As in earlier years, the action in the first episode of Cheers' fourth season was driven by the plot lines left dangling during the previous one. Having ended their romance in Europe, Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) returned separately to Boston. Diane entered a local convent to pay penance for the "debauchery" ...
As in earlier years, the action in the first episode of Cheers' fourth season was driven by the plot lines left dangling during the previous one. Having ended their romance in Europe, Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) returned separately to Boston. Diane entered a local convent to pay penance for the "debauchery" she indulged in overseas, while Frasier repaired to Cheers to cry in his beer. Eventually, Diane gave up the cloistered life to return to her waitressing job at Cheers, prompting owner/bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) to renew his efforts to rekindle his own romance with her. Just when it seemed that couple was an "item" again, along came attractive Boston councilwoman Janice Eldridge (Kate Mulgrew), who deftly managed to wrap Sam around her little finger. This precipitated the series' three-part fourth season finale, in which Sam and Diane angrily broke off their relationship yet again. But there was a last-minute twist for those who stuck around until the episode's fade-out. As for the other regulars, accountant Norm Peterson (George Wendt) continued his search for a new job and kvetching about his never-seen wife Vera, and postman Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) persisted in spouting useless information to anyone who would listen. Abrasive Cheers waitress Carla (Rhea Perlman), now with six children to support, redoubled her efforts to find a new husband -- and to fend off her slimy ex, Nick Tortelli (Dan Hedaya). With the death of series regular Nicholas Colasanto in February 1985, Cheers was in need of a capable bartender to replace the beloved Coach (whose own demise was finally acknowledged). The man needed was the man found: Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), a gangly naif from Indiana who came into Cheers to meet Coach, with whom he had carried on a correspondence course in bartending. Woody was hired by Sam on the spot. Another future Cheers regular showed up briefly during the February 6, 1986, episode "Second Time Around." As originally conceived, uptight, patronizing, female psychologist Lilith Sternin was supposed to have been a one-shot character, merely another of the many women whom Frasier unsuccessfully tried to date after his split with Diane. But audience response was so positive to Bebe Neuwirth's portrayal of Lilith that the producers decided to bring her back on a recurring basis during the 1986-87 season. Up from 12th to fifth place in the ratings, Cheers not only continued to please the crowd, but also garnered more Emmy awards for its already-burgeoning collection. That year, Emmys were bestowed upon Rhea Perlman for the third time as Outstanding Supporting Actress and the series' sound-mixing crew (Michael Ballin, Robert Douglass, Douglas Gray, and Thomas J. Huth) for the second time. The series also earned nine nominations in other categories. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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