Diane apprehensively asks Sam to borrow 500 dollars to buy a signed, first-edition copy of The Sun Also Rises, which he grants, proudly proclaiming his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of lending money. Things get a bit sticky when Sam witnesses that her spending habits have been a bit… profligate lately, culminating in his frenzied smashing of a box of recently purchased Girl Scout cookies. But all this pales in comparison to the pickle Sam gets himself into when he curiously takes the book home (which she let him keep as collateral), and accidentally drops it in the tub: dried, it has expanded to twice its normal size. Intended to keep it a secret for as long as he can, his jig is up when a literary antiquarian offers to buy the book, but Sam outbids him at $1,200 dollars. Diane is turned on by Sam’s newfound literary proclivities, but the feeling’s decidedly not mutual when she still expects him to pay to her what he bid.
One-thing-leads-to-another comedy of errors formula always works well where money is involved – add to that he inherent greed of a Cheers character (Diane, in this case) and it includes a touch of morality play as well. As a bibliophile myself, I have to cringe when I see what Sam did to Papa’s prized work (even though I know it’s fictional), and matters are only worsened at the sound of Norm’s solution: ripping out every other page to make the volume slimmer!
Look sharp for William Lanteau as the book collector; he’s best known as Chester on Newhart.
Cold open: Everyone at Cheers stuffs themselves into the bathroom to set a world’s record (Cliff tries to set his own record in the subplot). A recently arrived man tries to use it, to a chorus of “Occupied!”
Norm’s opener: Sam: “What’s the good word, Norm?” Norm: “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.” (He had just eaten at the Hungry Heffer.)