Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cheers 3.18: “Bar Bet”

Airdate: 2/14/85

Eddie Gordon comes to Cheers intent on making Sam honor his bet – that he could marry Jacqueline Bisset, or else give up the bar. Sam was highly intoxicated at the time but signed a potentially legally-binding contract, so now he’s up you-know-what’s creek without a paddle. Legal eagle Larry has a bit of good news: he could fight it in court with a reasonable chance of winning, but Sam doesn’t want to besmirch his good name with the admission that he was three sheets to the wind. Carla scans the contract and finds a loophole: nowhere does it stipulate Jackie Bisset the movie star, so Sam has everyone scouring the phone books to locate any Jacqueline Bisset. They find one, a Midwest hayseed, obliging but reticent to go through with the marriage part. After a grand tour of the city, she and Sam appear headed for conjugal bliss, short-lived as it may be, and when Eddie reappears to find out he’d been rooked, he calls off the bet. Ms. Bisset not be as enamored with Sam as she let on, talking trash about him to Diane to no end!

Shows revolving around bets, especially bad ones, and the frantic ways people try to get out of them, is always good comedy loam, and this episode is no exception to that rule. (See the classic film Used Cars.) Terrific setup, solid developing dialogue, and efficient dénouement just make me happy I live in a country that invented sitcoms!
Coach is absent this episode, likely because he is ailing (this is his last season). Confirmation in the end-of-season recap.

Classic, classic guest appearance by a then unknown Michael Richards as Eddie. He plays a great sleazebucket, a far cry from the lovable quirky neighbor he would later portray on… (really).

Cold open: Cliff and Norm argue over whether it was Ibsen or Chekov. Gleeful Diane begs to help settle the dispute, pleased as punch that an intellectual debate could potentially be occurring. No such luck: their squabble relates to what show Diane saw when Norm stuffed his face with cheese doodle.

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

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