Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cheers 6.21: “Our Hourly Bread”

Airdate: 3/10/88

Woody goes into Rebecca and asks for a raise, but gets goaded into gleefully accepting a title instead. Sam berates him for his gullibility, but he doesn’t get much further (despite his title being – longer).  Rebecca reveals the underlying problem: Cheers is bankrupt, and better start making money soon or else face bankruptcy. Woody hatches a plan – a raffle, with the prize being a cruise vacation, but when he picks a number, “66,” he discovers it could also be “99,” and so two angry winners haggle over the prize. Rebecca steps in to settle, using self-pity to guilt one into giving up his spoils, but they wind up out-guilting her. Finally Sam has a new prize – Frasier’s would-be gift to Lilith: an ugly abstract work most people interpret as two dogs fighting. That settles things, for now.

Tightly wound comedy delivers many laughs, but with increased comedic pacing comes less subtlety – and fewer “aw” moments. This is a good example of a script that’s funny but feels churned out, not hand-wrought like so many earlier ones did. I actually liked the subplot better – with Frasier purchasing a painting that Lilith, with all of her epicurean sensibilities, thinks is junk.

Cold open: Cliff talks with a mailman buddy in secret postal argot that no one can understand; Norm considers asking but realizes “he might tell me.”

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