Season 2 Episode 4

Homicidal Ham

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 27, 1983 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • "Use a gun, go to cape cod."

    "Homicidal Ham" is not just a classic episode of Cheers, it's one of the best sitcom episodes ever. David Lloyd earned an Emmy nomination for his wonderful script, which brought Shakespeare to a sitcom and turned a psychopathic killer into a great comic foil.
    Andy Schroeder, superbly portrayed by Derek McGrath, is an unstable fellow last seen in "Diane's Perfect Date" in Season 1, when Sam sent Diane on a date with him not long after he killed a waitress in "one terrible moment of temporary insanity," in his words. He comes into Cheers intending to get himself sent back to jail, but ends up professing his dream of becoming an actor, and Diane takes up his cause. She arranges for Andy and herself to perform a scene from Othello at Cheers with a prominent theater teacher in attendance. The scene of a jealous Othello bent on killing his Desdemona threatens to become all too real.
    Lloyd's script adeptly brings a thrilling and realistic dramatic situation into a lighthearted world of setups for one-liners. The episode is packed with jokes and even while we are apprehensive for Diane's safety, we can laugh at Norm's "Woo!" when Diane mentions going to bed with Othello. Lloyd brings some authentic Shakespeare to an audience that perhaps is unfamiliar with it; especially powerful is Othello's soliloquy where he vows to "Put out that light!" Lloyd makes the Shakespeare accessible and weaves it perfectly with the modern material, yet doesn't hesitate to make fun of it at the same time; when Diane breaks character and screams "Help! This psycho's trying to kill me!", Coach exclaims: "That's the only line of Shakespeare I ever understood!"
    If I have one complaint it's that when Diane turns off the television during a boxing bout that everyone in the bar is watching, there isn't a riot or any attempt by anyone to turn it back on.
    I highly recommend this episode, but watch Andy's first appearance first as it gives the story more depth.