America’s Favorite Bar

Do you want to go where everybody knows your name? How many of us really wished we could walk into the actual doors to Cheers? On Thursday nights starting in September of 1982 until 1993, millions did watch as Norm (George Wendt) walked through those doors, hearing his name called out in unison by those in the bar. Sadly, it never happened for Cliff (John Ratzenberger).

Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) started the first episode with such a love-hate relationship that everyone knew where it was going, but it took much longer than expected, with great comedy and drama along the way. Anticipation brought viewers back, Thursday after Thursday, only to find Sam rejected by Diane in so many funny ways. Then the romance culminated in one of the funniest shows ever, and continued to have twists and turns, until it was over. Then Frazier (Kelsey Grammer) enters to eventually propose to, and plan to marry Diane. The wedding that never happened was one of the best cliff-hanging endings to a season.

Finally, Diane returns only to leave Sam, the bar and Boston. And CHEERS was never the same. Shelley Long was so perfect as Diane, but it seems she could not recapture the magic in any other role. Kirstie Alley came along as Rebecca. She was funny, and did a good job, but just couldn’t replace Diane. The dynamics between Sam, Carla (Rhea Perlman), Norm, Cliff, Woody (Woody Harrelson), and Frazier remained to carry the show through the remainder of the five seasons.

When you look at the spin-off of FRAZIER, the continued successful career of Woody Harrelson, Bebe Neuwirth, and Ted Danson’s later series of BECKER you see how influential the show remained. It was often mentioned or parodied in other shows. For years it could be seen every night in syndication. Many of us never tired of watching.