AskDefine | Define cheers

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • a UK: /tʃɪəz/, /tSI@z/
  • a US: , /tʃɪrz/, /tSIrz/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪə(r)z

Verb

cheers
  1. third-person singular of cheer

Noun

cheers
  1. Plural of cheer

Interjection

  1. A common toast used when drinking in company.
  2. goodbye
  3. thank you

Translations

toast when drinking
informal: goodbye
  • Dutch: tot ziens, tot later, ciao, i Netherlands hoi, i Netherlands doei, doeg, ik zie je, later, i Flemish salu/salut, slukes
  • Finnish: terve
  • French: à plus
  • German: tschüss
  • Italian: ci vediamo
  • Polish: cześć
  • Spanish: nos vemos
informal: thank you
  • Dutch: dank je, dankjewel/dank je wel, bedankt, i Flemish merci, mercikes
  • Finnish: kiitti

Dutch

Etymology

Pronunciation

  • /tʃɪrz/

Interjection

cheers

Extensive Definition

Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles-Burrows-Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television (now CBS Paramount Television) for NBC, having been created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in the Cheers bar (named for the toast "Cheers") in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meet to drink and have fun. The show's theme song was written by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy and performed by Portnoy;its famous refrain, Where Everybody Knows Your Name also became the show's tagline.
After premiering on September 30, 1982, it was nearly cancelled during its first season when it ranked dead last in ratings. However, Cheers eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during eight of its eleven seasons, including one season at #1, and spending the bulk of its run on NBC's "Must See Thursday" lineup. Its widely watched series finale was broadcast on May 20, 1993. The show's 275 episodes have been successfully syndicated worldwide, and have earned 28 Emmy Awards from of a total of 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) was featured in his own successful spin-off, Frasier.

Cast

Cheers maintained an ensemble cast, keeping roughly the same set of characters for the entire run. Numerous secondary characters and love interests for these characters appeared intermittently to complement storylines that generally revolved around this core group.
The table below summarizes the main cast of Cheers.
The character of Sam Malone was originally intended to be a retired football player and was originally supposed to be played by Fred Dryer, but after casting Ted Danson it was decided that a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox would be more believable. The character of Cliff Clavin was created for John Ratzenberger after he auditioned for the role of "Norm". While chatting with producers afterwards, he asked if they were going to include a "bar know-it-all", the part which he eventually played. Kirstie Alley joined the cast when Shelley Long left, and Woody Harrelson joined when Nicholas Colasanto died. Danson, George Wendt, and Rhea Perlman were the only actors to appear in every episode of the series. Paul Willson, who played the recurring barfly character of "Paul", made early appearances in the first season as "Glen", was credited as "Gregg", and also appeared in the show as a character named "Tom".

Guest stars

Although Cheers operated largely around that main ensemble cast, guest stars did occasionally supplement them. Notable repeat guests included Jay Thomas as Eddie LeBec, Dan Hedaya as Nick Tortelli, Jean Kasem as Loretta Tortelli, Roger Rees as Robin Colcord, Tom Skerritt as Evan Drake, and Harry Anderson as Harry the Hat. Other celebrities guest-starred in single episodes as themselves throughout the series. Some sports figures appeared on the show as former team-mates of Sam's from the Red Sox such as Luis Tiant and Wade Boggs, while others appeared with no connection to Cheers such as Kevin McHale (star player of the Boston Celtics, Cheers hometown basketball team) or Mike Ditka. Some television stars also made guest appearances such as Johnny Gilbert, Alex Trebek, Arsenio Hall, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson. Some political figures even made appearances on Cheers such as then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William J. Crowe, former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, then-Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, Senator John Kerry, then-Governor Michael Dukakis, and then-Mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn (the last four of which all represented Cheers' home state and city). Musician Harry Connick, Jr. appeared in an episode as Woody's cousin and plays a song from his Grammy winning album We Are in Love (c. 1991). John Cleese won an Emmy for his guest appearance as "Dr. Simon Finch-Royce" in a fifth season episode "Simon Says". In fact, the two Charles brothers kept offices on Paramount's lot for the duration of Cheers run. In the final seasons, however, they handed over much of the show to Burrows. Burrows is regarded as being a factor in the show's longevity, directing 243 of the episodes and supervising the show's production. These nominations resulted in a total of 28 Emmy wins. In addition, Cheers has earned 31 Golden Globe nominations with a total of 6 wins. All ten of the actors who were regulars on the series received Emmy nominations for their roles. Cheers won the Golden Globe for "Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical" in 1991 and the Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in 1983, 1984, 1989 and 1991. Cheers was presented with the "Legend Award" at the 2006 TV Land Awards, with many surviving cast members attending the event.
The following table summarizes awards won by the Cheers cast and crew. After Long left the show, the focus shifted to Sam's new relationship with neurotic corporate climber Rebecca. Both romances became important continuing story lines, with relationship growth and change. The story arc began with mutual detestation but sexual attraction to dating and love, and back to detestation. Both relationships featured multi-episode "will they or won't they" sexual tension that drew viewers in. After Sam and Diane's courtship was consummated, the show's popularity grew greatly and subsequent TV shows now very commonly have such "will they or won't they" tensions between opposites.

Social issues

Many Cheers scripts centered around or were improved with a variety of social issues. As Toasting Cheers puts it: Diane was a vocal feminist, but Sam was the epitome of everything she hated: a womanizer and a male chauvinist. Their relationship led Diane to several diatribes on Sam's promiscuity, while Carla merely insulted people. Sam was a recovering alcoholic who ended up buying a bar after his baseball career was ruined by his drinking. Frasier also has a notable bout of drinking in the fourth season episode "The Triangle." Some critics believe Sam was a generally addictive personality who had largely conquered his alcoholism but was still a sexual addict, shown through his womanizing.

Cheers owners

Cheers obviously had several owners before Sam, as the bar was opened in 1889 (The "Est. 1895" on the bar's sign is a made-up date chosen by Carla for numerological purposes as revealed in the 8th season episode "The Stork Brings a Crane"). In the second episode, "Sam's Women", Norm tells a customer looking for the owner of Cheers that the man he thought was the owner has been replaced, and his replacement was replaced by Sam.
The biggest storyline surrounding the ownership of Cheers begins in the fifth season finale, "I Do, Adieu", when Sam and Diane part ways, Shelley Long leaves the regular cast, and Sam leaves to attempt circumnavigating the Earth. Before he leaves, Sam sells Cheers to the Lillian Corporation. Sam returns in the sixth season premiere, "Home is the Sailor", having sunk his boat, to find the bar under the new management of Rebecca Howe. He begs for his job back and is hired by Rebecca as a bartender. Throughout the sixth season, Sam tries a variety of schemes to buy back Cheers. This plot largely comes to an end in the seventh season premiere, "How to Recede in Business", when Rebecca is fired and Sam is promoted to manager. Rebecca is allowed to keep a job at Lillian vaguely similar to what she had before, but only after Sam had Rebecca "agree" (in absentia) to a long list of demands that the corporation had for her.
From there Sam would occasionally attempt to buy the bar back with schemes that usually involved wealthy executive Robin Colcord. Cheers did eventually end up back in Sam's hands in the eighth season finale, when it was sold back to him for eighty-five cents by the Lillian Corporation after he alerted the company of Colcord's insider trading. Rebecca earns back a waitress/hostess job from Sam.

Other recurring themes

Aside from the storylines that spanned across the series, Cheers had several themes that followed no storylines but that recurred throughout the series. There was a heated rivalry between Cheers and the rival bar, Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. One episode of every season depicted some wager between Sam and Gary, which resulted in either a sports competition or a battle of wits that devolved into complex practical jokes. Aside from the very first and very last "Bar Wars" episodes, the Cheers gang almost always lost to Gary's superior ingenuity, though they managed to trick him into missing the annual Bloody Mary contest in one episode. Another episode had Sam collaborating with Gary's to get revenge on his co-workers on a prior practical joke. Sam also had a long-running feud with the management of the upscale restaurant situated directly above the bar, Melville's. The restaurant's management found the bar's clientele decidedly uncouth, while Sam regarded the restaurant as snobbish (despite the fact that customers often drifted between the two businesses via a prominent staircase). This conflict escalated in later seasons, when Melville's came under the ownership of John Allen Hill (Keene Curtis), and it emerged that Sam did not technically own the bar's poolroom and bathrooms. Sam subsequently was forced to pay rent for them and often found himself at the mercy of Hill's tyranny.
Norm Peterson continually searched for gainful employment as an accountant but spent most of the series unemployed, thereby explaining his constant presence in Cheers at the same stool. The face of his wife, Vera, was never fully seen onscreen, despite a few fleeting appearances and a couple of vocal cameos. Cliff Clavin seemed unable to shake the constant presence of his mother, Esther Clavin (Frances Sternhagen). Though she did not appear in every episode, he would refer to her quite often, mostly as both an emotional burden and a smothering parent. Carla Tortelli carried a reputation of being both highly fertile and matrimonially inept. The last husband she had on the show, Eddie LeBec, was a washed-up ice hockey goaltender who ended up dying in an ice show accident. Carla later discovered that Eddie had cheated on her, marrying another woman after impregnating her. Carla's sleazy first husband, Nick Tortelli, also made frequent appearances, mostly to torment Carla with a new custody battle or legal scam that grew out of their divorce. Carla's eight children (four of whom were "born" during the show's run) were also notoriously ill-behaved.

Critical reactions

Cheers was critically acclaimed in its first season, though it landed a disappointing 74th in the ratings that year out of only 74 shows. This critical support, coupled with early success at the Emmys and the support of the president of NBC's entertainment division Brandon Tartikoff, is thought to be the main reason for the show's survival and eventual success. The cast themselves went across the country on various talk shows to try to further promote the series after its first season. With the growing popularity of Family Ties which ran in the slot ahead of Cheers from both shows' inceptions until the end of the former was moved to Sundays in 1987 and the placement of The Cosby Show in front of both at the start of their third season (1984), the line-up became a runaway ratings success that NBC eventually dubbed "Must See Thursday". The next season, Cheers ratings increased dramatically after Woody Boyd became a regular character as well. By its final season Cheers had a run of eight consecutive seasons in the Top Ten of the Nielsen ratings. Sam, Diane and Woody all had individual crossover appearances on Frasier where they came to visit Frasier, and his ex-wife Lilith was a constant supporting character throughout Frasier. Cliff, Norm, Carla, (Rebecca Howe is the only "Cheers" regular aside from Coach—for obvious reasons—to not appear on "Frasier") and two of Cheers' regular background barflies Paul and Phil had a crossover together in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes". In the episode Frasier, on a trip to Boston, meets the Cheers gang (not at Cheers itself however) and Cliff thinks Frasier has flown out specifically for his (Cliff's) retirement party, which Frasier ends up attending. Frasier was on the air for as many seasons as Cheers, going off the air in 2004 after an eleven-season run. Although Frasier was the most successful spin-off, The Tortellis was the first series to spin-off from Cheers, premiering in 1987. The show featured Carla's husband Nick Tortelli and his wife Loretta, but was cancelled after 13 episodes and drew protests for its stereotypical depictions of Italian Americans.
In addition to direct spin-offs, several Cheers characters had guest appearance crossovers with other shows. In The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying", Homer stumbles into a Cheers-like bar after being kicked out of Moe's. Most of the central cast appears in the episode, including Frasier (though ironically Frasier does not speak, as Grammer already had a recurring role on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob). The tagline for Moe's Tavern "Where nobody knows your name" is also a reference to Cheers. Characters also had crossovers with Wings—which was created by Cheers producers/writers—and St. Elsewhere in a somewhat rare comedy-drama crossover. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Morn, who remained mostly at Quark's Bar, is named (as an anagram) for Norm Peterson. The bar and its patrons were also featured in a scene in The Wonderful World of Disney TV special Mickey's 60th Birthday. The opening sequence and theme song has become iconic of the series, leading to parody such as on The Simpsons episode "Flaming Moe's".
The Scrubs episode "My Life in Four Cameras" makes numerous jokes about Cheers and multicamera setup laugh track sitcoms. Scrubs is notable for using a single camera setup, no laugh track, and not being filmed before a live audience. Cheers had all four cameras, a laugh track and was filmed before a live studio audience, and a dream sequence in "My Life in Four Cameras" was shot with three cameras. In addition, the main patient treated was fictional Cheers writer "Charles James," a mixture of Cheers three creators James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The episode makes repeated comments about these "traditional" sitcoms and ends with the opening notes of the Cheers theme playing while J.D. says "Unfortunately, around here things don't always end as neat and tidy as they do in sitcoms."

Licensing

Syndication and home video

Cheers grew in popularity as it aired on American television and entered into syndication. When the show went off the air in 1993, Cheers was syndicated in 38 countries with 179 American television markets and 83 million viewers. Cheers entered a long, successful, and continuing syndication run Notably, a Cheers rerun replaced Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos on Australia's Nine Network. The latter was cancelled mid-episode on its only broadcast by Kerry Packer, who pulled the plug after a phone call. Cheers was aired by NCRV in the Netherlands. After the last episode, NCRV simply began re-airing the series, and then again, thus airing the show three times in a row, showing an episode nightly. The series now airs weekday mornings on TV Land and will premiere on Hallmark Channel in fall 2008.

DVD releases

CBS Home Entertainment has released the first nine seasons of Cheers on DVD for Region 1.
Cheers season 1-6 have been released on DVD for Region 2.

Post-Cheers

Kelsey Grammer was arguably the most successful with his spin-off Frasier, which lasted for the same eleven-season run Cheers had and a recurring guest role on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob. By the final season of Frasier, Grammer had become the highest paid actor on television, earning about $1.6 million an episode.
Woody Harrelson has also had a successful career following Cheers, including appearances in a number of notable films that have established him as a box-office draw. He also earned an Academy Award nomination in 1997 for The People vs. Larry Flynt.
Ted Danson, who had been the highest paid Cheers cast member earning $450,000 an episode in the final season, has starred in the successful sitcom Becker as well as the unsuccessful sitcoms Ink and Help Me Help You. He has starred in a number of movies, including Three Men and a Baby and Made in America. Ted and his wife regularly play themselves on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David's friends.
John Ratzenberger has voice acted in all of Pixar's computer-animated feature films and currently hosts the Travel Channel show Made in America. On Made in America he travels around the U.S. showing the stories of small towns and the goods they produce. Coincidentally, Ted Danson starred in a film also called Made in America. He is heavily involved in a charity known as the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation, which encourages children to get involved with tinkering and mechanical work, as well as to encourage schools to resurrect Industrial Arts programs. He also was on Dancing with the Stars.
Bebe Neuwirth has gone on to star in numerous Broadway musicals, earning two Tony Awards for her work, and co-star in numerous successful films. She also did voice work for All Dogs Go To Heaven 2 and All Dogs Go To Heaven the TV series.
Kirstie Alley starred in the TV series Veronica's Closet as well as numerous miniseries and film roles.
Although some believe Shelley Long leaving the show was a bad career move, she has gone on to star in several television and film roles, notably The Brady Bunch Movie and its sequel.
In addition to continuing careers after Cheers, some of the cast members have had personal problems. In 2004, Shelley Long grew depressed after divorcing her husband of 23 years and appears to have attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs. Kirstie Alley gained a significant amount of weight after Cheers, which somewhat affected her career. She went on to write and star in a sitcom partly based on her life and weight gain, Fat Actress. She formerly was a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.
The Host Marriott Corporation installed 46 bars modeled after Cheers in their hotel and airport lounges.
Ratzenberger and Wendt filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against Paramount in 1993 (around the time that Viacom purchased Paramount), claiming that the company was illegally licensing and earning off their images without their permission. Ratzenberger and Wendt claimed that Paramount could not earn off their images simply because the robots are dressed like the characters over which Paramount still holds rights. The case was dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in 1996,

Outside the bar

The first year of the show took place entirely within the confines of the bar. (The first location outside the bar ever seen was Diane's apartment.) When the series became a hit, the characters started venturing further afield, first to other sets and eventually to an occasional exterior location. The exterior location shots of the bar were actually of the Bull & Finch Pub, located directly north of the Boston Public Garden, which has become a tourist attraction because of its association with the series and draws in nearly a million visitors annually. though its interior is different from the TV bar. To further capitalize on the show's popularity, another bar, Cheers Faneuil Hall, was built to be a replica of the show's set to provide tourists with a bar whose interior was closer to the one they saw on TV. It is near Faneuil Hall, about a mile from the Bull & Finch Pub. The official Cheers site is www.cheersboston.com. In 1997 Europe's first officially licensed Cheers bar opened in London's Regent's Street W1. Like Cheers Faneuil Hall, Cheers London is an exact replica of the set. The gala opening was attended by James Burrows and cast members George Wendt and John Ratzenberger. The actual bar set was on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum until the museum’s closing in early 2006.

References

(published date if available) (retrieval date)
Cheers. Created by James Burrows, Glen Charles and Les Charles. 1982–1993. Broadcast and DVD.

External links

cheers in Danish: Sams Bar
cheers in German: Cheers
cheers in Spanish: Cheers
cheers in French: Cheers (série télévisée)
cheers in Italian: Cin cin (serie televisiva)
cheers in Hebrew: חופשי על הבר
cheers in Dutch: Cheers
cheers in Norwegian: Cheers
cheers in Polish: Zdrówko
cheers in Portuguese: Cheers
cheers in Romanian: Cheers
cheers in Albanian: Cheers
cheers in Simple English: Cheers
cheers in Swedish: Skål (TV-serie)
cheers in Turkish: Cheers
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