Cheers #3: “Any Friend of Diane’s” (#1.06, 04/11/82)

A very Sam/Diane focused episode: the only other action is a side-plot where Norm tries to impress his new boss, who is the only one who fails to notice his ineptitude at hiding his passion for drinking beer and slovenly behaviour. Coach has some funny interactions with the guest character (one of the joys of Cheers is how the unfeatured characters act as back-ups with the humour), Cliff starts to be developed, Carla doesn’t have much to do.

So, the plot this time is a friend of Diane’s who turns up after a recent separation, looking for some physical action on the rebound with a savage brute – Sam obliges. The twist is that Sam doesn’t go through with it, not out of honour but abject boredom with the woman’s pretentiousness. Diane is happily relieved. Then on finding that the friend is downcast enough by Sam’s rejection to consider going into a nunnery, she is forced into pretending that she and Sam are an item. The repartee between the pair begins: at the start, it is Diane who makes the first move (in farcical circumstances), which gives Sam the upper hand.

It’s a thin episode: Rebecca is not much of a character, a dry, dowdy girl of Diane’s type, with very little backstory (why she needs to go to Diane and then get laid is a lame plot device). Although her robotic, caustic personality is perhaps picked up and developed further down the line with the character of Lilith. It’s more about Sam and Diane (Danson and Long are great in their different ways) and moving them together.

Quotes

Coach: “How’s life treating you Norm?” / Norm: “He caught me in bed with his wife”

Diane: “You got angry because she considered you nothing more than a stud service” / Sam: “No, I like that”

Diane (on her attraction to Sam): “It does test the limits of human logic. Like you, I was getting bored with bright, articulate men”

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