Sunday, January 23, 2011

The five mysteries of CHEERS

What did Vera Peterson look like?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so for Norm I think her looks changed depending on the number of beers. I know that’s kind of a coy answer so I’ll just say if you’ve seen Maris Crane, she’s her twin but not as thin. People wonder if Norm really did love Vera. The answer is yes. You tell me a wife who’d let her husband spend his life in a bar. In one of the Bar Wars episodes I remember my partner and I had a joke where you went to Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern and off stage you hear “Afternoon everybody!” and everyone yells out “Vera!” but it got cut.

What exactly was Rebecca’s job?

Once Sam got the bar back he kept her on as a manager. Her chief job responsibility: sleep with Sam at some point. On numerous occasions when we were having a tough time coming up with a Rebecca line someone would say, “Wouldn’t Sam need another bartender more than a manager? Let him fire her and we won’t have to come up with this joke.” In truth, she did the accounting and ordered the liquor freeing Sam up to cut thousands of lemons an hour.

Why did Cliff wear white socks with everything?

It was a fashion statement. Not a good one but a statement nonetheless. Honestly, his fellow bar mates were just thrilled he changed them everyday.

When did Frasier have any time to see patients?

Usually in the morning before the bar opened. It’s the college courses he also taught that required a lot of juggling. But he wouldn’t be the first tenured professor who couldn’t stand up.

When did CHEERS close?

The standard 2 a.m. That gave Cliff a good two hours sleep before reporting to the post office. And Carla usually put her kids to bed at 2:30 a.m. so that schedule worked out perfectly.

I hope this solves the mysteries and I have fooled you into thinking I actually do know the answers to these questions.

There were some other CHEERS mysteries that I discussed a few years ago in this post.

Hopefully though, we made the show entertaining and funny enough that these inconsistencies didn’t bother you until the advent of the internet.


Anonymous said...

In one of the Bar Wars episodes I remember my partner and I had a joke where you went to Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern and off stage you hear “Afternoon everybody!” and everyone yells out “Vera!” but it got cut.

That is HYSTERICAL. That would've been great!

Steve said...

Vera looked like a pie in the Thanksgiving episode.

Nathan said...

What ropo said.

John said...

Ken, I was hoping in the early years of "Frasier" for a George Wendt guest appearance, so we might be able to see what happened if somehow Vera met Maris.

Jim Russell said...

I went back to the older post, and I saw someone mention the Cheers / St. Elsewhere crossover. Someone has done a marvelous analysis showing that crossovers like this imply that much of the television universe exists only in the mind of Tommy Westphal.

Max Clarke said...

Thank goodness the public never got wise to the unbelievable premise of Cheers: how could the alcoholic Sam Malone run his bar all those years and only drink when Diane left him?

When I first heard about Cheers back in the 80s, I skipped it for maybe the first year. How could anybody make a funny show about drunks in a bar?

Glad I overcame my reservations, because Cheers remains my favorite TV comedy series.

I knew they were special when they made all sorts of literary references in jokes which their audience probably didn't catch. The writers weren't afraid of greatness. Example: "...but enough Schope talk..." Brilliance.

When Vera caught the pie toss in her face on the Thanksgiving Orphans episode, I always felt that would have been the time for everybody to have said, "Vera!"

Brian Smith said...

I understand that the political and economic situation in Albania is just terrible right now, and people are dying in clashes with police. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting that, because every time I think of Albania, all I hear is Coach singing, "Al-ba-ni-a! Al-ba-ni-a! You border on. The. A. Dri. Atic!"

Johanna said...

Max Clarke, Sam's sobriety in a bar is not such an unbelievable concept. I've worked in bars and restaurants for 25 years, and I've known and worked with dozens of dry alcoholics. I know at least five bartenders who stopped drinking years before I even met them.

Working in a bar doesn't always mean you can drink there, contrary to popular belief! In fact, drinking at work will most likely get you fired. Furthermore, many establishments forbid their employees from coming in as a customer on their time off.

John Trumbull said...

In one of the Bar Wars episodes I remember my partner and I had a joke where you went to Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern and off stage you hear “Afternoon everybody!” and everyone yells out “Vera!” but it got cut.

One of my all-time favorite jokes on one of the Bar Wars episodes. The gang was having a bowling match with Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. At one point Norm goes to the bowling alley's bar and off stage you hear "Norm!" Sam turns to Cliff and says, "How do they know him here?" Cliff just says nonchalantly, "He's got a life, you know?"

Phillip B said...

The miracle of CHEERS, MASH and the greatest sitcoms of my time watching TV is the great depth of the characters. We really do care about the details of their life and demand that every new plot be consistent and true their nature.

Each also has an incredible depth in the number of characters as well. It has to be hard evolve that many backstories with an A and B storyline stuffed into 22 minutes each week.

So my question - 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?

Anonymous said...

Is there any story regarding the change of facial hair status of Frasier between CHEERS and FRASIER?

Anonymous said...

I always thought that Cliff wore white socks for the same reason I do ~ colored socks aggravated his eczema. Who knew it was a fashion statement?

Max Clarke said...


Thanks for clarifying. Guess Sam Malone fits that category.

emily said...

I'm pretty sure what Norm actually said was,
"Beauty is in the eye of the BEERholder."

Tim W. said...

Wait a second. Those answers were crap! Nothing on Cheers made any sense at all! I wasted 11 years of my life on something that didn't even make sense.

Thanks a lot Ken!

Brian Smith,

I've been singing that song for 25 years and one day, fairly recently, the subject of Albania came up in conversation with someone. When they questioned where exactly it was....

And I've even tried to teach my kids the song.

Tim W. said...

Taiwan! Taiwan by the sea, that China sea!

See what you've done to me, Ken, with your infernal show? I haven't seen that episode in 20 years, but I still remember that.

Grubber said...

Hi Ken,

I am going to be writing for a Late Night Show here in Australia. Nothing big, purely voluntary at this stage as it is on the community station, but I was wondering if you had any advice for writing this type of late night show?

Would value any input you have.

Many thanks.

Cap'n Bob said...

White cotton socks help prevent athlete's foot. Simple as that.

Unknown said...

I'm still trying to find out where the PA announcer was for all those years on M*A*S*H?

Brad said...

My favorite CHEERS mystery: Why did that station wagon drive by the bar every week for eleven years?

Seriously, almost every episode, a stock exterior shot was used with a station wagon passing by the bar while the same people walked by. The shot was also used at the beginning of the opening credits.

Anonymous said...

never fear! Loved the show, plot holes and all!