Season 1 Episode 16

The Boys in the Bar

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jan 27, 1983 on NBC
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Episode Summary

Cheers' regulars fear the place may become a gay hangout after an old friend and teammate of Sam's reveals his homosexuality in a tell-all book.

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  • Open homosexuality is addressed in this episode where Cliff and Norm play the homophobes in their attempts to keep the bar straight.

    ***Spoiler alert if you haven't seen it!***

    This is not an especially funny episode. Although it has a few good jokes it appears weighed down by the subject matter which I guess was more explosive then than it is now. That Cheers is a show from another time becomes very apparent by the regulars initial reaction to gay customers being in the bar and even the idea of it. They react by shying away, talking dirt and put fuel on each others fire of ignorance. It's crude and pretty much the same thing as racism. The gay theme could easily be switched to a skin color theme or something similar so one might say the subject matter is discrimination in general rather than just discrimination against gays. In this episode we see Norm and Cliff being homophobic jerks, Diane being the modern voice of reason and understanding, and Sam has to choose whether gays should be allowed in the bar but risk it turning into a gay bar (which to them apparently is a catastrophic scenario) or run them out to keep his regulars. Sam makes the compassionate decision and declares he doesn't want a bar where people don't feel welome. While it's nice to see common sense applied there are no great revelations or reasons why one should accept homosexuality, instead we through Sam get the message that you don't need to understand, all you have to do is look at whoever it is in question, recognize your shared humanity and accept that this is the way things are and then go on with your life and try to make it a happy life for everyone. A worthy message indeed.

    PS! I can't seem to get proper spacing and line breaks here so I apologize for the wall of text this became.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 (0)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Sam: What do you think I should say to them?
      Diane: Oh well, it's very very simple. Just walk up and say hello we're a group of sniveling bigots and we don't care for your kind.
      Cliff: That's good.

    • Carla: I'm not exactly crazy about them. I mean I get enough competition from women. I'm tell you if guys keep coming out of the closet there isn't going to be anybody left to date and I'm going to have to start going out with girls. (looks at Diane) Ewww.
      Diane: Carla, you don't have to worry about me. I like my dates a little more masculine than you. Not much but a little.

    • Sam: Bars don't turn gay over night.

    • Sam: I think this human being image is going to get me more action than cheap wine.

    • Sam: I make 'em the way you like 'em, on the house.

    • Sam (about Tom): I remember siting in a piano bar with him and he requested a show tune.

    • Diane (to Sam about Tom): He should have known that you'd be spending the evening with a woman who thinks Candide is a toenail polish.

    • Sam: I was supposed to read it last night but an emergency came up.
      Diane: Uh huh and what was her name?
      Sam: Sherry, but that's not the point.

    • Diane: What the hell is going on here?
      Cliff: It's a book promotion party.
      Diane: How can it be in a place where no one can read?

    • Diane: This afternoon I spent five hours in a sensory deprivation tank.
      Carla: Your room.

    • Carla: Here's my number and a couple of quotes from past lovers.

    • Norm: You know what kind of bar this is going to turn into.
      Sam: It's not going to turn into the kinda bar that I have to throw people out of!!!
      Diane: That's the noblest preposition you've ever dangled.

  • NOTES (5)

    • On January 24, 1983, NBC broadcast a program called 'TV Guide: 1982 - The Year in Television.' It was cohosted by Michael Landon and Bryant Gumbel. Cheers was one of the series that had clips shown during the special. It is another example of NBC promoting this program during the first year which had dismal ratings.

    • "Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience" is announced by George Wendt.

    • NBC rebroadcast this episode on July 28, 1983 and January 17, 1985.

    • Won a Media Award from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

    • Writers/co-producers Ken Levine & David Isaacs earned a 1983 Emmy nomination for Best Writing in a Comedy Series for their script. Levine & Isaacs would leave "Cheers" in 1983 (for "AfterMASH," then "Mary") but serve as periodic creative consultants and frequent contributors throughout "Cheers'" eleven-year run.