Five biggest Cheers mysteries
I guess I should just go over to Ken Levine's blog and ask him, since he wrote for the show for many years. But if I did that, I wouldn't get paid for it. So, after the jump are the biggest Cheers mysteries, starting with the biggest and most obvious one:
What did Vera Peterson look like? For eleven years, we heard Norm talk about his battle ax of a wife. Or at least that's the impression he gave of her. After a while, though, we started to realize that either Norm was just a lousy, inattentive husband that sat on his corner stool at Cheers all day, or he loved Vera and was devoted to her more than he let on to his boozing buddies. Either way, we never really saw what she looked like. Oh, she showed up on-camera once, in the classic "Thanksgiving Orphans" episode, but mashed potatoes covered her face after the hunger-induced food fight the gang got into at Carla's house. In that episode, Vera was played by George Wendt's real life wife, Bernadette Birkett -- she's on the right in this recent picture -- so that may give you an idea. My feeling was that she was much more lovely than Norm described. Oh, and she was the most patient wife on the planet.
What exactly was Rebecca's job? I'm not talking about when Ms. Howe first got to Cheers; I'm talking about what she did after her "sweet baby," Robin Colcord, skipped the country after framing her for embezzling the funds of the bar's corporate owners. After Sam got the bar back as a reward for turning Robin in to the corporation, he took pity on the oft-rejected Rebecca and gave her a job. Ostensibly it was as the bar's manager, but we know that Sam was in charge. So, for the last three years of the series, all we saw Rebecca do was walk around with a cigar box full of receipts, if that. Every so often, one of the characters would ask what Rebecca did around the bar, and no one would know how to respond. If they didn't know, how were we ever going to figure it out?
Why did Cliff wear white socks with everything? The short answer, I guess, is "because he was a dork who had no idea how to dress." But, come on... the guy would wear white socks with a suit! I even think he once wore them with a tuxedo! Of course, for extra funny, he'd always wear the cuffs of his pants at "flood" length, showing everyone a gleaming view of his sweat socks. But even the biggest loser knows that you don't wear white socks with a suit... am I right?
When did Frasier have any time to see patients? Remember, the Frasier Crane of Cheers was in private practice. And, instead of sipping sherry with Niles in his apartment every night, he hunkered down three stools over from Norm with either a beer or a scotch in hand. He seemed to be there only slightly less than Norm, and even more than other stool jockeys like Paul. So, here's the big question: when did he ever get time to see patients? And, when he did see them, weren't they dismayed by the scotch that was perpetually on his breath? Maybe Lilith was the one who made all the money in that household...
When did Cheers close? Think about it: it was a huge bar in the heart of downtown Boston. It more than likely closed at around two in the morning almost every single day (at least that was the way it was until recently in Boston, from what I've read and heard). We often saw Norm, Cliff, Frasier, and company stagger out of the bar after Sam or Coach or Woody told people that it was last call. So riddle me this: did these middle-aged men have such severe drinking problems that they stayed at a bar until two in the morning instead of going home to their families or, God forbid, getting some sleep before going to work the next day? I can barely last past midnight most nights I'm out, and I'm still in my thirties. It leads me to believe that Cheers closed at a more human hour of 11 or midnight, but that might have cost them a lot of business.
Any other mysteries you can think of? Let me know in the comments.