Monday, July 22, 2013

Cheers 5:14: “Diamond Sam”

Airdate: 1/15/87

The recently engaged couple arrives at Cheers to share news of their nuptuals, but Carla is curiously non-reactive; Frasier diagnoses her behavior as a classic case of denial, and offers to give her treatment. Meanwhile, Sam needs to get an engagement ring, but the $5,2000 price tag for Diane’s choice is a bit steep, so he drops 1,500 for the same ring from a wholesaler friend of Norm’s. It goes well – until Diane’s wants the box as a memento – so Sam has to buy silver corn holders at $900 just for the package. Diane wants to look at a dress, but Norm reminds Sam that she might see the ring is still there, so add the price of all four pink dresses to the tally. Now she wants to get it appraised, so Sam winds up buying the ring at full price and switching it. When the wholesaler calls, Diane picks up, and is apprised of Sam’s misdealings, so she angrily tosses her “fake” out the car window, only to be informed it was real when Sam brings the car to a halt, and gets hit from behind by another car. Searching vainly for the ring in a street sewer, they both realize that love has no price, and that their knockoff ring is the best emblem of their mutual feelings.

Oh and Carla? She comes to in a blood-curdling scream – the last utterance of the show.

Well, it’s real, and looking like a running story for the second half of the season. The ring story is a classic TV trope: it never pays to lie, and its execution is a glorious comedy of errors that depletes Sam’s wallet as much as it provides uproarious laughter. Ending is sweetly moralistic – and represents another great theme: there’s no price on love. Whether this is requited love or not is another story.

Cold open: Cliff, Norm and Frasier trade famous impressions, until Woody gets in on the act, and impersonates an obscure figure: the mayor of his Indiana hometown.

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