- Actors: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt, Kelsey Grammer
- Directors: James Burrows, Thomas Lofaro, Tim Berry
- Writers: Andy Cowan, Bill Steinkellner, Cherie Steinkellner, David Angell, David Isaacs
- Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 4
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Paramount
- Release Date: May 17 2005
- Run Time: 635 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0007Y08JW
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,230 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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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While it's not surprising that commitmentphobic Sam goes back to his usual mixed emotional signals, the writers for some reason decided to take Diane, who up until then had been so independent that she insisted on working in a bar rather than living off her wealthy parents, and make her marriage obsessed - and willing to delude and debase herself constantly in an effort to get a few crumbs of attention from Sam. I really don't know what the writers were thinking here - maybe they felt that this was the only approach to use with a lifetime bachelor like Sam - just wear him down drip by drip.
Finally, he comes around and asks Diane to marry him in the middle of the season (at this point, he need only crook his finger at her and she flies into his arms). I had remembered their engagement as kind of annoying, but re-watching it as an adult proved me wrong. The engagement provides some of the show's most classic episodes (the one where Diane tosses Sam's ring out of the car; the one where Diane jumps out of the bachelor party cake and then offers Sam 24-hours of hedonistic pleasure with other women, which he blows because he'd rather spy on Diane; the one where the whole gang end their Thanksgiving meal with an epic food fight).
Additionally, we finally get to Sam in a mode other than womanizing cad - what's he like when he actually cares for a woman? He appears a bit beaten down about it - suddenly losing the spring in his step and adopting a rather hang-dog expression - but I don't know if this was a deliberate acting choice on Ted Danson's part, or if Danson was just tired from filming a series for five years.
However, I must commend Danson on his acting skills - check out 'Chambers vs. Malone' when they're in court and Diane gives a defeated speech about not being able to figure out their relationship - and in the midst of it, Sam changes his mind about not wanting to marry her - it's all done with a look of admiration and love suddenly settling into his eyes.
Shelley Long is more calcified and almost a parody of herself in this later episodes - she still retains some of the vulnerability that made her so appealing in the earlier seasons, but there is no doubt that she's simply become more grating on the whole. Perhaps dating Sam for four years will do that to a girl.
However, I really enjoyed their engagement - here is a couple who have learned to deal with their basic personality differences - and compromise enough to make the relationship work while still getting in teasing and needling that make them so attractive to each other. Sure, Sam has to pick out china patterns and a dust ruffle - but Diane agrees to go to DisneyWorld for their honeymoon. They seem well on their way to a fun, passionate and loving- if challenging marriage (provided Sam can keep it in his pants). [A word of warning to young ladies watching this series: Guys like this don't change in real life!]
Too bad Shelley Long left, but I get the feeling the writers wouldn't have let them be married anyway. I think they'd gotten it into their heads that the series depended on the two always being apart. Perhaps shows about less-than-perfect marriages weren't the norm then like they seem to be now.
The last episode, where Diane takes off from the ceremony to go to be a writer, and there's a flash of them dancing as they might have if they'd grown old together, is heartbreaking. Especially when you know that Sam is destined to spend the next 6 seasons being nothing but a dumb doofus who chases around after a gold digger.
I guess like most of us early Cheers fans out there, I'll have to rewrite the ending in my fantasies.
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.