Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cheers 6.13: “Woody for Hire Meets Norman of the Apes”

Airdate: 1/7/88

A lot going on with this one. Rebecca entertains a ladies’ book club to add some class to the bar – she gets her way despite its interfering with the guys’ weekly pool tournament, but quickly regrets her decidsion when the “ladies” turn into raucous animals, drinking like fish and treating Sam like a male stripper. Norm isn’t faring much better: he gets stiffed by best bud Cliff for a painting job, then gets his handiwork insulted by a running gag comparing painters to orangutans (Cliff actually rents one to visualize the gag to a bunch of guys he has over to watch football). Don’t worry – the two shake and make up, but Woody never gets closure for his problem; he’s cast as a crowd extra on Spencer for Hire and even becomes friends with Robert Urich. But when his bit part never features his face, and casts doubt on his participation on the show at all, he resorts to faking a call to Urich to prove everyone wrong. Finally, the man himself drips by Cheers to return Woody’s gloves, but everyone’s gone and won’t come out, still disbelieving. Only Sam suspects… but then, nah!

Meanness abounds in this tart-tongued episode featuring flying insults from everyone, especially Cliff and Norm deriding each other’s respective professions. Odd pacing is explained by newbie director Tim Berry – goes to show how used we are to James Burrows’ style – he’s helmed nearly every episode since the show’s inception. Guest appearance by Urich is icing on the cake; his “invisibility” reminded me of Johnny Carson’s guest turn on Mary Tyler Moore – he appears during a blackout.

Cold open: Carla comes in early because she can’t stand her kids, and Eddie’s parenting philosophy. A call comes in regarding what to do with someone’s misbehavior: Eddie’s, to be precise. (This is Carla’s only scene.)

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