Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

When I was about 8-years-old, I told myself I'd never be like my parents and watch goofy television shows like Cheers. I thought that show was silly. Ted Danson had bad hair and Shelley Long was flat out annoying. I sorta thought it got funnier once Kirstie Alley joined the cast ... if I only knew I'd eat my words about 18 years later.

During the summer of 2002, I was in graduate school, working on a paper for my performance art class. It was one helluva hot summer and I had no air conditioning in my Ann Arbor apartment. I was also still using dial-up to get to the Internet. While sitting in front of a fan, working on my graduate paper on Madonna's "Truth or Dare," I succumbed to the Cheers reruns as background noise.

I got hooked and never looked back.

Call me a nerd, call me crazy, but Cheers -- hands down -- is the best television show ever made. Nick at Nite saved my ass for the next five years. The Hallmark Channel did their best, too. Since living in NYC, the Sultan and I have tivoed it religiously. Sadly, it's no longer in syndication. Well, the Sultan can't seem to live without it either. Tonight he queued up all 11 seasons of Cheers on Netflix. AWESOME!

Every character on that show is a classic; From Ted Danson's skeezy playboy act as the former Boston Red Sox great Sam Malone and the bookish half-wit Diane, played by Shelley Long to Kirstie Alley's portrayal of the Rebecca Howe; as tough as she was on the outside, she was as clumsy as the rest of us. So good.

How can you not love the regulars? From the surly demeanor of Norm Peterson (George Wendt) to his even more surly quips with bar know-it-all, the quirky Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), they were one of a kind. Throw in the endearing naivite of bartenders Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto) and Woody (Woody Harrelson), and the sharp wit of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his perfect match, Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane (Bebe Neuwirth), and you can do no wrong. Never forget lovable barfly Paul ... surely Carla can't.

Carla Tortelli, played by Rhea Pearlman, was my favorite. That little Italian spitfire always called it like it was and every once in a while, found a smidge of a second to be sweet. Absolutely brilliant.

The other night, while the New Jersey Devils were playing the Boston Bruins, the Sultan said to me, "I wonder if the people at Cheers are watching?" Har Har. For those true Cheers heads, you already know that Carla was married to Bruins goaltender Eddie LeBec (portrayed by Jay Thomas). We ARE that nerdy.

This is my tribute to Cheers (1982-1993). I miss you.

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  • only my MacKenzie would know who Carla's husband was.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7:17:00 PM EST  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7:17:00 PM EST  

  • Cheers has been my all-time favorite show since I was knee high to a grass hopper. Although, Shelley Long was whiny and I preferred Cheers with Kirstie Alley. Cheers leaving the airwaves, started my love affair with Frasier. I get all warm and fuzzy when he mentions Boston or Cheers characters.

    The first thing I did when I moved to Boston was go to both Cheers bars. Oh, crap! I just realized I gave me now ex-best friend all my Cheers Beer mugs! I wonder if she'll give them back to me... but I digress. I recommend The Original Cheers over the Fanueil Hall location for obvious reasons and it's less touristy. I'd rather hang out with grumpy postal workers than tourists any day.

    I too, knew who Carla's husband was. Viva la nerds! Did you know Norm's real first name is/was Hillary?

    By Anonymous natalie, at Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:44:00 PM EDT  

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