More of your Friday questions and my attempt at answers.
Phillip B asks:
I noticed that the opening on CHEERS was often entirely unrelated to the rest of the episode. Was it just a chance for a good joke, was it made detachable knowing it was going to get cut in syndication, or was this a chance to give a chance for an actor to more fully develop their role?
Doing a self-contained bit as a teaser was an artistic decision the Charles Brothers made at the outset of the series. Personally, I thought it was a pain in the ass. It’s so much easier to do jokes that tie into the story.
We were always scrambling for teasers. Usually the lowest ranked staff writers would be sent off to come up with them. This was the CHEERS equivalent to being assigned to KP.
The only advantage to this practice was that sometimes we would film a show and it would end up too long. We could lift a goofy bar discussion and use it some later week as the teaser.
What is your favorite teaser? This is mine. Director Jim Burrows deserved an Emmy just for this.
If MASH had never existed and AfterMASH was pitched as an original series, do you think it would have gotten on the air?
A period comedy set in a Veteran’s Hospital with no real star, and a patient population made up exclusively of elderly men? Not a chance in hell. Chuck Lorre couldn’t sell that series.
People always wonder why I wrote for AfterMASH. Because it was a chance to work with Larry Gelbart. I established a life-long friendship, and got to learn at the feet of the absolute master. Tell me you wouldn’t jump at that chance, too.
Michael in Singapore has a question in several parts:
Why are the Golden Globes held in such high esteem in Hollywood when everyone knows what a crock they are? Who IS the "foreign press" (movie critics from Belgium and Lithuania?), and why are their accolades so much more important in Hollywood than awards given by the LOCAL or AMERICAN press? The Golden Globes, by all accounts, should be insignificant. How did it become the second-most important award next to the Oscars? Why does anybody care?
First of all, they’re not held in high esteem. But the Foreign Press did something very smart. They didn’t just stage an awards ceremony, they put together a giant bash. It’s a really fun night. Lots of good food, LOTS of booze, and by the time the ceremony starts, everyone is pretty looped.
So to paraphrase the famous line in FIELD OF DREAMS, “If you throw it, they will come”.
And because a lot of feature and television stars attend, they’re able to televise it nationally. And that exposure is what gives the Golden Globes whatever stature it may have. Remember during the Writers Strike when actors refused to cross the picket lines at the Golden Globes? The show was canceled. No one cared who won.
The common industry belief is that the Foreign Press can be bought, so the awards have a certain lack of credibility.
Feature studios hope winning Golden Globes builds momentum for the Oscars. This is award season. The Golden Globes, WGA, DGA, PGA, various critics associations, SAG. But don’t kid yourself. The only one that really counts to Hollywood is the Academy Awards.
The Foreign Press is an organization that does have members who are freelance and part-time, and many do have other jobs. People joke that they’re waiters but in some cases they really are.
What’s your question? And favorite CHEERS teaser?