Cheers: Season 5
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CHEERS - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON focuses on the colorful staff and offbeat patrons of a friendly Boston bar where "everybody knows your name." Starring Shelley Long as Diane Chambers and Ted Danson as Sam Malone, Cheers co-stars Nick Colasanto as "Coach," Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli, John Ratzenberger as Cliff and George Wendt as Norm. The 5th Season was the last for Shelley Long, and sets the stage for Kirstie Alley's appearance in Season 6.
Even as it bid goodbye to one of its core characters, Cheers enjoyed a fifth season of high hilarity that still holds up decades later. The cliffhanger at the end of the fourth season began a season-long courting dance between Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) in which both want to get married--but never at the same time. They argue, they see a pre-nuptial counselor (an Emmy-winning John Cleese), and then one has to make a final decision. But Sam and Diane weren't the only ones exploring relationships. Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) once again meets Dr. Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth) and, with the help of Diane, are soon cozily coinhabiting. Woody (Woody Harrelson) gets a visit from his ex-girlfriend (Amanda Wyss), and meets Coach's niece (Cady McClain). Carla (Rhea Perlman) seems finally rid of the sleazy Nick (Dan Hedaya, who was spun off into a thankfully short-lived series called The Tortellis) only to meet a Bruins goalie named Eddie LeBec (Jay Thomas). Then again, there were some non-relationship events, such as Diane's trying out for the Boston Ballet and the gang's classic Thanksgiving dinner at Carla's house (in which we finally get to see Norm's wife, Vera, sort of). But more than anything, the fifth season belonged to Sam and Diane. Their relationship ends in touching flash-forward and a wish to "have a good life." If only the departing actor's subsequent career had been so good. Like the fourth season, the DVD set has no extras. --David Horiuchi
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Here's all the episodes you'll get with Cheers - The Complete Fifth Season:
The Proposal (September 25, 1986)
We find out that Sam's telephone proposal was to Diane. But Diane feels that skirt-chaser Sam is just on the rebound.
The Cape Cad (October 2, 1986)
Diane goes to Cape Cod only to meddle and cause trouble during Sam's weekend with another women.
Money Dearest (October 9, 1986)
Cliff couldn't be happier when he finds out that his mom is going to marry a rich man. But he sings a different turn when Esther's fiance decides to donate all of his wealth.
Abnormal Psychology (October 16, 1986)
Diane assists Lilith so that Frasier will find her more appealing.
House of Horrors With Formal Dining and Used Brick (October 30, 1986)
Cliff helps Carla find a new home which is within her budget. But, the house is haunted! The Cheers gang learn that Carla is scarier than any haunted house.
Tan N' Wash (November 6, 1986)
Norm starts a new business, the Tan N' Wash, which the gang wants to invest it. But the investment is a washout.
Young Dr. Weinstein (November 13, 1986)
Stung by Diane's cold behavior, Sam tries to impress her by getting reservations at the most exclusive spot in Boston.
Knights of the Scimitar (November 27, 1986)
Cliff prods a reluctant Norm to join the lodge and Sam thinks Diane has invented a suitor to gain his interest and get some extra attention.
Thanksgiving Orphans (November 27, 1986)
The Cheers crew all gathers around Carla's table for frozen turkey and wisecracks.
Everyone Imitates Art (December 4, 1986)
Diane becomes obsessed with tracking down a poem that she is certain that Sam stole.
The Book of Samuel (December 11, 1986)
Woody delves into Sam's black book to find a date to impress his former girl friend, who is coming to Cheers to introduce her fiancé.
Dance, Diane, Dance (December 18, 1986)
Diane foolishly decides to audition for the Boston ballet even though she has no dancing talent.
Chambers vs Malone (January 8, 1987)
Again, Same proposes to Diane and ends up arrested when she turns him down.
Diamond Sam (January 15, 1987)
Sam feels bad for buying Diane an imitation ring.
Spellbound (January 22, 1987)
Nick vows to steal Diane away from Sam when Sam defends Loretta's efforts to ditch Nick and start her own career as a singer. This episode aired before the pilot of "The Tortellis" with Dan Hedaya (as Nick Tortelli).
Never Love a Goalie (1) (January 29, 1987)
Carla falls in love with Eddie LeBec, a hockey player. Diane is the holdout juror on a murder trial.
Never Love a Goalie (2) (February 5, 1987)
Eddie's career cools down after he starts seeing Carla. The murder defendant pays a visit to Diane at Cheers.
One Last Fling (February 12, 1987)
Diane allows Sam 24 hours for a final fling before their marriage ceremony.
Dog Bites Cliff (February 19, 1987)
Cliff sees dollar signs after a dog bites him while delivering the mail, until he meets the dog's beautiful and very friendly owner.
Dinner at Eight-ish (February 26, 1987)
Frasier and Lilith invite Sam and Diane over for dinner to celebrate their first week of living together.
Simon Says (March 5, 1987)
Diane pesters a noted British marriage counselor into seeing her and Sam for a prenuptial session, then refuses to heed his advice.
The Godfather, Part III (March 19, 1987)
Sam's goddaughter Joyce Pantusso (the late Coach's niece) comes for a visit. Sam asks Woody to show her around town. They hit it off, and Woody and Joyce have a surprise for Sam when they get engaged!
Norm's First Hurrah (March 26, 1987)
Norm elaborates on his new position with a top CPA firm and is caught in his little white lies when the Cheers gang decides to surprise him at his new job.
Cheers: the Motion Picture (April 2, 1987)
The gang tries to reassure a nervous Mr. and Mrs. Boyd back in Indiana that Woody is all right and has wonderful friends in Boston by making a home movie of an average day at Cheers.
A House is Not a Home (April 30, 1987)
Diane is haunted by the memories of the couple who lived a long and happy life together in the home she and Sam have purchased. These people haven't passed away, they are incurable pests who keep dropping in.
I Do and Adieu (May 7, 1987)
Diane goes off with Sumner Sloane (the man that left her at Cheers in the pilot) because he comes back and states that a publisher is interested in one of her manuscripts.
The chemistry between Sam and Diane is what really drove this comedy for the first five seasons that it was on the air. The two actors were truly in sync and their back and forth banter and will they or won't they romance that was on and off countless times during the five years, was something that has not been captured on television many times since.
While Long left the show, as I mentioned, the show continued on for another six years, with Kirstie Alley essentially taking over for Long. While Alley's Rebecca Howe and Sam had good chemistry, it was tough to live up to what had come before with Sam and Diane.
Season four ended with Sam proposing to Diane and we pick up in season five as she rejects him, then quickly changes her mind. Of course, once he was rejected, Sam decided it was over and didn't want to take her back until midway through the season when they finally officially got proposed, while Sam was in court after Diane brought him there on assault charges. As the season drew to a close, the marriage was still planned, but Sam knew better as he said his goodbyes as the door closed behind her for the last time as a cast regular.
While this season marked the final regular cast appearance by Long, it was the first season as a regular cast member for Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane. Dr. Crane was a recurring character for most of the previous seasons, but it was this year that his name came in the opening credits. In this season he becomes serious with the woman who would eventually become his ex-wife, Dr. Lilith Sternin, portrayed absolutely fabulously by the great Bebe Neuwirth. The two move in together and a dinner with Sam and Diane brings out some former relationship secrets that Frasier never shared with his new love.
Bar employees Cara Tortelli and Woody Boyd (Rhea Perlman and Woody Harrelson) continue to make life in Cheers enjoyable for everyone with their great humor. While Perlman's humor is more on the cynical, biting side, Harrelson comes across as the innocent youngster who just never seems to say the right thing. A highlight episode in this season was the famous "Thanksgiving Orphans" episode, where the Cheers gang gathers at Carla's for Turkey Day and the evening ends with a massive food fight. This was one of the best episodes of the season, and quite possibly of the series, at least in my mind.
Bar flies Cliff Clavin and Norm Peterson (John Ratzenberger and George Wendt) seem to live in Cheers, but in this season you get a glimpse of their lives outside of the bar. Mailman Cliff falls for a woman whose dog bit him and she uses his feelings to help get the lawsuit dropped. Norm gets a new job with an accounting firm and everyone gets a glimpse into his life as they take a look at his new "office". Also, for the first time, we get to see Norm's wife Vera, but she is obscured a little. In the Thanksgiving Orphans episode, she shows up at Carla's and immediately gets hit in the face with a pie, so viewers still have no idea just what Vera is like.
The only bad thing about this set is the same as with the fourth season. The set has absolutely no extras, which is disappointing, as it would have been great to hear what things were like behind the scenes in Long's last year. But beyond that, this season set featured a lot of great episodes.
As a youngster, I enjoyed the final few seasons of Cheers, but I never realized just how fantastic this show was with Shelley Long and Ted Danson's chemistry in the early years. As far as this show goes, this season was certainly a great one, but at the same time, a tough one as the hole left by Long was a big one.
CHEERS will always be remembered as the comedy series that broke away from the formulas of old and ushered in a new era of style in the way comedies was done.
The only reason I give Season Five 4 stars is because the series was a bit in a rut at this point, bogged down in the Sam and Diane = Marriage storyline that grew old and monotonous.
If Shelly Long had not left the show when she did, CHEERS may have never become as great as it did.
I liked Shelly Long in Seasons 1-4, but by the 5th season the Sam & Diane see-saw romance stories were getting a bit stale.
With Diane's departure and the arrival the following season of Rebecca (Kirstie Alley), the writers were forced to move in a new direction and breathe new life into the series that took the show to even greater levels.