Season 1 Episode 3

The Tortelli Tort

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 14, 1982 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Carla's fiery temper almost costs Sam the bar when she attacks an obnoxious Yankees fan. Diane offers to help by suggesting Carla seek anger management.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • 103

    I am not a fan of Rhea Pearlman or the Carla character, but there is no denying that this episode, which had her at the forefront, was quite good. Was it because of her? No, not really, but I would be lying if I said that her attacking the New York Yankees fan was not surprising.

    Cheers was dead last in the Nielsen ratings in its first year on the air and I do not know why. This was a show with an original premise, and some real characters and it delivered hilarity every week. Few shows have episodes this good just three shows into their series.moreless
  • Carla crosses horns with a fan of Boston's baseball archrivals.

    Carla Tortelli probably doesn't spend a lot of time reading meditation books. Tortelli, a die-hard Red Sox loyalist, takes the law into her own hands after a Yankees fan comes into the bar and badgers Carla to the breaking point. The victim threatens a suit that could bring down the bar. Sam loves his friend but can't stand to lose the business. So as hard as it's going to be, Carla must learn anger management and somehow be able to say those two magic words.

    No, not "Take that!" More like, "I'm sorry."

    Rhea Perlman is hilarious and plays the character to the hilt--Carla will drive you crazy, but you can't stay mad at her. The guy who plays the Yankee fan fits well too. Plenty of funny scenes in this one.

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 (4)

    • This episode marks the first appearance of actor Thomas Babson. Although here he is credited only as Customer #1, he would go on to guest multiple times in Cheers as aspiring lawyer 'Tom'.

    • It's not uncommon for patrons who are anxious to just hound any waiter or waitress. While that means it must be implied that the customer was a returning one, there's no reason to say they weren't. So, he probably knew Carla was a waitress, and just wanted his beer - or even just wanted to hound Carla personally.

    • In this episode the Yankee fan states that the Yankees have won 23 World championships as where the truth is that the Yankees had won 22 at that point.

    • In the 'Tortelli Tort' episode, in the very last scene of the show a customer yells to Carla "Where's the beer I ordered?" She subsequently throws a glass of beer to the back room from the bar area. Carla, however, had just arrived at the bar on her day off and hadn't even been to the back room. How could he have ordered a beer from her?

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Ed: Sam Malone was a terrible pitcher! Ted Williams was overrated! Bobby Orr was a WIMP!
      Sam: Uh, Eddie, Eddie, I'd stay away from hockey.
      Ed: Aha! I hit a sore spot, huh? Okay. (to a still-calm Carla) The Bruins… are a bunch of ugly… stupid… SISSIES!!!
      Sam: Come on, Ed! I mean, how much more do you need?
      Ed: (sighs) Okay, Sam. I'm gonna drop the whole thing.

    • Ed: The Bruins are a bunch of sissies!!
      (Carla does not react)
      Ed: OK, Sam. I'm dropping the whole thing. Time I leave here anyway.
      Rex: Here, let me walk you to your car.
      Ed: Who are you?
      Rex: I'm a Bruin.

    • Ed: (To Sam) How did it feel to come in with the bases loaded, and so were you?!

    • Diane: Hi doctor.
      Dr. Graham: Hi Diane. How are you?
      Diane: In what sense?
      Dr. Graham: Pardon me.
      Diane: Oh you mean how are you, right. Not you know how are you. Well if that's what you meant, I'm fine.

    • Sam: How did you know that?
      Diane: Well I picked it up in pre-law.
      Sam: I thought you were an English major.
      Diane: Well that was after art and before psychology.
      Sam: Is there anything you weren't in college?
      Carla: Blonde.
      Diane: Check the yearbook, Carla.

    • Ed: I can't see why you guys are such bad losers. You have so much experience.

    • (After hearing about the story of Fred)
      Diane: I think that's ghoulish.
      Norm: So did we the first six or seven times.

    • Ed: Sam Malone was a lousy pitcher!

  • NOTES (5)

    • TV Guide citation: In the October 9, 1982 issue of TV Guide, there is a feature article on Ted Danson with a behind the scenes view of one of the scenes from this episode.

      "So the next day on the set, Danson appeared more as a cheerleader than an athlete. While costar Shelley Long rehearsed a scene in which she threw a baseball, Danson, in a blue windbreaker, munched pretzels and gave encouragement, but no instruction. ("I never even played Little League," he said.) The script called for Long to throw at Nick Colasanto, who plays Danson's somewhat addled bartender and ex-coach, so that Colasanto could demonstrate his ability to let a pitched ball hit him. The veteran retreated offstage. ("Go ahead, throw. Try to miss me.") Danson, who had been tapping on the bar with a baseball, tossed it to Long. "Let her go," he said. Long cranked up and threw, but the ball bounced a few feet away, in plain view of the camera.
      "You can throw better than that," Danson said, and handed her the ball again. This time her effort carried out of camera range. There was a sound-effects thump offstage. Long, who had covered up her eyes, looked up in alarm. "You didn't see him catch it back there," Danson laughed. Colasanto emerged, triumphantly rubbing his head. "Right on the old melon," he said. Danson gave him a high-five handshake and a congratulatory pat on the fanny."

    • TV Guide Citation: In the October 9, 1982 issue of TV Guide, Ted Danson is the subject of a feature article. This excerpt contains his early impressions of Sam Malone along with writer Edwin Kiester Jr.'s description of the new series.

      "As Sam Malone, he plays a former star relief pitcher and reformed alcoholic("I quit because of elbow trouble, I bent it too much.") who now operates a Boston bar. Into the bar comes blonde Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), an animated fugitive from the academic world who stays on to work as a waitress. The series is a comedy built around their deepening romance, but it's filled with poignant moments, as the former hero tries to cope with faded glory and the occasional temptations of the bottle. "True for him, true for me," Danson says, "We both have light sides to our lives, and dark sides, and they'll both be there. I think I express myself best in humor, but to play the other side of life with integrity excites me, too."

    • NBC rebroadcast this episode on May 19, 1983.

    • There is a picture of Dennis Eckersley on the wall. Eckersley was a Red Sox pitcher from 1978 until May of 1984. He was the American League starter in the 1982 All Star Game played in Montreal on July 13, 1982. He is an alcoholic. He almost ruined his career because of it. An intervention by family members who videotaped him drunk and played the tape back to him the next day helped him realize what kind of shape he was in. He checked into rehab following the 1986 season when he was a Chicago Cub. He recovered, but unlike Mayday, he was able to resurrect his career in Oakland beginning in 1987. He became a dominant reliever over the next ten seasons retiring following the 1998 season after returning to the Boston Red Sox. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.

    • Cliff appears in this episode many times, but has no important speaking parts.