Saturday, December 15, 2012
Yuletide TV Day 14: Cheers
Episode: S6E12 "Christmas Cheers"
Original airdate: December 17, 1987
Santa? A whole horde of mall Santas
Other holidays mentioned: None, but Lilith rattles off a good number of Christmas greetings in a variety of languages
Unique Christmas story:
My apologies for not posting yesterday, my internet went out unexpectedly. No worries though, I'm back on track and will post two today to catch up.
Not all Christmas stories need to be elaborate, and Cheers was a show famous for its simplicity. So it isn't surprising that for one of the few Christmas episode Cheers ever did, they keep the plot simple, while still cramming a lot into the episode.
The problem with a show like Cheers is that it needs to service a large number of characters, so this epsidoe features a number of familiar Christmas sitcom tropes like helping those in need, mall Santas, mixing up presents, not being able to get home for the holidays and trying to escape to a tropical location.
The show starts out with the gang at the bar watching "It's a Wonderful Life," and complaining about the number of times its shown on TV during the holiday season. However, everyone tears up at the end of the film. It's a good commentary on how the holidays may wear on people but it is nonetheless an emotional holiday.
The main plot of the episode then shifts to Sam griping to Rebecca about having to keep the bar open on Christmas Eve. This allows him to exchange presents with Carla and Woody, but trouble arises when they tell Sam they also have bought presents for Rebecca. Cue Sam trying to find a store open on Christmas Eve so he can buy a last minute gift.
Meanwhile, Cliff is trying to win a trip to Disney by holding a canned food drive at the bar, Norm is working as a Mall Santa, and Fraiser is being the Christmas cynic.
Sam, unable to find an open shop, runs into a woman willing to sell him some of her items. Sam brings her back to the bar, where Norm has brought along his Santa school friends, Cliff has lost out on the trip to Disney World by one can, and Fraiser and Lilith have stopped by to drop off presents.
Sam gives Rebecca her presents, thinking they are a pair of earmuffs, but is surprised when she opens the gift and finds it is not what he thought.
Overall it is a very mellow episode. The stakes are low and the laughs are mild, but it's still enjoyable to see this slice of Christmas among people who enjoy each others company.
Unique Christmas Message:
Be careful buying gifts from strangers on the street, you may get more than you bargained for.
I visit a man famous for playing Santa, before he was famous for playing Santa.