Season 1 Episode 2

Sam's Women

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 07, 1982 on NBC
out of 10
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89 votes

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Episode Summary

Diane's teasing about the airheaded women Sam dates sends him looking for a date of a higher cerebral plane. Also, an old customer insists he must see the former owner to discuss his personal problems.

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  • A good example of the best of the series, classic take on the growing love/hate dynamic between Sam and Diane.

    Sam decides to convince Diane that the women he dates actually have some degree of intelligence.

    These early installments are my favorites in all the seasons of "Cheers". While some of the characterizations are a little unsettled at this point, that actually works in a bar atmosphere. In this case, Sam obviously wants to impress Diane but in the end has to fall back on verbal sparring. Before all the baggage of later episodes, the insults among the two are by far the best. The sexual tension and ambiguity only really works optimally in these cases. Malone's closing monologue and Diane's reaction to it are really nicely written, especially when seen for the first time and without knowing the history of the series.

    The subplots are good, Coach is funny right off the bat and Cliff is given an early chance to show off his so-called knowledge, in this case asserting that the intestines of an average whale would stretch out to a "good three miles and change". At this early stage, the bar seems impressed that he knows what he's talking about.

    I was not a big follower of a lot of TV in the 80s, year one of "Cheers" was one of the few really different sitcoms, using dialog to explore relationships that were not yet settled.moreless
Rhea Perlman

Rhea Perlman

Carla Lozupone Tortelli

George Wendt

George Wendt

Hilary Norman "Norm" Peterson

Ted Danson

Ted Danson

Sam "Mayday" Malone

Shelley Long

Shelley Long

Diane Chambers

Nicholas Colasanto

Nicholas Colasanto

Ernie "Coach" Pantusso

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

Clifford C "Cliff" Clavin, Jr

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Diane brings a large order of drinks to the wrong table in the opening. In the 1st episode, Diane remembers a large order Carla gave to Sam, and repeats it back to Sam. With that kind of knowledge, it just doesn't seem that Diane can make a mistake like bringing drinks to the wrong table. Especially when the bar didn't seem "busy" and the tables were so close together.

  • QUOTES (11)

  • NOTES (6)

    • This episode was filmed on August 10, 1982.

    • TV Guide citation: In the March 26, 1983 issue of TV Guide, there is a feature article on Shelley Long. This article contains quotes from the creators of Cheers and Shelley about her character.

      "After receiving good notices in movies like "Caveman" with Ringo Starr and "Night Shift" with Henry Winkler, she was offered the role of Diane Chambers, Cheers' smart but sheltered waitress. "It didn't seem that a television show was what I intellectually thought I should be doing," she recalls, being concerned that it might "limit or eliminate my possibilities of doing more film." But she took the job after reading just one script because "my guts were telling me that this works."
      She hasn't regretted the decision. Long is enthusiastic about the series. "There is a special feeling on Cheers. There is a nice, tight nucleus there, and it happened almost immediately. It's a quality that adds to the show's spontaneity, an artless realism that makes the Boston bar and its patrons sympathetic and believable."
      Cheers' creators, Les and Glen Charles and director Burrows, set out deliberately to achieve that ambiance and looked for specific kinds of actors to carry it off. Glen Charles explains: "Our comedy isn't based on hard jokes. So you really need to have actors who can work with an attitude or a piece of physical timing." The role of Diane was particularly difficult to fill. "We read a lot of people for the part," Glen Charles says. "One of the problems was Diane is not always a sympathetic character: she has pretensions of intellectual superiority and is often a snob. Yet at the same time she has to have an endearing quality that keeps redeeming her. Shelley treads that tightrope with disarming skill." Adds Burrows: "She far exceeds what we thought in our heads Diane was. What Shelley does great is commit to a particular speech or line or moment with incredible verve. She makes those lines work."
      Perhaps that's because she does see something of herself in the role. "Diane is blind. She cares, but she works out of here too much," Shelley Long says, tapping her head with a forefinger. "Whenever a human being has sensitivities, awareness, he or she should stay in touch with them, and I was closing them off. I was making myself blind. Diane does that to some extent, and we laugh because we see ourselves and we see the pain that we put ourselves through by not really being in touch with what's going on, by not seeing that we throw obstacles in our own paths."
      Currently about the only obstacle in Shelley Long's path, and that of Cheers, is the shows poor showing in the ratings. It's been near the Nielsen basement so often that, if precedent had been followed, NBC would have buried it without a second thought. But the show has been so highly praised that a stay of execution was granted until at least the end of the season. Long dearly wants Cheers to survive and to see Diane Chambers evolve.
      Ultimately, though, Cheers moment of truth will arrive. If it survives, the critics will call it a triumph for quality television; if not, they'll no doubt refer to H.L. Mencken's observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people.

    • NBC rebroadcast this episode on April 21, 1983.

    • Actually, Norm's marital status WAS verified at this point. In the pilot episode, as Cheers was closing and everyone was leaving, Coach was giving Norm a ride home and just as he's helping Norm walk out the door, he asks:"Normy, you're in here every night. Doesn't you wife ever wonder where you are?", and Norm says jokingly: "She wonders...Doesn't care!".

    • Sam's ex-wife Debra makes her only appearance in this episode as Sam's date to the opera.

    • Coach played for the St. Louis Browns, who generally finished last in the American League.