Cheers (season 1)

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Cheers (season 1)
Front cover of Region 1 DVD
Region 1 DVD edition
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 30, 1982 (1982-09-30) – March 31, 1983 (1983-03-31)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 May 20, 2003 (2003-05-20)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of Cheers episodes

Cheers is an American television sitcom that originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 30, 1982, and March 31, 1983, in 22 episodes. The show was created and produced by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles, who previously worked on Taxi, another sitcom. Cheers was produced by Charles Burrows Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television. The concept and production design of the show were inspired by a public house in Boston, the Bull & Finch, which is now called Cheers Beacon Hill.

When it was first broadcast, critics praised the series as intelligent, sophisticated, cleverly written, well-cast, and well-timed. However, the Nielsen ratings for its original runs were very low. Typically, low ratings result a show's cancellation, but before the season finale aired, the network renewed it for another season. Reruns of season 1 scored higher ratings than its first airing and the series earned award recognitions, including five Emmy Award wins in 1983. In later years, this season has still elicited positive reviews and is currently available on DVD.

Cast and characters[edit]

This season introduces six characters:

  • Sam Malone (Ted Danson)—a bartender, bar owner, and retired baseball player. Before the series premiered, his baseball career took a toll due to his alcoholism, so he became an owner and a bartender of Cheers.
  • Diane Chambers (Shelley Long)—a college-educated, sophisticated academic who is jilted by her fiancé and left without money or a job. Diane is hired by Sam as a waitress. She proves to be pretentious, annoys customers with her long-winded speeches, and becomes the butt of their jokes.[1]
  • Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman)—a hard-working, "wisecracking, cynical waitress".[2] Carla is a divorced mother of her ex-husband Nick's four children and then becomes pregnant with his fifth child. Diane and Carla do not get along and often insult each other.
  • Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto)—an aging befuddled, "gravelly voiced"[2] retired coach and co-bartender. Coach is vulnerable to other people's exploits, which puts the bar at stake. Coach and Sam take care of each other as father and son figures whenever help is needed. Nevertheless, he listens to people's problems and solves them with advice and analysis.
  • Norm Peterson (George Wendt)—a semi-(un)employed accountant and bar regular. Whenever Norm enters the bar, people yell out his name.
  • Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger)—a postal worker and bar regular. Cliff is often present in the bar and his words confuse or irritate other people.

Throughout the season, supporting characters are explored while Sam and Diane flirt and reject each other. In the season finale, no longer resisting their temptations for each other, Sam and Diane passionately kiss.

In the pilot episode's original script, there were only four principal characters: Sam Malone, Diane Chambers, Carla Tortelli, and Ernie "Coach" Pantusso. Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin were absent from the original script. George Wendt and John Ratzenberger had auditioned for the role of George, a character who would have been included in one scene of the pilot episode.[3][4] Wendt was cast as George, who evolved into Norm Peterson,[5] while a know-it-all character Cliff Clavin was added at Ratzenberger's suggestion.[4] Therefore, influenced by the casting of Wendt and Ratzenberger, the pilot script was revised before production began on the show. Wendt became part of the program's regular cast and continued until it ended.[6] Ratzenberger was credited in almost every episode for his recurring appearances in season 1,[7] and he became part of the regular cast in the following season.[8]

Sam Malone was supposed to be an ex-wide receiver for the football team New England Patriots,[9] but Danson's casting led the program's writers to change Sam's former sporting role into a former relief pitcher for the baseball team Boston Red Sox.[9][10][11] Nicholas Colasanto, director and actor who appeared in the 1980 film Raging Bull,[12] was cast as Coach.[2] About 1,000 actors who were not widely known were auditioned for these characters,[2] and Stephen Kolzak[6] was in charge of casting.[13] According to Ted Danson, Perlman was the first actor to be hired for the show[14] and was cast as Carla.[2] Perlman had previously appeared in Taxi as the wife (ex-wife during the show's final season) of Louie de Palma, played by her husband Danny DeVito.[2] Danson and Long were cast as a romantic duo.[15]

Episodes[edit]

Original air dates of episodes are not premiere dates for some areas of the United States. In those areas, episodes may have been broadcast at later dates,[16] but these dates are not included in this article. This series' original time slot was 9:00pm (Eastern)/8:00pm (Central). On January 1983, it was moved to 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT due to lineup changes.[17]

No. No. in
season
Title[18] Directed by[18] Written by[18] Original air date[18] Rating / rank
1 1 "Give Me a Ring Sometime" James Burrows Glen Charles & Les Charles September 30, 1982 (1982-09-30) 9.6 / #60[rat1 1]
Boston University student Diane and her fiancé, professor Sumner Sloane (Michael McGuire), plan to marry in Barbados. When he receives a telephone call from his ex-wife at the bar, Sumner returns to her and leaves an unsuspecting Diane behind. When she tries to change their flight reservations, Diane learns that Sumner and his ex-wife have already used the reservations. Owner and bartender Sam offers Diane a job as a waitress, which she initially refuses, but reluctantly accepts when she finds she can repeat verbatim a lengthy order from one table.
2 2 "Sam's Women" James Burrows Earl Pomerantz October 7, 1982 (1982-10-07) 14.7 / #49[rat1 2]
/ 19 share[rat1 3]
Diane mocks Sam for flirting with Brandee (Angela Aames), a less-than-bright but flirtatious blonde. Sam and Diane argue about Sam's serial dating of attractive yet unintelligent women, while impatient Brandee leaves the bar with someone else, much to Diane's delight. Later, he uses his ex-wife Debra (Donna McKechnie) as a dating charade, which becomes unsuccessful. Humiliated, Sam blames Diane for making him discontent with his womanizing ways, and assures her that he will not give up on winning an intelligent woman. Sam wins the argument by tricking Diane to fall for him after he compliments her blue eyes, although Diane quickly denies her potential affection for him. A former customer, Leo (Donnelly Rhodes), comes to the bar seeking advice from Gus, the former owner. When Leo hears that Gus is dead, he reluctantly turns to Coach for help. Leo's son Ron has a fiancé Rick, an African-American man. Coach advises Leo to simply abandon Ron if he is "unhappy about it". However, Leo mistakes Coach's advises for deliberate reverse-psychology and leaves the bar as an accepting father.
Gus from the 11th season episode, "The Last Picture Show" (1993), is not the deceased former owner of the same name.[19]
3 3 "The Tortelli Tort" James Burrows Tom Reeder October 14, 1982 (1982-10-14) 11.1 / #63[rat1 4]
Carla attacks Big Eddie (Ron Karabatsos) for insulting the Red Sox. Confronted by a lawsuit threatening either Carla's loss of her job or Sam's loss of the bar, Carla attempts to placate the issue by attending anger management counseling. When Big Eddie next confronts Carla in the bar, he is both frustrated and impressed by her self-control, ultimately dropping the lawsuit against Sam and Cheers. Ironically, a tough patron has overheard Eddie's insulting comments about another sports team, and escorts him from the bar—apparently to beat up Big Eddie, much to everybody's pleasure.
4 4 "Sam at Eleven" James Burrows Glen Charles & Les Charles October 21, 1982 (1982-10-21) 11.1 / #62[rat1 5]
Sportscaster Dave Richards (Fred Dryer) wants to interview Sam because no better-known celebrities are available. Later, Dave shatters Sam's second bid for fame by leaving in the middle of the interview for a now-available celebrity. In the billiard room, Diane tries to convince Sam to take pride in his past but enjoy the present, which backfires when Sam tries to kiss Diane. Diane flips him onto the pool table, revealing her unexpected knowledge of judo. To forgive Sam, she expresses further interest in Sam's baseball reminiscences. A con artist, Harry "the Hat" Gittes (Harry Anderson), makes his first appearance, conning people throughout the episode.
5 5 "Coach's Daughter" James Burrows Ken Estin October 28, 1982 (1982-10-28) 11.0 / #66[rat1 6]
Coach's daughter Lisa (Allyce Beasley) arrives with her fiancé Roy (Philip Charles MacKenzie), who is rude and obnoxious. Coach tries to keep silent about his manner to make her happy, but Roy keeps insulting others. In the office, Coach tells Lisa that she is too good for the likes of Roy. Lisa reluctantly agrees with her father and says that she will marry Roy only because she is ashamed of her own beauty, which resembles her mother's. However, Coach tells Lisa that she is more beautiful every day, like her mother. Feeling more self-confident, Lisa tells Roy off and ends their relationship and prepares to celebrate her freedom with her father. Diane draws sketches of people, but her efforts show no resemblance to their subjects.
6 6 "Any Friend of Diane's" James Burrows Ken Levine and David Isaacs November 4, 1982 (1982-11-04) 12.4 / #62[rat1 7]
Diane's university friend Rebecca Prout (Julia Duffy) tell her that she has dumped her fiancé Elliott, who has been unfaithful to her. In desperation, Rebecca wants to have sex with Sam, an ordinary yet attractive bartender. Diane tries to stop them but is unsuccessful, and Sam and Rebecca leave the bar. Later, Sam returns and tells Diane that nothing happened, and that he found Rebecca "boring, depressing, [and] long-winded," much to Diane's relief. However, Rebecca returns in tears and tells Diane that Sam abandoned and neglected her, which angers Diane. Therefore, Diane and Sam pretend to be in a relationship, which helps boost Rebecca's self-esteem over the rejection, much to their relief. Norm wants to impress his accounting boss, Darrell Stabell (Macon McCalman), but ends up drinking too much beer, which repulses Mr. Stabell.
7 7 "Friends, Romans, Accountants" James Burrows Ken Levine and David Isaacs November 11, 1982 (1982-11-11) 13.6 / #50[rat1 8]
Accountant Norm Peterson chooses the toga theme, requested by Diane, and Cheers for the annual office party as an effort to please his boss Herbert Sawyer (James Read). As Norm arrives wearing a toga, the party turns out to be moribund and without a mood for togas, leaving Norm humiliated, disappointed, and the only person wearing a toga. Desperate, Norm begs Diane to seduce him, but she refuses until Herbert turns out to be attractive and about the same age as Diane. Later at the billiard room, Herbert tries to seduce Diane, but she tries to reject his advances without success. Suddenly, Norm sees Sawyer attacking Diane and saves her by grabbing Herbert, who fires Norm. Although Norm is unhappy about losing his job, everyone finds out that Norm stood up to Herbert, causing everyone to celebrate.
8 8 "Truce or Consequences" James Burrows Ken Levine and David Isaacs November 18, 1982 (1982-11-18) 11.9 / #63[rat1 9]
Sam intervenes in a conflict between Diane and Carla, who cannot abide each other. He warns them about losing their jobs and orders them to patch things up. After Sam leaves the bar, Carla confesses to Diane that Gino, one of her children, is Sam's child, and commands Diane to keep this a secret. The next day, Diane inadvertently reveals Carla's secret to Coach. When Coach tells her that Sam and Carla have only known each other for five years and Gino is seven and a half, Carla's confession is shown to be a lie. When another conflict between the two waitresses ensues, Sam drags them into the office to settle the matter. When they tell Sam the whole situation, and Carla shows a picture of Gino, all of them burst into laughter. Carla and Diane make a truce with a handshake.
9 9 "Coach Returns to Action" James Burrows Earl Pomerantz November 25, 1982 (1982-11-25) 10.0 / #69[rat1 10]
The weather in Boston is very cold. Coach has a crush on his new neighbor Nina (Murphy Cross), who comes into the bar because the heater in her apartment is not working, but Coach is too shy to ask her out. When Coach has almost given up asking Nina out, Diane and Carla cheer him up by telling him that, even at old age, he is still attractive to woman. Nina receives a telephone call telling her that her heater is fixed. As she is about to leave, Coach finally asks Nina out, but Nina kindly rejects his offer. Coach purposely falls down the stairs and feigns injury to win her over, so Nina helps his "injuries" in her apartment. Carla fixes plumbing in the men's restroom. Sam bans an unhappy tour guide (Bill Wiley), who brings tourists into the bar.
10 10 "Endless Slumper" James Burrows Sam Simon December 2, 1982 (1982-12-02) 12.7 / #57[rat1 11]
A struggling baseball player, Rick Walker (Christopher McDonald), visits the bar to seek advice on improving his game from Sam, a former player, whom he never met. After the bar regulars unsuccessfully try to help Rick improve his career, Sam gives Rick his lucky bottle cap. Later, while Rick's baseball career improves, Sam experiences bad luck as his bartending skills deteriorate. Sam admits to Diane that the cap prevents him from relapsing into alcoholism. Sam calls Rick, who tells Sam that he lost the bottle cap a week ago in Kansas City. Shocked, Sam pours beer into a mug and then resists drinking it, and claims the new bottle cap as his lucky charm. Diane is developing facial tics.
11 11 "One for the Book" James Burrows Katherine Green December 9, 1982 (1982-12-09) 12.4 / #60[rat1 12]
A "shy, serious-minded" young man Kevin (Boyd Bodwell), who plans to join a monastery, comes to the bar for a single visit. Kevin mistakes Diane's positive comments about his physique as a flattery and tries to kiss her, which upsets Diane. Feeling bad about it, Kevin is convinced that he rather belongs to the atmosphere filled with "booze, seated degenerates, and cheap dames" and is unfit for a monastery. Kevin puts a coin in the coin-operated piano that has been not worked for twenty years. When it "miraculously" works, he believes that he has healed the piano and that he will achieve a priesthood. After Kevin leaves, it is revealed that Coach fixed the piano "a couple days ago". An elderly World War I veteran, Buzz (Ian Wolfe), enters the bar for another reunion with his former troops. When no others arrive, he realizes that he is the last surviving veteran of his group. Nevertheless, all employees and Norm sing a military song to cheer him up. Diane writes down quotes from bar customers that are "natural" and "spontaneous" to her. Sam learns that she omits his quotes as she finds them less than inspiring. He is disappointed and frustrated, angrily calls Diane a phony, and says, "What does a stuffed shirt know about blue-collar poetry?", motivating Diane to write it down.
12 12 "The Spy Who Came In for a Cold One" James Burrows David Lloyd December 16, 1982 (1982-12-16) 12.1 / #64[rat1 13]
A stranger "Eric Finch" (Ellis Rabb) enters the bar and claims to be a spy. When Diane makes corrections, Eric admits that he is not. When he pulls out poems, claiming them as his own, Diane sees him as an aspiring poet and decides to give him another chance. However, Coach recites a poem that Eric simultaneously recites, which turns out to be from another author, destroying Diane's faith in him. Eric then claims to be a millionaire "Thomas Hillian III", who wants to buy the bar from Sam for $2 million in check. Angry and betrayed, Diane rips the check into pieces and feels no regret until a chauffeur (Robert Evan Collins) calls the man "Mr. Hillian". Sam assures Diane that he will never sell the bar.
13 13 "Now Pitching, Sam Malone" James Burrows Ken Levine and David Isaacs January 6, 1983 (1983-01-06) 14.8 / #56[rat1 14]
Sam flirts with Lana (Barbara Babcock), an advertising agent, and then becomes her client. As a result, Sam appears in a beer commercial, but he is not happy about it. Sam confesses to Diane about the affair, so Diane gossips the information to Coach. When Coach threatens to kick Sam's butt for lacking the courage to dump Lana, Sam reluctantly ends his relationship with Lana and his contract with her.
14 14 "Let Me Count the Ways" James Burrows Heide Perlman January 13, 1983 (1983-01-13) 12.9 / #61[rat1 15]
Diane's cat Elizabeth Barrett Browning has recently died, and no one is consoling her for grieving over the pet. When she breaks down in tears, Sam takes Diane into the office to calm her down and orders her to discuss the cat. In her story, Diane had been close to Elizabeth; the pair enjoyed each other's mutual support, especially when Diane's parents separated. Sam and Diane almost embrace until Diane interrupts and accuses him of taking advantage of her grief for sex. They argue and insult each other, and decide not to hug each other again in order to avoid sexual tension. Coach and Sam win their secret bet on the Boston Celtics losing the basketball game—based on Marshall Lipton's (Mark King) book of cybernetics.
15 15 "Father Knows Last" James Burrows Heide Perlman January 20, 1983 (1983-01-20) 14.9 / #46[rat1 16]
Carla is pregnant with a fifth child and tells Marshall that he is the father. When Coach tells Diane that Carla and Marshall have never had sex, Diane realizes Carla is lying and confronts her. Carla admits that the child's father is her ex-husband Nick and refuses to tell Marshall this. Diane taunts Carla by repeatedly making "boom-boom" sounds from The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that Diane has read. Still bothered by Diane's antics, Carla tells Marshall the truth, which ends his relationship with her. Fortunately, she receives charity from everyone in the bar.
Rhea Perlman was pregnant while this season was filmed.[20]
16 16 "The Boys in the Bar" James Burrows Ken Levine and David Isaacs January 27, 1983 (1983-01-27) 14.9 / #41[rat1 17]
Sam supports the coming out of his former baseball teammate Tom Kenderson (Alan Autry), to the annoyance of the bar's patrons, including Norm, who fear that Cheers will become a gay bar. The next day, Diane reveals that "there are two gay men" in this bar. The customers suspect that three male newcomers are gay and want them to leave the bar. However, when three men congratulate Sam for his support the day before, Sam decides not to eject them and to avoid turning Cheers into a discriminative place. Norm and other patrons announce last call for drinks at 7:00pm and escort the men from the bar. Diane reveals the three men are not gay, and that two gay men are still inside. The two men in question kiss Norm on his cheeks.
17 17 "Diane's Perfect Date" James Burrows David Lloyd February 10, 1983 (1983-02-10) 13.3 / #45[rat1 18]
Diane arranges a blind date for Sam with an intellectual woman. Sam assumes that Diane is his "date" and does not arrange one for Diane. Diane introduces Sam to Gretchen (Gretchen Corbett). Panicked, Sam randomly chooses Andy (Derek McGrath), an ex-convict. As a result, the evening with their respective dates turns into a disaster. Sam is not pleased with Gretchen's uptight attitude, use of jargon and long-winded speeches, and Andy stuns others with his murderous behavior. When their dates leave, Sam admits his actions and clears up the misunderstandings and tells Diane that she may be a perfect match for him. Diane infuriates Sam by teasing him for admitting his romantic feelings for her. The bar patrons debate the relationship.
Cheers was postponed on Thursday, February 3, 1983, because of television miniseries Shogun.[21]
18 18 "No Contest" James Burrows Heide Perlman February 17, 1983 (1983-02-17) 15.9 / #49[rat1 19]
Diane finds out that against her will, Sam has registered her into the 45th Annual Miss Boston Barmaid contest, a beauty pageant representing bar waitresses of Boston, which Diane considers "degrading to women". While going to decline her registration, she discovers that reporters and interviewers will be present so continues with the contest. While she is preparing to denounce the contest, Diane becomes overwhelmingly excited by winning two tickets to Bermuda and other prizes. Although her plans to denounce the contest have failed, Diane takes someone other than Sam to Bermuda. Cliff argues with another bar patron Paul (Paul Vaughn) until both apologize to each other.
19 19 "Pick a Con... Any Con" James Burrows David Angell February 24, 1983 (1983-02-24) 13.1 / #58[rat1 20]
Coach loses $8,000 bar savings to George Wheeler (Reid Shelton) in rounds of gin rummy, a card game. Therefore, Sam bails out a con artist Harry the Hat from jail and pays him $5,000 to get the money back from George. At night, George plays poker with Harry and with other players, including Sam. George wins every round when his opponents, including Harry, fold. Coach and Sam discover that, in a recent round, Harry's four 3s in his hand (four of a kind) would have beaten George's straight hand. Then George and Harry confess that they have been teaming together to cheat the bar patrons the whole night. George threatens to report them to the police for gambling in poker if they try anything. However, Coach begs for another round with Harry and George alone. At the final round, Coach rubs his nose as a sign that George could beat Harry with three Queens. Harry wins with four 3s and exits the bar. When George leaves, Harry re-enters from the back room and admits that he teamed up with Coach to retrieve the $8,000 by cheating George.
20 20 "Someone Single, Someone Blue" James Burrows David Angell March 3, 1983 (1983-03-03) 14.7 / #43[rat1 21]
When Diane's mother Helen (Glynis Johns) is preparing to lose her wealth unless, under her father's will, Diane marries the following day. Diane and her mother pick Sam to be Diane's groom, as suggested by Carla, and Sam reluctantly plays along. During the wedding in the bar, Sam looks at another woman who just arrives, angering Diane. Sam and Diane argue, prompting Helen to halt the wedding. Although the fortune is gone, Helen's chauffeur Boggs (Duncan Ross) reveals he has been embezzling from the Chambers family for years. Then he proposes to Helen, who accepts.
Producers wanted Lucille Ball as Diane's mother, but she turned down the role.[22]
21 21 "Showdown, Part 1" James Burrows Glen Charles & Les Charles March 24, 1983 (1983-03-24) 13.6 / #51[rat1 22]
Sam's brother, Derek (an unseen character, voiced by George Ball), who exceeds Sam in: success, education, talent, and looks, arrives to Boston with his private jet. Derek entertains bar patrons with his talents. He teaches Coach to speak Spanish for a coaching job in Venezuela and offers Norm a job. Derek and Diane begin dating, making Sam jealous.
22 22 "Showdown, Part 2" James Burrows Glen Charles & Les Charles March 31, 1983 (1983-03-31) 14.7 / #36[rat1 23]
Norm is fired from the job that Derek offered last week, the corporation having committed tax fraud. Coach loses the coaching job to someone else, putting the Spanish lessons to waste. Sam and Diane confess their feelings for each other and putting Derek out of their picture. However, when they try to resist temptation for a conversation, Sam and Diane end up arguing and then spewing bad remarks about each other. After failed attempts to resist, they passionately kiss.
Specials
No. Title Written by Original air date
S01 "Super Bowl XVII Pregame segment"[23][24] Ken Levine and David Isaacs January 30, 1983 (1983-01-30)
In this sketch located at Cheers, the bar patrons meet sportscaster Pete Axthelm, whom Diane mocks. She also mocks football, and the patrons scorn her for her prejudice and lack of knowledge. The patrons and Diane argue, while Axthelm concludes his coverage in Boston. This sketch was the producers' attempt to increase ratings; other NBC shows Remington Steele, Taxi, and The A-Team also produced sketches for that year's Super Bowl pre-game segment. This sketch is not available on home video.
S02 "Uncle Sam Malone"[25]
A 13-minute playlet, produced by the United States Department of Treasury and starring the whole cast of Cheers: Danson, Long, Perlman, Colasanto, Wendt, and Ratzenberger, was used to promote sales of U.S. Savings Bonds.

Production[edit]

Exterior (left) and interior of the Bull & Finch Pub, now Cheers Beacon Hill, that inspired the show's bar stage set.

Director James Burrows observed that this series is intended to be about the bar, where anybody comes in for any reason, not just drinks.[2] The show was originally set in a hotel, a setting inspired by Fawlty Towers, Burrows's favorite British sitcom.[26] The producers narrowed the setting down to a hotel bar,[27] but later evolved it into a neighborhood bar in Boston,[2] according to Glen Charles, "because it was more cozy".[28] The "athletic element" was added to the bar because the show's creators, Burrows and Charles brothers (Glen and Les) were sports fans.[28]

The show's bar setting was inspired the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston. It was not filmed in the pub, but on the Stage 25 lot of Paramount Studios with the set decoration of Cheers.[27] The Bull & Finch Pub was later renamed Cheers Beacon Hill.[29] The entire season is set exclusively in the bar, its office, and the billiard room; no locations outside the bar were used until Diane Chambers' apartment is seen in the second season.[30]

Rhea Perlman was first to be cast.[14] Also, she was pregnant during the whole season, as well as her character Carla.[20]

At the time the show was being filmed, Rhea Perlman was pregnant. She told the producers during filming of the third of fourth episode (produced or aired), and the episodes were filmed out of sequence to allow Perlman to hide her pregnancy with a tray until the episode "Father Knows Last", after which Perlman's pregnancy was assimilated into her character Carla Tortelli, who was pregnant with her ex-husband Nick's child for the rest of the season. Perlman's daughter Lucy was born on March 12, 1983.[20]

Drinks and snacks in the show were neither alcoholic nor edible. The scotch was made from water, the beer was non-alcoholic and was made out of "less lingering ingredients" with salt to produce a foam, and the cheese puffs were not real. The bathroom did not have toilets and sinks. Canned laughter was not used on the show; live audience reactions were recorded on film.[31] From episode 13, each episode was preceded with the announcement, "Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience", and this continued during the remainder of the show's run.[32]

NBC praised the show when the network was given test experiments and ordered initial thirteen episodes to be produced.[33] The series' Nielsen ratings were low during this season, and the network tried to attract more viewers to the series. One episode was experimentally shot on videotape to lower production costs, but the producers were not satisfied with the results and continued to shoot the show on film.[34] NBC also produced a scripted Super Bowl sketch with sportscaster Pete Axthelm, which was broadcast during the Super Bowl pre-game segment on January 30, 1983,[23][24] along with sketches for other NBC shows, including The A-Team.[23] After efforts to improve the ratings failed, NBC approved production of nine more episodes,[33] and renewed the series for the next season.[35]

Before "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo became the show's theme song, Cheers' producers rejected two of Portnoy's and Hart Angelo's songs. The songwriters had collaborated to provide music for Preppies an unsuccessful Broadway musical. When told they could not appropriate "People Like Us", Preppies's opening song, the pair wrote My Kind of People, intended to satirize "the lifestyle of old decadent old-money WASPs," but, to meet producers' demands, they rewrote the lyrics to be about "likeable losers" in a Boston bar. The show's producers rejected this song, as well as later songs that Portnoy and Angelo wrote. When Portnoy and Hart Angelo heard that NBC had commissioned thirteen episodes, they created "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", and rewrote the lyrics.[36]

Broadcasts[edit]

Cheers was an easy call. That is just so well done that we should be sent to jail for cancelling it.[37]

- Grant Tinker, NBC chairman and chief executive

Cheers was first broadcast at 9:00pm (Eastern) / 8:00pm (Central) on Thursday during fall 1982, which later became NBC's Must See TV, which followed the hour-long musical series Fame and preceded another half-hour sitcom Taxi, and hour-long crime series Hill Street Blues.[17] Cheers was scheduled against CBS's Simon & Simon and ABC's Too Close for Comfort.[38] Because of poor Nielsen ratings, NBC changes its Thursday schedule. Critically acclaimed comedy Taxi moved to Saturdays; critically panned Gimme a Break! moved to Thursdays at 9pm ET/8pm CT and Cheers was moved to the 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT slot,[17] still competing against Simon & Simon and ABC's It Takes Two.[39] Fame and Hill Street Blues remained in the same time slot.[17] The overall performance of the season was 74th place out of "99 regularly schedule shows".[40]

Despite low ratings and unsuccessful attempts to improve them, NBC renewed Cheers for a second season, which it announced on March 1983.[35] During mid-1983, reruns of the show's first season scored high ratings, most episodes reaching the top 20.[41] "No Contest" was rerun on July 14, 1983, at 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT[42] and tied with Remington Steele in 12th place out of 65 programs in the ratings week of July 11, 1983.[43] "Let Me Count the Ways" was rerun on May 26, 1983,[44] and came 19th out of 63 programs with a 17.4 rating.[45] "The Boys in the Bar" aired again on July 28, 1983,[46] and scored a 12.8 rating and 23 share.[47]

In Sydney, Australia, the first season aired on Sundays on Network Ten from November 1983[48] to April 8, 1984.[49]

Reception[edit]

During the first broadcast of its first season in 1982–1983, Cheers received positive reviews.[50] Rick Sherwood called it "ever-charming".[51] Montreal critic Mike Boone from The Gazette called it "unpredictable" and the supporting characters "splendid".[52] Fred Rothenberg of the Associated Press called it the "funniest, most adult comedy on TV".[53]

Later reviews were more positive. Jason Bovberg from DVD Talk praised season 1's writing quality above its "odd assortment of [characters]" and gave its content four and a half stars out of five.[54] Steve Butts from IGN called this season "some of the best comedy writing and acting seen on television", praised the cast's performances, and gave it nine out of ten points.[55] Stephen Tropiano from PopMatters called it "fresh and very funny", even for a very old show, but said that some situations seem "forced", especially for customers with no connections to main characters. He also wrote that ther show has "witty dialogue, talented ensemble, and a premise reminiscent of 1930s screwball comedies", which compared with the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s—Three’s Company, Laverne and Shirley, and The Love Boat—"Cheers was a welcome change of pace.".[56]

Michael Speier from Variety magazine called it "clever and touching" with "fresh" stories and praised chemistry between Ted Danson and Shelley Long.[57] Jonathan Boudreaux from the website TVDVDReviews.com wrote, "[w]hile the episodes are often outrageously funny, the show's humor is character-based. The laughs arrive from the personalities and foibles of the group rather than from wacky situations." He also wrote, "Cheers is probably one of the best TV series of all time."[58] Elizabeth Skipper from DVD Verdict rated the story 90 percent and acting 95 percent and wrote, "[t]here's nothing terribly unique about the series; it's ...  fueled by the sexual tension between the two leads and fanned by a well-rounded supporting cast, a portrayal of the attempts of a downtown boy to win over an uptown girl—it's all been done before."[59] Matt Brighton from Blu-ray Authority called the season's writing and directing "clever" and was "impressed at how this show has stood the test of time."[60] TV Guide called "The Tortelli Tort" a "classic episode".[61]

Accolades[edit]

We could have no better relationship with a network.[62]

- Les Charles at the 1983 Emmy Awards

The first season of Cheers received thirteen nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1983. It won five Emmy Awards, including an Outstanding Comedy Series. All the main cast except George Wendt, and John Ratzenberger, who was not part of the main cast, were nominated for, respectively, their own leading and supporting roles.[63] Shelley Long won the award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series". Glen and Les Charles won an Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series award for the pilot episode "Give Me a Ring Sometime". Episodes "The Boys in the Bar" and "Diane's Perfect Date" were nominated for the same category. James Castle and Bruce Bryant won an Outstanding Individual Achievement of Graphic Design and Title Sequences for "Showdown, Part One". James Burrows won an Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award for "Showdown, Part Two". The program's theme song, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", was nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics award, but did not win.[63]

The Television Critics Association voted Cheers the Best New Series of 1982–1983.[64][65] The episodes "Give Me a Ring Sometime" and "The Boys in the Bar" won the Episodic Comedy category in the 36th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards in 1984.[66] "The Spy Who Came In for a Cold One",[67] and "Let Me Count the Ways" were nominated for the same award.[68] James Burrows won the Comedy Series category of the 36th Annual Directors Guild of America Award (DGA) for "Showdown, Part Two" in 1984;[69] he was DGA-nominated for "Sam at Eleven" but did not win in 1983.[70]

On Saturday, January 29, 1983, Cheers won the Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy Television Series of 1982, and Shelley Long won a Golden Globe Award as the Best Supporting Actress in Television.[71] Cheers did not win any Golden Globes for categories related to comedy television of 1983 at the 1984 ceremony.[72] On Thursday, March 17, 1983, Cheers won the Favorite New Television Comedy Program award at the 9th Annual People's Choice Awards.[73][74]

DVD release[edit]

Season 1 of Cheers was released on Region 1 DVD on May 20, 2003, twenty years after its final episode was broadcast on television.[57][75] Elizabeth Skipper of DVD Verdict rated video quality 80 percent and the sound quality 65 percent, but called the menu settings "ugly" and uninspiring, and the special features "lackluster" and consisting mostly of compilation clips of this season.[59] Jonathan Boudreaux of TVDVDreviews.com found the video "clear and sharp", and found the sound quality similar to that of the television broadcast.[58]

Cheers: The Complete First Season
Set Details[75] Special Features[75]
  • Setting The Bar: A Conversation with Ted Danson
  • Love at First Fight: Opposites Distract
  • Coach Ernie Pantusso's Rules of the Game
  • I'll Drink to That: Stormin' Norm-isms
  • "It's a Little Known Fact..." Cheers Trivia Game
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
May 20, 2003 24 November 2003 15 January 2004

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Buck, Jerry (January 23, 1983). "Cheers provides tough education". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press. p. 3, TV Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Scott, Vernon. "Series Producers Working Now to Get `Cheers'." Telegraph Herald [Dubuque, Iowa] 11 July 1982: 20. Google News. Web. 05 April 2012.
  3. ^ Wendt 2009, p. 112.
  4. ^ a b Wendt 2009, pp. 113–114
  5. ^ Wendt 2009, p. 113.
  6. ^ a b Bjorklund, p. 281.
  7. ^ Bjorklund, pp. 281–295.
  8. ^ Bjorklund, pp. 297+.
  9. ^ a b Meade, Peter (29 April 1984). "We'll Cry In Our Beers As Sam, Diane Split". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. p. 14.  Editions of April 27–29, 1984, are bundled in the webpage. Article is located at page 85 in Google.
  10. ^ Carter, Bill (May 9, 1993). "Why 'Cheers' Proved So Intoxicating". The New York Times. p. 6. 
  11. ^ Balk, Quentin; Falk, Ben (2005). Television's Strangest Moments: Extraordinary but true tales from the history of television. London: Robson–Chrysalis. p. 166. ISBN 1-86105-874-8. 
  12. ^ "Nick Colasanto Dead at 61; Played Bartender in 'Cheers'". The New York Times. February 14, 1985. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  13. ^ "My thoughts on GQ 'Cheers' article". ...by Ken Levine. October 2, 2012.  Levine refers Stephen Kolzak as "Steve Kolzak".
  14. ^ a b Danson, Ted (2003). Setting the Bar: A Conversation with Ted Danson (DVD). (Interview). Paramount Pictures. Cheers: The Complete First Season. 
  15. ^ Danson, Ted (September 17, 2009). Ted Danson, On Life (And 'Death') After 'Cheers'. Interview with David Bianculli. NPR. Fresh Air from WHYY. 
  16. ^ "Television (Thursday)". Anchorage Daily News. October 14, 1982. Retrieved August 29, 2012, at Google News Archive.  The pilot episode, "Give Me a Ring Sometime", aired on October 14, 1982, in Anchorage, Alaska.
  17. ^ a b c d Wisehart, Bob (December 22, 1982). "Taxi switch distressing news for tuned-in television viewers". The Gazette. Newhouse News Service. p. B-6. Retrieved July 20, 2012 at Google News Archive. 
  18. ^ a b c d Bjorklund, pp. 281–295 "Season One: 1982-83."
  19. ^ Bjorklund, pp. 128, 449-450.
  20. ^ a b c Buck, Jerry (April 24, 1983). "Rhea Perlman Mixes Real Life with Series". The Press-Courier (Oxnard, California). TV Week, p. 7. Retrieved July 23, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  21. ^ "Television Schedule". Los Angeles Times (Microfilm ed.). February 3, 1983. Calendar section. 
  22. ^ Brian Raftery (October 2012). "The Best TV Show That's Ever Been". GQ. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c "Cast of Cheers with special material about the Super Bowl". Los Angeles Times. February 2, 1983. Part VI (Calendar), page 7.  Microfilm.
  24. ^ a b Levine, Ken (February 6, 2010). "My Super Bowl Tradition: The Lost Cheers". ...by Ken Levine at Blogspot. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Uncle Sam Malone". United States Department of Treasury. circa 1982–1984. Retrieved July 21, 2012 at National Archives and Records Administration.  National Archives Identifier: 5076619; Local Identifier: 53-BONDS-14; Agency-Assigned Identifier: P0074.
  26. ^ "Cheering Up Cheers". The Rome News-Tribune. November 19, 1982. p. 3. Retrieved September 19, 2012, at Google. 
  27. ^ a b Lehman, Betsy (October 1, 1982). "Cheers 'to the Real Cast'; Beacon Hill Pub Goes Hollywood - via TV". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 19, 2012.  ProQuest: (registration required).
  28. ^ a b Meade, Peter (29 April 1984). "We'll Cry In Our Beers As Sam, Diane Split". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. p. 14.  Editions of April 27–29, 1984, are bundled in the webpage. Article is located at page 85 in Google.
  29. ^ Ferdinand, Pamela, from The Washington Post (September 1, 2001). "'Cheers' pub reincarnated". Bangor Daily News. p. G2. Retrieved June 21, 2012.  Google News.
  30. ^ "Cheers Surges from Ratings Slump". The Bulletin. United Press International. September 30, 1983. p. 30. Retrieved July 7, 2012 on Google News Archives.  This source explicitly mentions the first appearance of Diane Chambers's apartment without implications.
  31. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (February 16, 1983). "Beers are fake, but Cheers aren't canned". Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Associated Press. p. WV11. Retrieved July 16, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  32. ^ D.L. Stewart (December 26, 1988). "There's no reason why 2 living room couch potatoes can't wash dishes — or is there?". Milwaukee Sentinel. Pt. 3, p. 1 ("Good Morning"). Retrieved July 16, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  33. ^ a b Meade, Peter (14 January 1983). "Shelley Long cheers up". Rome News-Tribune (Rome, Georgia). p. 20. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  34. ^ Levine, Ken (March 18, 2012). "Another thing about Cheers you didn't know". ...by Ken Levine. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012, at Blogspot. 
  35. ^ a b "Cheers for a second season". Beaver County Times (Beaver County, Pennsylvania). Associated Press. March 13, 1983. p. D7. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  36. ^ "The Story Behind the Cheers Theme". GaryPortnoy.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013.  Click "The Cheers Story".
  37. ^ Hastings, Julianne (June 27, 1983). "Grant Tinker's Aim Is Not to Be No. 3". St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida). United Press International. p. 8D. Retrieved July 20, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  38. ^ "Tonight (Thursday)". Kentucky New Era. December 9, 1982. p. 26. Retrieved September 18, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  39. ^ Judy Flander (January 6, 1983). "Cheers gets low place in ratings because of Simons' competition". Wilmington Morning Star. p. 5C. Retrieved September 18, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  40. ^ Bednarski, P.J. (September 3, 1983). "Why NBC Repeats Look Like New Shows". Boston Globe. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved July 28, 2012, at ProQuest.  (registration required) ProQuest document ID: 294224469. The author worked for Chicago Sun-Times at the time of publication.
  41. ^ Scott, Vernin (September 22, 1983). "Cheers Boosted by Reruns". Reading Eagle. United Press International. p. 37. Retrieved on July 6, 2012 at Google News Archives. 
  42. ^ "Today's Television". The Pittsburgh Press. July 14, 1983. p. C-10. Retrieved July 20, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  43. ^ Smith, Sally B (July 21, 1983). "NBC Moves Past ABC in Prime-Time TV Ratings". The New York Times. p. C-23. Retrieved July 20, 2012, at ProQuest. 
  44. ^ "Thursday, May 26, 1983". Los Angeles Times. May 22, 1983. Television Times, p. 37. 
  45. ^ "Television Schedule". Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1983. p. 12, Pt. VI (Calendar). 
  46. ^ "Television (Schedule)". Lodi News-Sentinel [Lodi, California] July 28, 1983: 12. Google News. Web. June 13, 2012.
  47. ^ "NBC Wins Nielsen Race." Miami Herald August 3, 1983: 7B. NewsBank. Web. June 13, 2012. (registration required). Article at MiamiHerald.com: (subscription required).
  48. ^ "Sunday's programs". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 20, 1983. Lift-Out TV Guide, p. 63. Retrieved July 25, 2012, at Google News Archive.  The show might have premiered on November 13, 1983.
  49. ^ "Sunday's programs". The Sydney Morning Herald. April 8, 1984. Lift-Out TV Guide, p. 61. Retrieved July 25, 2012, at Google News Archive.  For some reason, some episodes were skipped during the period of November 1983 and April 1984. They might have been aired after episodes of the second season were broadcast.
  50. ^ Thomas, Jack (June 28, 1983). "Television Jack Thomas; Worst of the Worst". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 21, 2012, at ProQuest. 
  51. ^ Sherwood, Rick (September 15, 1983). "Cheers episode is charming". Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, North Carolina). p. 5C. ISSN 0163-402X. Retrieved June 28, 2012.  Rick Sherwood's article appears in other newspapers, according to Google search results.
  52. ^ Boone, Mike (2 May 1984). "Cheers! Sam and Diane's breakup is a TV event worth drinking to". The Gazette. p. E12. 
  53. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (October 13, 1983). "Love won't spoil Sam and Diane on Cheers". Anchorage Daily News. p. E11. 
  54. ^ Bovberg, Jason (May 28, 2003). "Cheers: The Complete First Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  55. ^ Butts, Steve (June 18, 2003). "Cheers: The Complete First Season Review". IGN. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  56. ^ Tropiano, Stephen (June 23, 2003). "Cheers: The Complete First Season". PopMatters. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  57. ^ a b Speier, Michael (June 29, 2003). "Cheers". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  58. ^ a b Boudreaux, Jonathan (July 6, 2003). "Cheers: The Complete First Season DVD Review". Archived from the original on June 15, 2011, by Internet Archive Wayback Machine. 
  59. ^ a b Skipper, Elizabeth (July 14, 2003). "Cheers: The Complete First Season". DVD Verdict. 
  60. ^ Brighton, Matt. "Cheers: The First Season". Blu-ray Authority. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  61. ^ TV Guide: TV on DVD 2006: The Ultimate Resource to Television Programs on DVD. 2005. p. 54. ISBN 0-312-35150-X. 
  62. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (September 26, 1983). "Ask Why NBC...". Lewiston Journal (Lewiston-Auburn, Maine). Associated Press. Retrieved July 22, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  63. ^ a b Bjorklund, pp. 457–458
  64. ^ "Thursday, July 7, 1983". The Pittsburgh Press. July 3, 1983. p. TV12. Retrieved July 20, 2012, at Google News Archive.  Scroll the page right at upper half to find the page that has a schedule, and find Cheers.
  65. ^ "Critics Like Cheers". The Miami Herald (Final ed.). July 10, 1983. TV section, p. 14.  Record no: 8302240041.
  66. ^ "Cheers - The Boys in the Bar". The Writers Guild Foundation. 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  67. ^ "Cheers - Spy Who Came In For a Cold One, The". The Writers Guild Foundation. 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  68. ^ "Cheers - Let Me Count the Ways". The Writers Guild Foundation. 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  69. ^ "36th Annual DGA Awards Honoring Outstanding Directorial Achievement for 1983". Directors Guild of America. 1984. Retrieved July 25, 2012.  To skim list down, click "ALL" and then "Comedy Series".
  70. ^ "35th Annual DGA Awards Honoring Outstanding Directorial Achievement for 1982". Directors Guild of America. 1983. Retrieved July 25, 2012.  To see all nominees, click "Winners and Nominees". Then, to skim down the list, click "ALL" and then "Comedy Series".
  71. ^ "Gandhi Dominates Golden Globe Awards". Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Canada). United Press International. January 31, 1983. p. 30. Retrieved July 25, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  72. ^ "Globe winners at a glance". Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Canada). Associated Press. January 30, 1984. p. 60. Retrieved July 25, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  73. ^ "Burt, Barbara People's Choices". The Daily Record (Ellensburg, Washington). United Press International. August 20, 2012. p. 6. Retrieved August 20, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  74. ^ And the 9th Annual "Favorite New Television Comedy Program" People's Choice is...Cheers! (Web). P&G Productions, Inc. March 11, 1983. 
  75. ^ a b c "Cheers - Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 

References[edit]

Ratings notes[edit]

According to Los Angeles Times, ratings from 1982 to 1983 were based on 83.3 million households with at least one television set. "Television Ratings" column list is located at Part VI, "Calendar" section. Below sources originated from Los Angeles Times, republished in microfilm copies, which may be located in your local library.

  1. ^ "Wednesday, October 6, 1982". p. 11.  There are 63 programs in the list.
  2. ^ "Thursday, October 14, 1982". p. 11.  63 or 64 programs.
  3. ^ Schwartz, Tony (October 14, 1982). "Mixed Ratings for NBC". New York Times. p. C-29. Retrieved July 20, 2012, at ProQuest.  This episode scored a 24 New York City share.
  4. ^ "Wednesday, October 20, 1982". p. 8.  66 programs.
  5. ^ "Thursday, October 28, 1982". p. 12.  68 programs.
  6. ^ "Thursday, November 4, 1982". p. 12.  75 programs.
  7. ^ "Wednesday, November 10, 1982". p. 11.  85 programs.
  8. ^ "Thursday, November 18, 1982". p. 14.  65 programs.
  9. ^ "Wednesday, November 24, 1982". p. 10.  65 programs.
  10. ^ "Wednesday, December 1, 1982". p. 8.  69 programs.
  11. ^ "Thursday, December 9, 1982". p. 10.  68 programs.
  12. ^ "Thursday, December 16, 1982". p. 12.  73 programs.
  13. ^ "Friday, December 24, 1982". p. 10.  Either 12.0 or 12.1, as microfilm copy can barely read this week's Nielsen ratings. 73 programs.
  14. ^ "Thursday, January 13, 1983". p. 9.  69 programs.
  15. ^ "Friday, January 21, 1983". p. 16.  69 programs.
  16. ^ "Thursday, January 27, 1983". p. 8.  69 programs.
  17. ^ "Thursday, February 3, 1983". p. 10.  67 programs.
  18. ^ "Wednesday, February 16, 1983". p. 38.  61 programs.
  19. ^ "Wednesday, February 23, 1983". p. 7.  71 programs.
  20. ^ "Wednesday, March 2, 1983". p. 10.  67 programs.
  21. ^ "Wednesday, March 9, 1983". p. 9.  66 programs.
  22. ^ "Wednesday, March 30, 1983". p. 8.  67 programs.
  23. ^ "Wednesday, April 6, 1983". p. 7.  69 programs.

External links[edit]