An Oral History of Cheers

With The Office slowly drawing to a close this season, I’ve been thinking a lot about Cheers and how its series finale was so perfect for the show. If The Office ends in the same way — with everyone thinking change is bad — I’ll hate it. But it’s cool to read this oral history of Cheers, which is arguably the greatest sitcom of all time:

After an initial season of low ratings, Cheers would grow into a Nielsens-climbing, Emmy-gobbling cultural smash, thanks in large part to the show’s central relationship, between Sam and his "aspiring poet" waitress, Diane Chambers, who drove each other crazy via a series of hook-ups, break-ups, and occasional slap-fests. At a time when just a few million viewers can make a TV hit, it’s hard to understate just how mega Cheers was. By 1993, at the end of its eleven-season run, it was earning a now unheard-of 26 million viewers per week…. It was that rare pop-culture phenomenon that seemed to appeal to everyone, from the guy who recognized himself in Norm, to one of the America’s greatest novelists, Kurt Vonnegut. The author was a fan and so was Prince and so were politicians Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, who both made cameos.