Welcome, Fans of the Hit TV Show, Cheers!
Cheers, an ensemble comedy set in a small neighborhood pub in Boston, followed in the comic tradition of predecessors The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, and Taxi, where the differences between a bunch of idiosyncratic characters were played for laughs each week. Conceived and produced by Glen Charles, James Burrows, and Les Charles, who’d also been at the helm of Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers was critically acclaimed when it premiered on September 30, 1982, but almost canned in its first season due to abysmally low ratings. Viewers soon came around, thanks to the clever storylines crafted by lead writers Tom Anderson and David Lee and the flawless performance of the stellar cast and in 1984 Cheers joined ratings giants The Cosby Show and Family Ties on NBC’s powerhouse Thursday night line up.
Carla Tortelli LeBec
Carla, whose full name was Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Appollonian Luzupone Tortelli LeBec, was a loud, obnoxious, superstitious single mother of six. She was a barmaid who was more likely to get tips through threats than courteous service. In the sixth season of the show, Carla married pro hockey player Eddie LeBec and had twin boys. Eddie was then run over by a Zamboni leaving Carla single once again. Carla’s one true love was the one she never had. She had a deep love for Sam and loved him since his days with the Sox. She always hated Diane and felt that she wasn’t the right one for him. When Diane returned for the last episode of the show, the barflies convinced Carla that she was having hallucinations and that Diane was just a figment of her imagination.
Clifford Clavin was the know-it-all mailman who was best known as being Norm’s sidekick. Cliff may have been the biggest fountain of useless information to ever walk the face of the earth. What Cliff didn’t know, he made up. He was notoriously the butt of Carla’s jokes but always managed to come out on top. Other than Norm, his best friend would have to be his mother who he still lives with.
Coach was a sweet absent-minded bartender who worked with Sam. A former pro baseball coach and manager, he liked to share memories of his good old days, no matter how fuzzy, with his customers. Sadly, in 1985, Nicholas Colasanto passed away, and therefore Coach did as well. Against the far wall on the set of Cheers is a picture of the Indian Geronimo. This picture hung in Nicholas’ dressing room and was hung on the wall of the set after he passed away. The picture was a constant reminder that Coach would always be looking after Sam. At the end of the last episode after Sam says those now famous words, “Sorry, we’re closed,” he walks over to the picture and straightens it as if he was saying good-bye to his old coach and friend.
It’s easy to say that Diane Chambers knocked Sam over when she first came into the bar. She was the intellectual and witty counterpart to Sam’s womanizing and unromantic lifestyle. Her on-again, off-again relationship with him provided viewers with a heated and unpredictable ride during the first five years of Cheers. She constantly feuded with Carla and most of the time only got along with Woody. In her last appearance in the bar she told Sam that she would be back in six months. She didn’t end up coming back until the last episode of the show. It was during the final episode that Sam and Diane finally realized that they weren’t meant for each other.
Dr. Crane first made his way into Cheers as the know-it-all, pompous psychiatrist who was dating Diane. Fortunately for him, the relationship never panned out. Diane left him at the altar while they were eloping in Europe. After being stood up, he returned to Cheers to drown his sorrows with his new friends. During the fifth season of the show, his future wife Dr. Lilith Sternin was introduced. The two were almost a perfect match! They married and had a son named Frederick. After about three years, Lilith fell in love with another scientist and left Dr. Crane to move to a biosphere. Since the last episode, Frasier has moved back to his home in Seattle to pursue a career in radio psychology.
Norm Peterson, an accountant, was a bartender’s best dream and worst nightmare rolled into one. He was such a regular customer, you could set a clock by him. Each time he arrived, he bellowed out a greeting to the entire bar, and received a shout of “Norm!” in return...Everybody definitely knew his name. Every day he sat in the same seat and guzzled down beer after beer. Unfortunately, they all went on his tab, which was the size of a city phone book, that was evident each time Sam lugged it out from behind the bar. Perhaps Norm is best known for what some have dubbed “Normisms,” responses he gave to questions asked by Sam, Coach, or Woody as he approached his seat at the bar. A sample exchange: “Coach: How’s a beer sound, Norm?” Norm: “I dunno.” I usually finish them before they get a word in.” Norm is also known for his often-mentioned, but never-seen wife, Vera.
This Medford, Massachusetts native pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1978. He was most known for being the only pitcher in major league history who was a switch pitcher. After his five-year stint with the Sox, Sam turned to alcohol to pass the time. During this time, he acquired a job as a bartender at a place “where everybody knows your name”. He later bought Cheers which became his prize possession along with his hair, his Corvette, and his important “black book.” A recovering alcoholic and womanizer, he is first tormented by waitress Diane Chambers. When Diane leaves him at the altar to go write a book, he sells the bar and sails around the world. He comes back to find that the bar is owned by a large corporation and is being managed by Rebecca Howe. He tries at great lengths to woo her, but to no avail. Finally, as friends, they decide to have a baby, but it doesn't work out. As Cheers ends, Sam decides that the bar is his one true love.
Woody, the naive Indiana farm-boy, came to Cheers in 1986 to meet the man that taught him bartending via a mail-order course. He came too late as Coach was the man who was on the other end of those letters. When Woody arrived at the bar, he found that Coach had just recently passed away. Woody felt as though his hopes of becoming a big city bartender had passed along with Coach until Sam gave him the opportunity to fill in the vacancy behind the mahogany. Woody, being the gullible farmboy that he was, was often the target of the barroom escapades concocted by both his fellow employees and the barflies at Cheers. His sense of humor could almost be considered childish, which made him a favorite almost immediately. He later found wealth and love when he married Kelly Gaines, daughter of one of the richest men in Boston. They made the perfect couple! Woody later found fame as he was elected to the Boston City Council. However, with his new position as a City Councilman, he still remained a bartender at the world’s most famous pub.
Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane was the wife of Frasier Crane and one of Cheers’ bar regulars. She was famous for her lack of emotion and somewhat cold disposition. Lilith worked as a research psychologist at Boston General Hospital. Like Frasier, she is quick to give her "professional opinion" on any topic at hand. Lilith and Frasier were the proud parents to Frederick, whose first word was "Norm!!"
After the breakup between Sam Malone and Diane Chambers, Sam sells the bar and sails around the world. He returns to Cheers to find Rebecca Howe, the new and somewhat neurotic bar manager. Rebecca rehires Sam as bartender and she becomes his new love interest, yet Rebecca prefers the millionaires (Martin Teal, Evan Drake and Robin Colcord). After fending off Sam's advances for a period of time, Rebecca and Sam get together and even try to have a child. In the end Rebecca marries Don - a blue-collar plumber.