You can find it here. Written by Brian Rafferty, it’s an oral history of the eleven-year run of the series that my new best friend in the world, Amy Poehler says is “The Best TV Show That’s Ever Been.” I think forty people were interviewed including all of the major principles and me.
Since the article came out late last week I’ve been barraged with requests to comment on it. So if you don't mind yet another CHEERS entry, here are my thoughts:
Brian did the impossible of distilling probably eighty hours of material into one cohesive article. I appreciate how candid some of the participants were. I myself, tried to be as candid and truthful as I could.
Oh, and Shelley never ever asked that jokes for Kelsey be taken away. First off, that’s not who she is. And secondly, I can’t imagine that being tolerated by Charles/Burrows/Charles. So take it from me -- that never happened.
I thought the article did a stand-up job of describing Kelsey’s problems. He wasn’t Charlie Sheen, he wasn’t Lindsay Lohan. He took responsibility for his actions and sought to correct them. Brian’s piece kept that in perspective.
I knew of the Kurt Vonnegut quote: “I'd rather have written 'Cheers' than anything I've written” and I’m still floored by it. The man was one of my literary idols. He wrote SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I wrote JUMPING JERKS. His quote is the greatest compliment I may ever receive.
The part about Nick was very touching. It’s shocking to see the difference in his appearance from the pilot to just three years later. As wonderful as Woody was (and it was a blast writing that character), I still feel the show lost a certain humanity and warmth when Nick died that it never recovered. Just my opinion.
Damn! I wasn’t on the set the day Prince hung out. Or Moon Unit Zappa.
Here’s what I felt was left out… fully understanding that Brian couldn’t get everything in, and the article (at least the online version) is way longer than most pieces.
On lots of shows, guest stars are treated like non-people. The regular cast won’t even talk to them. Not only did the CHEERS cast make guest actors feel welcome, they got them all gifts at the end of their weeks. That's how giving and unselfish they were.
The last five years seemed somewhat truncated in the piece. Don’t forget CHEERS won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series late in its run too. So it’s not just the first few seasons and Sam & Diane.
For my money, the best comedy writing team in the history of television is Glen & Les Charles.
And finally, a lot is made about how sloppy the cast was the last few years (which was true), but I wish someone had mentioned that when they filmed that famous last scene of everyone sitting around the bar late at night – it’s a lengthy piece – everyone knew their lines perfectly. The whole scene was filmed in one take. When they wanted to, when it really mattered, no one performed better or was more profession than the cast of CHEERS.
So all in all, it was a terrific article. And considering the way I dress, it’s hard to believe GQ Magazine would interview me about anything.
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