Friday, May 3, 2013

Cheers 3.8: “Diane Meets Mom”

Airdate: 11/22/84

Diane finally gets to meet Frasier’s mom, Hester Crane, and she’s a nervous wreck worrying about trying to impress her prospective mother-in-law, who’s also an esteemed psychologist. Dinner goes well, until the three repair to the bar, where Hester threatens Diane’s life unless she stops seeing her son. Completely shaken, she asks Sam’s consel, who advises that perhaps it’s a joke she’s just not getting. Diane’s return volley goes badly: a tone-deaf assault that horrifies a puzzled Frasier, who understandably wants to get to the bottom of it. Caught in the middle between a she said/she said quandry, he sides with Diane, resulting in Hester’s confession and her reason being it: that she didn’t want her son to marry a “pseudo-intellectual barmaid.” Everything gets patched up, ostensibly, until Hester asks Sam what it would take for him to see Diane again. “You don’t have enough money,” he informs her. “There isn’t enough money.”

Hilarious Diane/Frasier driven comedy of neuroses firmly establishes Kelsey Grammar as a solid cast member. As Diane’s intellectual equal, he can match her wits and reveal sides to her we haven’t seen with her sparring with Sam. Frasier himself has frailties also, particularly when he must side either with “the woman who gave (him) life” or “the woman who gives (him) life.” Finely crafted, delivered dialogue makes the subplot, involving Norm’s birthday and a champagne cork injury, pale in comparison.

Cold open: Clueless Coach can’t figure out what a repairman who comes to Cheers was called on to repair – not even when his inquiry is stymied by a dead phone!

Norm’s opener: First: Coach: “What would you say to a beer, Normie?” Norm: “Going down?”
Second (After Norm returns from the hospital): Coach: “What’s up, Norm?” Norm: “Everything that’s supposed to be!”

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