I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season Two: 1983-84
1983-84: THE SECOND SEASON
Year-End Rating: 16.6 (34th place)
Sam and Diane's well-contained passion finally bubbles to the surface
when the pair form a tentative romantic alliance during the second season.
Once again, the producers are Glen Charles, James Burrows, and Les Charles.
The second-year story editors are David Angell and Heide Perlman. David
Lloyd serves as executive script consultant, a function he will serve
throughout most of the show's remaining seasons.
The gang at Cheers doesn't hold much hope for Sam and Diane's newly
blossomed romance after Sam returns to Cheers early on the night of
their first date.
"You've made my life a living hell," Sam complains, brushing aside
the stuffed toys that litter the scene of their intended carnal pleasure.
"I didn't want you to think I was easy," Diane retorts, setting the
comic tone for the bumpy romance that ensues throughout the second season.
The show's loyal fans were delighted to see Sam and Diane in each other's
arms at last, but the couple's petty insecurities and power plays nearly
doom the affair before it's begun.
Cliff falls for Carla's identical twin, a mousy woman who's actually
more like her sister than anyone guesses.
Early on, Coach proclaims Cheers "a romantic bar. As many people fall
in love here as get sick." But before the night is over, it's Cliff
and Norm who declare their devotion--to each other! After Norm warns
Cliff away from Carla's sister, the bewildered postman confesses that
Normie is the best friend he's ever had--though the two do stop short
of actually hugging. As Cliff points out, it's not like Norm pulled
him from a burning car or anything. Rhea Perlman also plays Carla's
twin sister, Annette Lozupone.
Norm and Diane each decide to expand their horizons, but for very different
Andy Andy returns to Cheers with a new career goal--he wants to be
Diane's criminally maladjusted blind date is up to his old tricks
when he performs a strikingly realistic interpretation of the murder
scene from Othello, with Diane as his unsuspecting Desdemona.
To compete with Diane's brainy former beau, Sam tries to finish War
and Peace in five days.
Carla rebuffs her latest suitor, convinced that any guy who's interested
in her must have something wrong with him.
An overbearing sportscaster wagers that he can put an end to Sam and
Diane's romance within twenty-four hours.
Coach undergoes a startling personality transformation when he volunteers
to manage a Little League team.
Dick Cavett inspires Sam to write his memoirs; and Norm fumes when
Vera dates his old high-school rival.
Broke, unemployed, and homeless after his separation from Vera, Norm
has evolved into an almost heroically pathetic character. At his lowest
ebb, he actually takes up full-time residence in his home-away-from-home
when he secretly camps out in Sam's office after closing hours.
Diane insists on a week's separation from Sam to allow them both time
to reevaluate the depth of their commitment.
Diane refuses to believe that her best friend finds Sam completely
The gang at Cheers lifts the gloom of a terminally ill customer, and
in return he leaves them $10,000 in a hastily scrawled will.
Carla's insensitive ex-husband invites her to his wedding, which she
attends with Sam in tow.
Dan Hedaya gives flesh to the previously only imagined horrors of
Carla's ex-husband, Nick Tortelli, who would soon develop semi-regular
status in the Cheers cosmos.
Feeling sorry for Norm, Sam reluctantly hires the unemployed accountant
to do Cheers's income tax return.
When Coach begins to spend his every waking moment with Sam and Diane,
they decide to fix him up with an eligible woman of his own.
Tired of hearing Cliff's opinions on everything under the sun, a Cheers
patron finally challenges the verbose mailman to a fight.
Diane worries that the uncanny predictions of an antique fortune-teller's
scale might end the spell--and spell the end--for her and Sam.
The couple convince themselves that their fate rests on the very next
card drawn from the fortune-teller's slot, but the cryptic legend reads,
"Machine empty. Order more fortunes today." The screen goes black before
they have time to comprehend the message, and we are left on our own
to ponder their fate--at least for another week.
As the comedy traces the peaks and valleys in the continuing saga
of Sam and Diane, their epic courtship begins to take on nearly operatic
proportions. The show's creators admit a far greater debt to soap opera
than Wagner, but still insist they never planned to carry the romance
to such extremes when they started. "Initially there was no master plan,"
Glen Charles confessed, "but when it began to look like the show might
actually stay on the air a second year, we knew we'd have to chart their
relationship over a period of time. Now, at the start of every year,
we sit down and figure out where we want Sam and Diane to be at the
beginning, the middle, and the end of the season."
Cliff is jealous of Norm's new friendship; and Sam concocts a far-fetched
story so that he can slip away for a weekend skiing trip in Vermont.
Coach mourns the passing of an old friend until he discovers that the
cad was once romantically involved with his wife.
The guys egg Norm into making a play for an attractive woman who's
hired him to audit her books.
A temperamental artist offers to paint Diane's portrait, convinced
that he can reveal the inner turmoil that Sam has inflicted on her soul.
Christopher Lloyd, late of Taxi, plays Philip Semenko, the
haughty painter who comes between Sam and Diane.
Diane jeopardizes her relationship with Sam when she poses for a portrait
against his express wishes.
Once again, the Charles brothers script a darkly funny season finale.
This one ends with the lovers pitched in a nose-pulling, slapstick standoff
that's as harrowing as it is hilarious. "This is it!" Diane declares
in comic desperation. "We have sunk as low as two human beings can sink.
There is no degradation left!" Only after she's stormed out of Cheers
for good does Sam allow himself to be taken in by the fragile melancholy
of her oil portrait. In the episode's final, sad moment, the barman--who
rebelled so violently against Diane's cultural superiority--now finds
his only solace in the quiet appreciation of a work of art.