Friday, May 10, 2013

Cheers 3.12: “A Ditch in Time”

Airdate: 12/20/84

Diane’s friend Amanda (Carol Kane) is asked out by Sam, who ignores Diane’s warning not to go through with the date. It turns out Amanda’s a bit cuckoo: she knew Diane from the Sunnybrook Mental Hospital and is obsessive with men. Sam scoffs but his mirth becomes abject horror when Amanda invites her parents over to meet him – the man she intends to marry. Desperate, he tries his best breakup lines, in vain, before resorting to the old “fake death” routine. Finally Diane arranges a tête-à-tête between the two and realizes she must resort to the truth - the whole truth – that Sam is “Ralph,” the fake name she used to describe Sam’s toxic behavior that drove her to the asylum. Amanda gets it all too quickly – she rushes out and vows she will think of Sam often, “whenever [she] sees things scurrying underneath her sink.”

Taxi veteran Kane is used perfectly here, a woman just as unhinged as Simka Gravas; her funniest scene occurs when she preemptively tries to stop Sam from breaking up with her, breaking all manner of social decorum and etiquette. Sam matches her in laughs department, with his squirrelly nervousness at odds with his suave demeanor. But for my money the best, most emotional moment comes in the back office after the dénouement – Sam apologizes for his failings in his relationship with Diane, and that he did his best, working harder than he ever had before in his love life. Probably the Sam/Diane scene post breakup.

Cold open: Norm enters and explains the lack of sexual attraction in his marriage: “Vera always wishes I look more like Charles Bronson, and I always wish she looks less like him.”

Norm’s opener: Coach: “What’ll you have, Normie?” Norm: (I think this is what he says – tough to understand) “1929 vodka. Or a beer – whatever everyone else is having.”

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