No one knows Judge David Johnson's name, and he wants to keep it that way.
Our reviews of Cheers: The Complete First Season (published July 14th, 2003), Cheers: The Complete Second Season (published March 8th, 2004), Cheers: The Complete Third Season (published July 12th, 2004), Cheers: The Complete Fourth Season (published February 9th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season (published July 6th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 10th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Seventh Season (published November 15th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Eighth Season (published June 21st, 2006), Cheers: The Final Season (published February 12th, 2009), and Fan Favorites: The Best of Cheers (published March 8th, 2012) are also available.
"We said hello to Michael Dukakis!"—Sam Malone
After an extended hiatus, the most popular batch of prime-time, fun-loving alcoholics to ever grace the small screen return for their ninth season and big changes are afoot for the Cheers gang. Well, actually, no, they still just hang around and kill time between beers.
Facts of the Case
Following Season Eight's cliffhanger, where Sam (Ted Danson) and Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) finally engage in the intercourse, just as disgraced mogul Robin Colcord walks in to confess his love to Rebecca, Season Nine picks up. Sam and Rebecca spend the episode reconciling their relationship following the sordid night of passion and, ultimately, Rebecca's reattachment to Robin.
This represents her major story arc for the season as she and Robin re-ignite their relationship and Rebecca will be forced to confront her gold-digger status on the eve of her wedding. Meanwhile Sam must deal with his running his bar once again, an endeavor that doesn't go too well in the beginning, Woody (Woody Harrelson) squares off with a French lecher angling for his girlfriend, Carla (Rhea Perlman) confronts her psycho extended family, Cliffy (John Ratzenberger) competes with trivia cocktail napkins for the respect of his friends, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) discovers the joy of karaoke and Norm (George Wendt) grapples with the traumatic closure of his favorite eatery, the Hungry Heifer.
Twenty-two episodes, four discs, premium hops and barley.
Cheers is great. No doubt. Even as we approach the twilight of its series run, the show still retains the wit and sharp writing that has characterized it for the previous eight seasons. Yeah, some episodes struggle, but as far as traditional half-hour sitcoms go, Cheers is pretty much in a league of its own.
So how does this season stack up? Pretty good. As for the characters, here's where we stand:
Sam: Now that he's bedded Rebecca, the three-season long plot point of Rebecca's cold rebuffing of her advances officially comes to a close. The writers still feed Danson a few sleazy quips, but this joke well has run dry. Sam and Rebecca now officially enter the "just friends" phase.
Rebecca: Her backwards relationship with Robin is the main driving force behind her storyline, but she's also become far more neurotic and, dare I say, wacky. If I recall, forthcoming seasons will find her completely off the deep end, but that's cool. This characterization is preferable to the ice queen she started as when she was first introduced.
Woody: Still a moron and his episodes are still the funniest. "Woody Interruptus," where he fends off the advances of the Frenchman is high-fricking-larious.
Frasier: Not much has changed, save for his fatherly responsibilities with young Frederick; he's still the high-class snob juxtaposed with the low-class patron. Grammer's still money in the bank and Bebe Neuwirth (Lilith) steals some of the funniest lines in the show.
Norm, Carla, Cliff: Wendt is still the master of the one-liner, Perlman can do her smart-ass schtick half-conscious, and Ratzenberger's pants are as high as ever.
The only thing different in the disc presentation this go-round is the packaging. Paramount abandons the bulkier fold-out case and goes the slim route. The technical merits are the same as the previous releases: an improved full-frame picture (that still suffers from the occasional dip in scene quality) and stereo sound with no extras to be found.
There was a long wait, but Season Nine is welcomed back to the bar. Cheers remains a test case in the generating of consistent laughter.
Knock it back! Not guilty.
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