Thursday, March 15, 2007

St. Patty's Day at Cheers

Here’s my St. Patrick’s Day post. (It’s Saturday, y’know…go to the liquor store NOW.) This is a scene from a CHEERS David Isaacs and I wrote. One of the many Bar Wars episodes. In this one, it’s St. Patty’s Day. Woody had been guarding the bar all night in anticipation that Gary might try to pull something.

INT. BAR – MORNING

SAM TURNS ON THE LIGHT. HE ENTERS WITH CARLA AND NORM. WE SEE THE BAR IS ENCASED IN CINDER BLOCKS. SPRAY PAINTED ON THEM ARE “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY.”

SAM
Oh my God. Gary.

CARLA
He topped it.

NORM
Walled off from the keg. I want him dead. His family… dead. His friends… dead. His pets…DEAD.

SAM
That rat! I’ll kill him!

NORM
I thought you were going to have Woody stand guard so this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.

WOODY (V.O.)
I’m sorry, Sam. I fell asleep.

CARLA
They bricked Woody up inside the bar.

NORM
First he marries a rich girl and now this. I tell you, that guy was born lucky.

NORM EXITS TO THE POOL ROOM.

CARLA
Boy, Sam. This thing is sealed up tight.

SAM
How you doing in there, Woody? You okay?

WOODY (V.O.)
I’m feeling a little light headed.

CARLA
Thank God, he’s okay.

NORM ENTERS FROM THE POOL ROOM OPENING A CAN OF BEER.

SAM
Hey, Norm, where’d you get that beer?

NORM
I’ve got a couple cans squirreled around the bar for emergencies. I always thought it would be a nuclear thing, but this qualifies.

AN IRISH BAND ENTERS. THEY’RE ALL WEARING CABLE-KNIT SWEATERS. ONE OF THEM IS NAMED SEAN.

SEAN
Where do you want us to set up, Mr. Malone?

SAM
How about right there? (POINTS UPSTAGE; THEN, TO THE GANG) See, guys? We can still win this thing. The band’s here, we’ve got the green beer… all we need to do is take down this wall and hustle like there’s no tomorrow. Okay? Now I want to see a winning attitude here. A little positivity.

THE BAND BEGINS TO SING AND PLAY A SLOW IRISH BALLAD:

SEAN
(singing) “They broke into our Dublin home, the dirty English dogs. They took away my sister and they beat my dad with logs.”

THEY BREAK INTO A QUICK UP BEAT IRISH JIG FOR A BEAT, THEN RESUME THE LYRICS:

SEAN
(singing) “Along the ring of Kerry you can hear the bleat of gulls, I’ll sip the blood of the English from their bleached and hollowed skulls.” (TO THE BAR) Everybody!!

WOODY (V.O.)
Boy, if they look as good as they sound, Gary’s doesn’t stand a chance.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BAR – LATER

ENOUGH OF THE CINDER BLOCKS HAVE BEEN CHIPPED AWAY TO RENDER THE BAR FUNCTIONAL. WOODY IS BEHIND THE BAR. THE BAND IS STILL PLAYING.

SEAN
(finishing a dirge) “…And everywhere I looked was death, death, death.”

A SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE.

SEAN
And now for a sad song. (STRUMS A CHORD, SINGS) “Twas a baby’s crib…”

SAM
(interrupting) That’s it! You’re finished. Here’s your money. Get out.

SEAN
Go to hell.

THE BAND EXITS.

SAM
Well, it’s over. I guess we should add up the receipts and see how we did.

CARLA
What’s the total, Woody?

WOODY
(figuring on a calculator) One million five hundred thousand dollars.

FRASIER
Decimal point, Woody.

WOODY
Hold everything. A hundred and fifty even.

23 comments:

zazupitts said...

I'm sitting here, it's late, I'm comatose, waiting for my client to send an audio file about a raging worm attack in Minnesota (It's true, and they're SERIOUS), so I can finish their weekly show...when I opened this blog, read the lines and quite nearly wet myself.

These lines ring like a piece of fine crystal. Thanks Ken. Keep 'em coming.

...back to wait for the worm story.

VP19 said...

Happy St, Patrick's Day, Ken.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday, but several reviews of the new ABC drama "October Road" said that co-star Laura Prepon deserves better than this apparent pretentious claptrap. So could you please create a sitcom vehicle for her?

Darren Mitchelstork said...

This was one of my favorite sequences in the entire run of Cheers. Even after seeing it several times, when the singer goes from "death, death, death" to "and now for a sad song" it kills me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

One of my favorite episodes. I used to sing the "baby's crib that floated" line all the time at inappropriate moments. Maybe you can settle a spousal argument, Ken: did you and David have a next line in mind? My wife assumes it's something about the baby being dead and bloated.

This is why I love the series of tubes, because I can ask this question and actually expect an answer.

Tom said...

Great stuff. That's how you write a sitcom, funny line after funny line. I've seen the episode several times, but just reading it here is making me laugh out loud.

There are so many good lines in there that serve the characters.

Sean was notable for me, as if I remember correctly he's played by Maurice Roeves, a Scottish actor who was in a fantastic comedy/drama here many years ago called Tutti Frutti.

Keep serving these up Ken.

Tom Quigley said...

My brother plays in an Irish band. I'm sending him this blog right now, Ken! I'm going to be laughing all day long after reading it!

Stratman said...

You gotta love the Bar Wars episodes. That's some mighty fine writing, Ken!

Blarneyman said...

Don't you mean Paddy's Day.

Willy B. Good said...

Great scene Ken as they just don't write Irish bands like that any more, cheers.

MAX said...

A Great Episode.

I noticed Norm's lines changed between the script and the show on DVD. Too bad we didn't get him saying the nuclear line. On the other hand, when Woody says he's a little light-headed, Norm says, "That's the way I want to feel!"

The Irish band gag was inspired. They were such a contradiction of what you expect to hear, I still laugh at it. As I recall, Woody actually joins in with the singing or applauds. Nice touch. And now for a sad song.

Ken Levine said...

Alan,

As I recall, we wrote several more lines of the song figuring they could cut it at any point. I don't remember what those lines were however.

David and I like to go to this particular well. You might remember in a first year episode of CHEERS we had one of Diane's fellow students recite a Russian poem called "Another Christmas of Agony".

Adam said...

I try to make a point of watching at least one disc of "Father Ted" during St. Pat's, but I'll have to add this episode to the play list, now, just for the band.

Brian said...

I've lived in Dublin* for 7 years ago, and went to see some "traditional music"; your sketch is not far off the mark, except that they get quite specific about the history; the 1916 Easter Uprising * GPO seige, 1922 and Michael Collins, the Black & Tans, etc.

I just got back from a trip to Denver CO, a few hours ago and was wondering what this "St Patty's" business was all about. I first saw it on a poster in a diner window, so thought it might have been some kind of burger bar punnery, but then it would have been "St. Pattie's" I suppose! You never see that usage in Ireland: "St. Paddy's", sometimes, but usually the full "St. Patrick's Day".

With the big day tomorrow, you can imagine what Dublin airport was like; half of Europe after the Green Guinness. 8)

* No, not the one in Ohio, nor the ones in Georgia or California.

M.A.Peel said...

"when the singer goes from "death, death, death" to "and now for a sad song" it kills me."

In that same vein, was remembering great lines from The Quiet Man at the Siren's post. Father Lonegan says, "Sean, I knew your people. Your grandfather died in a penal colony in Australia, and your father, he was a good man too."

Chris said...

"Decimal point, Woody."

There are a lot of great lines in that piece, but that is just perfect.

Anonymous said...

Only the first two Bar Wars episodes are actually good - the one where Cheers bowls against Gary's, and the one where Gary tries to broker a peace with new bar manager Rebecca. The others are from the weaker era of "Cheers".

Diane said...

Thanks for the St. Paddy's Day chuckle!

Anonymous said...

SEAN
(singing) “Along the ring of Kerry you can hear the bleat of gulls, I’ll sip the blood of the English from their bleached and hollowed skulls.” (TO THE BAR) Everybody!!

that's genius

Ralph Hitchens said...

I missed this episode but it reads hilarious -- particularly the Irish song parodies. Parodies were well-done on Cheers. I particularly loved the beer commercial parody where Sam steps in after the great Redsox pitcher Luis Tiant mangles the ad script, and gets "another save!" After which Tiant adds, "But I geet the ween, don't I?" Laughed out loud; it was far, far funnier than any of the actual beer commercials running in those days.

shtove said...

Don't think I ever saw this one.

Loved the song lyrics, but the biggest laugh came with Woody's VO.

There is one traditional Irish song about the murder of a baby by its mother, who is then hung by the 'polis'. I think it's title is WeelyaWeelyaWaaawlya ('There was an old woman who lived in the woods - a WWW/- down by the river Sawlya'). Seriously, we used to sing along to it as kids. It made me laugh. Bu-wa-ha-hah!

patty said...

it's already a yr old again .... wish you a have st patrick's day 2008


check out more st patty day comment graphics for myspace at http://www.zrism.com/comments/st-patricks-day/

take care :)

JMcD said...

My composition of "When Irish Eyes Are Bloodshot"....James McDowell....♫♪
When Irish eyes are bleeding,
Sure it's like a rushing spring.
In the crush of Irish migraines,
You can hear the demons sing.
When Irish are hungover,
All the world seems loud and fey.
So when Irish eyes are bleeding,
Take the smell of that pint away.♫♪
♫♪


♫♪
There was a tear in your eye,
last night at the sty,
A thinking about Patty's songs.
With such power in your smile,
And great thirst all the while,
There was ne'er a full mug in a mile.
When your sharp lilting cackle's raised your drinking mate's hackles,
And your eyes twinkled bright as could be,
You laughed all the while and all other times smiled,
The payoff's this sad penalty.♫♪
♫♪
Repeat first verse.

Anonymous said...

It is because of this episode that I avoid Irish folk music. Thank you.