Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cheers 3.1: “Rebound, Part 2”

Airdate: 9/27/84

A few weeks have elapsed since the stormy breakup of Boston’s picture not-so-perfect couple. Cliff’s vacation absence has made no one’s heart grow fonder, and Norm must resort to desperate measure to get his wife pregnant: sleeping with her. But in the worst shape of all is Sam – the big breakup has set him to drink again, and a worried Coach, who remembers the last time his boss fell off the wagon, goes to Diane for help. She, however, wishes to leave her former beau and all accompanying remnants behind once and for all, but Coach’s grave concern appeals to her benevolent side, even if it does involve man who caused her great pain and heartache.

Sam and Diane’s reunion is deathly silent at first, but soon the mudslinging starts, culminating in a debate over whether Sam threw Diane out or whether she left of her own volition. Her suggestion that he see her psychiatrist friend is refused at first, but Sam reluctantly agrees when he sees that all his bar friends are on Diane’s side on this one. The psychiatrist? Dr. Frasier Crane, who has been at the bar all along, listening to the conversation, and who also happens to be Diane’s new love interest.

Another key, Charles/Charles-penned episode is the first of the Season 3 two-parter. We can safely assume that the Sam/Diane relationship is kaput, and so the introduction of a new love in Diane’s life is all but inevitable. The catch – how to get her back at the bar and part of the Cheers cast once again – seems to be remedied with a forthcoming reconciliation, one that can only occur with Sam in psychological (and chemical) rehab. Kelsey Grammar, whom we’re all now so familiar with as Frasier, has but a few lines at the very end of the episode. For trivia buffs, his first line is “Hello, Sam. I’m Dr. Frasier Crane. I’m sorry I startled you.”

Props to the show for continuing on after the breakup of its two central characters. Up until now this was sitcom anathema, as the worry was lack of chemistry would equal lack of laughs. Clearly not the case as Cheers continued on healthily for nine more seasons.

Cold open: A rare moment of very broad humor. Forlorn Cliff has no one to tell about his vacation but Coach, who runs the blender so loud Cliff barely gets a word in. Frustrated, he yanks Coach’s clip-on tie and tosses it in the blender. Coach uses his sartorial defilement to crack a pun: “Anyone want a Mai Ti?” (Coach’s tie becomes a comic prop later on in the second act.)

Norm’s opener:
First: Coach: “Beer, Norm?” Norm: “You know how to make it sound tempting, you fast talker.”
Second: Coach: “What’ll it be, Normie?” Norm: “A transfusion with a head on it.”

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