Before Rebecca and Sam slept together, before Rebecca lit the place on fire, and even before the evil foosball table, there was Sam and Diane and Coach and Norm and Cliff and Carla in the 80s.
And they all worked in a place where everybody knows your name.
Cheers debuted on NBC in the fall of 1982, and just three years later became the third leg in what was (and still is) arguably the best two hours of television ever. “Must See Thursday”, indeed. Seriously, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, and Night Court. What could be better?
Sam Malone, a washed-up Red Sox pitcher, became the owner of a little bar in Boston, and the rest… well, the rest was comedy (and television) history.
From his flirting with the lovely (though uptight) Diane Chambers, to his camaraderie with space-case Cliff Clavin and lovable lump Norm, Cheers was one of the funniest and best-written shows of the 80s.
And then there was Coach, the warm, happy, and yes, scatterbrained bartender, who was a perfect foil for the loud-mouth, obnoxious (in a good way) Carla. Sure, his passing in 1985 paved the way for Woody to come on board… but man, did it suck when we had to say goodbye to him. It was a loss that hung with the show straight through the very last scene in the very last episode (in 1993), when Sam straightened that old Geronimo photo:
The 80s years of Cheers brought some of the show’s most memorable moments, including the departure of Diane (“Have a good life”), the arrival of Rebecca (“Um, I am a corporate attorney with the firm Emerson… Lake and Palmer”), and of course the daily Norm entrance (“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear”).
Throughout its run, Cheers won awards out the ying-yang, including the Emmy for Best Comedy in ’83, ’84, and ’89 (and 1991). It also won acting Emmys for Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Kirstie Alley, Woody Harrelson, Bebe Neuwirth, and four for Rhea Perlman.
We could go on and on (and on and on), but suffice to say that taking a break from all our worries to watch Cheers every Thursday night sure did help a lot.
We ♥ Cheers.