Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Quick Observations About the Cheers Theme That You Will Probably Disagree With

One: Growing up and being more familiar with the later, Hovian era of the show than the Chambersian era, I always thought the elegantly dressed woman holding up a martini glass was supposed to be Rebecca Howe, retrofied. Today, I know she’s not, since she shows up well before Diane leaves and Rebecca arrives, but I nonetheless can’t unsee Rebecca.

Is it the nose?

Also, how did I watch this show for thirty-two years without realizing the lecherous, zombie-looking drunk grasping Retro Rebecca’s leg in the bottom-right corner? Regardless, what a great visual metaphor for everything wonderful and everything awful about bars.

Two: Does anyone else think that the guy who sings the Cheers theme sounds remarkably like Woody Harrelson?

Again, it’s just a weird coincidence, since Woody doesn’t show up until the fourth season, but I notice the similarity every time I hear the opening credits.

Three: Speaking of the show’s music, the incidental score that leads in from commercials feature this melancholy woodwind tune — oboe? clarinet? flute? I am orchestrally illiterate — that repeatedly makes me think of the first notes from the “game over” music from Final Fantasy VI. (Yes, this is as drilled-down as my geek interests get: a footnote from an old RPG meets the score from an 80s sitcom.)

Four: Who would have thought that time-traveling Macaulay Culkin would have been hiding in the last frame of the opening credits all these years?

Discussion question: Exactly what is the purpose of the old-timey photos and illustrations in the series’ opening credits? Is it to suggest that the bar is time-honored part of American life? Or is it telling us that Cheers was quietly, subtly about time travel this whole time?

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