About a year and a half ago, Mothers’ Day 2011 to be exact, I was having a lovely brunch with AO and his family in Milwaukee. The conversation was light and fun and everyone was in a great mood. Apropos of nada, one of AO’s cousins, who was seated next to me, declared, “Cheers is really funny show.” I nearly spit out my coffee. Cousin turns to me and says, “It is.” I pulled myself together and nearly said, “Duh,” but I think I managed to stammer something more polite, like, “I agree.” Turns out, though, I hadn’t really realized how much younger than I this lovely cousin is. She didn’t grow up with the show like I had; she had not previously been exposed to it. So, she was coming late to the party. Nevertheless, she quickly realized how awesome the party was.
AO has had us watching episodes of Cheers lately – we started with the pilot – and it really is just as hilarious today as it was back in 1982. Ok, I admit I don’t really remember watching it in 1982, but I do remember watching a whole lot of Cheers growing up. The show aired from 1982 until 1993 so, for me, that was from second grade until my senior year of high school. I literally did grow up with the show.
Not too long ago, the GAOOG did some work for James Burrows (Nathan v. Nurture, which sadly did not get off the ground) and I immediately thought of Cheers. The show really left an indelible imprint on my mind. Not surprisingly, pretty much everyone else feels the same way. There are lots of gems in this article (done conversation-style), but one of my favorites is this:
Kurt Vonnegut (from a 1991 interview): I would rather have written Cheers than anything I’ve written.
Also, this gem (the first two parts are noteworthy, but the last one is pretty hilarious):
Shawn Ryan: I don’t get a sense that Cheers is revered the way it should be by [younger viewers]. Seinfeld andFriends and The Simpsons are probably that generation’s touchstones. In my mind, it’s a show that should always, always, always be in the pantheon. But can it ever mean to future generations what it meant to us? When something changes TV, it’s hard to look back on it, decades later, and appreciate that change.
Casey: David [Isaacs] teaches a writing class down at USC, and I speak at his class each semester. For a lot of kids, Cheers isn’t even on their radar.
Staley: I have a son who’s almost 19, and I don’t think he’s ever seen an episode. He asked me recently if it was in black and white. It was like, “Jesus Christ.”