Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cheers 5:3: “Money Dearest”

Airdate: 10/9/86

Duncan Fitzgerald, rich elderly man who had made his fortune for inventing an aviation device, is fast becoming a regular at Cheers, and his wealth has at least one person noticing: a certain opportunistic mail carrier who’s widowed mother might just make a good match for the tycoon. So Cliff plays matchmaker – successfully – but when Duncan’s marriage proposal is followed up by the declaration that he will give all his money away to charity, the money signs in Cliff’s eyes start to fade. After Sam reminds him that he’s being a materialistic jerk, Cliff plans a bacchanalia fit to make a sailor blush. Duncan admits never having had a better time – perhaps too good a time: he dies during his revelry. The Cheers gang in consoled by the fact that the millionaire went out happy, but Cliff’s mother still has a bit of crying to do on her son’s shoulder.

This marks the first appearance of veteran character actress Frances Srernhagen as Esther Clavin, and she is a pure delight, running the gamut of fustiness to hedonism… and to the Clavin-esque trait of dispensing the most least-interesting spew of factoids to the nearest, hapless listener. Plot itself is charming to boot, with just the right tone to befit such bittersweet subject matter.

Diane’s not in this one much, but her opening lines about wedding planning indicate that her marriage-minded behavior is a continuing plot thread.

Cold open: Cliff returns from the Canadian Expo only to discover he’s missed all the highlights, ultimately admitting it was “disappointing.”

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