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In the 1980s, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) created a marketing slogan – Must See TV – that would last through the early 1980s. It highlighted the situation comedy of the era which became indelible in American TV viewing habits, and would ultimately make NBC the annual ratings winner for years with many blockbuster hits. The Thursday night lineup in the early part of the decade included iconic hits such as The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Night Court, and led to Wings, Mad About You, Friends, and Seinfeld. Many of these were family unit-centric that looked at parenting and kids in new, modern light much differently than the days of Happy Days and Leave It To Beaver. The others were more or less workplace comedies that showed off larger casts interacting in a business of some kind while solving a problem of one or more of the characters.
The first two in the Must See TV lineup were Taxi and Cheers both starting in 1982. Both had creative and writing teams with legendary TV DNA. Taxi came from The Mary Tyler Moore Show bloodlines, while Cheers was borne out of the MASH and Bob Newhart Show worlds. All workplace situation comedies with impressive ensemble casts, all looking at how employees, bosses, and friends interacted at their jobs while their personal lives crept into the workday just like the real world.
On Episode 2 of One Show, One Drink (part of the What We Watch When Drink podcast), the crack Boozedancing staff look at the initial episode of Cheers. Its eleven year run and 28 Emmy Awards made stars out of the cast and cemented the show’s place in TV history. And it takes place in a bar, which is perfect for us!
So, saddle up next to Norm or Cliff, take whatever Carla serves you, bend Sam and Diane’s ears with all of your problems, and remember the best bar in Boston. Just don’t bug us with your problems, we’re horrible listeners.