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Ricardo Garrett
Ricardo Garrett

Cheers - Season 1

The first season of the American television sitcom series Cheers premiered on September 30, 1982, and concluded on March 31, 1983. It consisted of 22 episodes, each running approximately 25 minutes at length. The show was created and produced by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles, who previously worked on Taxi, another sitcom. Cheers was produced by Charles Burrows Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television. The concept and production design of the show were inspired by a public house in Boston, the Bull & Finch, which is now called Cheers Beacon Hill.

Cheers - Season 1

When it was first broadcast, critics praised the series as intelligent, sophisticated, cleverly written, well-cast, and well-timed. However, the Nielsen ratings for its original runs were very low. Typically, low ratings result in a show's cancellation, but before the season finale aired, the network renewed it for another season. Reruns of season 1 scored higher ratings than its first airing and the series earned award recognitions, including five Emmy Award wins in 1983. In later years, this season has still elicited positive reviews and is currently available on DVD.

The show's bar setting was inspired by the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston. It was not filmed in the pub, but on the Stage 25 lot of Paramount Studios with the set decoration of Cheers.[17] The Bull & Finch Pub was later renamed Cheers Beacon Hill.[19] The entire season is set exclusively in the bar, its office, the bathroom, and the billiard room; no locations outside the bar were used until Diane Chambers' apartment is seen in the second season.[20]

In the pilot episode's original script, there were only four principal characters: Sam Malone, Diane Chambers, Carla Tortelli, and Ernie "Coach" Pantusso. Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin were absent from the original script. George Wendt and John Ratzenberger had auditioned for the role of George, a character who would have been included in the ending scene of the pilot episode with just one line, "Beer."[21][22] Wendt was cast as George, who evolved into Norm Peterson,[23] while a know-it-all character Cliff Clavin was added at Ratzenberger's suggestion.[22] Therefore, influenced by the casting of Wendt and Ratzenberger, the pilot script was revised before production began on the show. Wendt became part of the program's regular cast and continued until it ended.[24] Ratzenberger was credited in almost every episode for his recurring appearances in season 1,[3] and he became part of the regular cast in the following season.[25]

Sam Malone was supposed to be an ex-wide receiver for the New England Patriots football team,[26] but Danson's casting led the program's writers to change Sam's former sporting role into a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox baseball team.[26][27][28] Nicholas Colasanto, director and actor who appeared in the 1980 film Raging Bull,[29] was cast as Coach.[2] About 1,000 actors who were not widely known were auditioned for these characters,[2] and Stephen Kolzak[24] was in charge of casting.[30] According to Ted Danson, Perlman was the first actor to be hired for the show[31] and was cast as Carla.[2] Perlman had previously appeared in Taxi as the wife (ex-wife during the show's final season) of Louie de Palma, played by her husband Danny DeVito.[2] Danson and Long were cast as a romantic duo.[32]

At the time the show was being filmed, Rhea Perlman was pregnant. She told the producers during filming of the third of fourth episode (produced or aired), and the episodes were filmed out of sequence to allow Perlman to hide her pregnancy with a tray until the episode "Father Knows Last", after which Perlman's pregnancy was assimilated into her character Carla Tortelli, who was pregnant with her ex-husband Nick's child for the rest of the season. Perlman's daughter Lucy was born on March 12, 1983.[10]

NBC praised the show when the network was given test experiments and ordered initial thirteen episodes to be produced.[35] The series' Nielsen ratings were low during this season, and the network tried to attract more viewers to the series. One episode was experimentally shot on videotape to lower production costs, but the producers were not satisfied with the results and continued to shoot the show on film.[36] NBC also produced a scripted Super Bowl sketch with sportscaster Pete Axthelm, which was broadcast during the Super Bowl pre-game segment on January 30, 1983,[13][14] along with sketches for other NBC shows, including The A-Team.[13] After efforts to improve the ratings failed, NBC approved production of nine more episodes,[35] and renewed the series for the next season.[37]

Cheers was first broadcast at 9:00pm (Eastern) / 8:00pm (Central) on Thursday during fall 1982, which later became NBC's Must See TV, which followed the hour-long musical series Fame and preceded another half-hour sitcom Taxi, and hour-long crime series Hill Street Blues.[5] Cheers was scheduled against CBS's Simon & Simon and ABC's Too Close for Comfort.[40] Because of poor Nielsen ratings, NBC changes its Thursday schedule. Critically acclaimed comedy Taxi moved to Saturdays; critically panned Gimme a Break! moved to Thursdays at 9pm ET/8pm CT and Cheers was moved to the 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT slot,[5] still competing against Simon & Simon and ABC's It Takes Two.[41] Fame and Hill Street Blues remained in the same time slot.[5] The overall performance of the season was 74th place out of "[ninety-nine] regularly scheduled shows".[42]

Despite low ratings and unsuccessful attempts to improve them, NBC renewed Cheers for a second season, which it announced in March 1983.[37] During mid-1983, reruns of the show's first season scored high ratings, most episodes reaching the top 20.[43] "No Contest" was rerun on July 14, 1983, at 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT[44] and tied with Remington Steele in 12th place out of 65 programs in the ratings week of July 11, 1983.[45] "Let Me Count the Ways" was rerun on May 26, 1983,[46] and came 19th out of 63 programs with a 17.4 rating.[47] "The Boys in the Bar" aired again on July 28, 1983,[48] and scored a 12.8 rating and 23 share.[49]

The first season of Cheers received thirteen nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1983. It won five Emmy Awards, including an Outstanding Comedy Series. All the main cast except George Wendt, and John Ratzenberger, who was not part of the main cast, were nominated for, respectively, their own leading and supporting roles.[66] Shelley Long won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Glen and Les Charles won an Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series award for the pilot episode "Give Me a Ring Sometime". Episodes "The Boys in the Bar" and "Diane's Perfect Date" were nominated for the same category. James Castle and Bruce Bryant won an Outstanding Individual Achievement of Graphic Design and Title Sequences for "Showdown, Part One". James Burrows won an Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award for "Showdown, Part Two". The program's theme song, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", was nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics award, but did not win.[66]

Season 1 of Cheers was released on Region 1 DVD on May 20, 2003, twenty years after its season finale and ten years after the series finale, "One for the Road", were broadcast on television.[60][78] Elizabeth Skipper of DVD Verdict rated video quality 80 percent and the sound quality 65 percent, but called the menu settings "ugly" and uninspiring, and the special features "lackluster" and consisting mostly of compilation clips of this season.[62] Jonathan Boudreaux of found the video "clear and sharp", and found the sound quality similar to that of the television broadcast.[61]

Through the season, attraction between them begins to build, and Sam freely begins to flirt with Diane. Diane shrugs this off for the most part but she does typically smile at it. Sam first attempts to kiss Diane in "Sam at Eleven", on a spur of the moment after he feels washed up and Diane tries to lift his spirits - but Sam was met with some resistance. He tried again in "Let Me Count the Ways" after an extended comforting hug when Diane was upset over losing her childhood pet cat, Elizabeth, and again he was brushed off.

Things started coming to a head by the end of the season. In "Someone Single, Someone Blue", Diane asks Sam to briefly marry her, in order to satisfy an odd clause in her father's will that threatens to enpoverish her mother if she does not marry. Diane's mother is desperate for the wedding to happen; she even threatens to kill herself if it does not take place. Diane insists to Sam that the marriage is in name only, and only for a few days, and Sam agrees on those conditions. However, during the wedding, when Sam glances at an attractive woman entering the bar and Diane takes exception, it leads to such a row that Diane's mother calls it off, preferring a fate she feared more than death to watching the two argue.

The event that forced the two to face reality, though, happened in the season ending two-part episode, "Show Down". Sam's apparantly perfect brother Derek comes to Cheers for a visit, reawakening in Sam long-buried feelings of inadequacy he had. When Derek invites Diane on a date, Diane, noticing Sam is uncomfortable with Derek, asks Sam if that would be okay. Sam, while admitting to himself his feelings for Diane were driving him crazy, refuses to admit them to her. Instead he offers mixed messages, which upsets Diane, who wanted a clear yes or no from Sam.

The first season of Cheers was released on Region 1 DVD 20 May, 2003. It contained all 22 aired episodes, although not in the order they aired. A Region 2 version was released 24 November 2003, and a Region 4 version came out 15 January 2004. 041b061a72


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