Fit to be tied Carla announces that her ex-husband, Nick Tortelli, is about to be married. Oh, no – she’s totally over him – maybe that’s why she pulls the sweater over the head of any guy brazen enough offer her psychotherapy, including a real psychotherapist. When Nick visits Cheers with his wife-to-be, a blonde, bus station bimbo, Carla convinces Sam to act as her boyfriend and go with her to the wedding, despite his and Diane’s plans to spend the weekend together in Maine. Ultimately, the plan goes off without a hitch – possibly too well, as Nick, seeing his ex in the hands of another man, is enflamed with jealously and wants her back. Resolutely, she resists, and she and Sam share a kiss together, before mutually confirming their friendship is ever stronger.
Not the usual display of zingers and tart-tongued repartee we’re used to, this episode shows the cast at ease, instead showcasing the deliriously joyous Nick and Loretta Tortelli, who would later spin-off on their own short-lived NBC series. Carla gets to show some deep character hues here, revealing that beneath her feisty thirst for vengeance and comeuppance lies a genuine vulnerability, and need, like the rest of us for love and acceptance. Her kiss with Sam, two platonic characters, harkens back to Mary Richards and Lou Grant’s kiss on Mary Tyler Moore: impulsive and awkward, but genuine, revealing that love between close-working people can manifest itself in surprising ways.
Cold open: Diane “spontaneously” reserves a place for her and Sam in an isolated Maine cabin, only to find that the travel agent has booked rooms for Sam many times before.
Norm’s opener: Norm’s already at the bar.