Friday, July 12, 2013

Cheers 5:4: “Abnormal Psychology”

Airdate: 10/16/86

Frasier has a good reason for everyone at Cheers to miss 30 minutes worth of football time: he’s slated to be on a local “Point-Counterpoint”-type psychology show, with his opponent none other than Lilith Sternun, a female colleague with whom he had a disastrous date a year earlier. He’s furious, probably because, as noticed by Diane, he may be head over heels in love with her, particularly when she lets her hair down, which is exactly how she arrives to debate. The objective discourse on phobia treatment quickly devolves into a none-too-subtle demonstration of mutual sexual attraction, all before a slightly bit confused moderator, and a gleeful bar crowd with a newfound appreciation for psychology. Ashamed, Frasier and Lilith meet again at the bar, stoically agreeing to forget everything for the sake of their careers, but Diane “needs” Lilith’s hairpin, and it’s all over for the buttoned-up shrinks.

Triumphant return of Bebe Neuworth as Lilith establishes her romance now with the jilted Frasier Crane, so now we won’t have his ruing over Diane anymore. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love it when Cheers deals with psychology, and this one mines it for all its hearty comic value. Neuworth skillfully shuttles from clinical doublespeak to vulnerable insecurity– just the same type of bipolar neurosis that has kept the Sam/Diane dynamic alive so long. And speaking of – Diane continues her torch-carrrying for Sam, although truth be told, it’s getting a little pathetic.

Cold open: Cliff and Norm plan a gladiator film festival.

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