Wouldn’t you like to go where everybody knows your name? And a place where they are always glad you came? Well I most certainly would even if this place had an ex baseball player who saw himself as a bit of a Casanova or where a big guy sits all day drinking beer on the same stool or listening to a guy that believes he knows everything when in fact he knows nothing or maybe be served by a grouch barmaid that only needs to look at you and she is pregnant. There is also the simpleton behind the bar, the barmaid who quotes Shakespeare and is full of herself as well as the manager that can only date those on the millionaire list. You would also have to watch your every move and your every word around the psychiatrist who is just about as crazy as his patients. There is also the coach who has taken far too many hits to the head. I am of course talking about the series Cheers.
I always say the simple films or shows are the best and you do not get much simpler than a group of people sitting around a bar. You do on occasions see into their world outside the bar, but this is very rare. For most of the 11 seasons you see the same people in the same bar just living their normal day lives and drinking beer. They are not particularly exciting people but they all have their idiosyncrasies and now and then something slightly exciting happens there. Its just a look into human nature, relationships, stereotypes, personality and just a look into how the ordinary person lives. So who are the characters?
Sam Malone- Well he is the ex baseball player who ended up wasting his career due to a drink problem. The good news is the fact that he beats this addiction and confronts it by buying a bar called Cheers in the city of Boston. Another addiction is women and boy does he sleep with a lot of women during the 11 years of the show. He just cant help himself and lucky for him nor can the women. He is vain, arrogant, full of confidence, but not particularly clever although he is the guy that looks after his customers and sorts out their problems. He is admired by the men and fancied by the women, they live through him and wish they were him, but have to make do with being his friend. He has very lose morals, but often does the right thing in the end. He is a guy that you would be happy to call a best friend and the show revolves around him, oh and his hair.
Diane Chambers- She is Sam’s adversary, a lady he spends most of his time trying to allure and get into his bed. She is the one that will not take notice, the one that thinks he is stupid, the one that is better than everyone and loves the sound of her own voice. She drives Sam mad in more ways then one and rarely can he understand her long and unnecessary vocabulary, but still he wants her. She is well spoken and from an affluent family who have provided her with a good education. She has a love of literature and dreams of becoming a writer although doesn’t quite have the conviction to do it. Her ego is extremely fragile and breaks on numerous occasions leading to floods of tears and public outbursts. She almost marries the Psychiatrist after finding herself in his sessions after a mental breakdown, but she is unlucky in love. She will annoy you, she will make you laugh, she will educate you, but one thing she will not do and that is get your drinks order to you without mixing it all up. She is of course a barmaid who is clearly not suited to her role despite all her grandiose achievements and opinions.
Carla- She is Sam’s best friend who is as tough as an overcooked piece of steak that’s has been left in the sun and dried out for a month. She takes no prisoners and knows every insult known to man and will regularly tease those weaker then her. I warn you, tip her well or you might have a toothless smile in the morning. I would also suggest that you do not make eye contact because her children can be conceived at a blink of an eye. There are eight of the little cuties by the end of season eleven and when I say cuties I mean wild rabid animals. There is a soft spot or should I say a lust for Sam and she is not shy about talking dirty. Underneath that tough exterior there is a big heart and lots of fears as you will quickly find out. There is a belief in mysticism, fortunes and many superstitions. She is the life and soul of the party and a great deal of fun.
Norm- “Afternoon everybody” “Noooooooorm” this is how almost every entrance is made by the big cuddly fella Norm. He is the jobless Bum who drinks beer all day without ever paying and grumbles about his wife Vera. Norm can never hold down a job although he is rather bright under that big mop of hair. He also loves his wife dearly despite all the bravado that comes from his mouth that states the opposite. This guy is happy to sit on the same stool everyday drinking beer and chatting away. There are moments outside the stool and they can be pretty exciting, but mostly he sits on his stool and drinks Beer. He has a special relationship with a know it all although he never likes to admit it. He is the constant that everyone works around, the familiar and the one that makes everyone feel safe,
Cliff Claven- This is the guy that still lives with his overbearing mother despite approaching middle age. He is the proudest postman in the world despite not being very good at it. There are always efforts to try and be someone that he is not or at least portray this idea. The tongue of Cliff becomes completely twisted at the sight of a woman, leading to some very funny scenes and very funny conversations. If there is a useless fact to share and to share without any real substance then Cliff is your man. Cliff is the know it all and he shares his facts very regularly despite no one appreciating them. There is a sadness to Cliff and he only really becomes important when entering Cheers. Everyone pretends not to like him, but despite all his faults and annoying habits it is hard not to love him, He is my favourite character.
Coach- He is the wise coach who often forgets what he is saying, lives in confusion and completely gets the wrong end of the stick. Coach is like the lovable Grandad of the group who everyone respects although no one will ever get a straight answer out of him. Sam has someone looking out for him and that is the coach and if there is a story to tell then coach is the one to tell it. The story’s are brilliant although don’t expect their to be a point and don’t expect the coach to remember why he is telling the story or how it starts and finishes. There have obviously been one to many knocks to the head over the years that have knocked out a few connecting wires.
Woody- The small town barman who’s brain is as slow as a snail on Valium. He can never quite follow the flow of conversation amongst the group, but can quite often pull out a pearl of wisdom. There are numerous tales of back home that often lead to descriptions of weird actions with some kind of farm yard animal. When you hear of his home town you most definitely get the feeling that most of the inhabitants are related in some way. Woody is pure and innocent and can never tell a lie and on the few occasions he does it leads to massive pangs of guilt that almost eat him whole. This simple man just wants a simple life and has very few aspirations, but he is definitely one you can depend on as long as there is no thinking involved.
Rebecca Howe- A loser in almost every way you can imagine. Whatever she touches seems to end in disaster leading to tears and numerous breakdowns. All she wants is a rich husband who can spoil her rotten and let her do whatever she wants. There are numerous attempts at finding this man that often leave her in compromising situations. She is of course a lady that catches Sam’s eye and she too like Diane spurns the numerous and clumsy advances from Casanova Malone. Her parents have no trust in her and feel that she cannot cope with life without making a mess of it and they are dead right. An allowance helps a great deal with the many rejections and catastrophes that she gets herself into along the way. Her and Sam become the best of friends even to the extent that try for a baby together. How do you think that works out?
Frazier Crane- The Looney toon who is very much in the need of psychiatric help, which is great because he is a psychiatrist. Everyone at the bar gets a free session of advice whether they like it or not and quite often this advice leads to chaos. Frazier wants to be one of the guys, but doesn’t quite fit in with the rest. His relationship with Diane is a disaster, but then two neurotic people together was never going to work. Again we are looking at a very fragile ego which very often gets broken leading to some deeply humiliating scenes. There are a number of failed romances until he finds his wife Lillith, the cold, robotic emotionless woman that comes to life in the bedroom and is the only person to laugh at Cliffs jokes. Frazier is most definitely under the thumb with this one although he would never admit it. Frazier is the perfect form of opposition to almost every character, but he is soon loved by all once the pompous exterior is broken down.
There are many bit characters along the way that return to the bar, but the main focus is on the trials and tribulations of the ones above and believe me there are too many to count. I love this show, which leaves me laughing, cringing, feeling sad, feeling happy and sometimes just annoyed. This is, as I have said before is about normal, well not normal, but erm.. about people in a bar and how Cheers is their safe haven and escape from the lives they lead.