Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The famous Boston bar "Where everybody knows your name" first opened its doors September 30, 1982, on NBC. The original cast of the classic sitcom Cheers included Ted Danson as Sam Malone, the womanizing ex-ballplayer and recovering alcoholic who owned the titular Beacon Street watering hole; Shelley Long as Diane Chambers, the college-bred intellectual and aspiring author who was obliged to take a lowly barmaid job at Cheers when she was abandoned there by her faithless fiancé; Rhea Perlman as the much-married Carla Torelli, Cheers' vituperative head barmaid who never had anything nice to say about anyone, least of all Diane; Nicholas Colasanto as bartender Ernie "Coach" Pantusso, onetime Red Sox coach and Sam's best friend; and Cheers' two most frequent customers, George Wendt as chunky, habitually unemployed accountant Norm Peterson, and John Ratzenberger as mail carrier and self-appointed expert on everything Cliff Clavin. Both of these worthies were saddled with women trouble: Norm lived in mortal terror of his never-seen wife, and Cliff shared an apartment with his obstreperous mother. Among those added to the cast in later seasons were Kirstie Alley as Cheers' new manager Rebecca Howe, installed during Sam's absence while he endeavored to get over the departure of his off-and-on lover Diane (Sam had been forced by financial problems to return to the bar as Rebecca's employee -- a situation that would eventually reverse itself); Woody Harrelson as naïve, bucolic Woody Boyd, the bartender who replaced the late Coach (actor Nicholas Colasanto died in 1985); and Kelsey Grammer as psychiatrist Frasier Crane, briefly Diane's boyfriend, later habitue of Cheers, and still later the husband of stiff-necked fellow shrink Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth). Grammer would, of course, go on to his own starring series, Frasier, thereby ending up playing the same role for over two decades! Other additions included Jay Thomas as Carla's latest husband, Eddie LeBec, who ended up being killed by a Zamboni skating-rink machine; Roger Rees as Rebecca's wealthy boyfriend Robin Colcord, a charming but ruthless corporate raider whose underhanded business practices nearly got Rebecca thrown in jail; and Jackie Swanson as Woody's ambitious girlfriend, Kelly Gaines, whom he married during the series' tenth season. After a shaky, low-rated first season, Cheers eventually became one of NBC's most popular sitcoms, a fixture of the network's unbeatable Thursday-night lineup for 11 full seasons. Only when Ted Danson announced that he would leave the series did NBC decide to bring Cheers to a close, which it did with a special extra-length finale on August 19, 1993, in which after six years Sam Malone was briefly reunited with the mercurial Diane Chambers, while blowhard Cliff Clavin characteristically waxed philosophical on the meaning of life. (In case you were wondering, it was "shoes"!) Cheers was created by the same team that put together another of the great "ensemble" shows, Taxi.
bar [pub], barmaid, bartender