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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
Season Four: 1985-86

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: 23.7 (5th place)

In the fourth year, Woody Harrelson joins Cheers's cast as the new bartender, Woody Boyd. Peter Casey and David Lee are the season's producers, along with Heide Perlman and David Angell. Writers Cheri Eichen and Bill Steinkellner are the executive story consultants for season four.

70 Birth, Death, Love, and Rice    First Aired: September 26, 1985
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Woody Harrelson

Sam tracks Diane to a convent, where she's taken to scrubbing floors in penance for the reckless debauchery of her recent European spree.

Frasier Crane, dumped by Diane and now at his lowest ebb, has finally earned a place at Cheers, where he will spend the better part of the fourth season nursing his wounds.

71 Woody Goes Belly Up    First Aired: October 3, 1985
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director:James Burrows
Guest Star: Amanda Wyss

Woody begins a mysterious eating binge after his hometown girlfriend pays a surprise visit.

After Nick Colasanto's death in the third season, the producers tackled the delicate challenge of replacing the well-loved actor who had become firmly identified with the role of Cheers's bartender. Newcomer Harrelson's Woody Boyd bore little outward resemblance to Colasanto. Yet, like the Coach before him, the new bartender provided Cheers with a marshmallow center that took the sting off the show's occasionally bitter sarcasm. As Les Charles observed, "Our humor tends to have a hard edge. On Cheers, if you take that sweet and innocent guy away, it gets a little dark in the bar."

72 Someday My Prince Will Come    First Aired: October 17, 1985
Writers: Tom Seeley, Norman Gunzenhauser
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Frank Dent

After she creates a lively fantasy life about the owner of a lost jacket, Diane rashly arranges a blind date with her imagined Prince Charming.

73 The Groom Wore Clearasil    First Aired: October 24, 1985
Writers: Peter Casey, David Lee
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Timothy Williams, Mandy Ingber, John Ingle, Sherilyn Fenn

Carla hopes that the allure of Sam's bachelor lifestyle will dissuade her teenage son from his premature marriage plans.

74 Diane's Nightmare    First Aired: October 31, 1985
Writer: David Lloyd
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Derek McGrath, Nancy Cartwright

Diane dreams that the ex-con who once tried to strangle her is hiding out in Cheers's cellar.

The long-running saga of Andy Andy apparently comes to an end when the maladjusted murderer returns to Cheers as a healthy and honorable citizen. Alas, as it turns out, the unlikely events are merely part of a dream-within-a-dream that also features Diane's unlikely fantasy of Sam as a culture vulture with a pipe and smoking jacket.

75 I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday    First Aired: November 7, 1985
Writers: Cheri Eichen, Bill Steinkellner
Director:James Burrows
Guest Star: William Lanteau

Sam is understandably upset when Diane borrows $500, only to squander the cash on an Ernest Hemingway first edition.

76 2 Good 2 Be 4 Real    First Aired: November 14, 1985
Writers: Peter Casey, David Lee
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Michael Alaimo, Don Lewis

The guys concoct an imaginary lonely hearts pen pal for Carla, but the ruse backfires when she rejects a real life prospect in favor of her dream date.

77 Love Thy Neighbor    First Aired: November 21, 1985
Writer: David Angell
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Miriam Flynn, Ernie Sabella, John F. Dryer, Carolyn Ann Clark

Norm and his neighbor's wife jump to conclusions about their spouses; and Diane is incensed when Sam describes her as his "former love bunny" on a radio show.

Even when confronted with his wife's adultery, Norm maintains his usual aplomb, though he does eventually leave his barstool--a sure sign of emotional upheaval for the uncommonly sedentary drinker. The burly accountant actually reveals a wistful side when he tells Woody a tender anecdote about the football game where he first set eyes on the cheerleader he would one day marry. But Woody is more interested in who won the game--a gag, typical of Cheers, that undercuts the sentiment at the precise moment before it grows leaden.

David Angell's script is refreshing in another way. Somehow, he's fashioned a script about adultery without resorting to any of the idiotic clichés that have rescued errant sitcom wives from their husbands' wrath since the dawn of the cathode ray tube: Vera wasn't secretly planning Norm's surprise party; she wasn't mistakenly overheard rehearsing lines from a play; nor was the man she'd been seeing really a TV producer planning to spotlight Norm on This Is Your Life. She actually was planning to cheat on poor Norm, but everything is resolved so that Norm, Vera, and the neighbor's wife are all allowed their full measure of dignity.

78 From Beer to Eternity    First Aired: November 28, 1985
Writers: Peter Casey, David Lee
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Joel Polis

When Woody freezes up during the crucial frame of the Cheers bowling tournament, Diane takes it upon herself to rescue the bar's wounded pride.

79 The Barstoolie    First Aired: December 5, 1985
Writers: Andy Cowan, David S. Williger
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Dick O'Neill, Claudia Cron

Diane joins Sam and his new girlfriend on their first date; and Cliff is reunited with his long-lost father.

80 Don Juan Is Hell    First Aired: December 12, 1985
Writer: Phoef Sutton
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Kenneth Tigar, Steve Minor

Sam is flattered when Diane's psychology class observes him as a case study in modern human sexuality.

81 Fools and Their Money    First Aired: December 19, 1985
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Paul Willson, Al Rosen

Inspired by his success in the Cheers football pool, Woody bets his entire life savings on an impossible long shot.

82 Take My Shirt, Please    First Aired: January 9, 1986
Writer: David Lloyd
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Robert Symonds, Frances Bey

Sam's ego takes a beating when he donates his retired baseball jersey to a charity auction--and no one bids on it.

83 Suspicion    First Aired: January 16, 1986
Writer: Tom Reeder
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Hamilton Camp

As part of her latest psychology experiment, Diane dupes the gang at Cheers--and then faces the anxiety of awaiting their certain revenge.

84 The Triangle    First Aired: January 23, 1986
Writer: Susan Seeger
Director: James Burrows

To lift Frasier's sagging spirits from a deep depression, Sam and Diane agree to pose as lovers once more--with dire consequences.

85 Cliffie's Big Score    First Aired: January 30, 1986
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director: James Burrows

Cliff's in double trouble when Diane and Carla each consents to be his date for the mailman's ball.

86 Second Time Around    First Aired: February 6, 1986
Writers: Cheri Eichen, Bill Steinkellner
Director: Tom Lofaro
Guest Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Bebe Neuwirth, Lou Fant

Sam's campaign to salvage Frasier's shrinking self-respect takes an unexpected turn after the bartender fixes him up with a woman who is guaranteed to be a sure thing.

87 The Peterson Principle    First Aired: February 13, 1986
Writers: Peter Casey, David Lee
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Chip Zien, Daniel Davis

Norm discovers that a co-worker is having an affair with the boss's wife and wonders if he should use the information to gain a promotion.

88 Dark Imaginings    First Aired: February 20, 1986
Writer: David Angell
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Pamela Bach, Tim Dunigan, Christine Dickinson Lisa Vice, Jeré Fields

Sam refuses to acknowledge that he's not as spry as he once was, until he lands in the hospital from injuries he got on the racquetball court.

89 Save the Last Dance for Me    First Aired: February 27, 1986
Writer: Heide Perlman
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Dan Hedaya, Jean Kasem, Hal Landon, Jr., Nick Dimitri, Sinara Stull

Carla wants to win a dance contest in her old neighborhood so badly that she's willing to consider a temporary reunion with her ex-husband, Nick Tortelli.

The writers frequently alluded to Carla's Terpsichorean passion--an enthusiasm shared by actress Rhea Perlman, who regularly devoted one lunch hour a week to tap-dance lessons on the studio lot.

90 Fear Is My Co-Pilot    First Aired: March 13, 1986
Writers: Cheri Eichen, Bill Steinkellner
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Joseph Whipp

Sam and Diane get a chance to live dangerously when a daredevil pilot abandons them at the controls of his plane in midair.

91 Diane Chambers Day    First Aired: March 20, 1986
Writer: Kimberly Hill
Director: James Burrows

To brighten Diane's spirits, the gang at Cheers grudgingly attends an evening at the opera.

92 Relief Bartender    First Aired: March 27, 1986
Writer: Miriam Trogdon
Director: James Burrows

Sam takes on a new bartender and then reluctantly gives Woody notice when he discovers that he can't afford to keep them both.

93 Strange Bedfellows (Part 1)    First Aired: May 1, 1986
Writer: David Angell
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Kate Mulgrew, David Paymer, Max Wright, Brad Burlingame, Carolyn Ann Clark, Mike Hagerty

Carla and Diane are each concerned when Sam's fling with a brash lady politician starts to develop into something more serious.

Diane had good reason to fret: Kate Mulgrew's Janet Eldridge was the first woman to pose a real threat to her relationship with Sam. "We wanted Sam genuinely involved with someone other than Diane," explained writer Glen Charles. "Rather than just having them say they loved each other, we let it run three episodes so that it would mean a little more."

94 Strange Bedfellows (Part 2)    First Aired: May 8, 1986
Writer: David Angell
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Kate Mulgrew, David Paymer, Max Wright, Senator Gary Hart

Janet reveals a jealous streak when she insists that Sam fire Diane and sever his ties with the barmaid once and for all.

The character of strong, confident Janet Eldridge brings out colors we hadn't before seen in Diane--or in Carla either. Rarely have our sympathies for Diane been so deeply felt as when we spy her huddling under the bar after she overhears Sam's resolution to dump her--abandoned and painfully alone. Oddly, Sam echoes a similar emotion in the show's closing moments. After Diane has made the first of her grand exits, he cranes his neck for one last, longing glance at the woman who has haunted his every waking hour for the previous four years.

95 Strange Bedfellows (Part 3)    First Aired: May 15, 1986
Writer: David Angell
Director:James Burrows
Guest Stars: Kate Mulgrew, David Paymer

After Sam and Diane create a public scene during Janet's press conference, the councilwoman develops serious doubts about her future with the bartender.

Diane stages her most grandiose exit yet in a scene that slyly encapsulates the slapstick sadomasochism that has plagued their relationship from the start. As the TV cameras roll, Diane storms out of the bar--dragging Sam after her by the neck--before she abruptly slams the door on him, and Cheers, forever.

Or at least until the start of the next season.

In the show's final moments, Sam picks up the phone to tender a weary marriage proposal to the unseen voice on the other end. Of course, the cliff-hanger leaves us dangling--but few fans of the show were surprised at the top of the fifth year when Sam greeted Diane to replay for another season the sublime agony that only those two seemed to understand.


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