This is going to be a different binge recommendation than usual. At first, it’s going to seem totally normal. In fact, it may seem obvious. Then, there’s going to be a bit of a twist. My recommendation for bingeing this weekend? A little sitcom called Cheers. Yes, that Cheers. The one considered an all-time great sitcom. So what’s so strange about this? I am only recommending you binge the first season.
That’s right. What I’m saying is that I think you should only watch the first season of Cheers. Heresy? Perhaps. I’m not saying there aren’t good episodes beyond the first season. However, as I may have written about before, I stopped watching Cheers after an episode in the third season I felt would have been a perfect series finale. The first season, though, is definitely the best. Flaws started to show up in the second season that start to hamper the show.
You know the premise of Cheers, right? It’s an ensemble sitcom set in a bar. Sam Malone, played by TV legend Ted Danson, owns the bar. There is a staff and some regulars, although in the first season it’s mostly about Norm. Cliff, the know-it-all postal carrier, starts to show up more in the second season. In the pilot, Shelley Long’s Diane is ditched by her fiancé at the bar and she takes a job at Cheers, even if she feels it’s beneath her. Thus begins the classic will they/won’t they romance of Sam and Diane.
The first season is the only place where that dynamic works really well. It gets insane starting in the second season. Also, Diane was my favorite character in the first season, but she gets sold out a smidge starting in the second season. The writing on the first season of Cheers is so sharp, and everything just sings throughout the episodes.
Plus, one season of a sitcom is pretty much a perfect length for a weekend binge. If you have enough free time you can probably get through the full first season of Cheers. If you want to keep watching, I won’t stop you. Just know it doesn’t get any better from there.