Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cheers 3.19: “Behind Every Great Man”

Airdate: 2/21/85

An attractive magazine reporter, Paula Nelson, comes to Cheers to do a story on the singles scene, and is quickly directed to Sam. After much strain and labor, he ultimately lands a date with the comely journalist, but finds he needs to rely on Diane’s intellectual ken, and knowledge of French Impressionism, to make his own impression on his next would-be conquest. Oblivious Diane overhears him making lodge reservations, and believes they’re for her – the misunderstanding continues when she sustains this notion during his vague appeal for her to run the bar solo. Only when she and Paula wait at the bar, both with packed bags, does she wise up, and save face by feigning ignorance of the fully loaded suitcase at her feet.

Well-executed misunderstanding, in the classic Three’s Company style, dominates the second act of this episode, and one does feel a bit sorry for poor Diane, clinging to a hopeless romance despite her better judgment. Burrows bulwark Alison La Placa stands out as the no-nonsense Paula, representing probably the hardest work Sam’s ever done for a date.

Cold open: The Cheers gang sings “Taps,” as they always do, when an empty keg gets carted away, but busts out “Hail to the Chief,” as the replacement enters. This time, Norm gets emotional.

Norm’s opener: Sam: “What would you like?” Norm: “A reason to live. Keep ‘em coming.”

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