Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cheers 5:24: “Cheers: The Motion Picture”

Airdate: 4/2/87

Woody’s dad writes him and wants him to come home, thinking his place of employ is full of seedy lowlifes. Diane hatches a plan: make a short film proving him wrong, documenting the lives of all who drink and work at Cheers and what kind of people they really are. The big premiere reveals just that; unfortunately, it reveals just that, replete with Norm’s gluttony at the Hungry Heffer, Cliff’s incompetence as a mail carrier, Carla’s brood of hellacious children, and Frasier’s office window revealing a falling suicide committer. Diane’s attempt to reedit it into an art film doesn’t help much either, but she sends it to Woody’s dad regardless, and he still wants the boy home. Only after he receives a simple letter does he change his mind, reading, “Let your son choose his own path, and they will always lead back to you’: it was written by Al, the semi-regular senior who sits in the back.

Interesting episode shows the supporting Cheers characters in other settings, and it’s fun to see things like Cliff riding in his mail truck, or what the Hungry Heifer looks like. Of course, the technology gets a few liberties – Diane appears to be filming with a video camera, but it turns out to be Super-8; the final product has sound, which Super-8 does not – but it’s still great looking at visuals that don’t center on the bar set. Actually, this is sort of a sitcom staple: remember the Brady Bunch home movie of the ‘20s?

Cold open: sets up the plot. Woody gets the call to come home. His dad thinks the Cheers crew are losers, and Cliff's antics don't exactly prove him wrong.

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