Friday, June 29, 2007

"Norm!"

We filmed the first eight episodes of CHEERS before the series aired. So studio audiences were unfamiliar with the characters. As a result, when we did "Normisms" they just died horrible silent deaths. Week after week. No one understood it was a running bit. We kept writing them though, staunchly believing when the series finally aired it would catch on.

And it did. We were so proud of ourselves... until we had to write new ones for the next 200 plus shows.

Here's a montage of "Normisms" from season one.

12 comments:

RAC said...

Just what I needed, thanks Ken. Which season had the "Milkbone underwear" Normism?

For a brief time between jobs, I was greeted every evening in the Cowgirl Bar by shouts of "Coop!" and now I know who to blame.

aj said...

in my 12th grade math class, whenever anyone entered the classroom after the bell had rung, the entire class would say "NORM!".

the principal once brought some special guests from the school board to the class (unknowingly) and they got Norm'd and I'm not sure it went over very well...

D. McEwan said...

My father's name was Norman. He never watched CHEERS. (He wasn't allowed to, as Mother took a dislike to Ted Danson, and refused to allow it on.)

Thus for the last 8 years of his life, he was of course greeted with shouted "NORM!"s, particularly when attending family gatherings of his siblings and nephews and neices. He never understood this, as prior to 1982, he'd never experienced this phenomenon. So on behalf of my late father, thanks for 8 years of bewilderment.

I thought it was funny though.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, I watched this show at ten, and ill tell you not understanding why people liked to hang out at a bar and what a bar was i loved this show, it was classic. unforgettable.

Observer said...

Ken, have you seen any of the pre-movie ads for "On the Lot"?

I thought you'd get a laugh out of some of those. I'd describe my favorite part about writers to you, but you have to see it to appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

What? No, It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear?

Graham said...

My favorite: "How's life treating you, Norm?"

"Like a baby treats a diaper."

chris said...

I was an NBC Page during the first season and was at most of the filmings, which was a real treat for me. The one NORMism I remember best was "What's up Norm? / My nipples, it's freezing out there." The laugh it got first time through was tremendous but there was a technical issue and they had to do a take 2. From my perch in the stands I could see how disappointed the cast & crew were.

Kevin Wolf said...

Ken, just prior to the debut of Cheers I was attending NYU film school (and, no, I do not and have not worked in "the industry" but that's a different story). We were treated to a visit from, I believe, James Burrows (my memory is foggy and I'd have to find my class notes which I still have somewhere and, yes, that's sad), who showed the first 3 episodes of the show before it aired. He may have been with a few folks from the production team, actually, and camera set ups and such were discussed. Odd facts came to light: Bill Cosby was attached to the show at one point, I believe, with an inter-racial romance at the bar? Something like that.

I'm glad things turned out as they did instead, and I enjoyed that particular class immensely.

Ken Levine said...

Cosby was never attached and in all my time there the notion of him even being involved with the show in any capacity, even for a cameo was never even mentioned.

Anonymous said...

My favorite courtesy of Woody:
"What are you up to Mr. Peterson?"
"My ideal weight if I was 11 feet tall."

ajmilner said...

In the debut episode, Norm entered and Sam said, "Norm! Whaddaya know!?!" and Norm glumly replied, "Not enough." The studio audience laughed enormously and I've read where the CHEERS producers knew at that exact moment they had a hit -- the audience wasn't laughing at a "joke," but at the world-weary attitude behind it.