PERFORMING ARTS
Cheers: A Cultural History
Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2019. 240p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781538113875. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781538113882. TV
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The award-winning television series Cheers (1982–93) drew audiences into the lives of a motley crew of characters who worked in and frequented the titular popular bar in Boston. Among the first sitcoms to move beyond a format of self-contained episodes to one of sustained story lines, the show famously traced the developing relationship between popular mainstays bar owner Sam Malone and waitress Diane Chambers, as well as the experiences of other employees and patrons, including Norm, Cliff, Carla, and Woody. In this well-researched and engaging volume, the Darowskis (Frasier: A Cultural History) examine the show’s history, style, themes, plots, and clever brand of humor, paying careful attention to the setting as a unifying element. The bar is a home away from home for a disparate group of familiar faces who share their perspectives on everything from life to sports. The authors analyze ways in which the program goes beneath the surface to explore everyday issues as well as more serious ones—from alcohol to aging—with sensitivity and honesty. An extensive bibliography and notes and a compendium of individual episodes enhance the narrative.
VERDICT A must for Cheers fans and students of popular culture, this is a thorough and thoughtful look at a groundbreaking television gem

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