Season 4 Episode 19

Dark Imaginings

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 20, 1986 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
42 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sam's date with a younger woman turns into a Raquetball contest against Woody. When Sam gets hurt he sneaks out of the bar and into the hospital. Where Diane finds him and convinces Sam that getting older is not a bad thing.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • A classic episode which revealed unexpected depths to Sam's personality and his fears.

    One of the most nuanced, unexpected Cheers episodes. Sam starts diving headlong into a midlife crisis, dating young women and overexerting himself at sports.

    When Sam suffers a hernia playing Woody at racquetball, he hides his going to the hospital - Diane tracks him down and insists it's okay to accept growing old. Sam bristles at this and checks himself out of the hospital.

    However, Sam suffers a relapse and returns to the hospital, where Diane announces that he was right - he shouldn't accept growing old, pointing out many great figures who performed great deeds well into old age. Sam is aroused by Diane's speech - she gives the classic line as Sam advances on her: "Oh, Sam, this is wonderful. An old person wouldn't be doing this. This is the act of a vital, strong, young man. Who wants a woman. Who wants sex. (Sam gets too close) Who won't GET it..." After Diane departs, Sam meets his new roommate, who is basically a blond version of Sam. They bond, discovering that they're both getting older but have plenty of virility and drive. However, when the man introduces a young woman to Sam, Sam hits on her - then discovers she's the man's daughter.

    After the man leaves the room, Sam becomes introspective - he sits quietly at the hospital window as it rains.

    While the episode remains lighthearted through most of the episode, it refuses to give an easy answer. The message of "You're as old as you feel" is subverted as Sam realizes that while he's not an old man, time *is* slipping away. His counterpart had a daughter, and was presumably married, while Sam is a bachelor and childless. How much time does Sam have left? This episode was typical of the gravitas the Sam character had during the "Diane years" - an alcoholic womanizer who was struggling with life. Sam would never recover it til the last few episodes of the series.moreless
Rhea Perlman

Rhea Perlman

Carla Lozupone Tortelli LeBec

George Wendt

George Wendt

Hilary Norman "Norm" Peterson

Ted Danson

Ted Danson

Sam "Mayday" Malone

Shelley Long

Shelley Long

Diane Chambers

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

Clifford C "Cliff" Clavin, Jr

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson

Woodrow Tiberius "Woody" Boyd

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The barbershop quartet was called the 139th Street Quartet and two of the members, Douglas Anderson and James Kline, returned in the Season 8 episode The Stork Brings a Crane.

    • In reference to above posting, if you look closely you'll notice that as Diane moves toward the the dark you can see that the cabinet is still in front of the door. The scene then cuts to Sam's reaction to her line of dialogue, and when the camera cuts back to Diane, as she turns on the light, the cabinet if back in its proper place. The assumption is that Diane moved the cabinet right before she turned on the light. We didn't see it because of the way the scene was edited. She moved it when the camera cut to Sam.

    • In the hospital room, when Diane visits, Sam turns the lights off and pushes a dresser infront of the door to "stop" anyone from "accidently" walking in, however when Diane refuses his advances, and goes back to the door to leave, turns on the lights, and the dress magically has been replaced to it's original location!

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Sam is putting the moves on Diane while she is giving him a pep talk on aging.)

      Diane: Oh, Sam, this is wonderful. An old person wouldn't be doing this. This is the act of a vital, strong, young man. Who wants a woman. Who wants sex. (Sam gets too close) Who won't GET it...

    • Diane: Pretty girl, Sam—be careful she does't loose a baby tooth giving you a hickey.

    • Carla: Sam Malone never ages. It's one of life's great truths. Let me tell you something Sammy, when you're 87 you'll still be a hunk to me. Of course I'll be senile and blind.
      Sam: And pregnant.
      Carla: Yeah, probably.

    • Sam: The day you start accepting getting old is the day you get old.

    • Cliff: Guess what I've got in the bag.
      Carla: What's left of your mind.

    • Woody: You know I love barbershop quartets. You mind if I make a little request.
      Singer: Not at all.
      Woody: Could you give me a little trim around the ears later?

    • Diane: Does Sam's behavior give you pause? Methinks the man doth protest too much.
      Woody: Excuse me, Miss Chambers, but shouldn't it be "I thinks"?
      Carla: Not in your case, Woody.

    • Diane: My worst fears are confirmed.
      Carla: There's been a peroxide embargo?

  • NOTES (0)


    • Diane: Methinks the man doth protest too much.
      Diane is paraphrasing the line from Hamlet: "Methinks the Queen doth protest too much."