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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season Eleven: 1992-93

SEASON ONE: 1982-83
SEASON TWO: 1983-84
SEASON FOUR: 1985-86
SEASON FIVE: 1986-87
SEASON SIX: 1987-88
SEASON NINE: 1990-91
SEASON TEN: 1991-92

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"Cheers" on Video or DVD


Year-End Rating: 16.1 (8th place)

After a nearly unprecedented run of eleven prime-time seasons, the creators of Cheers finally decide to call it quits with a record-length valedictory season that will ultimately increase the show's already bulging comic inventory by no less than twenty-eight all-new half hours. Executive producers for the show's farewell season are Dan O'Shannon and Tom Anderson, who share the title with the show's creators, Glen Charles, James Burrows, and Les Charles. Dan Staley and Rob Long are co-executive producers for the show's final season, which is produced by Tim Berry and co-produced by Tom Leopold. Other notable contributors to the show's eleventh-season story sessions include executive story consultant Rebecca Parr Cioffi, story consultant Kathy Ann Stumpe, and story editors Fred Graver and Sue Herring. And rounding out the show's writing staff for season eleven are executive script consultant Bob Ellison and veteran creative consultants David Lloyd, Ken Levine, and David Isaacs.

246 The Little Match Girl    First Aired: September 24, 1992
Writers: Dan Staley, Rob Long
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Jackie Swanson, Keene Curtis, Robert Machray, Amanda Carlin, Peter Keleghan, Peter Kevoian

Rebecca tries to lay the blame on faulty wiring after she accidentally sets fire to the bar.

247 The Beer Is Always Greener    First Aired: October 1, 1992
Writer: Tom Leopold
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Jackie Swanson, Glenn Shadix, Matthew Glave, Julia Montgomery, Rosa Nevin, Paul Willson, Alan Koss, Tim Cunningham, Philip Perlman, Spencer Beglarian

Carla discovers far greener pastures--and substantially increased tips--when she lands a temporary job at another bar during Cheers's post-fire rehabilitation.

248 The King of Beers    First Aired: October 8, 1992
Writer: Dan O'Shannon
Director: John Ratzenberger
Guest Stars: Cliff Bemis, Cameron Thor, Paul Willson, Joe Costanza, Bradford English, William Long, Jr., Mirron E. Willis

Norm thinks that he's found his dream job when he signs on as beer taster for a local brewery; and Rebecca tries her luck on the bar's new slot machine.

249 The Magnificent Six    First Aired: October 22, 1992
Writer: Sue Herring
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Anthony Cistaro, Eddie Jones, Sondra C. Baker, Jennifer Gatti, Jeri Gale, Leilani Jones, Patricia Clipper, Maria Pecci, Tim Cunningham, Alan Koss, Philip Perlman

Sam pits his homegrown charms against Henri's continental savoir-faire when the two playboys vie for the unofficial title of "world's greatest ladies' man."

250 Do Not Forsake Me, O My Postman    First Aired: October 29, 1992
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: John Mahoney, Annie Golden, Derek McGrath, Cameron Watson, Paul Willson, Tim Cunningham, Jack Kenny, Leland Orser, Steve Giannelli

Maggie O'Keefe returns to Cheers with startling news for Cliff--he's going to be a father; and Rebecca commissions a songwriter to compose an advertising jingle for the bar.

The episode's teaser features Derek McGrath in a reprise of his role as Andy Andy, the ex-con who made life miserable for Diane Chambers in the show's early years. Another familiar face in the episode's guest cast is John Mahoney, who appears here as jingle writer Sy Flembeck; the actor would be reunited with at least one of the show's cast members the following season, when Mahoney would land the part of Frasier's dad, Martin, on the Cheers spinoff series Frasier.

251 Teaching With the Enemy    First Aired: November 5, 1992
Writer: Tom Anderson
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Don Gibb, Larry Brandenburg, Barry Zajac, Philip Perlman, Michael Buchman Silver

Rebecca can hardly believe her eyes when she spies Frasier's wife, Lilith, in the arms of another man.

252 The Girl in the Plastic Bubble    First Aired: November 12, 1992
Writer: Dan O'Shannon
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Peter Vogt, Brian Smiar, Tim Cunningham, Patrick Shea

Frasier is ready to toss himself from a ledge after Lilith informs him that she plans to spend the coming year in an underground biosphere with her new lover.

253 Ill Gotten Gaines    First Aired: November 19, 1992
Writer: Fred Graver
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Keene Curtis, Jackie Swanson, Richard Doyle, Robert Cornthwaite, Sondra Currie, Christopher and Kevin Graves, John Valentine, Thomas Tulak, Danny Kramer, Sabrina Wiener

Kelly's father is convinced that Woody is trying to blackmail him; and Rebecca's Thanksgiving feast for the gang goes predictably awry.

254 Feelings . . . Whoa, Whoa, Whoa    First Aired: December 3, 1992
Writer: Kathy Ann Stumpe
Director: Rick Beren
Guest Stars: Keene Curtis, Jackie Swanson, Erick Avari, Paul Willson, Tim Cunningham, Philip Perlman, Eric A. Payne

Carla is reluctant to reveal her true feelings after John Allen Hill suffers a heart attack.

255 Daddy's Little Middle-Aged Girl    First Aired: December 10, 1992
Writer: Rebecca Parr Cioffi
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Robert Prosky, Jackie Swanson

Rebecca's dictatorial father commands her to move back to San Diego; and Woody and Kelly attempt to iron out the kinks in their own living arrangements.

One-time Hill Street Blues co-star Robert Prosky is cast as Rebecca's tyrannical father, Navy Captain Franklin Howe. The part was actually a homecoming of sorts for the well-known character actor, who had some years earlier been offered the part of Coach in the show's original pilot. But though scheduling difficulties forced the actor to forfeit the role--which was eventually played to great effect by Nick Colasanto--the show's producers were only too pleased to invite the actor back to the bar when this plumb guest-starring role finally presented itself a decade later. Also present in the episode's guest cast is Ethel Kennedy, who contributes a cameo in the show's teaser.

256 Love Me, Love My Car    First Aired: December 17, 1992
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Dana Delany, Shane Sweet, Toni Elizabeth White, Amanda Costello

Sam is determined to get his Corvette back from the widow of the man who bought it from him; and Rebecca becomes attached to the pig that Woody plans to cook for Christmas dinner.

Dana Delany, late of ABC's Vietnam-era series China Beach, guest stars as the widow who inherits Sam's car.

257 Sunday Dinner    First Aired: January 7, 1993
Writer: Fred Graver
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Kristen Cloke, David Froman, Marilyn Rockafellow, Jonathan Emerson, Toby Ganger, Charles Esten, Colin Drake, Ruth Engel, Paul Willson, Laura Gardner, George Milan, Richard Danielson, Chris and Kevin Graves, Tim Cunningham, Alan Koss

Frasier mistakes his secretary's intentions after she invites him to her house for Sunday dinner; and Norm and Cliff videotape a family reunion.

258 Norm's Big Audit    First Aired: January 14, 1993
Writer: Tom Leopold
Director: John Ratzenberger
Guest Stars: Sharon Barr, Paul Willson, Tim Cunningham, Steve Giannelli, Alan Koss

A determined IRS auditor makes a play for Norm; and Sam attempts to prevent the gang from watching one of his old games on TV.

Sharon Barr, who had previously guest starred as one of the bachelor-bidders in the sixth-year episode "Bidding on the Boys," returns to play the IRS agent in this episode--one of the rare instances where the show's producers violated their own long-standing "one actor-one role" casting rule.

259 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Bar    First Aired: January 21, 1993
Writer: Rebecca Parr Cioffi
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Roger Rees, Robert Machray

A newly destitute Robin Colcord returns to Cheers hoping to retrieve a cache of money he'd stashed there before his arrest.

260 Loathe and Marriage    First Aired: February 4, 1993
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Jean Kasem, Dan Hedaya, Keene Curtis, Jackie Swanson, Leah Remini, Josh Lozoff, Dennis Cockrum, Barry Zajac

Carla's daughter, Serafina, ferments a minor family crisis when she insists that her wayward father, Nick, be allowed to give her away at her upcoming wedding.

261 Is There a Doctor in the Howe? (Part 1)    First Aired: February 11, 1993
Writer: Kathy Ann Stumpe
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Paul Willson, Tera Hendrickson, Tim Cunningham, Alan Koss, Peter Schreiner

Still reeling from the shock of his recent marital difficulties, Frasier turns to Rebecca for romantic consolation.

262 The Bar Manager, the Shrink, His Wife and Her Lover (Part 2) February 18, 1993
Writer: Kathy Ann Stumpe
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Keene Curtis, Peter Vogt, Paul Willson

Lilith pays a surprise call on Frasier, with her newly deranged fiancé--now armed and dangerous--not far behind.

Guest star Peter Vogt returns in the role of Lilith's slightly off-center paramour, Dr. Louis Pascal.

263 The Last Picture Show    First Aired: February 25, 1993
Writers: Fred Graver
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Pat Hingle, Michael Winters, Nick Oleson

Carla and Rebecca contemplate mutiny after Sam leaves the bar's former owner in charge; and Cliff leads the guys on a nostalgic excursion to a local drive-in theater.

Veteran character actor Pat Hingle plays the bar's former proprietor, Gus O'Malley.

264 Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey    First Aired: March 18, 1993
Writers: Ken Levine, David Isaacs
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Harry Anderson, Robert Desiderio, Paul Willson, Maurice Roëves, Jayson Kane

Sam enlists the help of con man Harry the Hat in the latest round of the bar's ongoing feud with the denizens of Gary's Old Towne Tavern.

Longtime Night Court star Harry Anderson once again reprises his occasional role as the bar's resident bamboozler, Harry the Hat.

265 Look Before You Sleep    First Aired: April 1, 1993
Writer: Rebecca Parr Cioffi
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Frances Sternhagen, Peter MacNicol, Keene Curtis, Bernadette Birkett, Gordon Clapp, Deirdre Imershein

Sam embarks on an increasingly futile search for a bed to sleep in after he accidentally locks his house keys in the bar.

Film star Peter MacNicol guest stars as the hotel clerk in this episode. Also featured in the episode's supporting cast is Gordon Clapp, who would figure prominently in the ensemble cast of ABC's NYPD Blue the following season.

266 Woody Gets an Election    First Aired: April 22, 1993
Writers: Dan O'Shannon, Tom Anderson, Dan Staley, Rob Long
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Jackie Swanson, Spanky McFarland, Philip Baker Hall, Peri Gilpin, Clarke Gordon, Paul Willson, LaTanya Richardson, Stephen Parr, Jerry Penacoli

Frasier nominates Woody for a city council seat as a prank, only to find himself amazed when the bartender's campaign actually begins to gain momentum.

Former Our Gang star Spanky McFarland contributes a cameo in this episode. Also featured in the guest cast is Peri Gilpin, who would reappear as Frasier's able assistant, Roz, on Frasier the following season.

267 It's Lonely on the Top    First Aired: April 29, 1993
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Jackie Swanson, Philip Perlman, Paul Willson

Carla is overwhelmed by remorse in the wake of a recent romantic indiscretion, until Sam bolsters her waning self-confidence with a surprising revelation of his own.

Filmed out of broadcast sequence, this show bears the distinction of being the last-produced episode of Cheers.

268 Rebecca Gaines, Rebecca Loses (one hour)    First Aired: May 6, 1993
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Frances Sternhagen, Jackie Swanson, Richard Doyle, George Hearn, Robert Cornthwaite, Paul Willson, Calvin Remsberg, Renata Scott

Rebecca jumps to the conclusion that Kelly's father has designs on her; and the gang suspects foul play when Cliff's mother appears to have vanished without a trace.

269 The Guy Can't Help It    First Aired: May 13, 1993
Writers: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Tom Berenger, Sharon Lawrence, Paul Willson, Gilbert Lewis, Bradford Bancroft, Steve Kehela

Rebecca wonders if she's finally found Mr. Right when she begins dating a plumber; and Sam makes a break with the past when he joins a support group for sexual compulsives.

Film actor Tom Berenger, best-remembered for his starring role in the 1986 Oscar winner Platoon, is well-cast as Rebecca's earthy romantic interest, Don Santry. Also featured in this episode's guest roster is Sharon Lawrence, who would land a choice role in the cast of ABC's NYPD Blue the following season.

270 One for the Road (two-hour special)    First Aired: May 20, 1993
Writers: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Shelley Long, Tom Berenger, Jackie Swanson, Mike Ditka, Kim Alexis, Mark Harelik, Anthony Heald, Paul Willson, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Tim Cunningham, Steve Giannelli, Alan Koss

When Diane Chambers turns up for an unexpected visit, Sam is determined to convince his former fiancée that he's discovered domestic bliss at last; and Rebecca finds a happy denouement to her own romantic woes when her whirlwind courtship with plumber Don Santry leads to matrimony.

Originally intended to run in a one-hour time slot, the last episode's running time was expanded by an additional half-hour during the show's final production week, after it became clear to all concerned that trying to wrap up eleven seasons' worth of loose ends in anything less than an hour and half would've proved a difficult task indeed. It's unlikely that the show's producers received any argument on that decision from the programmers at NBC, who rather shrewdly positioned the show's 97-minute grand finale as the centerpiece of "Last Call," the gala two-hour spectacular that would serve as the show's last hurrah on prime time. The series's closing night festivities were kicked off with a special twenty-two minute Cheers mini-retrospective hosted by NBC sports announcer Bob Costas.

By the time Cheers left the air at the close of the 1992-93 prime-time season, the series had long since distinguished itself as one of the most popular programs in the history of the medium. But perhaps the greatest measure of the show's lasting legacy can be seen in its ongoing influence on the better comedies that dot today's prime-time landscape, where Cheers's trademark blend of high comedy and understated wit continues to inform and inspire situation comedies as varied in texture and approach as Murphy Brown, Roseanne, Seinfeld, Friends, and, of course, Frasier.

None of which should come as a surprise to readers of the present volume, who will by this point have little difficulty recognizing Cheers's unique status as the latest link in a comic dynasty that stretches at least as far back as I Love Lucy. And, as Cheers marches forth to assume its rightful place in the hallowed company of the medium's most-beloved classics, it's not hard to imagine Sam Malone standing up at the end of his bar to lead a toast.

Raise your mugs, he might propose, and toast the Ricardos and the Kramdens; here's to the Petries, the Bunkers, and the Hartleys. To all those TV families who, in good times or bad, never failed to leave their porch lights burning.

To the cabbies at Sunshine Taxi and the staff of the WJM Six O'Clock News; to the die-hard detectives of the Twelfth Precinct, and the tireless surgeons of the 4077th. To all the misfits and miscreants who beckoned us to join their gang on those nights when we had nothing better to do. It was an invitation we found hard to resist--even when we did have better things to do. And, finally, a toast to all those sitting at the bar. To tomorrow's classics, and all those reruns yet to come.



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