Friday, April 12, 2013

Cheers 2.17: “Fortune and Men’s Weight”

Airdate: 2/2/84

Coach, to Sam’s ire, orders a fortune-telling scale, which promptly becomes the big hit at Cheers. When Norm’s fortune, foretelling that his problems will be solved, is realized, everyone, especially superstitious Carla, starts to take the metallic pile of springs and bolts quite seriously. But Diane’s ominous prophecy, that “deception in love can be costly,” has her worried, and she confides in Sam the reason: a secret date with a male college pal whom she kissed and ground coffee for. Sam reacts with the counter-confession that perhaps they don’t fulfill each other’s needs, and soon the two are bickering over who should be first to break off the relationship. One more fortune from the machine reveals the destiny of their relationship: “Machine empty; order more fortunes.”

Heide Perlman turns out another winner, a clever updating of the classic Twilight Zone episode in which a fortune machine creates a hysteria of insecurity, distrust and blind faith – the very engines of the characters who inhabit Cheers day to day. And of course, that hanging-on-a-thread relationship of Sam and Diane appropriately becomes the main casualty of this hocus pocus. In true serial fashion we must wait another day for the answer, but we all secretly fear (and know) how this one will turn out.

Scene stealer: When Carla asks, “Who is the biggest bigwig of them all,” an unnamed patron replies, “Sinatra”… twice, to sustained audience appreciation.

Cold open: Norm enters with news that he has a blind date, much to everyone’s disapproval.

Norm’s opener:
First: Coach: “How’s a beer sound, Norm?” Norm: “I don’t know, Coach, I always finish ‘em before they get a word in edgewise.”
Second: Coach: “What’s up, Norm?” Norm: “The corners of my mouth.”

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