cheers" on Video or DVD

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 first season.

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 associate producer.


1 Give Me a Ring Sometime    First Aired: September 30, 1982
Writers: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Michael McGuire, John P. Navin, Jr., Erik Holland, Ron Frazier

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.


2 Sam's Women    First Aired: October 7, 1982
Writer: Earl Pomerantz
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Donna McKechnie, Donnelly Rhodes, Angela Aames

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 the series.


3 The Tortelli Tort    First Aired: October 14, 1982
Writer: Tom Reeder
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Ron Karabatsos, Stephen Keep

Sam is slammed with a lawsuit after Carla assaults an outspoken Yankees fan who dared to wander into Cheers.


4 Sam at Eleven    First Aired: October 21, 1982
Writers: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Fred Dryer, Harry Anderson, Rick Dees, Julie Brown

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.


5 The Coach's Daughter    First Aired: October 28, 1982
Writer: Ken Estin
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Allyce Beasley, Philip Charles MacKenzie, Tim Cunningham

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.


6 Any Friend of Diane's    First Aired: November 4, 1982
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Julia Duffy, Macon McCalman

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.


7 Friends, Romans, Accountants    First Aired: November 11, 1982
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: James Read, Kenneth Kimmins, Peter Van Norden

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.


8 Truce or Consequences    First Aired: November 18, 1982
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Jack Knight

Carla calls a truce with Diane to reveal a shocking secret.


9 The Coach Returns to Action    First Aired: November 25, 1982
Writer: Earl Pomerantz
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Murphy Cross

Sam participates in an unwitting rivalry with Coach when both have designs on the same woman.


10 Endless Slumper    First Aired: December 2, 1982
Writer: Sam Simon
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Christopher McDonald, Anne Haney

Sam becomes an accident-prone wreck after he lends his good-luck charm to a Red Sox pitcher who's stuck in a slump.


11 One for the Book    First Aired: December 9, 1982
Writer: Katharine Green
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Boyd Bodwell, Ian Wolfe

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.


12 The Spy Who Came in for a Cold One    First Aired: December l6,1982
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Ellis Rabb, Robert Evan Collins, Kurtis Woodruff

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.


13 Now Pitching: Sam Malone    First Aired: January 6, 1983
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Barbara Babcock, Luis Tiant, Richard Hill, Paul Vaughn

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.


14 Let Me Count the Ways    First Aired: January 13, 1983
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Mark King, Jack Knight, Steve Hanafin

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.


15 Father Knows Last    First Aired: January 20, 1983
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Mark King, Jack Knight

Diane attempts to prevent an injustice when Carla schemes to convince an unwitting computer programmer that he's the father of her baby.


16 The Boys in the Bar    First Aired: January 27, 1983
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Alan Autry, Harry Anderson, John Furey, Michael Kearns, Kenneth Tigar, Lee Ryan, Jack Knight, Tom Babson

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.


17 Diane's Perfect Date    First Aired: February 10, 1983
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Derek McGrath, Gretchen Corbett, Doug Sheehan

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 seasons.


18 No Contest    First Aired: February 17, 1983
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Charlie Stavola, Renee Gentry, Paul Vaughn, Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, Tessa Richarde, Sharon Peters

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.


19 Pick a Con. . . Any Con    First Aired: February 24, 1983
Writer: David Angell
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Harry Anderson, Reid Shelton

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.


20 Someone Single, Someone Blue    First Aired: March 3, 1983
Writer: David Angell
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Glynis Johns, Duncan Ross, Dean Dittman, Paul Willson

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.


21 Showdown (Part 1)    First Aired: March 24, 1983
Writers: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: George Ball, Alan Koss, Paul Vaughn, Deborah Shelton

Sam can't conceal his resentment of his visiting brother--a rich and talented charmer with something to offer everyone, especially Diane.


22 Showdown (Part 2)    First Aired: March 31, 1983
Writers: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Lois DeBanzie, Helen Page Camp, Peggy Kubena

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.

 

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