Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Did Shelley Long try to get Kelsey Grammer fired?


I’m getting so many requests to respond to a recent Cracked.com article that I thought I’d just take a day and respond to it.

The article claims that when Kelsey Grammer first appeared on CHEERS, the only reason producers kept him on for more than the initial three episodes he was signed for was because Shelley Long hated him and the producers hated Shelley so much they retained him purely out of spite.

They weren't just fabricating a story. The article makes this claim based on Kelsey’s autobiography.

So with all due respect to Kelsey Grammer, whom I love and have worked with since his first day at CHEERS till his last day on FRASIER – let me categorically say that this is just not true. Not remotely true.

I don’t know where he got his misinformation. I suspect it was hearsay, but I can tell you unequivocally that it is wrong.

And in the process he does a disservice not only to Shelley but to himself.

Quite simply, he was retained because he was terrific and once everyone saw the dynamics between his character and the others in the bar it was clear that Frasier Crane was a keeper. For Kelsey to suggest anything other is not to give himself enough credit. He earned the promotion. 

Other points:

CHEERS would never ever ever carry a character they didn’t think added to the show. Especially such a pivotal character. Remember too, at the beginning of the third season CHEERS was still fighting for its ratings life. COSBY premiered that year and that’s when the show took off. But think about it -- CHEERS was finally starting to get big numbers. Why would they dilute their product with an unnecessary character just when they were on the verge of lasting success?

Now let me say a few words about Shelley’s behavior. She could be difficult.  She could be obstinate. She could over-think something to death.  But it was never out of spite. It was just her very exacting process. At times I will admit it was frustrating. And exhausting. But Shelley has a good heart. She is a sweet person. And in her defense, she had an incredibly complex difficult character to play. To make Diane Chambers loveable and funny while still maintaining her haughty attitude took a very special actress. It would be so easy to just hate Diane. Shelley did an extraordinary job. I can't think of a single actress who could have done the role better... or even as well.  So if it took her longer to find the moments and just the right shading then tough. The results were on the screen.

But the point I want to reiterate is that she is a lovely person. I know actors who are just mean-spirited monsters -- unhappy miserable people who want everyone around them to be as unhappy as they are. That’s not Shelley. She would never think to ask producers to fire someone just because she didn’t get along with him.

I should also mention that Kelsey was nothing but gracious, professional, prepared, and kind (as he remained throughout both CHEERS and FRASIER) on the set. It’s not like he was disruptive or unreliable in any way or gave anyone any cause to want to show him the door.

And one final point: Let’s say you have an actress who’s a real problem. What’s the best way to make her even MORE of a problem? Force someone on her that she’s told you she hates. If you think your life was a living hell BEFORE? Just watch. Trust me, producers know this. And the ones that don't are in the cardiac ward at Cedars. 

Shelley was invited to be on FRASIER twice. The first time was for an episode that David Isaacs and I wrote called “Adventures in Paradise” Part 2. She was on camera for maybe thirty seconds. She was the punchline to one joke. And I’ve told the story before, the producers kept her appearance a secret even to the network so they wouldn’t spoil the joke by promoting her. So Shelley was getting no publicity, very little exposure, very little pay and still did it anyway – more as a favor to Kelsey. Granted, this was before the book came out, but even after it did, she was asked to do another episode of FRASIER – this one more substantial – and she agreed to do it. So they couldn’t hate each other that much.

One downside to the internet is that people can write anything and it potentially can get spread around the world as fact. I’m happy to be able to set the record straight (not that I’m any more believable than anyone else on the internet). But I’m right about this one.

65 comments:

An (is my actual name) said...

Thank you so much for weighing in, Ken. You've confirmed what I always suspected of Ms. Long and these idiotic rumors. People who perpetuate this kind of misinformation really suck. You are a gentleman and a beacon of truth. :)

T. Wade said...

I was hoping you were going to weigh in on this - as with anything in life, there's fact, fiction and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

David said...

Thanks for the truth. The mutual spite story always seemed like nonsense. You don't discuss whether Ms. Long actually did ask for Frasier to be written out of the show after their relationship ended, though. Leaving spite out of it, on her part or the producers', did she in fact ask for him to go for purely character/story reasons, as some other sources have suggested?

Gazzoo said...

I guess this explains everything except why Kelsey would put it in his book...

Stephen Gallagher said...

"I guess this explains everything except why Kelsey would put it in his book... "

Misfiring self-deprecation, maybe. Only the most naive could imagine that such a high-stakes business would be run on such petty principles.

Ron Smith said...

Your article should be a textbook in how to issue criticism. You tell Kelsey he was "mistaken" and point out Shelley's foibles all the while staying positive and we come away with even more admiration for both-- and for you.

Annie said...

"I guess this explains everything except why Kelsey would put it in his book... "

"Misfiring self-deprecation, maybe. Only the most naive could imagine that such a high-stakes business would be run on such petty principles."


He's lucky he didn't get sued for libel. Those kind of accusations are career-killers.

I've always wondered how certain people from that cast/crew got away with some of the nasty things they said about her when she left. I get feeling betrayed, being afraid of the show falling apart, and resentment, but really, the very public lack of grace shown a fellow actor was appalling, and soured me more on them than her.

Johnny Walker said...

To be fair to Kelsey, it seems he was merely the victim of hearsay, and even when discussing this particular thorny issue in his autobiography, wrote:

"The rumours about [Shelley Long] are numerous and often vicious, but grossly exaggerated. I have nothing against Shelley personally; I am even in her debt."

Even when accusing her of trying to get him booted off the show, he still maintained that the many rumours about her were false.

Another thing that Ken could possibly put the record straight on Kelsey:

"I should also mention that Kelsey was nothing but gracious, professional, prepared, and kind (as he remained throughout both CHEERS and FRASIER) on the set. It’s not like he was disruptive or unreliable in any way or gave anyone any cause to want to show him the door."

But isn't this the guy who forced Frasier into a short hiatus while he checked himself into the Betty Ford Centre?

That all said, it's lovely to hear that despite their problems, everyone on the show appears to have been good natured. Indeed, Earl Pomerantz claims that only the cast of TAXI were nicer.

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks for a wonderful post.

This doesn't contradict what was stated, but this is Shelley Long's take on the matter, just before her appearance on Frasier:

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1996-02-13/lifestyle/9602120220_1_frasier-crane-kelsey-grammer-cheers-finale

Hamid said...

A great read, Ken, but far more pressing and requiring comment is what your reaction is to Kelsey joining the cast of The Expendables 3?!

ChicagoJohn said...

Ken,

This was pretty much a seminar to me on how to handle a rumor between professional performers.
I worked in a theater as a manager for several years. Its amazing how easily rumors spread - no matter how ridiculous - and how neurotic it can make performers.
You've written before about how hard it is for an actor to get cast in a television show. I don't think that people realize that the process leaves actors and actresses with a constant insecurity that someone has said something bad about them.

I thank you for writing this on several levels: first, as a fan of both Shelley and Kelsey, its nice to know that they're both professional and good people. Second, as someone who directs, its a reminder to me of how I should handle conflicts between actors that are fed by their insecurities. Third, as a performer, thank you for reminding me that far too often, what I feel is completely in my head... and not based in anything real.

Phillip S said...

Diane actually appeared on Frasier 4 times - she was also in both parts of Don Juan in Hell.

Having watched /Frasier/ first and then back to /Cheers/ now that its on Netflix, I really like to get the history of Diane (and Lilith for that matter) with Frasier - it makes those episodes of Frasier even better

Mike said...

It seems we don't own a copy of Grammer's book between us. Can someone not fish one out of a remainder bin and post the relevant paragraph? This may be a quotation out of context.

Eric J said...

"It seems we don't own a copy of Grammer's book between us. Can someone not fish one out of a remainder bin and post the relevant paragraph? This may be a quotation out of context." [Mike]

Ha ha. Even rumors become rumored.

Eric J said...

"It seems we don't own a copy of Grammer's book between us. Can someone not fish one out of a remainder bin and post the relevant paragraph? This may be a quotation out of context." [Mike]

Ha ha. Even rumors become rumored.

Anthony V. said...

I have always enjoyed the character of Diane Chambers. I have some questions related to Shelly Long's decision to leave after 5 years. Was the entire 5th season written with her exit in mind? I wouldn't think the writers would have Sam and Diane get married if she was going to stay on for more years. What would be left to do with them if they did get married? Do you personally think there could have been 6 additional seasons of will they or won't they for Sam and Diane if Shelly long had stayed? What story lines for them could have sustained the show for 6 more years?

Mike said...

I came here to ask a question about Kelsey, and this topical post just for me!

My question is,

Have you had any other offers to write for Frasier Crane on other shows?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible Kelsey was just joking?

Jess said...

Anonymous: Is it possible Kelsey was just joking?

Although he's putting a slightly different spin on it these days, he's still telling a similar story, and no he's not joking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0MwvnGiT9s

Nice that he's being marginally better about Shelley (damning with faint praise), but it's still uncool to say at all IMO, especially when it's not true. It casts a pall. Why even bring it up at this juncture? You've won, Kelsey.

Frank Paradise said...

Maybe Kelsey had to spice the book up on firm insistence from one of his young gold digger wives in the hope she could play Shelly in the tv movie.

Gabby said...

Always was a big SHELLEY fan and enjoyed working with her. Also Kelsey. Maybe his ghost writer was trying to spice things up! But thanks for the article, she deserves better.

Anonymous said...

Kelsey Grammer's account may be overstating it a bit, but I was working with some people very close to the show at the time (not on the creative side) and it was a common belief in their offices that, if not the reason he Grammer was retained, the fact that he got under her skin was an added bonus to keeping him on.

There's nothing to say Long can't be a great person and actress and still be a pain in the ass at the same time. There are a number of people in the television industry who are passionate perfectionists when it comes to getting it exactly to their liking, but it doesn't make it any less annoying for those people having to sit around for hours while they get it right.

Even if it's all true, it was only a moment in time. People's emotions can run hot during production and they may have had an entirely different perspective a month later.

Hamid said...

Whilst we're on the subject of Cheers, a Friday question for Ken: Has there ever been talk of a one-off Cheers reunion special? I personally wouldn't want one, as I think the show ended on a perfect note, but given so many shows over the years have had reunion specials, it occurred to me there must have been requests by the network for a Cheers reunion which all concerned declined.

An (is my actual name) said...

Hamid - Good Friday question (though I still haven't made peace with the Cheers finale). I would LOVE to see a Paleyfest-style reunion, with a panel discussion plus team interviews (writers, Ted/Shelley, George/John, Charles Bros./Burrows, etc.) for more in-depth conversation. Problem is, I would also want it to be a 2 hour affair, minimum. :)

benson said...

8Today's topic reminds me of the major professional athlete who claimed to be misquoted in his autobiography.

The story has been attributed to several, so it might be apocryphal.

Stephen Robinson said...

I've always been confused by Long's issue with the Frasier character. The "false romantic lead" is a common (and useful) trope in romantic comedy. Sumner Sloane was an arrogant ass and wasn't convincing in that role (although he did -- in his way -- lead to Diane and Sam's ultimate split). Frasier was a good man who genuinely loved Diane but she loved Sam more. I found that more complex and interesting.

Granted, Diane rejecting someone like Frasier risks making her unlikeable compared to her ditching an outright jerk. And it did begin the "Diane is Bonkers" conceit that started to crop up more and more. She was far more balanced in the first two seasons.

Chris said...

Friday question: Jerry Seinfeld was recently said on Howard Stern how Seinfeld managed to stay alive in its first low-rated years by appealing to more educated people, with large incomes, who could afford to spend more, a highly sought-after audience by marketing companies.

This is not a piece of information I would have kept in mind if I had not Dan Harmon say the exact same thing about Community on WTF with Marc Maron recently.

Have you ever been interested in this part of the business and do you have an opinion on it?

Chris said...

I think Dan Harmon also mentioned how shows like 2 Broke Girls or Big Bang Theory would need much larger numbers to be kept on the air.

Mike said...

From that GQ article last year:
Grammer (from his 1996 autobiography, So Far...): Shelley was convinced that Diane and Sam should be together, that it was a terrible mistake to break them up...Shelly's efforts to get me off the show were relentless. I learned after read-throughs she would insist the writers took out every laugh I had.
Long: Oh, that's so wrong.
Grammer: Who knows? Maybe it was all my problem! I don't know. Maybe none of that was really true. But, early on, I did have a feeling that she would've been happier if I hadn't been on the show. Once Frasier was no longer a threat to what I think she felt was her arc for Ted, it was great.


While we're here:
Levine: Rhea came up to my office and she was furious—I'd never seen her like this. She said, "I want him off the show."
Rhea Perlman: That's not true. I loved Jay Thomas as Eddie LeBec.

Becca in Seattle said...

I've just reached Season 7 in my re-watching of the series on Netflix and personally found Diane's charachter nearly insufferable in the 5th (her final) season, good riddance I say as I'm not convinced the show would have made it to a 10th season had she stayed on.

Mike said...

Eddie LeBec...isn't he that cartoon skunk? (sorry, I couldn't resist)

D. McEwan said...

"T. Wade said...
as with anything in life, there's fact, fiction and somewhere in the middle lies the truth."


No, "Truth" does NOT lie somewhere between Fact and Fiction. If it's a FACT>, then it's TRUE! Truth is Fact, Facts are Truth.

This column is so full of simple, obvious logic, it should shame anyone who bought that rumor for a second, even though it came from Kelsey's book. (After all, you can't expect logic or truth from a Republican.)

And your point that it also reflects poorly on Kelsey (They didn't keep me because I'm good; they kept me to annoy Shelley) is well-taken. You'd think Kelsey, or whomever actually wrote Kelsey's book, would notice this fact. If it were true (Which for all the reasons you gave, it could not be. Not just isn't true, couldn't be true), then why didn't they lose him at the end of season 5 also? Would it annoy Shelley that an actor she allegedly disliked continued to have employment? Just absurd.

The link you put up as "Kelsey's autobiography" was also actually quite fair-minded and interesting.

Admittedly, I studied for years under an acting coach (The late Bill Hudnut, himself no fan of off-stage Shelley Long) who routinely put me into scenes and sketches with actors he knew I disliked or found annoying. Bill didn't do this to annoy me, however much it did. He did it because in the business, you will be cast sometimes with actors you dislike, even loathe, and you have to be able to work with folks whether you like them off-stage or not.

Michael said...

I am reminded of Charles Barkley claiming he was misquoted in his autobiography.

Anonymous said...

There you have it, DJ McEwan wouldn't cast Kelsey Grammer because of his politics. Just like the original blacklisters.

ODJennings said...

It's a long out of print piece of fluff designed to be read at the beach, don't turn it into the Zapruder film, people.

I'll take Ken's word for it over what's in the book.

Jess said...

Mike posted - Grammer (from his 1996 autobiography, So Far...): Shelley was convinced that Diane and Sam should be together, that it was a terrible mistake to break them up...Shelly's efforts to get me off the show were relentless. I learned after read-throughs she would insist the writers took out every laugh I had.
Long: Oh, that's so wrong.
Grammer: Who knows? Maybe it was all my problem! I don't know. Maybe none of that was really true. But, early on, I did have a feeling that she would've been happier if I hadn't been on the show. Once Frasier was no longer a threat to what I think she felt was her arc for Ted, it was great.


Again, why does he feel the need to rag on Shelley like this to this day? Even if it were actually true, it's over, Kelsey. 25 years over, and you've won. Grow some class to go along with your success, step away from your bully pulpit, and quit trashing the co-star who was most responsible for launching your career. I mean, what kind of person does this? What makes it worse is that I have no doubt she could tell lots of stories of her own, but she's never stooped to that level with regard to any of her former castmates. Time for your memoirs, Shelley.

Anonymous said...

D.McEwan Said:

"This column is so full of simple, obvious logic, it should shame anyone who bought that rumor for a second, even though it came from Kelsey's book. (After all, you can't expect logic or truth from a Republican.)"

Yep. Wish we could afford to be more like you assholes:

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-ipads-lausd-20130926,0,5826726.story

-David H

Robin said...

Thank you so much for this post. I feel protective of Shelley even though I've never met her. She gave me such joy through her portrayal of Diane. I so enjoy your blog!

DBenson said...

A question, sort of on topic:

Did you (or anyone you've heard of) ever deliberately cast a pair of actors precisely because they lacked chemistry with each other? Say, to keep the audience from expecting or wanting to see those characters in a relationship?

Or actors who were highly competitive or even a little hostile to mirror their characters' friction?

Yes, I know actors who are chums in real life can play enemies brilliantly (Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, to take a classic example). But does anyone ever make reverse chemistry work for the show or movie?

Mike said...

A newspaper requests TV pilot pitches, receives 500 in 2 days, and gets the best 10 reviewed by a panel of experts. And here they are.

Johnny Walker said...

Wow, they were the best...? Amy Palladino's comments are spot on.

D. McEwan said...

Anonymous said...
There you have it, DJ McEwan wouldn't cast Kelsey Grammer because of his politics. Just like the original blacklisters.


Oh, "Anonymous," you craven coward, you forgot how to type your name. Big talking from someone who lacks the balls to sign his attacks. My comments carry my own real name.

I never said I wouldn't cast Kelsey Grammar. I just said you can't expect logic or truth from a Republican, a statement I stand by. Not a word about whether I'd cast him or not. I've cast conservatives before. I didn't get on with the more rabidly conservative of them offstage, but casting is based on whether they can play the role best or not, not whether I'll loathe them off-stage.

Incidentally "DJ McEwan"? Where is the "J" from? My middle initial is K for Keith.

Let's see: you're defending Kelsey politcally, and you did so with two lies (1. That I said would not cast Kelsey, and 2. That my name is DJ McEwan), all while being too big a pussy to give your own name. You must be a Republican also, proving my statement rather than refuting it.

So David H (You've got some guts at least), you CAN afford to be like we assholes instead of like you Republican assholes. Just leave the Party of Evil who have bankrupted America, championed ignorance and greed, thrived on bigotry, and murdered people all over the planet, the party that just voted to take food away from poor children so they can keep giving tax breaks to their wealthy owners, and come over to the side of Virtue and Humanity. Just renounce Satan and all his works, i.e. The Republcian Party and its positions.

D. McEwan said...

BTW, which party was it that were "The Original Blacklisters"? Oh yes, the Republicans.

Storm said...

Oh, my giddy aunt. Somebody just got read like the Sunday paper.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Mike said...

@D McEwan: Aw, c'mon. The Republicans read Green Eggs & Ham to us from the floor of the Senate. It's been decades since anyone's read that book to me. I'm hoping that John Boehner'll read Hop On Pop to me from the floor of the House. That book's always been one of my favourites.

sophomorecritic said...

I've written for cracked and they demand everything be sourced from a book or a reputable source. The funny thing is they don't allow blogs or even firsthand interviews as sources so Ken Levine's personal writings might not have been enough to correct the record

Anonymous said...

D McEwan:

BTW, which party was it that were "The Original Blacklisters"? Oh yes, the Republicans.

The Original Blacklisters would be the organized slave traders. Sorry, Davey. That would be the Democrats, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Mike:

"I'm hoping that John Boehner'll read Hop On Pop to me from the floor of the House. That book's always been one of my favourites."

It was also the number one favorite of Monica Lewinsky. She recited it by heart to Kenneth Starr.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Anonymous, still a big mouth, still wrong, and still a craven little cowardly piece of shit, terrified to attach his, hers or its name to your stupid libels.

The "Blacklist" had nothing to do with slavery, nor would slavery have anything to do with the Conservatives' love of refusing people employment for their politcal beliefs. I assume that's your overwhelmingly lame attempt at a "joke." Your only real joke is your politics.

In any event, the slave trade predates the Democratic party, predates the republic, and represents Conservatism at its purest and most venal. Profits over humanity, that's slavery's core, and The Republican Party's Platform.

Shouldn't you be out taking food stamps away from poor children so your wealthy overlords can have more tax cuts? Or are you unable to take your tongue out of the Koch Brother's anuses long enough to do more than type anonymously.

D. McEwan said...

Oops. Hit the wrong button. I wrote the immediately previous comment

Mike said...

@Anonymous: I don't understand your hostility. Boehner can read Hop on Pop, can't he?

D. McEwan said...

He can read it if he goes slowly and sounds out the words.

Anonymous said...

D McKewan you've previously posted that you wouldn't cast Patricia Heaton because of her politics.

And no the original blacklisters in Hollywood were the Communists when they had the power to do so.

D. McEwan said...

I certainly won't watch Heaton in anything.

Still lacking the balls to identify yourself, Coward. But then, given that you're unable to spell my name correctly even when it's on the screen right in front of your face (I assume you have a face), you probably have no idea of how to spell your own name. You've certainly proved that you're quite stupid as well as delusional. (Or are you Patricia Heaton?)

"And no the original blacklisters in Hollywood were the Communists when they had the power to do so."

When was that? Answer: Never. Utterly absurd paranoid insane right-wing nonsense. The only people who ever believed such utter bilge were - yes - McCarthy and H.U.A.C. and the blacklisters. Hollywood has ALWAYS been run by capitalists.

Your insanity is showing. No wonder you're too big a chickenshit to sign your attacks; you're afraid that after reading crap like that, they'll come lock you away in a rubber room in a jacket with really, really long sleeves, and you may well be right about that, though it's the only thing you're right about.

D. McEwan said...

BTW, re: "The Original Blacklisters": So which is it, the slave traders or the communists who ran Hollywood? Make up whatever it is you use for a mind. If I were you, which I am so glad I'm not, I'd go with the slave traders, as they have an advantage over the communists who used to run Hollywood in that they actually existed.

Peacewoman said...

I had never watched Cheers back in the day, too busy working and bringing up kids. But I've been catching up with it on Brit TV the last few months and had no idea of the personalities of the actors and relationships with each other. However, when 'Diane' was on it, increasingly I had less sympathy with her character and got to finding her irritating and had decided not to watch it any more. And it seemed at that moment she was suddenly gone and Kirstie Alley took over one of three female leads. So reading the blurb on the show purely by chance today to get information on one of the characters, discovered the antipathy that may have existed between Shelley Long and Kelsey Grammer. So now I've wondered whether I picked up on the negative vibes that may have been in the production of the show in my lack of empathy for the character Diane and perhaps the reality that she had to go as the character and her manipulation had become less comedic and irritating to the viewer?

JediJones said...

D. McEwan it's sad that people like you are turning the Democrat party into the party of hate. The propaganda you perpetuate is about the only reason anyone seems to become a Democrat today. You're training people to hate other human beings, in this case to hate Republicans. It's pathetic that you don't have a positive message to defend your party with. All you can do is spew and spread hate, turning the country and its politics into an uglier, more divisive and unpleasant place.

Your propaganda is what's spreading ignorance and lies. Barack Obama is doing more to bankrupt the country than any president before him by driving us into incredible debt, including with a health care entitlement that has ballooned in cost every time the CBO recalculates the numbers. The Democrats also caused the financial meltdown of 2008 by refusing to allow Bush, McCain and other Republicans to reform Fannie and Freddie. Instead they told them they, just like you, spun lies out of the issue and said the Republicans were "haters" who hated the poor, or some such nonsense. And the Democrat party continued its unending pattern of giving people who didn't earn it money that we don't have no matter what the consequences.

I call it bigotry when schools and employers are allowed to use racial quotas to accept people or not. How many, for example, Asian women have been denied college admission because the schools decided someone of a different ethnicity was more desirable, despite them having lower test scores? Some Asians are waking up to this unfairness and fighting against affirmative action.

Barack Obama is responsible for countless murders because of pulling our troops out of Iraq, now that the country is being taken over by bands of murdering thugs who will kill more people in proportion to how much power they can get. By Obama's logic, we should pull our troops out of South Korea and let the North overrun them. Such humanitarians, these Democrats.

The real greed in this country comes from people who feel they are entitled to other people's money that they did nothing to earn. A flat tax is a fair tax. Our current tax system that punishes job creators, wealth creators and productive people is an act of institutional greed by politicians and unproductive people.

BTW, huge Cheers fan here. I love the show, love Shelley, and love the writers. It was an absolute gift and joy to have this show on the air growing up in the '80s. And it's so great to go back and watch the show on DVD now and catch all the jokes and references that went over my head as a kid.

BRIAN said...

l have always thought shelley was a kind caring person who put everything into any part she played

dolittle said...

The five Cheers seasons with Shelley Long are easily my favorite. If Long was particular about how she portrayed Diane - i.e., not as a mere caricature, but as a character with real heart and emotion - then much credit has to be handed to her. Her portrayal of Diane was instrumental in helping make the show so successful in its early years. It would be understandable if Long became frustrated with way the Sam and Diane relationship kept going around in circles. And it seemed that Diane was taking far too much of the criticism and blame from the other characters, while Sam, who could be incredibly heartless and hurtful to Diane at times, was constantly treated as a hero and patted on the back by the bar gang. I can see where adding in Frasier's frequent ribbings and rantings about Diane only made Long's character seem even more unfairly outnumbered. If Long felt that Sam and Diane ultimately belonged together (and I agree), then I could understand her frustration.

Speaking of frustration, I was very disappointed with the way the series ended - not with Sam staying in Boston at Cheers, but with the series not bringing Diane back to Boston to stay. Sam and Diane's future could easily have been left an open question. It would have been so appropriate, would have payed homage to a wonderfully original character, and it would have brought the series full circle.

Geoffrey said...

"Speaking of frustration, I was very disappointed with the way the series ended - not with Sam staying in Boston at Cheers, but with the series not bringing Diane back to Boston to stay."

I've always had it in my mind that Diane did stay in Boston. That phone call during the smoke session that went unanswered; that that was Diane from her hotel having left the airport. She and Sam couldn't be married but then they couldn't be apart from each other either. And so the following day she'd be back at Cheers with the wheel having turned full circle.

Ah, such romantics!

nortonsnest.com said...

Mr. Levine,

As a big fan of Cheers, Frasier, Shelley Long and Kelsey Grammar, thank you for offering your very qualified opinion on this matter. Fans should know how much goes in to great shows and thank you for your many contributions as well.

Shelley Long made Diane Chambers one of the great TV characters. She should be appreciated more and she has had a great career on Cheers and otherwise. Thanks again for offering your great insight.

Even if Kelsey Grammar's contentions may have been true, why trash anyone in print? The best people rise above that kind of thing and Kelsey went on to a great series of his own, regardless.

zhiyi said...

I can't help but applying Diane's psychology - or cocktail-party psychology per Frasier - "Hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is.", Kelsey's feelings of antagonism toward Shelley masked his love of Diane.

He was disappointed that Diane-Frasier was never meant to be, and he was more hurt by the fact that Shelley was all for Sam and Diane and never really cared about Diane-Frasier relationship.

He might pick up rumors somewhere, and he held them as truth for so long.

Tim Norton said...

I am working on balancing my affection for this blog with not commenting too often. (Working on it). I wanted to mention one of my favorite episodes on Cheers. It's "Everyone Imitates Art', where Diane gets a rejection letter from a poetry magazine and Sam has a great laugh by submitting one of Diane's own poems and getting it published.

Shelley was magnificent in all the shows she did but this one is so delightful to watch. Her range and ability to express different emotions so effectively continues to amaze. Shelley's humanity was so evident on Cheers. Maybe that is what made a complex character lovable and empathetic to go with all the rest.

The often hateful shots taken at Shelley are just offensive.
"Consider the source" is a good bylaw to keep in mind. She could tell stories of her own but she is too classy for that.

Anonymous said...

Kelsey grammer + cheers = great show

Ellen Todd said...

So I'm late to this party, but I felt compelled to participate, as I just re-discovered the wonderful, early seasons of Cheers on Netflix.

Shelley Long seems to be a sort of punching bag for Hollywood career trajectory experts, and Cheers sourpusses who love to portray her as a bitchy diva. Thank you for shedding some light on this matter. 'Seems to me that she fulfilled her contract, and I can't seem to find any disparaging things she's said about anyone from Cheers, but maybe I've not dug deep enough. Talented, classy and discreet is how I see Shelley Long.

I was in middle school when Cheers premiered in the fall of '82. My college-aged sister introduced me to the show, and I loved it.

As a teen girl growing up with Madonna/Christie Brinkley-saturated 80s media, I found Diane Chambers to be a refreshing break in Bimbo-land. For me, Diane Chambers illustrated how a woman could be smart, strong, kind, sexy, flawed, and funny all at the same time. Shelley Long's portrayal is masterful. It's hard to imagine any other actress effectively playing the part. She's lovely, yet flawed... 'Such a treasure!

So Mr. Levine, Ms. Long, Glen and Les Charles et al, I JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU for Ms. Chambers and Cheers. Kind thanks from a non-bimbo growing up in 80's Bimboland.





SM:"I've never met an intelligent woman I'd want to date!" DC:"On behalf of the intelligent women around the world, may I just say, 'WHEW!'"

DC: "You are the last person to be giving dating advice.... Not with the coterie of Betty Boops you squander your time, money and hormones on."

DC: "Sam, if you will admit that you're carrying a little torch for me, I'll admit I'm carrying a little torch for you." SM: "I AM carrying a little torch for you." DC: "Well... I'm not carrying one for you."

SM: "I'd like to bounce you off every wall in this office!" DC: "Try it and you'll be walking funny tomorrow... Or should I say, FUNNIER..."

DC: "Is that "Brandy", with a "Y" or two "E's"?

DC: "Do you know what bothers me most? There there are women upon whom this works, and they're allowed to vote... and drive cars."