Double Exposure: “Cheers” (1982-1993)


Nova Clark, Editor-in-Chief

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.”

It’s a statement that most people would likely agree with. It’s also the opening line of the theme song to NBC’s “Cheers,” a sitcom about a group of patrons and employees at a fictional Boston bar of the same name.

The cast of characters couldn’t be more dynamic: Each episode follows the bar’s owner, ladies’ man and ex-baseball player Sam Malone (Ted Danson) alongside the highly educated Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) who has wound up as an out-of-place waitress following the separation from her husband.

While Sam is perfectly at home at the raucous Cheers, the prim-and-proper Diane is amusingly out of her element with her learned philosophies and articulate delivery.

Other familiar faces in the establishment include a brash barmaid named Carla (Rhea Pearlman), a bumbling older bartender known as Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) and the fun-loving regulars Norm and Cliff (George Wendt and John Ratzenberger, respectively).

While the series usually spotlights the day-to-day antics of the crew within the walls of the bar, there is often a major focus on Sam and Diane’s on-again, off-again relationship and the peripheral predicaments that they get themselves into.

Fans will note that season three’s introduction of psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) yielded the Seattle-based spinoff “Frasier” in 1993.

While each installment of “Cheers” can be enjoyed as a standalone story, broader plot points and character arcs commonly carry over across multiple episodes.

While “Cheers” might strike unseasoned audiences as a one-dimensional sitcom at first glance, repeated viewing will soon prove the series’ unique ability to reflect the unique poignance and inner-workings of all varieties of relationships.

At its core, “Cheers” recognizes the basic human need for company. In this case, its characters find this at the bar down the street — and odds are you’ll soon be comparing it to your local tavern where, as the song goes, “everybody knows your name.”

“Cheers” airs weeknights at 8 p.m. PST on the Decades channel (44.4).