Paramount // 1982 // 1216 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 8th, 2012
Raise a glass to one of history's most beloved sitcoms.
Sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name. For a small group of friends in Boston, it's Cheers, a local pub run by ex-baseball pro Sam Malone (Ted Danson, Bored to Death). Local barflies Norm (George Wendt, House), Cliff (John Ratzenberger, Cars), and Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar, Frasier) mix and mingle with the staff, headed by the bossy Carla Tortelli (Rhea Pearlman, Matilda), daffy Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland), and snobby Diane Chambers (Shelly Long, The Brady Bunch Movie) or Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), depending on the season. Together this band of beer-soaked misfits get into all sorts of misadventures and romantic trysts, proving once again that alcohol and laughter go together like Budweiser and beer nuts.
The episodes featured on this "Fan Favorites" collection include...
* "Give Me a Ring Sometime" (Pilot)
* "Diane's Perfect Date"
* "Pick a Con, Any Con"
* "Abnormal Psychology"
* "Thanksgiving Orphans"
* "Dinner at Eight-ish"
* "Simon Says"
* "An Old Fashioned Wedding" (Parts 1 & 2)
Cheers continues to be one of the most memorable sitcoms of the 1980s and '90s...and maybe of all time. It's a genre classic, bringing humor and wit to an everyday situation (hanging out in a bar with old friends), by fleshing out its characters and making them not only funny but three dimensional personalities. I may have been too young to appreciate Cheers during its initial run, but after revisiting these eight episodes, I can tell you the show is still as entertaining as it was over two decades ago.
I don't profess to be a Cheers historian, but I remember enough to know it was well written with memorable characters. This wasn't a high-concept show; these were just normal, everyday folks who liked to drown their sorrows in a beer every afternoon. Who couldn't relate to Carla, Woody, Norm, Cliff, Coach -- played by the late Nicholas Colastano (Raging Bull) who passed away at the end of Season Three -- or Sam? Adding to the fun were some highbrow characters -- Dr. Frasier Crane, Diane Chambers, Rebecca Howe -- who often served as the butt of jokes, while still being lovable and endearingly funny. The comedy was a balancing act between silly and intelligent, which set the show apart from its contemporaries.
Fan Favorites: The Best of Cheers is a collection of eight episodes as voted by fans through a recent Facebook poll. This DVD is a great way to indoctrinate those who've never seen the show, with episodes among the best the series has to offer. The Thanksgiving episode features one of the gooiest food fights in television history. Woody's wedding makes for a wonderfully farcical show, as each character valiantly attempts to keep Woody's big day from spiraling into disaster (with a soon-to-be father-in-law that hates his guts). And my personal favorite features Frasier trying to keep his composure on national television while his future wife, Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), flirts mercifully with the good doctor. The truth is, each of these adventures wind up being gems worthy of any fan's time.
Cheers was captured on film stock (unlike many of its videotaped peers) giving the show a richer and less time-worn look. The standard definition 1.33:1 transfers here are good if not great, with solid colors and black levels, even when the image appears slightly fuzzy or muted. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track works well; the music, dialogue, and effects all clearly heard. We also get English subtitles for the hearing-impaired. There are no bonus features.
Fan Favorites: The Best of Cheers is a wonderful collection, for those who like the show but don't want to break the bank buying eleven seasons. The episodes span the early '80s into the early '90s, proving the series never lost its comedic chops or writing quality.
Not Guilty. If you can't say anything nice, say it about Diane.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 1216 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Not Rated