Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cheers 4:8 “Love Thy Neighbor”

Airdate: 11/21/85

Norm’s wife, Vera, is taking dance lessons, and Cliff comically warns his buddy that those slow dancing lessons could lead to something more… intimate. Vera’s instructor’s wife, Phyllis, enters Cheers to tell Norm that their respective spouses may indeed be unfaithful, and the two agree to hire a private dick named Carbone to find out for sure. While suspicions run rampant, Norm reassesses his marriage, and through some soul searching discovers that he actually does love the ball and chain. The feeling’s not mutual with Phyllis, who propositions Norm in the pool room, ntent on having her own affair as revenge. Carbone arrives mid-smooch to clear the air: despite considering it, Vera had decides not to cheat after all, reaffirming the detective’s faith in fidelity, now destroyed again after seeing a potential breach of marital vows right before his very eyes.

Not quite as good subplot involves Sam being interviewed on the radio, mentioning Diane one of his disinterested-in-baseball floozies, and having to apologize after she hits the ceiling.

Good entry for several reasons: we get to see Norm admit his love for his wife. Up until now she gets to be the but of all his lame marriage jokes, but beneath all the wisecracks is imbedded a deep, marital love that probably rings truer for most people than most TV depictions of marriage. Also, note a great performance by Miriam Flynn, character actress and veteran of umpteen sitcoms and movies, especially works by John Hughes (probably best known as Cousin Catherine in the Vacation movies). Her scene with Norm at the end is simply wonderful. And let’s not forget Ernie (Lion King) Sabella as Carbone and John Dryer back as Dave Richards (or at least his voice).

Cold open: Two bullies ask for their check, and when Woody reads the somewhat effeminate drinks they ordered, Cliff laughs. He is quickly silences after their steely looks indicate they’re not amused.

Norm’s opener: Sam: “What do you say, Norm?” Norm: “I never met a beer I didn’t drink.”

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