Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cheers 7.6: “Norm, Is That You”

Airdate: 12/8/88

Frasier and Lilith need to redecorate their apartment, but their current designer, Ivan, is insufferably pretentious (and impractical). With no good eye for layout themselves, they surprisingly discover that Norm (their painter) is an expert, and so they make him their interior decorator. Soon, he earns their favor enough for them to recommend him to others, specifically a yuppie couple willing to pay – big- but once they see Norm’s crass ways they change their tune. Frasier informs a befuddled Norm that they want a stereotypical designer, in other words: gay. Needing the work, Norm starts to play along, even advertising Cheers as a gay bat and touting Sa as his lover. It’s not long before the jigs is up, and the yuppies agrees to part ways with the hefty hetero­sexual – until Norm aggress to the job for half the rate.

Mildly amusing but hopelessly un-PC offering does reveal the change in the depiction of homosexuals on TV since the 80s. While not as offensive as it could have been (I was cringing at the prospect of Norm doing a broad gay lisp), it’s still one of the extremely rare Cheers episodes that feels a bit dated, although it is fun to see how once-trendy food items like fajitas and sushi have become so standardized.

Cold open: Carla’s on the phone with Eddie, telling him where to look for unidentified objects. Cliff inquires; they turn out to be the twins.

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