Lost Roles is a weekly column taking a particular subject and exploring all of their movie and TV casting decisions that almost happened but didn't. This week, we turn our attention to the classic sitcom Cheers.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of Cheers, one of the most revered sitcoms ever made. Cheers earned scores of Emmys, sky high ratings, and spawned one of the most successful spin-offs ever (Frasier), but the greatest honor bestowed upon Cheers is clearly landing a spot in the final 8 in Splitsider's Best Sitcom Episode Tournament. From the show's impeccable scripts (most of the Cheers scribes came from [...]
The Best Sitcom Episode Ever Tournament is pitting 32 of the greatest episodes of funny TV shows ever produced against each other in a single-elimination winner-takes-all (well, takes-nothing) competition. Every day, we're putting up episodes for you, our loyal readers, to vote on. Today: The Cosby Show vs. Cheers and The Office (US) vs. The Office (UK).
Cheers — “Pick a Con…Any Con” (1983) This classic Cheers episode, from the inaugural season of the single-setting sitcom, sees the Cheers gang hiring con man Harry the Hat (played by a pre-Night Court Harry Anderson) to win Coach’s money back from a card hustler. It’s a sharp episode that features a [...]
Parks and Rec showrunner Michael Schur really loves Cheers. So much so that he did an entire interview with Vulture about the show and what made it so great. It's essential reading for fans of Cheers and fans of great TV comedy in general. Aspiring comedy writers should especially take note: "It wasn’t fancy or tricky, they didn’t have crazy plot moves. You just watched these amazing characters slowly change and evolve over eleven years. You watch these episodes and there are like four scenes sometimes in an entire episode. They’re in the bar and this happens and that happens and you go to commercial, then you come back [...]
Women have proven they could be funny since the beginning of television; there were female comedy stars on shows like SNL, Lilly Tomlin on Laugh In, Carol Burnett. But the sitcom was different — the mothers, girlfriend and secretaries were secondary characters. Women were never the comedic force on a sitcom. They never had the punchline, they were the punchline. But all that changed in the 1980s.
I was born in 1982, and 7 years later I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. While most girls my age wanted to be doctors, teachers and princesses, I wanted to work in a bar. I [...]
The Best Sitcom Episode Ever Tournament is pitting 32 of the greatest episodes of funny TV shows ever produced against each other in a single-elimination winner-takes-all (well, takes-nothing) competition. Every day, we're putting up episodes for you, our loyal readers, to vote on. Today: Cheers vs. Fawlty Towers.
Cheers — “Pick a Con…Any Con” (1983) This classic Cheers episode, from the inaugural season of the single-setting sitcom, sees the Cheers gang hiring con man Harry the Hat (played by a pre-Night Court Harry Anderson) to win Coach’s money back from a card hustler. It’s a sharp episode that features a fairly elaborate plot for an 80’s sitcom and [...]
Comedian Steve Byrne will star in Sullivan and Son, a half-hour comedy for TBS about a "legendary Pittsburgh bar, which serves as the unofficial 'town hall' of the working-class neighborhood." Showrunner Rob Long's experience as a writer and executive producer on Cheers seems to indicate that TBS is angling for a new barroom classic. Who will play the wizened old-timer in the corner doling out sardonic advice??
There is a very fine line between comedy and tragedy. Like sleep and death, laughter and crying are cousins. However, deep sadness isn’t always easy to show in television comedy; there’s only so much a non-sociopathic audience can see one character take before all the pain stops being funny. Sometimes, though, the schadenfreude can’t be resisted. These ten characters have been shit on, humiliated, and abused over and over again, but we can’t stop laughing at them. How else would we be able to tell ourselves it isn’t so bad?
The Best Sitcom Episode Ever Tournament is pitting 32 of the greatest episodes of funny TV shows ever produced against each other in a single-elimination winner-takes-all (well, takes-nothing) competition. Every day, we're putting up episodes for you, our loyal readers, to vote on. Today: The Office (UK) vs. Community and Cheers vs. The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
The Office (UK), “Training,” July 30, 2001 I have never laughed harder than when I first saw David Brent perform “Free Love Freeway,” and I have never winced as hard as when Tim asks Dawn out for a drink in front of their coworkers, only to have his charming advances rebuked [...]
During my basement era — those years from age 8 to 17, 1990 to 1999 — I watched constant comedy. I memorized NBC's jingles (“If you want to be happy on Tuesday night, Wings'll raise your spirits with a brand new flight”), and called my off-at-college brother after episodes of Seinfeld to do post-mortems of Nothing. At that point my critical capacity only allowed me comments like, “Another thing that was really funny was when George screamed 'Seven.' Wasn't that funny?” I still needed him to tell me for sure.
By the time I was 14, television producers and writers had become my heroes. They were like baseball players [...]
With The Office and Two and a Half Men facing a future without their lead actors, it’s important to remember that this is far from the first time a long-running sitcom has tried to move on without its star. Many shows have tried over the past several decades, with varying degrees of success. This usually happens late in a show’s run as the network tries to squeeze the last remaining juice out of the series, but it can sometimes have the effect of alienating fans of the show, resulting in a quick cancellation. Time will tell what fate The Office and Two and Half Men will meet next season, [...]
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