Cheers (season 6)

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Cheers (season 6)
Cheers season 6.jpg
Region 1 DVD
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes25
Original channelNBC
Original runSeptember 24, 1987 (1987-09-24) – May 7, 1988 (1988-05-07)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1September 13, 2005 (2005-09-13)
Region 2May 14, 2007 (2007-05-14)
Region 4May 3, 2007 (2007-05-03)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 5
Next →
Season 7
List of Cheers episodes
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Cheers (season 6)
Cheers season 6.jpg
Region 1 DVD
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes25
Original channelNBC
Original runSeptember 24, 1987 (1987-09-24) – May 7, 1988 (1988-05-07)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1September 13, 2005 (2005-09-13)
Region 2May 14, 2007 (2007-05-14)
Region 4May 3, 2007 (2007-05-03)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 5
Next →
Season 7
List of Cheers episodes

The sixth season of Cheers, an award-winning American television sitcom, originally aired on NBC in the United States between September 24, 1987 and May 7, 1988. This season highlights the debut of Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe. The show was created by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles under production team Charles Burrows Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Television.

Background[edit source | edit]

Cheers survived low ratings in the first season[1] and schedule shifts of Thursday's Must See TV lineup, yet it retained its usual Thursday 9pm Eastern / 8pm Central slot.[2][3] The 1987-88 Thursday lineup, starting at 9pm ET / 8pm CT, consisted of The Cosby Show, a Cosby spinoff, A Different World, Cheers, Night Court, and an hourlong series L.A. Law.[4] An hourlong crime drama Hill Street Blues moved from its former day to Tuesdays in 1986[5] and shortly ended in 1987 after its seven-year run.[6] A sitcom Family Ties moved from its former day to Sundays in 1987-88.[4]

Cast[edit source | edit]

Season synopsis[edit source | edit]

The season begins six months after Sam and Diane broke up when she left Boston to pursue a writing career. In the interim he has sold the bar to the Lillian Corporation and left Boston to sail around the world on his yacht. In the opening episode Sam returns to Boston after sinking his yacht near the Caribbean. He returns to Cheers and finds changes in the bar: the regulars are not the regulars he remembers, and Woody and Carla now wear uniforms that resemble a barbershop quartet. He begs the new manager, Rebecca Howe, to give him a job at the bar. Slowly the old regulars (Norm, Cliff and others) return to the bar, despite Rebecca's way of running things. Sam constantly tries to seduce Rebecca with no avail, as she is in love with the head of the Lilian Corporation, Evan Drake (Tom Skeritt), who barely notices her. At first, Rebecca detests Sam, but slowly grows to like him despite his constant sexual advances.

Carla and Eddie get married and have a twin boy and a twin girl. (Carla's pregnancy was incorporated by Rhea Perlman's third pregnancy, which began before the sixth season premiered.[8] Both Perlman and Carla had one in the first season[9] and another in the third.[10]) Eddie loses his ice hockey career and then wears a penguin suit for ice shows. Frasier dumps Lilith to pursue Rebecca, but ends up going back to Lilith, and they also get married. A semi-(un)employed accountant Norm becomes a painter, and first paints Rebecca's bar office, formerly Sam's. Cliff's family home is bulldozed because his mother Esther approves its demolition for money, so he and Esther move to an apartment.

Episodes[edit source | edit]

No.No. in
Title[11]Directed by[11]Written by[11]Original air date[11]Rating / Share
1221"Home Is the Sailor"James BurrowsGlen Charles and Les CharlesSeptember 24, 1987 (1987-09-24)28.4 / 44[rat6 1]
Sam returns to Cheers six months after he sold it to a large corporation to pursue a life of leisure on board a new boat. Now the boat has sunk and he's looking for a job. 
1232"`I' on Sports"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsOctober 1, 1987 (1987-10-01)26.1 / 41[rat6 2]
Sam tries to dodge his bar duties so he can fill in for a friend as a sports broadcaster. Fred Dryer guests. 
124 / 1253 / 4"Little Carla, Happy at Last"James BurrowsCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerOctober 15, 1987 (1987-10-15)* (1)
October 22, 1987 (1987-10-22) (2)
25.3 / 40[rat6 3]
22.8 / 34[rat6 4]

Carla and Eddie plan to get married if they can get past superstition, Eddie's mother, Carla's children, and Rebecca's nerves as she waits for her boss to show up at the bar.

Much to Carla's dismay, Eddie has called off the wedding thanks to his mother's disapproval of the bride. Now it's up to Sam to reunite the two superstitious lovebirds.

*Cheers was pre-empted on October 8, 1987, due to Game Two of the 1987 American League Championship Series.[12] In the West Coast, the show's rerun was broadcast.[13] 
1265"The Crane Mutiny"James BurrowsDavid AngellOctober 29, 1987 (1987-10-29)26.8 / 41[rat6 5]
The gang tries to convince Frasier that Rebecca desires him after he quarrels with Lilith and Rebecca replaces Sam's picture with one of herself. 
1276"Paint Your Office"James BurrowsPeter Casey and David LeeNovember 5, 1987 (1987-11-05)26.0 / 40[rat6 6]
Norm gets to know Rebecca better when he paints her office as a way of paying off his bar tab. 
1287"The Last Angry Mailman"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsNovember 12, 1987 (1987-11-12)26.4 / 40[rat6 7]
Cliff is opposed to selling out the family home so a convenience store can be built there, but his mother is all for the idea. Meanwhile, the gang tries to find out about Rebecca's college nickname- "Backseat Becky". 
1298"Bidding on the Boys"Thomas LofaroDavid LloydNovember 19, 1987 (1987-11-19)26.4 / 41[rat6 8]
Sam and Woody are up for bids at a charity auction but are less than thrilled at their new "owners." 
1309"Pudd'n head Boyd"James BurrowsCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerNovember 26, 1987 (1987-11-26)19.5 / 36[rat6 9]
Woody meets an elderly woman while wearing his makeup for the role of Mark Twain, and begins dating her. 
13110"A Kiss Is Still a Kiss"James BurrowsDavid LloydDecember 3, 1987 (1987-12-03)23.5 / 36[rat6 10]
Rebecca asks an eager Sam to escort her to a company function to correct a false impression held by her boss. 
13211"My Fair Clavin"James BurrowsPhoef SuttonDecember 10, 1987 (1987-12-10)23.1 / 36[rat6 11]
Cliff helps his girlfriend improve her appearance then regrets it when all sorts start to hit on her, including Sam. 
13312"Christmas Cheers"James Burrows and Thomas LofaroCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerDecember 17, 1987 (1987-12-17)25.5 / 40[rat6 12]
Christmas Eve is depressing at Cheers as Sam rushes to find Rebecca a gift, Rebecca makes everyone work late, and Norm's Santa Claus buddies gather to celebrate the end of the season. 
13413"Woody for Hire Meets Norman of the Apes"Tim BerryPhoef SuttonJanuary 7, 1988 (1988-01-07)28.1 / 41[rat6 13]
Woody tries to convince his friends that he got a small part on Spenser: For Hire, and Cliff and Norm quarrel about a practical joke involving an orangutan. 
13514"And God Created Woodman"John RatzenbergerJeffrey DuteilJanuary 14, 1988 (1988-01-14)27.9 / 41[rat6 14]
Woody takes responsibility for a vase broken by Rebecca at a company party, and winds up pals with the big boss. 
13615"Tale of Two Cuties"Michael ZinbergCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerJanuary 21, 1988 (1988-01-21)26.9 / 40[rat6 15]
Annie Tortelli fills in for Carla at Cheers and Mr. Drake makes Rebecca turn green by personally hiring a pretty young woman to work at Cheers. 
13716"Yacht of Fools"Thomas LofaroPhoef SuttonFebruary 4, 1988 (1988-02-04)24.9 / 37[rat6 16]
Rebecca thinks she's finally got a shot at Evan Drake when he invites her and Sam for a weekend aboard his yacht. 
13817"To All the Girls I've Loved Before"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsFebruary 11, 1988 (1988-02-11)24.7 / 36[rat6 17]
Frasier's bachelor party turns out depressing and bleak while Lilith's shower threatens to burst into flames. 
13918"Let Sleeping Drakes Lie"James BurrowsDavid LloydFebruary 18, 1988 (1988-02-18)19.4 / 28[rat6 18]
Rebecca moons over Evan Drake's bedroom as Norm repaints it, but she's caught when the man returns unexpectedly. 
14019"Airport V"George WendtKen Levine and David IsaacsFebruary 25, 1988 (1988-02-25)20.4 / 30[rat6 19]
Carla tries to conquer her fear of flying with Frasier's help and Rebecca waits tensely for a visit from a restaurant critic. The flight destination in this episode is Seattle, which will later be revealed as Frasier's hometown in his spin-off series
14120"The Sam in the Gray Flannel Suit"Tim BerryCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerMarch 3, 1988 (1988-03-03)25.9 / 39[rat6 20]
Rebecca is hurt and jealous when Sam's promoted to corporate headquarters until she finds out why he was moved up. 
14221"Our Hourly Bread"Andy AckermanSusan HerringMarch 10, 1988 (1988-03-10)24.9 / 38[rat6 21]
Rebecca decides to take Woody's suggestion of raffling off a Caribbean vacation to get the bar out of a slump. 
14322"Slumber Party Massacred"James BurrowsPhoef SuttonMarch 24, 1988 (1988-03-24)25.1 / 40[rat6 22]
Lilith and Rebecca throw a teenage slumber party to cheer up Carla after she learns she's soon going to be a grandmother. 
14423"Bar Wars"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsMarch 31, 1988 (1988-03-31)23.2 / –[rat6 23]
The gang at Cheers declares war when rival bar, Gary's Old Town Tavern, steals the trophy celebrating their one and only sporting victory in a bowling tournament. Guest appearance by Wade Boggs
14524"The Big Kiss-Off"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsApril 28, 1988 (1988-04-28)23.6 / 38[rat6 24]
Sam and Woody wager over who can be the first to plant a three-second kiss on Rebecca. 
14625"Backseat Becky, Up Front"James BurrowsCheri Eichen and Bill SteinkellnerMay 5, 1988 (1988-05-05)22.8 / 38[rat6 25]
A desperate Rebecca goes to extraordinary lengths for a moment alone with Evan Drake as he prepares to move to Japan. 

Production[edit source | edit]

Kirstie Alley debuts this season as Rebecca Howe to replace Shelley Long's character Diane Chambers.
We thought of the part as a martinet, a bitch. Then we met [Alley] and there was this vulnerability, so we made her the neurotic woman of the [1980s].[14]
—James Burrows, People, October 1990

When the show premiered in 1982, the creators intended Cheers to be a comedy about a Boston bar itself, but they decided to focus more on the "Sam and Diane" romance that predominated the show for five seasons. As James Burrows hypothesized, the couple would have diminished the importance and relevance of the bar setting if Shelley Long had not left the show in 1987.[8][15] With Diane Chambers written out in last season's finale, "I Do, Adieu", and Long departing the series, producers planned to revamp the show's format without losing the bar, which has been their choice of intent.[16] As Les Charles observed, Sam was a "straight man" to Diane; with Diane gone, they made him more "carefree" and a "goof-off."[17]

When Long decided to leave the show, the creators decided to find a new female lead, who was unknown to television viewers, would not have blonde hair, and would not resemble Long.[16] Brunette-haired actress Kirstie Alley, who previously appeared in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the miniseries North and South, and recent film Summer School,[16][17] was one of the first actresses to audition for the role of Rebecca Howe,[17] an executive businesswoman as who Diane Chambers was originally conceived.[15][8] Although she met all the criteria, the producers continued to audition actresses. None improved on Alley's portrayal of the character, so Alley was cast as Rebecca Howe.[17]

Due to Writers Guild of America's strike in 1988, the season cancelled the season finale cliffhanger that revolved on Sam's fears of catching AIDS from an old girlfriend. Les Charles stated that the AIDS plot was so serious that it took all the humor out of the episode. This episode was withdrawn during rehearsals and was substituted by the season finale "Backseat Becky, Up Front", which was filmed out of sequence.[18]

Reception[edit source | edit]

When the season first aired, it scored an overall 23.7 rating (21 million households) as of April 21, 1988.[19] Ron Weiskind of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised Kirstie Alley's debut performance and was pleased that departing from the "Sam and Diane" story arc helped the show keep afresh. However, Weiskind disdained this season for "lacking energy and spark". Moreover, he deemed the two-part episode "Little Carla, Happy at Last" as "a slipshod effort with [flat lines, miscalculated situations], indifferent performances, and sagging direction."[20]

This season has been reviewed in later years. Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk rated this season four out of five stars. He praised chemistry of Frasier and Lilith and found their stories "funny"; he gave the same praise to a new character Rebecca Howe and old characters. He picked "I on Sports" as one of his favorites and found this season's remaining episodes "delightful [and] entertaining".[21] David Johnson of DVD Verdict gave acting 95 percent, calling it "great". Johnson gave this season 85 percent, calling it "laugh-out-loud funny", and praised bar scenes, yet found scenes outside the bar "flat".[22] Total Film gave this season four out of five stars.[23] Todd Fuller of Sitcoms Online praised Kirstie Alley's "comedic skills" and chemistry with Ted Danson, and found the writing "similar" to other seasons, despite changes over the years.[24]

Accolades[edit source | edit]

Andy Ackerman won an Emmy Award in 1988 for an Outstanding Editing in a Multi-camera Production Series for editing the episode "The Big Kiss-Off" (1988) and was the only winner of this season. The show was nominated as an Outstanding Comedy Series of the season. All of the cast except Bebe Neuwirth were nominated for their respective Lead and Supporting categories. "The Last Angry Mailman" (1987) earned the sound mixing crew a nomination for an Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special. The season premiere "Home Is the Sailor" earned Glen and Les Charles a nomination for an Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. The season finale "Backseat Becky, Up Front" earned James Burrows a nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.[25]

DVD Release[edit source | edit]

This season is now available on four DVDs in one boxset. This release lacks special features, like interviews and commentaries. [22] Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk rated audio and video two and a half stars out of five, calling the video "a little dirty with a trace of grain" and audio "fairly good, clear, and crisp, [but] very flat."[21] David Johnson of DVD Verdict rated audio and video 80 percent each.[22]

Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season
Set Details[21]
Release Dates
Region 1Region 2Region 4
September 13, 2005May 14, 2007May 3, 2007

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Jory, Tom (May 11, 1983). "Taxi, Fame Get the Ax as NBC Announces Fall Lineup". Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky). p. D5.  Record no: 8301230394. (registration required)
  2. ^ "Buffalo Bill Returns Dec. 15". The Miami Herald. December 2, 1983.  Record no: 8304060082.
  3. ^ Ed Bark (April 28, 1985). "NBC's SEASON IS THE COS FOR CELEBRATION - Bill Cosby's show rescues the network from the bottom of the TV ratings pile". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1C. 
  4. ^ a b "Vietnam War series, Cosby spinoff added to Thursday lineup this fall". The Vindicator. Knight-Ridder Newspapers. September 17, 1987. p. 24. 
  5. ^ "Hill Street Blues switching to Tuesdays to fight Moonlighting and boost L.A. Law". The Windsor Star. Associated Press. November 14, 1986. p. C10. 
  6. ^ Dawson, Greg (November 19, 1987). "Magic Gone From NBC's Thursday Lineup". The Orlando Sentinel. 
  7. ^ Raftery, Brian (October 2012). "The Best TV Show That's Ever Been". GQ. 
  8. ^ a b c "Crowd at 'Cheers' toasts new season with new boss". The Register-Guard (TV Week). p. 13. 
  9. ^ Buck, Jerry (April 24, 1983). "Rhea Perlman Mixes Real Life with Series". The Press-Courier (Oxnard, California). TV Week, p. 7. Retrieved July 23, 2012, at Google News Archive. 
  10. ^ Shister, Gail (January 16, 1985). "Shelley Long's pregnancy will keep her off Cheers". Beaver County Times. p. C9. 
  11. ^ a b c d Bjorklund, pp. 359–374
  12. ^ "Thursday's TV Programs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 8, 1987. p. 24. 
  13. ^ "On TV". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon). October 8, 1987. p. 9D. 
  14. ^ Reed, J.D. (October 29, 1990). "The Tears Behind the Cheers". People. 
  15. ^ a b Baker, Kathryn (September 5, 1987). "Long's departure has 'Cheers' cast on edge". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). 
  16. ^ a b c Saunders, Dusty (July 31, 1987). "Many changes in store for 'Cheers'". The Vindicator. p. 12. 
  17. ^ a b c d Harmetz, Aljean (September 23, 1987). "Changes on 'tap' at 'Cheers'". The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). p. 1C. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (April 20, 1988). "Writers' strike stops TV season in its tracks". The Vindicator. p. 42. 
  19. ^ "NBC Wins In Ratings For Season". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 21, 1988. 
  20. ^ Weiskind, Ron (November 19, 1987). "L.A. Law ruled best of Thursday TV lineup". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 22.  Name of author confirmed in this link.
  21. ^ a b c Robinson, Jeffrey (September 13, 2005). "Cheers - The Complete Sixth Season". DVD Talk. 
  22. ^ a b c Johnson, David (October 10, 2005). "Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season". DVD Verdict. 
  23. ^ "Cheers: Season 6". Total Film. May 14, 2007. 
  24. ^ Fuller, Todd (September 6, 2005). "Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season". 
  25. ^ Bjorklund, p. 460.

References[edit source | edit]

Ratings notes[edit source | edit]

Unless otherwise, the main source of Nielsen ratings is the newspaper Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. According to that main source, ratings of 1987-88 were based on 88.6 million households that have at least one television.

  1. ^ "Top 10: Sep. 21-27, 1987". September 30, 1987. p. 23. 
  2. ^ "Top 10: Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 1987". October 7, 1987. p. 29. 
  3. ^ "Top 10: Oct. 12-18, 1987". October 21, 1987. p. 29. 
  4. ^ "Top 10: Oct. 19-25, 1987". October 29, 1987. p. 23. 
  5. ^ "Top 10 (Oct. 26-Nov. 1)". November 4, 1987. p. 21.  The article erroneously said that the ratings were based on "87.4 million" households.
  6. ^ "Top 10: Nov. 2-8, 1987". November 11, 1987. p. 21. 
  7. ^ "Top 10: Nov. 9-15, 1987". November 19, 1987. p. 22. 
  8. ^ "Top 10: Nov. 16-22, 1987". November 26, 1987. p. E-30. 
  9. ^ "Top 10: Nov. 23-29, 1987". December 2, 1987. p. 27. 
  10. ^ "Top 10: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1987". December 9, 1987. p. 29. 
  11. ^ "Top 10: Dec. 7-13, 1987". December 17, 1987. p. 25. 
  12. ^ "Top 10: Dec. 14-20, 1987". December 24, 1987. p. 15. 
  13. ^ "Top 10: Jan. 4-10, 1988". January 13, 1988. p. 22. 
  14. ^ "Top 10: Jan. 11-20, 1988". January 20, 1988. p. 25.  The week should have been Jan. 11-17, 1988; '20' in the title may be a typo.
  15. ^ "Top 10: Jan. 18-24, 1988". January 27, 1988. p. 21. 
  16. ^ "Top 10: Feb. 1-7, 1988". February 10, 1988. p. 19. 
  17. ^ "Top 10: Feb. 8-14, 1988". February 17, 1988. p. 29. 
  18. ^ Feder, Robert (February 24, 1988). "Olympics place ABC in the winner's circle". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 41.  Record no. CHI280782. For week of February 15, 1988.
  19. ^ "Top 10: Feb. 22-28, 1988". March 2, 1988. p. 19. 
  20. ^ "Top 10: Feb. 29-Mar. 6, 1988". March 9, 1988. p. 29. 
  21. ^ "Top 10: March 7-13, 1988". March 16, 1988. p. 25. 
  22. ^ "Top 10: March 21-27, 1988". March 30, 1988. p. 25. 
  23. ^ "NBC rules ratings for 5 weeks straight". San Jose Mercury News. Associated Press. April 6, 1988. p. 8-C.  Record no. 8803020050. 23.2 rating approximately equates to 20.6 million homes.
  24. ^ "Top 10: April 25-May 1, 1988". May 4, 1988. p. 26. 
  25. ^ "Top 10: May 2-8, 1988". May 11, 1988. p. 19. 

External links[edit source | edit]