Cheers Cast 5.26: I Do, Adieu

CHEERS Season 5, episode 26: "I Do, Adieu"

Hosted by Ryan Daly with special guests Omar Uddin and Derek Crabbe from the Fanholes Podcast Network.

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8 responses to “Cheers Cast 5.26: I Do, Adieu

  1. Great discussion guys. Now that you have explored it, I’m fascinated about the decision to have Sam and Diane buy a house in the previous episode. Did the creators do it just to throw viewers off the scent that Diane was really leaving? Or did they still have hope they could convince Long to stay, so built in a plot device and new set to generate stories for her? Or was everything just up in the air and they were scrambling?

    Everytime Michael MCGuire shows up as the pompus but eloqeunt Sumner, I’m amazed he played “evil head in a jar” Judah Zachary on Dark Shadows for a prolonged storyline!

  2. I enjoyed your discussion of this pivotal episode. Like you, I watched the premiere of season six right after I finished the season five finale, and your use of the term “soft reboot” is apt. I am hard pressed to think of another sitcom that changed direction so significantly, quickly, and successfully, as Cheers did. As you note, the dramatic heights of the Sam and Diane years would not be reached again, but the comedic heights are yet to come.

    Having watched the first five seasons again along with the podcast, I am more impressed than ever with Shelley Long’s performance. At her best, Diane was a strong, vibrant, intelligent, independent woman, especially for the time period of the show, and I cannot imagine anyone else playing her. There were times in the fifth season when Diane was written to be very annoying, but in her final episode one can sense the spark that made Diane the highlight of the series in the initial seasons. I believe Ted Danson has said in recent years that Cheers never would have survived its early years if it hadn’t been for Shelley Long.

    The question posed by this episode is: Would Sam and Diane have been better off if they had gotten married? On the one hand, they are so different from each other and drove each other crazy for five years. Most of the first five seasons I have found myself thinking their relationship was toxic and they would be better off apart. But still, at their best, they seemed to complement each other somehow. The “what might have been” scenes of the future suggest that they could have adjusted to each other and led a good life together. And with what we will later see of both characters from this point forward (more of Sam than Diane obviously), there seems to be a certain sadness about their lives. I heard someone say (maybe it was on your podcast, I can’t recall) that all of the characters on Cheers are sort of sad, albeit disguised by the comedy of the series.

    Finally, one minor thing that occurred to me: the gag with Sam having the eight-ball in his mouth reminded me of the MASH season 11 episode in which guest star George Wendt had an eight-ball in his mouth. And speaking of Cheers/MASH connections, I think the end of the fifth season is the most pivotal turning point for both series, but for opposite reasons: MASH became more dramatic for seasons 6 through 11, while Cheers became more comedic for seasons 6 through 11.

    Anyway, congrats on finishing season five, and I look forward to season six!

  3. I understand the point about Diane not having any other goodbyes with the regulars but I agree that from her perspective she was, probably, coming back anyway. I think what we lose in not having those goodbyes is more than made up for with that perfect scene with Sam. It’s their best scene, rivaled only by the 1st and 2nd season finales.

    I also agree that the show never hits the dramatic heights of this one with the exception of the very end of the series finale. And even then it’s a toss-up.

    We probably got exactly the right amount of Sumner, though MAYBE 1 or 2 more could’ve worked.

    I’m at least glad that the show doesn’t ever forget Diane. The few mentions of her and her finale return were a nice reminder of how important she was.

  4. This one got to me, and it really is the sacrifice that Sam is making. He’s not just realizing that Diane’s never actually gonna come back no matter what she says (she’s a giddy thing), but remember, we got that whole flashforward to what he imagined of their future together, and THAT’S what he’s giving up.

    The series could have ended right here and Cheers would still be considered a classic.

  5. You guys did a great job covering what I think is one of the series’ top 5 episodes. It features so many great gags (“Make your point, Sam.”) but the end is really heartbreaking. We get a window of the life Sam was hoping for and knows he will never get.

    One weird detail about the episode=–the original version (which I taped off TV and watched for many years) uses a different tune over the end scene. When the episode made it into syndication, it was replaced with (IMO) an inferior alternate. It’s relatively minor, but I notice it every time I watch the episode again (like I did right after listening to this episode).

    One joke you didn’t mention that I love is when Sam and Diane decide to get married the second time, and poor Carla says to no one in particular, “This is inhuman.”

    My favorite joke, which you did mention, was when Steve the Barfly interjects with his “Yeah you were, Sammy!” and Sam’s immediate, graceful “Thank you” response, like he’s done this a thousand times.

    Omar was right when he said that the show would never hit this level of drama ever again–there would be moments, for sure, but like with MASH, in many ways after season 5 would be never quite be the same.

  6. And that’s it. Diane’s time on Cheers is over, and it’s still as warm, funny, and heartbreaking as ever.

    Let’s remember that Diane as a character, the fish out of water, also means she was the one who pushed the stories of most of the episodes, even the ones where Diane wasn’t the focus. These barflies are all content with their static lives. (A nod to the Norm and Cliff remembering when they first met Sumner.) But Diane was the fly in the ointment. The conscience. The dreamer. The romantic. The pain in the butt. How many plots hinged upon Diane pushing another character into action. Sure, it wasn’t every time, but more often than not. She motivated the entire show. Sigh.

    Then there’s the goodbye with Sam. I’ve started to think another perspective on “Have a good life” is, he’s giving Diane permission to move on. It’s a subtle thing, but I swear I see it in Ted’s performance, and it gives another level to what’s not shown.

    Now, my home run is Sam listing all the things Diane has failed at, and her sharp “Make your point, Sam!” Fantastic.

    You all covered the episode so well. Thank you for your love of this series, and I’ll be here for Rebecca Era. And raise a glass to Shelley Long. Cheers!


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