Monday, July 8, 2013

Cheers 4:26: “Strange Bedfellows, Part 3”

Airdate: 5/15/86

Diane returns to talk to Sam, but gets trapped in his office when he and Janet enter, and winds up eavesdropping – again – this time on their conversation about commitment. Janet, mainly for political reasons, wants Sam to think about marriage, and is concerned the issue will come up at the next press conference. It does: from Diane. She broaches the topic with a pointed inquiry: Sam tries to field it but winds up looking like a buffoon, and worsens it with childish face-making to boot. Janet is appalled, and breaks up with Sam on the grounds that he’s not willing to sacrifice for her career. Forlorn, he ruminates on the status of his prolific but empty love life. He picks up the phone and proposes marriage… to???

Boy these Cheers scribes really know how to sculpt a cliffhanger. Just like the previous season finale, this one builds like dominoes to an uncertain outcome, melding the soap opera and sitcoms genres both artfully and effectively. Mulgrew continues her sensational supporting role as part mother superior, part smoldering siren, all woman – and most effective cog in the wheels of Malone’s machismo. Well, as I mentioned, last season was Diane’s play, now it’s Sam’s turn. And the World turns.

Subplot resolution somewhat funny: Norm invites Cliff to meet his oversexed sister-in-law, and Cliff thinks he’s delusional; after all, Donna is clearly coming on to… himself!

Cold open: Woody recaps the last two episodes via his taped message to his folks. He forgets to record, instead playing back some kind of instructional lesson. Whoops!

Norm’s opener: Woody: “How you feeling today, Mr. Peterson?” Norm: “Poor.” Woody: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” Norm: “No, I mean ‘pour!’””

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