08 Juni 2008

JTS For Cheers

Cheers never quite jumped, but fins did surface and the ramp-up loomed ominously. When they quit, they were still ahead, just. Remarkably, Norm and Cliff never got stale, and the resounding success of Frasier is proof positive that the latter character had plenty of potential still. Sam and Rebecca, on the other hand, didn't fare as well, because as the actors aged their relatively one-dimensional characters--Sam the sex hound, Rebecca the business-girl-turned-emotional-wreck-- began to lose vitality and appeal. Rebecca's hankering after Robin was amusing a couple of times, but grew tiresome fairly quickly; ditto for Woody and the rich girl --frankly, the way they snubbed Woody was disconcerting, even depressing to watch. Kelly's dad ought to have been a mite more appreciative--after all, Woody was a pliant, clean-cut boy, who would have done pretty much anything asked of him. His daughter wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed and she was lucky to have found someone decent with a similar level of dimwittedness. As one who knows a number of Lutherans, however, I must say that the gag about Woody and Kelly being of "different religions" was absolutely hilarious--her belonging to the ELCA (the more mainstream liberal branch) and Woody belonging to the Missouri synod branch (the reactionary one), that doesn't accept evolution, etc. Very clever. On the whole, however, Cheers maintained a very high quality, with some wonderful lines and gags: Woody tells Frasier, "Back home in Hanover, we don't talk about our feelings, we just lock it all in, push it down, deeper and deeper," in response to which Frasier remarks to Norm and Cliff, "Tick, tick..." "Yak, yak...Ma knows a lot about yaks." The Hungry Heifer, serving not beef, but "bif." "I was voted the girl most likely to marry into old money." Whitey the decomposing rodent... My favorite episode is one in which Norm creates his "Kreitzer" alter ego to goad his painting crew into getting some work done. I saw that one in German, and when "Norm" is yelling into the phone as the Kreitzer character, believe me, it's effective!