I love Netflix streaming service and its library of programming both old and new.
Recently, I saw that they had added one of my favorite shows growing up–“Cheers.” In many cases, when I revisit a television series that I loved in my youth I find nostalgia in watching it but little else. While watching “Cheers,” I find myself laughing just as much, if not more so, this second time around.
I remember the change from Coach to Woody when it happened, but I didn’t know when the show first aired what prompted the departure. I may be the only one, but as much as I liked Coach, I think Woody was his equal in playing the lovable buffoon. That is not to say that I didn’t miss Coach, I did, but I don’t think the show suffered greatly from his replacement. Woody brought a youthful quality to the show that was previously lacking and opened it to a wider audience, in my opinion. This dynamic was not my intent for this post.
For the remainder, I intend to focus on the episode that with many sitcoms would have provided an opportunity for the show to “jump the shark,” which this great show was fortunate to avoid.
The episode that I am referring to is season 5, episode 26 : “I do, Adieu.” This was the season finale and certainly could have been the series finale, as we saw the departure of a main character–the on-again, off-again love interest of Sam Mallone–Dianne Chambers, portrayed by Shelley Long. In this episode, after several years of their stormy relationship we join the two in Cheers for a wedding. The episode moves along with its usual road bumps for Sam and Dianne towards their eventual fight, which in this episode never comes. We see, instead, an unusual depth from Sam as an opportunity opens for Dianne to fulfill a lifelong goal of becoming an academic success with the publishing of a novel. Instead of pushing to get married, Sam tells Dianne that she has to pursue this opportunity despite her insistence that her true desire is to marry Sam. After Sam convinces Dianne to make the most of this chance of a lifetime, he tells her, “have a good life.” Dianne of course balks at this and assures Sam that she’ll be back in “six months.” As Dianne climbs the steps outside of Cheers, Sam watches her departure and says again, “have a good life.”
This may have been one of the most profound moments in Ted Danson‘s acting career because he truly seemed to be Sam Malone losing the love of his life to her hopes and dreams. It was a powerful moment in television history, and I am glad that Netflix is allowing me the opportunity to relive this series from start to finish.
I know that “Cheers” will always hold a special place in my heart because I used to watch it with my father and we would laugh together as the gang would jibe each other or laugh at each other’s misfortune. With “Cheers” you get to see goofy people trying to get away from their problems in a place ‘where everybody knows your name.’