Cheers Review — Where Everybody Drinks Their Problems Away

After months of working at it, I finally finished this monster of a series.

Regardless of what you feel about multi-camera sitcoms with laugh tracks these days, you can’t deny that we all watched them growing up. And you definitely can’t deny that Cheers played a big part in the creation of your current favorites, whether it be mockumentaries like The Office or classic cartoons like The Simpsons. On the flipside though, I also can’t deny that it (and its spinoff, Frasier, for that matter) was not a part of my childhood. Been meaning to correct that for a while, but 270+ episodes was long for sitcoms even back then, let alone now. However, I have finally managed to accomplish that task after six months (with breaks, of course) and am here to report my findings.

Long story short, no I don’t think Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all-time. But it is a great show that still mostly holds up even today, and there’s a certain charm to seeing Woody Harrelson, Ted Danson, and Kelsey Grammer in comedic roles before they became the serious drama dudes they are now. Although other locations were used as time went on, the majority of Cheers takes place in the titular bar and is run by Sam Malone, a former relief pitcher who lost his career to alcoholism and always has sex on his mind. When a young college student named Diane is dumped by her fiancee at the bar, Sam hires her as a waitress and the majority of the show consists of them being the most overwritten couple in sitcom history until Ross and Rachel came along, up until the sixth season when Diane was written out of the show and replaced with Rebecca. From there, the show took on a wider variety of character arcs from Sam’s desire to buy back the bar after selling it to Woody wooing a rich girl to Rebecca’s repetitive desire to marry into money. And trust me when I say that you’ll get tired of that idiotic plot line real fast.

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Most fans have their preferences regarding the Diane years (Seasons 1-5) and the Rebecca years (Seasons 6-11), and I’d have to say that I’m more on the former side. Part of that has to do with the fact that Cheers was more fresh during those years, but whilst I acknowledge that Diane’s antics were getting wearisome around the fifth season, there was something to her character that brought out the best in everyone else, particularly when it came to the laughs. Not only was Rebecca a step down in terms of a character, as well as providing laughs, but she didn’t have much particular chemistry with the others. And without that kind of support, the show would go through long stretches of the punchlines being nothing more than repeating the characters’ quirky traits (which gets particularly annoying with Carla’s mean-spirited and unfunny remarks), only in a different situation. Add that to the fact that this show is eleven seasons long and you can bet that by the 9th or 10th one (which is impressive in of itself), I had the same feelings as Ted Danson in terms of continuing with the show.

Overall though, I got plenty of laughs watching this thing and I was pleased to see that the finale lives up to its reputation as one of the most famous closings in television history. I’ve told you guys before that I like it when couples can’t work out there differences and end up splitting as long as there’s a positive side to it, and I even listed Cheers as an example, but that was just something I knew of second-hand. Never actually saw said finale until now. But whilst I was initially happy to see Diane back after so long like Sam was, I also realized like he did that things have changed, and trying to recapture what once was would only be fleeting happiness at best. However, what Sam and I also realized is that we still had the people who stuck with us through thick and thin, and we still had Cheers: the bar where everybody knows your name. They may move on with their lives, but they’ll still come by to have a drink when time allows them to. Because, as Norm (NORM!) would put it, you can never be unfaithful to your one true love.

The entire series is on Netflix at the moment (and I think it’s on Hulu as well) and whilst you don’t have to like it, let alone finish it, I do recommend giving the show a look if you haven’t already. Whilst it definitely overstays its welcome in places and not all of the characters are engaging, the laughs you’ll get from the eleven years spent at this bar are more than enough to make it worth your time, and seeing where all your favorite sitcoms spawned from is a nice bonus on top of that. Definitely looking forward to watching Frasier in the future as well. Just as soon as I finish catching up on Bob’s Burgers, New Girl, Blacklist, Halt & Catch Fire, about a hundred video games….

Minor Quips

  • Going for a plainer review style with these live-action shows. Hope you guys still like reading what I write regardless.
  • Not that there’s much to say about a comedy anyways, much less an old one. I mean I could copy some of the praise on popular sites, but I really hate using the term “strong/weak script”, “likable characters”, and whatever those “10 reasons to watch Cheers” articles say.
  • Still disappointed that Lilith mostly disappeared after the tenth season given how even with her having an affair, she was the most awesome character on this show.

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