The Gift of the Woodi

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"The Gift of the Woodi"
Cheers episode
Woody singing The Kelly Song in "The Gift of the Woodi".png
Woody playing a piano and singing "The Kelly Song" at his girlfriend Kelly's birthday party
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 19
Directed byJames Burrows
Written byPhoef Sutton
Original air dateApril 6, 1989 (1989-04-06)
Running time30 minutes (including commercials)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Cheers (season 7)
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"The Gift of the Woodi" is the nineteenth episode of the seventh season of the American television sitcom, Cheers, written by Phoef Sutton and directed by James Burrows. It originally aired on April 6, 1989, on NBC. In this episode, Woody Boyd sings a self-penned song "Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly...", also called "The Kelly Song", as his birthday gift to his girlfriend Kelly Gaines. Cliff plans to popularize his invention "beetabaga", a vegetable hybrid of rutabaga and beetroot. Rebecca wants to downgrade her sexual appeal in attempt to impress her superiors. The song has been praised by the critics. It also was performed by a couple other performers and actor Woody Harrelson himself a few times, portrayer of Woody Boyd.

Plot[edit]

Walter Gaines (Richard Doyle), one of Lillian Corporation's vice presidents, invites his daughter Kelly's boyfriend Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), whom Kelly (Jackie Swanson) has dated since the episode "Golden Boyd" (season 7, episode 13), to her birthday party at the Gaines manor. Woody plans to give her a book about Dutch humor. The Cheers gang convinces Woody that Mr. Gaines is using him and that he will embarrass himself in front of Kelly's rich peers because he cannot afford expensive gifts. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) suggests that Woody, who is now reluctant to attend the party, give Kelly something priceless, coming from his heart. At the party, Woody plays a piano and sings a self-penned song "Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly...", (also called "The Kelly Song"),[1] as his gift and dedicates it to Kelly. Kelly likes the song but is not convinced that it is his real gift; humiliated, Woody runs off.

The following day, when Kelly visits Cheers looking for her gift, Woody explains that the song is his real gift. Still unconvinced, Kelly believes the song provides a hint of what his "real" gift is. Woody explains to her that they are too different to see each other anymore. After she leaves, Sam Malone (Ted Danson), while consoling Woody, suggests sarcastically that he buy her jewelry. Woody takes the suggestion seriously and eventually gives her an expensive pendant at the manor, excusing what he said earlier as "Dutch humor". Kelly, having been excited initially, then wants a chain that will enable her to wear the pendant. Frustrated, Woody tells her that he spent most of his money on the pendant and cannot afford a chain. Convinced by his sincerity and feeling bad, Kelly returns the pendant to him and says that the song was "pretty". He asks her, "The tune or the words?" She answers, "The words especially." Woody tells her that he "ripped off the tune". Then he tells her he has another gift saying, "I love you." Finally accepting that Woody's gifts come from his heart, Kelly mentions that she abandoned her plan to give him a Porsche on his upcoming birthday, stunning him.

Meanwhile, Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) brags about his invention, "beetabaga", a fictional vegetable hybrid of rutabaga and beetroot, irritating the gang. Later, McDonald's declines to use it as an ingredient. Cliff gives away samples of "beetabaga"-made recipes for anyone to eat. The gang refuses to eat them. Cliff becomes excited when a man (Bruce French) eats a sample and apparently praises it. Then he self-identifies as an astronaut and says that he will become "the Queen of Spain" next week. Cliff decides not to take the man's feedback seriously.

Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley) is feeling too attractive and sexy and turns to Lilith Sternin-Crane (Bebe Neuwirth) for help to impress her superiors who she believes are ignoring her. Lilith does a makeover on Rebecca, so she resembles her. At Melville's restaurant, upstairs from Cheers, they attend a company meeting. The plan backfires, however, when Rebecca's superiors offer Lilith the vice presidential position at Lillian Corporation's east coast division.

Production[edit]

Phoef Sutton wrote "The Gift of the Woodi"; James Burrows directed the episode.[2] Vaughn Armstrong portrayed Kelly's uncle Val,[2] who gives her a key to a Mercedes-Benz car at her birthday party.

Reception[edit]

The episode originally aired at 9:00 pm (Eastern) / 8:00 pm (Central) on April 6, 1989, against CBS's The Equalizer and a re-broadcast of ABC's television movie Rock 'n' Roll Mom.[3] For the week of April 3–9, it scored a 22.2 rating and a 36 share, and was watched by an estimate of 32.2 million viewers,[4] finishing third in Nielsen ratings.[5]

The scene where Woody sings "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly..." at Kelly Gaines's birthday party is described by David Hofstede in his book 5000 Episodes and No Commercials as one of series' "great moments".[6] Andy Greene of Rolling Stone magazine said that the song "stuck in the minds of many Cheers fans",[7] and St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Holleman called Woody Harrelson's performance of the song "touching".[8]

Joseph J. and Kate Darowski in their 2019 book Cheers: A Cultural History rated the episode all four stars[9] ("great episode"[10]), citing Bebe Neuwirth's "fantastic" performance in the episode as the main reason for the rating.[9] The Darowskis wrote that the makeover subplot of the episode and the makeover plot from "Abnormal Psychology" (season 5, episode 4), where Diane gives Lilith a huge makeover to bring Lilith and Frasier Crane together, "highlight unfortunate television and cultural ideals around women".[11]

Legacy[edit]

Australian rock band Smudge recorded "The Kelly Song" on their 1993 album Manilow.[12] Actor Woody Harrelson sang the song in front of patrons outside the California Film Institute in October 2009,[13] and during his appearance at the Ringling College of Art and Design in January 2018.[14] "The Kelly Song" was also performed by The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when Kelly Ripa entered the set as Fallon's guest.[7] Professional wrestler Kelly Kelly said in her interview on a podcast series The Steve Austin Show that her ring name was based on the song.[15][16]

In popular culture[edit]

A character Rob narrating Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity chooses the episode featuring "The Kelly Song" as one of his top five favorite episodes of Cheers. One of Rob's friends Barry says that he is wrong about four of the five episodes, lacks a "sense of humor", and is the series' "undeserving and unappreciative viewer".[17]

References[edit]

General

  • Darowski, Joseph J.; Darowski, Kate (2019). Cheers: A Cultural History. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538113875. LCCN 2018056821.

Specific

  1. ^ "Cheers". Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. 1 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc. 2011. p. 182. ISBN 9780786486410. Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Bjorklund, Dennis A. (September 2014). "Season Seven: 1988–89". Cheers TV Show: A Comprehensive Reference. p. 387. ISBN 9780967985237. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  3. ^ "Thursday's TV Programs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 6, 1989. p. 21. Retrieved December 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  4. ^ "Using This Chart (April 3–9, 1989)". USA Today. April 12, 1989 – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ "Top 10: April 3–9, 1989". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 12, 1989. Retrieved December 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  6. ^ Hofstede, David (2006). 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows on DVD 2007: What to Watch, What to Buy. New York City: Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 57. ISBN 978-0823084562.
  7. ^ a b Greene, Andy (November 20, 2014). "Flashback: Woody Sings 'The Kelly Song' on Cheers". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Holleman, Joe (October 2, 2009). "Best Woody Harrelson movies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Darowski & Darowski 2019, p. 177
  10. ^ Darowski & Darowski 2019, p. 153.
  11. ^ Darowski & Darowski 2019, p. 128.
  12. ^ Robbins, Ira A. (1997). "Smudge". The Trouser Press Guide to the '90s Rock (5th ed.). New York City: Simon & Schuster. pp. 669–670. ISBN 0-684-81437-4.
  13. ^ Harvey, Dennis (October 19, 2009). "Live from Mill Valley: Woody Harrelson and Uma Thurman". SF360. San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Geurts, Jimmy (January 29, 2018). "Woody Harrelson visits Sarasota after Oscar nomination". Archived from the original on December 29, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  15. ^ Windsor, William (September 1, 2015). "Kelly Kelly Talks Vince McMahon Showing Her How to Dance, Paul Heyman Coming Up with Her Gimmick". Wrestling Inc. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Patel, Amish (September 2, 2015). "Barbie Blank Reveals How She Was Given the Name, 'Kelly Kelly'". Wrestling-Edge. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  17. ^ Hornby, Nick (1995). "Chapter 12". High Fidelity. Riverhead Books. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-57322-551-9.

External links[edit]