Cheers: Ill-Gotten Gains

The plot of this episode is a major bummer. Woody catches his wife’s father cheating and has to decide what to do about it. YIKES. Luckily, we’re here for the B-plot, so let’s ignore everything about what’s going on with Woody.

Rebecca is hosting a friends-giving and she’s invited the whole Cheers crew. Unfortunately, she might have given everyone in her family food poisoning the last time she cooked Thanksgiving dinner. This leads Sam to suggest hosting a potluck at Cheers instead. Rebecca was going to make grilled cheese for everyone (less risk of food poisoning) but with Sam hosting, they can have a turkey.

Norm can’t remember whether or not his father-in-law is dead, so he repeatedly asks Vera who won’t respond to him because WTF. Then a pissed-off Vera decides to spend Thanksgiving at her family’s house without Norm. So Cliff suggests that Vera call her parents’ house to see if her father answers. Only when Cliff hands Norm the phonebook, he can’t remember Vera’s maiden name! Okay well now that I’ve typed it out, it sounds awful. But it was very funny when George Wendt said all the lines.

Anyway, Thanksgiving at Cheers is probably Norm’s ideal Thanksgiving. Sam’s even allowed him to bring his barcalonger into the bar — though he did have to sign an agreement stating it would be removed by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Rebecca has decorated the bar for Thanksgiving…which is interesting because Thanksgiving decorations are not like a thing, are they? Anyway, she’s used Halloween decorations that the store was throwing away. But she’s got a pretty good explanation for it: “The witches came over with the pilgrims and then the pilgrims burned them all at the stake.” This explains the skeletons as well (ick) and she doesn’t mention it but I will, the ghosts too. Honestly, it tracks. That’s airtight logic, Rebecca.

She intends to borrow plates from Melville’s because they’re closed for the holiday. And she’s also cooking the turkey in their oven on the sly. Fraser then suggests she borrow the candlesticks while she’s at it. And Sam mentions that she better take some silverware because they don’t have enough plastic sporks.

No one wants to listen to Cliff’s stories for an entire meal, so Sam tells him that he’ll be sitting at the kid’s table as the “adult supervisor” — a role he takes very seriously and seems a little flattered by. Meanwhile, Norm eats his meal in the barcalounger.

As the gang toasts John Alan Hill for “donating” all of their borrowed items, he appears in the bar. Evidently, Melville’s has a silent alarm. But strangely, even John Alan Hill is generous on this day of giving thanks. So he lets the Cheers gang eat in peace (but makes them promise to sanitize the Melville’s items before returning them).

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: Honestly, I didn’t think Rebecca’s grilled cheese meal sounded bad. But I guess the lesson here is that you really gotta be mindful of those silent alarms.

Cheers: Uncle Sam Malone

Do you love the saving for retirement? Do you love Cheers? You do?! You love both!! Great. I have a very special “lost episode” for you.

At the top of this episode, or should I say mini-episode (because it clocks in at less than twelve minutes long), Cliff announces that he will be taking a trip to Tahiti by using his savings bonds.

Watch a long lost 'Cheers' episode made for the U.S. government

Sam says he’s thinking of buying some savings bonds as well, but Diana poo-poos this and says they offer poor returns. But fun fact, this episode was commissioned by the U.S. Treasury, so for once Cliff gets to be right. Even better, you get to hear Norm actually talk about accounting and sound like he’s good at his job instead of just someone who sits at a bar when he’s supposed to be working.

When Carla and Coach admit that they don’t have many savings, Sam decides to start a payroll savings plan for the bar BECAUSE IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO BE A FAIR AND EQUITABLE EMPLOYER. This short film should be required management training!!!!

Cheers" Uncle Sam Malone (TV Episode 1983) - IMDb

The rest of the episode is pretty dry. I’m so sorry to say that because if Cheers cannot make retirement planning interesting to me, then I’m probably doomed to work until I literally drop dead because I won’t have grasped the key fundamentals necessary to create my nest egg. Anyway, maybe you’ll get something more out of it than I did.

See for yourself below:

Cheers: Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment

Oh how I love the Bar Wars episodes of Cheers! And this one is extra special because it is also a Halloween Episode!

Expecting a visit from Gary’s Old Town Tavern, Carla and Sam are running reconnaissance missions to ensure the security of the bar from Gary’s pranks. Meanwhile, Rebecca is sad she never got to trick-or-treat as a kid while Lillith and Frasier argue about whether or not to let Frederick — who can barely walk — trick-or-treat.

In the midst of all this, Gary’s first prank arrives. The Cheers jukebox starts playing a very annoying Halloween song quite loudly. When Sam calls to give Gary a piece of his mind, the same song plays loudly over the phone. Grade-A work, Gary.

Cheers : Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment (1991) - James Burrows, Andy  Ackerman | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie

Now its Cheers’s turn to retaliate and as usual…they can’t think of one good idea.

Sam suggests the following:

  1. Soap his windows
  2. Deliver a bunch of subpar Chinese food to his restaurant so he has to pay for it

Since Gary damaged Sam’s vintage jukebox with his prank, he shows up at the bar to write Sam a check. Fearing further pranks, Sam tries to shoot Gary with water from the soda gun, only to find out that the soda gun has also been rigged to play the same annoying Halloween song.

Gary then reveals that he has high blood pressure and they will need to cancel all of the planned pranks for tonight. He also buys everyone a round of drinks. VERY SUSPICIOUS.

Sam tells Gary that his health is the most important thing, but as soon as he leaves the gang starts plotting pranks again. It’s all just another trick so Gary can catch the Cheers crew unawares, right?

Also it seems that Lillith and Frasier have settled on taking Frederick out to trick-or-treat. He is dressed as a little baby Spiderman. Frasier is dressed as Dante Gabriel Rosetti. And Lillith is dressed as his sister Christina. Mother of the year, Lillith, tried to explain to Frederick “what would happen if one were really bitten by a radio active spider, but he just cried.”

Watch Cheers Season 10, Episode 7: Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment | Peacock

In a genuinely heartwarming moment, Frederick reaches into his candy bag and gives Rebecca a tootsie pop when she tells him how lucky he is to trick-or-treat because when she was a child, she was the one who had to pass out candy at the door, which is just like a weird-ass parenting move and totally explains a lottt about Rebecca.

Joey Esposito on Twitter: "There are some lovely Cheers references in  Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but in Cheers Season 10, Episode 7 (“Bar Wars V:  The Final Judgment,” released 1991) Freddy

Okay, back to the bar wars. The Cheers gang decides to spook Gary with a giant hologram of Carla’s head (but with spooky crazy white hair). The gang spies on Gary as he discovers the ominous head. He passes out as soon as he sees the hologram. Wondering if Gary’s concern about his health wasn’t just a prank, Frasier takes his pulse…but he can’t find one!

Dog Star Omnibus: Cheers: Gary's Olde Towne Tavern

Sam still thinks it is all a stunt — even after the coroner’s report confirms that Gary is in fact dead. He even thinks that Gary’s funeral is a hoax. Soon a bartender from Gary’s arrives to deliver a present for Sam. It seems that Gary has willed Sam his bowling trophy, which Carla describes as his “prized possession.” The bartender shares how moved Gary was by Sam’s concern for his health and that he wanted him to have this memento (which you may remember Gary’s Old town Tavern winning against Cheers in From Beer to Eternity).

Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment - YouTube

Frasier tells Sam it is time to face facts: 1. Gary is really dead and 2. they all played a part in his demise. But Sam still cannot accept this fact. He even takes a peak inside the closed casket during Gary’s wake and Gary is actually in the casket!! Sam is then asked to be a pall bearer. Everyone tells Sam how highly Gary thought of him! But Sam can’t stop looking out for potential pranks.

This is truly a dizzying episode. At Gary’s grave side, Sam places a few flowers on the fresh earth and tells Gary, “enough’s enough! It’s getting chilly out here!”

Finally hours after the funeral, surrounded by his closest friends, Sam wonders aloud, “Oh my God. What if he’s really dead?” The Cheers gang realizes how much they miss Gary. And Sam feels truly guilty.

Omg this next part is great.

SAM: I never thought I’d say this. But I miss Gary. He was a true friend.
FRASIER: That would have made a better eulogy than “Get out of there, Gary.”

Woody starts sobbing and goes to the bathroom to be alone. Sam follows him and urges him to come out and mourn with all the rest of them. Woody emerges, still sobbing into his hands. Only to look up and reveal that he is in fact Gary. The real Woody comes out of the bathroom and the whole gang laughs at Sam’s expense.

This is good too –

SAM: You were all in this together?
NORM: The whole city of Boston was in on this one, Sam.

It turns out the Cheers gang really wanted to pull off a successful prank and Sam just didn’t have any good ideas. So they teamed up with Gary. But damn. What a dark, dark joke.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: If your friends like pranking people with you, never for get that they can always prank you too.

This hologram is truly so so great.

Cheers: Fairy Tales Can Come True

First let’s start with a rundown of the costumes:
SAM – Cowboy
DIANE – Alice in Wonderland
FRASIER – Mad Hatter
COACH – Pirate
CARLA – Convict
NORM – Norm
CLIFF – Ponce de Leon

Frasier and Diane are together in this episode, if you can’t tell by their ridiculous costumes. They have BIG plans to go to the Boston Pops, which Sam also likes because of his great admiration for the man working the pyrotechnics. That’s a cool skilled-labor job, so I’m not sure that Sam is terribly off-base by likening it to that of a classical musician, though I’m sure every classical musician in the world would be pissed that I said that. Sam and Frasier debate whether or not Sam is as dumb as he seems or if he is just pretending.


Shortly thereafter, Cliff shows up dressed as Ponce de Leon. The gang and a couple of random barflies we probably never see again discuss his shyness around women and wonders if he’s gay. Coach tells them all to cut it out saying that they can’t possibly tell if someone is gay based upon a superficial analysis. It’s surprisingly progressive, until he describes an obviously gay baseball player and, upon realizing he’s gay, wonders if he might be interested in dating Cliff.

As it happens, Cliff sits next to a mysterious woman at the bar. She introduces herself as Tinkerbell and he introduces himself as Ponce de Leon. They are both very shy. As they close down the bar, dancing to easy listening that I’m surprised exists on the Cheers jukebox, Diane offers Sam her tickets to the Boston Pops. She still wants to attend the Pops, but Frasier will be out of town.


When Sam and Diane realize the both don’t know anyone else who would like to attend, the two former lover decide to go together. Like that couldn’t possibly have any negative consequences. Finally, Sam kicks out Tinkerbell and Ponce, she proposes that they meet back at Cheers the following night at 8 pm as their actual selves.

The following night, Sam and Diane return from the Pops having had a lovely, flirtatious time. They’re even kind of color coordinated. But when Diane proclaims their success at a platonic outing, and Sam makes a joke about the night not being over yet, Diane runs away. Literally, she screams and runs away.


Cliff ends up getting cold feet and hiding from Tinkerbell in Sam’s office as it gets closer and closer to 8 pm. Norm gives him a little pep-talk, reminding him that it was Cliff who danced with this woman, not Ponce de Leon, because Cliff is Ponce de Leon. But then she doesn’t show. And damn it’s sad. But then she calls the bar and says that she was nervous to meet him without being in a costume. Boy, they really are a match!

When she finally does show up, they’re both so nervous that they say their names wrong. It’s so freaking adorable. Then they just sort of stand there and stare at each other until Sam puts a song on the jukebox and positions them in a dancing formation. This whole scene is magic and I can’t eve really describe it. Watch below and see for yourself.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: We must never forget that we are the people behind the masks we wear.

That was pretty profound, huh?

Cheers: The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One

the_spy_who_came_in_for_a_cold_oneA mysterious man arrives at Cheers on Christmas Eve. He reveals to Carla that he is a spy and she of course tells everyone in the Cheers crew. He’s quite taken with Carla, which flatters her to no end. As she brags to Diane about her new friend, Diane begins to poke holes in his story. He doesn’t know the right currency for Norway and misidentifies a city to Turkey as a city in Bulgaria.

Diane has to be right, of course, so she confronts the man. Sam tells her to chill out and stop ruining their good time. And in that moment, he explains the magic of Cheers (and why it’s exactly the place where you want everyone to know your name).

Of course, Diane just can’t let it go. She ends up humiliating the poor guy, who leaves the bar in such a pitiful way that she cannot help but feel utterly ashamed. After his departure, Diane quits Cheers. Carla is totally excited and tries to hurry her out the door. But Sam and Coach talk her into to sticking around and making this right. Diane decides to search the city until she finds him.

Luckily, she doesn’t have to look far. She barely has her coat on when he returns to explain his actions. He says he is just a lonely writer and makes up stories due to his loneliness. Diane, as we know, LOVES literature, so she urges him to share some of his writing. Since Diane is an acquaintance of an editor at The Atlantic, she decides to call him and share one of the man’s poems.


Sam urges her not to make the call, stating that the man could have simply memorized a poem and passed it off as his own. But Diane doesn’t listen because of course she couldn’t possible be wrong about poetry. Maybe about determining who is and who is not a legitimate spy, but NOT about poetry.

Surprise! The poem turns out to be plagiarized. Everyone has a good laugh (except Diane) and Sam thanks the pathological liar for giving them good entertainment. He then explains he’s simply an eccentric millionaire and makes up stories for his own amusement. He offers to buy the bar from Sam. He even lets him name the price.

Everyone has a good laugh when this guy writes Sam a check for two million dollars. Diane doesn’t find any of this funny (she’s still pissed about being bested) so she rips up the check. As the check pieces fall to the floor, a footman enters the bar and lets the eccentric millionaire/pathological liar know that some important papers have arrived for him from Geneva and he’s got the car all ready to go.

I mean…I still think this guy could be full of crap and have another person playing along, but this sends Carla et all scrambling to pick up the pieces of the check. Sam’s not worried though because he didn’t really want to sell Cheers anyway.


Very Special Christmas Lesson: Honestly, the only thing Christmas-y about this episode was the decorations. Plus, Carla and Diane worse some Christmas corsages. Maybe it’s a message of being kind to strangers? And also maybe not calling acquaintances at The Atlantic? Take from this what you will and be on your merry way.

Cheers: Thanksgiving Orphans

cheers2Sorry Friends, but Cheers has the best friendsgiving episodes ever. Why is that?(fragments for stylistic purposes) Because these people have reached the where friendship truly becomes family. The point where your friends drive you crazy just as much as any blood relative could. The point where you spend the holidays together because you have no one else to spend them with and, even though it’s awful, you would not want it any other way.

In Thanksgiving Orphans” the gang from Cheers heads over to Carla’s Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.24.24 PMhouse for a Thanksgiving potluck. Things start off on the wrong foot when Norm (who is supposed to be brining the never seen wife, Vera) ends up having a huge fight with his wife and doesn’t cook the Turkey at all before arriving to Carla’s. And it’s a big turkey. And it takes forever to cook. Meanwhile, Dianne insists that they wait to eat until all of the food is on the table, so no munching on candied yams while the turkey is still cooking. This means everyone gets hangry by the end of the evening. Carla and Norm start insulting each others cooking and everything devolves into a gigantic food fight. And when Vera finally does show up to dinner, we don’t get to see her face. Dianne has hit her square in the face with a pumpkin pie that Sam narrowly dodged.

Very Special Lesson: Things don’t always have to go perfectly to have the perfect Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.22.56 PM

Very Special Thanksgiving Activity: Don’t forget to have a little fun this Thanksgiving. In my opinion, everyone should play a game. If you don’t have any standard family games, try this Thanksgiving Bingo that Jennifer Lewis at Flavorwire made a couple of years ago. But I suggest using this idea to make your own Bingo boards, so that you can make sure all of your familial quirks are represented.