13 August 2010 | vorazqux
Cheers was one of those shows that had all of the ingredients of being a success from its inception, yet it took a while before it really gained the respect it has over the years. In fact, it was in jeopardy of being canceled after its first season due to low ratings. However, thanks to some smart executives, amazing writers, and a stellar cast, Cheers persevered. The sitcom mainly takes place in a bar and focuses on the daily lives of a variety of colorful characters and the comical situations they create. In a way, it's like watching a slice of what it means to be a citizen in this great country. We are a melting pot of different people, circumstances, beliefs, hang–ups, triumphs, misfortunes, etc., yet when push comes to shove in moments of desperation and/or despair, we work it all out. We work as a team to solve problems and get through each day, whether it be a good one or a day wrought with idiosyncrasies. That's what the patrons in Cheers do. Sure, they have their issues and selfish forays that help define them as individuals, but they're basically good people with good hearts. Everybody commits selfish acts sometimes. This show simply magnifies these types of predicaments for the sake of humor that's all in good fun. It's nice to know there is a place where everyone knows your name that is an extended family of sorts. Sometimes we have to get away from those closest to us just to recharge our batteries. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could go to a place like Cheers to unwind now and then?
The main ensemble included the cocky–but–likable head bartender, Sam Malone (Ted Danson). I believe Danson was perfectly cast here, and his two Emmy wins are well–deserved. Sam had a love interest on the show for the first five seasons named Diane Chambers (Shelly Long). She was brilliant as the stuffy, neurotic bookworm filled with insecurities and dilemmas that would drive anyone nuts. When Long left the show, Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley) took over. She would eventually buy the bar and have her own insecurities to contend with. She had big shoes to fill as Diane was a popular television character. In fact, Long won an Emmy and two Golden Globes for her scene stealing performances. Alley, to her credit, was a terrific replacement because she brought in a distinctive flavor to her character and added a different dimension to the show. She won an Emmy as well. Rhea Perlman played the fiery head waitress, Carla. She could be a bit hard to swallow at times, but she was dead–on in all of her performances and has four Emmy awards to prove it. The rest of the cast included the spacey bartender, Ernie Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto), naive bartender Woody (Woody Harrelson – who replaced The Coach after his death in real life), couch potato, Norm (George Wendt), goofy mailman, Cliff (John Ratzenberger), quirky Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar – who went on to star in his own very successful spin off show aptly titled Frasier), and Frasier's uptight wife, Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth). All of these diverse characters provided plenty of humorous material and the actors/actresses played them to a tee. It was their top notch performances that propelled this show to a higher level than it already was.
In closing, Cheers offers the viewer the opportunity to escape the rat race world of the major cities (and perhaps the humdrum of small towns??) that we live in where we can enjoy some good conversation, a few laughs, and great company. Feeling welcome is never a bad thing...