Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cheers 7.5: “Those Lips, That Ice”

Airdate: 11/24/88

The ice show’s in town, and with it, the return of Eddie LeBec, much to Carla’s celibate delight. Joy turns quickly to suspicion when Eddie starts showing the newest member of the show, a gorgeous East German brunette named Franzi Schrempf, around town. Carla’s fit to be tied – as per her usual ways, she resorts readily to fisticuff when her hubby drops even the slightest suggestion of infidelity, and a news article revealing an affair between Franzi and “a melon-headed skater” doesn’t help much either. Sam advises Carla that maybe she oughta be a bit nicer if Eddie does indeed have wandering thoughts – and maybe some low cut dresses too, so Carla hosts Eddie’s next poker game like a cross between a Stepford Wife and a Victoria’s Secret model. Sam drops in to tell her the illicit affair does not involve Eddie, and so she breaks up the game abruptly – later facing her husband’s admonition to be more trusting of him, while still retaining that “Carla-ness” that made him fall in love with him.

Jay Thomas makes another appearance as Eddie, and Carla gets to show her stripes yet again as a feisty, volatile and thoroughly irascible barmaid. The only problem is I didn’t find her likable in this episode the way I always have before, warts and all. I think that’s another indicator of how sometimes mean-spirited the writing has become. We always had acerbic put-downs and rough-edges before; now, they feel belabored, and missing the crucial element of humanity (and not at the 11th hour, either). If I were Carla’s husband in this episode I’d be cheating too, right after recommending a therapist to treat her pathological hostility.

Subplots: Cliff, Norm and Frasier all vie for Woody’s other hockey ticket, via a footrace that Frasier barely recovers from. And speaking of Frasier, he’s got a cell phone (at least a 1988 version of one) inside his briefcase, but he can get it open, and the ringing throws everyone off.

Cold open: Rebecca needs quiet in her office, but Woody keeps interrupting her, even after being put in charge. Her berating him makes him cry, and her feeling guilty about it.

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