Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cheers 2.1: "Power Play"

Airdate: 9/29/83

Picking up exactly where the previous season left off, Sam and Diane agree to start a relationship, but the road to first sex is a bumpy one indeed. First, the couple can’t exit the bar until Sam finds away of making their first assignation location “special.” When they agree on her apartment, Sam’s eagerness to start frustrates Diane’s romantic side, and he promptly gets thrown out. Back at the bar, the gang advises him to be the man and take charge; when he returns heeding just such advice (and breaking down the door), she, doe-eyed, slips into something flimsy… and proceeds to call the cops, admonishing that violence has no part in a relationship. Dejected, and defeated, he gives in to her lustful side; just before the big moment, he wonders why she doesn’t call off the cops. When she admits her bluff, he secretly throws all her stuffed animals out the window before going back into the bedroom.

The relationship from hell is about to begin – popcorn, anyone? This is an aptly titled show – chronicling one afternoon and evening, this is a masterful game of one-upsmanship – a nasty, sometimes ugly exercise in deceit and insecurity: in short, the game of love. We finally get to see Diane’s apartment, and this also may be the first substantial time spent outside the bar.

Bravo once again to writers (and show creators) Glen and Les Charles, and to Shelley Long and Ted Danson- astoundingly good characterizations and razor-sharp repartee. I think the mass appeal of a show like this is the idea that we’ve all been in relationships like this. We know how they usually turn out, but as they say (and Diane quotes), “Fools rush in, where wise men fear to tread.” So why do we do it? As someone else famously said, “Love makes such fools of us all!”

Cold open: The last scene of the previous episode, “Showdown, Part 2.”

Norm’s opener: Norm’s already at the bar.

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