Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheers 3.23: “The Bartender’s Tale”

Airdate: 4/18/85

Diane’s absence requires Sam to hire a new barmaid, but his choices, long on looks but short on experience, get nixed by Carla’s overrule. Only one, a hardy, strapping woman named Lillian, looking like she came from an 18th century Irish pub, makes the cut, and even hot-blooded Sam comes around, admiring her waitressing skills and understanding of the fact that there will be no romantic entanglements to make the working situation awkward. That is until he meets her daughter, Carolyn, a lingerie model with a fondness for nude beaches – Sam behaves himself to a point, and begs Carla to change her mind about quitting if he dates the comely lass. Carla will give in only if Lillian approves, but Lillian mistakes Sam’s interest in her daughter for that of herself. It all gets straightened out and Sam’s ready for Carolyn, who happens to hate sex since her mother killed her father with a heart attack of passion.

Diane has only one scene (in an Italian hotel), leaving Sam to do the heavy comedic lifting here, which he does quite admirably (with a heavy assist from the muse of John Ritter). Scatological hijinks, if done well, always make me laugh, and Sam’s self-control, and subsequent lack of it, help make this one of my favorite episodes. Lillian is a terrific guest character (she’s still employed at the end, so I presume we’ll see her again), and her monologue establishing her credentials and scenes of leading the barflies in carousing song are true highlights.

Cold open: Cliff can’t get over the fact that Carla makes more than he does when tips are included; Norm reasons that it makes sense, since he “could go up to three days without mail.”

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

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