Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sam & Diane

After we filmed the first few episodes of CHEERS, director Jim Burrows came into the writing room and said, "Guys, our money is Sam and Diane. We've got to feature their relationship in every show. Even if the story is about something else, find a way to bring it back to those two." He was right of course. Here are a few Sam & Diane moments from the first season. Coincidentally, these are from episodes that my partner David and I wrote.


Anonymous said...

Ken, was it the staff's idea or (given the first season ratings) NBC's to have Sam and Diane get together at the conclusion of the opening year? It seemed as though there was a lot more comedy milage to be had from keeping them apart another year or so, looking at the way the Niles-Daphne relationship was handled over 6 1/2 years in "Frasier".

Anonymous said...

Funny as always.

I was on a plane three weeks ago and they were airing your episode where Sam's old baseball buddy comes out and the gang gets homophobic about Cheers turning into a gay bar. Enjoyed it again after I got the brain dead stewardess to fix the tracking on the crummy tape which kept jumping and breaking up constantly.

One thing that struck me in that episode and this compilation was that the actors seemed to talk a lot louder than they do on sitcoms today -- almost like they were projecting for the theater. Were they not body mic'd in those days? Did you guys use a boom?

Speaking of body mics has anyone else noticed the trend of "whisper acting" in feature films. The mics are so good these days that they can pick up a heart murmur. It seems that most of our stars (mainly the American actors not the British ones) have developed this uber naturalistic style of whispering all their dialogue because they think it sounds so, ooooh, real.
I keep thinking "why are they whispering?" There's no way they can hear each other they're in a fucking train station.

I had a great acting teacher once who said "the absence of phoniness does not make for truth." Case in point.

By Ken Levine said...

We did use boom mics. Most multi-camera shows still do. The sound quality is maybe a little better today. Also, the laughs were real so the actors might have been a little revved up.

shaz said...

I still think sam and diane and thier love hate relationship at times are hard to be beaten when it comes to sitcom couples .
The chalk and cheese of them was the mainstay of so much of their appeal for me ...the neurotic kookyness of diane faced off against the laid back mans man with a endless love of himself in sam really did provide endless comic potential .
I have to agree though id have loved if they had kept them apart for longer before they finally relented and got it together....that tension between them was one of the many things i loved cheers for and still do .

The Kenosha Kid said...

"Un film de Ken Levine"

Alan Sepinwall said...

It seemed as though there was a lot more comedy milage to be had from keeping them apart another year or so, looking at the way the Niles-Daphne relationship was handled over 6 1/2 years in "Frasier".

I'd argue (and have, repeatedly) that putting Sam and Diane together at the end of season one (with many future break-ups and reunions to come) saved "Cheers" creatively -- or, at least, saved the show from going down the same annoying, endless When Are They Gonna Do It Already? storytelling that killed the likes of "Moonlighting" and "Ed."

"Frasier" could do a slow boil on Niles and Daphne (and even there, I'd argue the contrivances got tired in a hurry) because they weren't the main characters.

Anonymous said...

These clips remind me how much I miss Cheers. Yeah, I can still watch the re-runs, but it's not the same as looking forward to Thursday night for the new episode.

Cap'n Bob said...

Michael Zand echoes a complaint I've had for years, anent the damnable tendency of actors to whisper their dialogue in a hamhanded attempt to obtain reality. Hey, if I wanted reality I wouldn't watch a movie. It's getting so bad these days that I recently saw a movie in which a character just mouthed dead air instead of words.
These people are copying each other, just as they're copying MTV with the annoying flash cuts, extreme closeups, strobe effects, floating cameras, and other inane tricks that bombard the senses but do nothing to challenge the mind.

Unknown said...

Love cheers and pumped that I can stream it on netflix now. I am curious though why Sam and Diane never did end up together at the end of the series. I haven't seen all the episodes, but in the final episode it seemed almost Diane reverted. With the whole hearing the air line attendant talking about things to accomplish. And with Fraiser it seemed that they still loved eachother. So just curious why they decided not to let them get together or have time to really get together again at the end of the series or somewhere down the line on Fraiser or something.