Day: April 2, 2017

Cheers – tape 1564

Some Cheers now, from Channel 4, and in The Last Picture Show the man Sam bought the bar from comes for a visit.

The gang learn that the local drive-in is closing down so they make a final pilgrimage.

There’s a nice gag, when discussing the Godzilla film they’re watching.

                                        CLIFF
                   Isn't that the part usually played by Kira Nakamura?

                                        NORM
                   Yes, but she left halfway through the Godzilla series.

                                        WOODY
                   I don't understand. Why would an actress leave right 
                   in the middle of a successful series?

Clearly, Shelley Long is still missed.

The next episode is Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey. St Patrick’s Day is a time of competition between Cheers and Gary’s Olde Time Tavern. Carla is getting into the spirit.

Gary’s team are off to a strong start

Maurice Roeves is part of an Irish band who only sing depressing anti-British songs.

After they lose, and are humiliated by Gary, Sam vows revenge, and asks con man Harry the Hat for help. Then he has second thoughts and goes to see Gary, only to find the tavern being bulldozed.

The next episode is Look Before You Sleep. Sam’s apartment is being fumigated, and he locks himself out of the bar, so he has to find a place to stay. It’s harder than he expects.

Peter MacNicol plays a hotel clerk.

There’s a fleeting audio appearance by Norm’s wife Vera. Also an actual appearance from Frances Sternhagen as Cliff’s Mum.

The next episode is Woody Gets an Election. The tag features Spanky McFarland of the Little Rascals. Not a cultural reference I’m very familiar with.

After getting frustrated with the vapidity of the man standing for City Hall, Frasier has a bet with Sam that he can put Woody up for election and get 10% of the vote. Frasier’s Peri Gilpin plays a reporter.

Carla has a bit of revenge on Cliff for something he said.

Frasier has a nightmare about the possible consequences of Woody’s rise to power. Even this seems preferable to our current reality.

He persuades Woody that he should probably drop out of the race, so at the debate with the incumbent, he makes a tearful announcement. Kelly comes to comfort him, and tells him, live on air, that she’s having a baby.

The next episode is It’s Lonely on the Top. Carla is promoted to bartender after Woody’s election to the city council, and she makes a specialty cocktail which leaves the regulars very worse for wear.

Carla suspects, but can’t remember, that she slept with one of the Cheers regulars, but can’t remember who. She’s not happy when she finds out it’s Paul.

There’s a quite remarkable moment, when Sam is reassuring Carla that everyone has secrets they don’t want others to know, and he removes a hairpiece from the top of his head covering his bald spot.

This is remarkable mostly for Ted Danson’s willingness to expose his hairpiece. (I’m assuming it’s real, and not something done just for the show.) Actors are mostly ego – that’s not meant to be dismissive, as that’s a lot of how they can perform, and they are constantly being judged on how they come across and how they look. So to have a leading man like Danson reveal something that most actors keep a deep secret is really something. I wonder if this beat came from Danson himself – can you imagine a writer having to pitch it to him?

Incidentally, there are plenty of actors who have gone bald with grace. Sean Connery has had many striking hairstyles in his career, but he’s never been afraid to go ‘au naturelle’ and a co-star on the pseudo Bond Never Say Never Again told of him tossing his hairpiece away almost as soon as Cut is called, without a trace of embarrassment.

The whole scene is brilliant, not just the reveal of the rug. “It’s a hair replacement system” says Sam.

The next episode is Rebecca Gaines, Rebecca Loses. Rebecca’s knowledge of classical music might give her an ‘in’ with Kelly’s rich father.

Meanwhile, Cliff has had enough with living with his mother in his small apartment so he tells the gang that he’s finally ‘done something about it’ but he’s unwilling to say anything more. They immediately assume he’s bumped her off.

In fact, he’s taken her to a retirement home.

But the gang are convinced he’s done something awful, and they break into his apartment. What they overhear doesn’t quell their concerns.

Rebecca doesn’t have the best of luck with Mr Gaines, though. When he invites her to a Mahler evening, she’s convinced she’ll be the next Mrs Gaines, but when she turns up, she’s handed an apron and asked to tend bar.

This is a two part episode, and there’s the end of the first part.

But we’ll have to wait for the next part because next on this tape is something that wasn’t in my database. It’s over to LWT and Aspel and Company. Not a programme I would normally tape, so it surely must have an interesting guest.

Or three.

There’s Lenny Henry

Victoria Wood

And Kate Bush in a very rare TV interview.

In fact, Aspel seems to be a favourite interview for Kate Bush, as I remember her being interviewed on his BBC Children’s show Ask Aspel. There’s a story I heard about that appearance. She had a few options as to which song to sing from the album (Lionheart) and her first suggestion, In The Warm Room, was rejected for being too sexually explicit. (They weren’t wrong, it’s quite saucy. I believe even the title is a metaphor.) So instead she performed, on the programme for pre-teens, Kashka from Baghdad, a song about two gay men living together in Baghdad.

Anyway, back to this tape, and the show opens with an apology from Aspel to the Scottish people for remarks the previous week (he doesn’t say from whom, I presume that’s to spare a guest any further hassle) about anti-English sentiment in Scotland.

The first guest is Victoria Wood “the cleverest, funniest and most perceptive writer and entertainer in Britain” opines Aspel, and I can’t disagree. I love Victoria Wood and I’m still getting sad that we lost her last year.

She’s as engaging as ever, telling of her use of Jammie Dodgers to get through the long tour she’s on, and how many of her fans dress up as her characters.

Next is Kate Bush, and Aspel even shows a clip of the original Ask Aspel interview I was talking about.

Apsel’s final guest is Lenny Henry. There’s a very pleasing coherence to all the guests tonight. Lenny and Victoria both appeared on New Faces together, and here’s pictorial proof.

“We were in Watford for ten weeks, and there was nothing to do. We used to look at the Ring Road for entertainment.”

Another connection is that Lenny contributed some vocals to Kate’s album. Which they do also mention.

It closes with Kate performing Moments of Pleasure. Not a live version, sadly, just miming to the album track.

Here’s the show.

After this programme, the tape ends.

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