Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cheers 5:15: “Spellbound”

Airdate: 1/22/87

Carla’s ex-hubby, Nick, is in the doghouse again – Loretta caught him cheating and needs a shoulder at Cheers to cry on. Diane willingly (and Carla not so much) obliges, but wants the trophy wife to stand up for herself, not crawling back the way she usually does. She asserts her new independence with a singing gig at the bar, but Nick shows up to take her home, and when Sam intercedes, he thinks the two are a couple. Seeking revenge, Nick tries to woo Diane with his allegedly hypnotic powers of female seduction. Needless to say, they don’t work – not even a candlelight dinner with a small orchestra – leaving Diane to implore the greaseball to go after his cuckolded beloved and profess his undying love. He goes, but viewers had to tune in to the new spinoff The Tortellis, which started airing one day before this episode did.

As mentioned above, this sort of carries on the cheating scandal that was evidently established in the Tortellis pilot, using it as a crossover plot to generate interest in the new show. Didn’t help: The Tortellis was cancelled after 13 episodes. Both Nick and Loretta are terrific supporting characters, but just lacking in the necessary dynamicism that keeps a successful show afloat. As for the episode itself – just so-so, and totally upstaged by the subplot, involving Frasier’s inability to admit losing chess to… Woody!

Cold open: The aforementioned chess story (and board) is set up, with Frasier waxing nostalgic on his college days of chess playing and fencing.

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