Sunday, November 27, 2011

Boston, Say Hello to Woody Boyd; Sam, Say Hello to Frasier Crane's Little Friend

As I've brought up numerous times, the major change on Cheers was Shelley Long leaving the show, with Kirstie Alley replacing her. The other change, as mentioned here before, was the addition of Woody Harrelson to the cast, replacing The Coach as the bar's main bartender and the show's resident dumbass.

Amidst the Sam, Diane and Frasier love triangle drama, Woody Boyd, a bright-eyed country boy from Indiana, walks into Cheers looking for Coach. Sam gives Woody -- and the audience -- the unfortunate news about the Coach's death. Woody explains he and Coach were pen pals, exchanging not letters but actual pens and the Sam pretty much hires the kid on the spot.

Not long after putting on his bartender's apron, Woody is met with his first rude customer, none other than Frasier Crane. With that wide, Midwestern smile, Woody asks this stranger "What'll it be?". To this Frasier, stern and collousing, replies "Just give me a whiskey, punk." He downs his shot and, just as coldly, asks "Where's Malone?"

Frasier finds Sam in his office and pulls a gun on Mayday. Much like Sam at the beginning of season 3, Frasier has gone off the deep in thanks to Diane's breaking his heart. But rather than turning to booze as Sam did, Frasier simply wants the man he blames for his trouble to be shot dead.

Even though Sam flew to Italy and ended up breaking into the wrong mansion in an attempt to stop the ceremony, the gesture was moot as Frasier explains Diane backed out of the wedding. Sam tries to get Frasier to calm down and realize Sam hasn't even spoken to Diane since the wedding-that-wasn't. Frasier eventually stops aim the pistol and goes from pissed to emo and has a heart-to-heart with Sam about his love for Diane. Having had to get over Diane himself, Mayday tries offering words of encouragement to Dr. Crane, resulting in this hilarious exchange:

Frasier: "I'll forget about her when the moon turns to ashes and the birds sing nevermore."
Sam: "Hey, there you go!"

Diane, meanwhile, has begun working in a nunnery, helping the sisters fold laundry and do other housekeeping things because, apparently, her years of post-graduate work have given her the ability to do little besides minimum wage labor whether it be in a bar or convent.

Even though Sam failed in his chance to be a hero and stop Diane's wedding to Frasier, he still has a chance, it seems. Naturally, he sneaks up on Diane, causing her to curse. A nun comes into the scene and Sam hides. She leaves and Diane convinces him to leave so she won't get into trouble. Diane goes on to ask the Almighty for sign on what to do with her love life and, right on cue, Mayday comes back into the shot looking for the john. Diane, naturally, looks up to God and sarcastically states, "Well, it's not the parting of the Red Sea..." And with that, the season 4 premiere comes to a close.

Not to be harking on Diane too much, but isn't it odd that season 3 begins with her seeking mental therapy (or as Sam, and 1980s society constantly refers to it, the "looney bin") and season 4 begins with in a similar physical place and mental state of mind? Had Cheers been a modern day sitcom, perhaps Diane's backstory would be coming to light at about this point in the series. She seems to have some deeply rooted issues with her parents that have caused her to not handle difficult situations without running away from them and seeking help from people older than her.

But hey, I'm no psychiatrist. Speaking of psychiatrists, Frasier's failed attempted murder attempt on Sam was just the beginning of his downward spiral. Tune in next time on "Every Episode of Cheers" to find out what happens next...

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