Jump to content

Twenty-Five Years After Its Heyday, Is Cheers Still Funny?

Cheers is a favorite in my family. My brother is re-watching it with his wife. My favorite episode is the one where Woody sneaks into Kelly's room with Sam and they find all the Barbie dolls ("GI Joe should come here on leave"). His favorite is the Andy Andy one (my brother's name is Andy). And we know all the words to Albania ("Albania, Albania. You border on the Adriatic. Your land is mostly mountainous and your chief export is chrome."

2

Share Post


Link to post

It's funny for me to read this because I'm actually in the middle of a Cheers re-watch now (or a Cheers watch, technically...I caught many episodes out of order when I was younger, but didn't have a clear grasp on the show beyond the basic characters). I'm actually enjoying it immensely, but I agree that Sam's antics are cringe-worthy at times, and in some cases just straight up harassment. Ted Danson is totally appealing, but Sam Malone is very much not in many instances.

3

Share Post


Link to post

Her husband, FORMER HARDY BOY PARKER STEVENSON, you mean. She is so drunk during that speech.

1

Share Post


Link to post

Don't recall that specific episode offhand (though I'm sure I watched it at the time), but in general, Rebecca Howe is one of my least favorite TV characters ever. Partly it's the terrible way she's written, partly it's that Kirstie Alley isn't much of an actress.

4

Share Post


Link to post

First off, so glad this was featured.

But: Confused. Was I voting for the watchability of the episode or SHOW? 

Main answer: YES, Cheers was still (and still is) funny. It ages really well. As other TV writers commented recently, the characters anchored the show. You would know them anywhere. Love them anywhere.

But what was I voting for here? It felt like I was supposed to vote against (and gently chide) the show somehow. Why? For not evolving? I watched it again the other night and it was 20+ years past, yet utterly current.

Can you really say that about "The Golden Girls," as lovely as it was? Not that those issues aren't still prevalent, just that the show feels incredibly part of the past in a way -- for me -- "Cheers" (and "Frasier") do not. 

"Cheers" and "Frasier" both offered us characters we would have known and loved (famously, cited by many screenwriters), even if viewed from desert islands galore.

I loved many other sitcoms (and their aims) but their days always felt more intransigent.

I also want to point out that "Cheers" managed to dodge the myth of the "Moonlighting" romantic curse twice over -- I loved Sam and Diane but knew they were doomed. And I really never, ever wanted to see Sam and Rebecca either.

The show was smarter than either, and knew the human heart, and here they still are. Not coincidentally, "Frasier" knew it too. And here it still is. :)

6

Share Post


Link to post

Woody's wedding episode (An Old Fashioned Wedding) is still one of the best farces ever aired on American TV or possibly anywhere else.  If you re-watch only one Cheers episode, I'd say make it that one. 

7

Share Post


Link to post

Woody's wedding episode (An Old Fashioned Wedding) is still one of the best farces ever aired on American TV or possibly anywhere else.  If you re-watch only one Cheers episode, I'd say make it that one. 

I completely agree with this. My favourite part of the episode is this tiny moment when Lilith comes into the kitchen (where a lot of the action takes place) to locate some spoons to play to distract the guests, there is something so wonderfully ridiculous about it, especially considering the fact that out all the characters, its Lilith.

3

Share Post


Link to post

To answer your question Mark. Yes, Cheers is still funny. 

I watched most of it later, especially the early seasons (I was born two months before Cheers premiered) and after I had really gotten into Frasier as a teenager. I think it holds up wonderfully and it is one of my all-time favourite shows. I agree that Sam is a somewhat problematic character and that if the show was written today he probably would have been given more depth (I hope) but the rest of the characters make up for Sam's flaws.

Quote

And speaking of Lilith: oh my god! She's still the greatest.

Yes!  Bebe Neuwirth also won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in 1991 for the episode Rat Girl, which I highly recommend you rematch if you enjoy Lilith, Bebe Neuwirth is so wonderful and the episode shows some rare emotional depth for Lilith. The Cranemakers from season 7 is also a wonderful Lilith and Frasier-centric episode. Lilith will always be my favourite Cheers character (and perhaps not surprisingly, my favourite episode of Frasier and probably my favourite episode of television ever is the Lilith-centric Room Service from season 5).

4

Share Post


Link to post
Quote

I agree that Sam is a somewhat problematic character and that if the show was written today he probably would have been given more depth (I hope) 

Sam had a lot of depth in the first season, but became increasingly shallow over time. The first season is golden.

5

Share Post


Link to post
Quote

More importantly, this episode has a very obvious sitcom structure that feels woefully outdated in the loose-limbed era of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Broad City and Veep



That doesn't seem to me to be a very fair comparison. Cheers was a multi-camera sitcom filmed with a live studio audience. That imposes certain practical limitations that none of those shows have to deal with.

A better point of comparison to a modern show might be The Big Bang Theory.

Edited by Latverian Diplomat. Reason: fix formatting
7

Share Post


Link to post

Cheers would beat BBT hands down, no contest.

And I agree that the first season of Cheers is complete perfection.

6

Share Post


Link to post
Quote

More importantly, this episode has a very obvious sitcom structure that feels woefully outdated in the loose-limbed era of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Broad City and Veep. 

To echo a few other posters, "Cheers" has zero in common with any of those shows, either as a traditional multi-camera sitcom filmed before a live studio audience, nor in its foundations or inspirations.

"Veep" is parody -- brilliant, but on the cooler side. "Kimmy Schmidt" is a warm-hearted farce that's also wildly, wildly uneven in quality from moment to moment or episode to episode. 

To me, "Cheers" is far more traditional comedy, if not as obviously risky -- its origins are as old as comedy, and go right back to the established characters of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." 

One of my favorite things about "Cheers" is that -- a real rarity -- the show's writers knew what the show was, and knew what its strengths were. They never forgot that.So the show ended not just faithful to its characters but to their hearts and souls. Sam and Diane reconnect but realize they are never really to be. Each character fulfills his or her destiny in some way.

And Sam ends up with the bar, with this warm, bright haven in a dark world, and with his realization and quiet happiness that he is already where he most wants and needs to be. He has everything he dreams of.

Edited by paramitch.
2

Share Post


Link to post

Cheers is a favorite in my family. My brother is re-watching it with his wife. My favorite episode is the one where Woody sneaks into Kelly's room with Sam and they find all the Barbie dolls ("GI Joe should come here on leave"). His favorite is the Andy Andy one (my brother's name is Andy). And we know all the words to Albania ("Albania, Albania. You border on the Adriatic. Your land is mostly mountainous and your chief export is chrome."

I still sing the "Albania" song. R.I.P. Coach.

5

Share Post


Link to post

This inspired me to get Hulu and start a Cheers re-watch. I'm loving it just as much now as I did on the original airings. Maybe it's just me, but I find Sam's hound dogging to be vastly less annoying than all those Alan Harper-cheapskate scenes from Two and a Half Men. 

I don't get the fascination with "single-camera" shows. The material is either funny or it isn't, regardless of how it's shot. 

I didn't realize that the Charles-Burrows-Charles production company broke up after Cheers ended. They still had their names in the credits of Frasier because they created the character for Cheers, but Frasier wasn't their show per se.

Edited by NeenerNeener.
1

Share Post


Link to post
On 7/30/2016 at 9:14 AM, NeenerNeener said:

I didn't realize that the Charles-Burrows-Charles production company broke up after Cheers ended. They still had their names in the credits of Frasier because they created the character for Cheers, but Frasier wasn't their show per se.

There's also some tragic history with BTS staff, too: David Angell, a supervising producer/writer of both Cheers and Frasier, was on one of the doomed flights that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

0

Share Post


Link to post

Ken Levine (writer for both Cheers and Frasier - not to mention M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, etc.) posts a very moving tribute to Angell on his blog each year on 9/11.

0

Share Post


Link to post

I am re-watching on Netflix, it is hilarious! The first season was so funny! I am not up to the season where Rebecca shows up yet. Diane is so good though!

3

Share Post


Link to post

You're a Cheers newbie?? Enjoy, there's a lot of great stuff. I was hooked at twelve years old.

0

Share Post


Link to post

Loved the first season, but didn't really watch most of it until syndication.  I think I watched a few episodes here and there, and then managed to catch the last 3 or 4 in a row at my brother's recommendation.  Its first season really tanked in the ratings.  Gotta give NBC credit for sticking with it!

0

Share Post


Link to post
On 6/2/2016 at 7:06 PM, bluedevilblue said:

Woody's wedding episode (An Old Fashioned Wedding) is still one of the best farces ever aired on American TV or possibly anywhere else.  If you re-watch only one Cheers episode, I'd say make it that one. 

I COMPLETELY agree, that episode was amazing!

0

Share Post


Link to post

But it's two parts!

If you want to go back to Cheers, version 1.0 (prior to Rebecca) check out Showdown, from season one. Also a two parter, part two is some of the most brilliant back and forth, a triumph of writers, actors and director.

1

Share Post


Link to post

And Part I sets it up nicely, with Sam's insecurity around his accomplished brother Derek.  Some great lines in that one, too.

Sam: Oh, are his eyes blue?

Carla (wistfully): Like Windex.

and later..

Diane: He's a man, like any other man.... you'd meet in Greek mythology.

0

Share Post


Link to post

I just found this thread!

I've been on a two-episode per night binge and it holds up <i>really</i> well (though I'm not looking forward to the Kirstie Alley years).  Not to mention that's it's been 25 years, so I'm laughing like it was new.

2

Share Post


Link to post
12 hours ago, roamyn said:

I've been on a two-episode per night binge and it holds up <i>really</i> well (though I'm not looking forward to the Kirstie Alley years). 

You know, I felt that way, too, but I must say that I enjoyed rewatching the KA years (except S6 -- her introduction was a bit rough) much more than I'd anticipated.  I just think of it as a somewhat different TV series using familiar characters.

1

Share Post


Link to post

Seasons 1-5 are golden, in my eyes. I own those DVDs. I do not own the KA years, although I loved the first episode of season six. Well-written introduction for KA and basically a reboot of the show, in a way.

2

Share Post


Link to post
On 9/27/2017 at 5:33 AM, Inquisitionist said:

You know, I felt that way, too, but I must say that I enjoyed rewatching the KA years (except S6 -- her introduction was a bit rough) much more than I'd anticipated.  I just think of it as a somewhat different TV series using familiar characters.

 

On 9/27/2017 at 8:14 AM, cpcathy said:

Seasons 1-5 are golden, in my eyes. I own those DVDs. I do not own the KA years, although I loved the first episode of season six. Well-written introduction for KA and basically a reboot of the show, in a way.

Yeaht it became more of a workplace sitcom instead of a romantic comedy. Those were the years I started watching so the KA seasons will always be special to me. I think it's because Sam was such a total horndog after breaking up with Diane and I was going through puberty so I both identified with him and wanted to be him as he was able to get with so many women! They just seemed more fun to me than the Diane years because Rebecca was the strict boss and so you could root for the gang undermining her whereas with Diane it felt like bullying. As I got older and having relationships I was able to appreciate the early sophistication.

1

Share Post


Link to post

I love Cheers.  Always a favorite of mine and yes it still holds up.  When Sam and Diane are going to sleep together but she wants to go to a place he has never been with a woman.  Fine.  So Sam opens up a yellow pages and starts flipping through page after page after page......then says "Well I'll be...."  I laugh every time!!!!

Love Lileth!!   Love love love her.

1

Share Post


Link to post

Sam:  And it wasn't four women.  It was four hundred women, easy.

Diane: They'd have to be.

0

Share Post


Link to post

I can enjoy it much more now. I was 4 when the series started and my parents watched it. I started getting more of the humor in the KA days and then watched syndication when I was in middle school during the Diane years. That said, it is still funny, I get the jokes more, see the changes in the characters and get things I didn't get back then. Especially Coach, I remembered him, but I was more use to Woody. Coach just had the heart, no one talked down to him, even though he was dim. His death, I do remember when Woody first showed up, was sad when they said he died. Watching season 3 right now, I see his health declining. 

0

Share Post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now