Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheers 3.3: “I Call Your Name”

Airdate: 10/18/84

Two parallel stories: something’s eating at Diane, and her sour mood sours everyone else’s. When Frasier stops by and “hypothetically” solicits Sam’s advice on a patient whose girlfriend calls out the name of an ex-boyfriend during sex, Sam deduces it’s about Diane. The two have at it (again), but this time Frasier gets involved; a true psychiatrist, he believes the two former lovers should admit if there’s a spark, and “let it rage into an inferno or extinguish it forever.” There’s no spark they tell him, and he walks away satisfies, but Diane admits there’s still something there. After kissing him passionately, Diane has the last word: “Frasier!”

The other story involves Cliff – so true to his postal uniform he rats out a co-worker, Lewis, for stealing a perfume sample from a magazine. The offender, a burly African-American, gets fired for it, and hunts down Cliff not for his guilt but his busibodiness – he can help catch the guy. Cliff’s in for it now, and when Lewis returns for a name, Cliff offers it in a sealed envelope, imploring his inquisitor to show mercy and realize the squealer is sorry and only meant to do his civic duty. Lewis reads between the lines and tells Cliff that he’d better not do it again.

Fine writing showcasing nothing but character here, in a light comic fashion. Cliff’s tale is akin to the “Cliff’s Rocky Moment” episode – this time it’s not his bluster but by-the-books pedantry that gets him in trouble. But just like in the Rocky episode he finds a way to craftily and tacitly solve the problem, even if just a slight but of cowardice still seeps through. The Sam/Diane story sifts through the remnants of their rocky relationship, and still gleans comic gold from each disguising harbored feelings for the other as accusations that the other still has harbored feelings. And we thought a dead romance would never produce for the show. But then again, was it ever a “romance”?

Cold open: Carla ends her date prematurely when she forgets she has to work; her date is disappointed that now they can’t go to the RV show, until she suggests Coach as a replacement. “I still won’t get a kiss,” he laments. Her reply: “Maybe if you ask him nicely.”

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

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