5. Diane Leaves And Rebecca Arrives - Cheers
There are some that are of the opinion that Cheers suffered a drastic drop in quality when Shelly Longs Diane Chambers departed at the end of the fifth season, with her place as the female lead and Sams foil being taken by Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Chase. That is a view that I do not share, I believe that Dianes exit was in the best interest of everyone involved, Shelly Long had grown tired of the show and Cheers was in need of a new direction. By no means am I anti-Diane, I enjoyed the character during her time on the show but I feel her role had been played out, it was beginning to repeat itself by redressing old storylines in new clothes. Along with a desire to spend time with her family this was reportedly a reason why Shelly Long chose to leave. In most shows the loss of the lead actress would probably signal the end, but for Cheers it was the start of the second phase of the series. I think for a lot of people the problem with Rebecca- aside from the fact that she replaced a popular character- was that Sam lost the bar and she entered the series as his boss. It was difficult for people to see Sam, the lead and formerly owner of the bar now taking orders from this new woman- but I thought it was great. It was a new dynamic, different from that of Sam and Diane and it gave the character of Sam a new goal in the show. Rather than simply wanting to bed the girl, Sam wanted to get his business back. It added an extra layer of tension to the relationship, which was aided greatly by the antagonistic chemistry shared by Alley and Ted Danson. As a child of the nineties I watched the show in syndication, perhaps this is the reason why I wasnt bothered by the change. As I said I liked the character of Diane, but I really dont see the issue with the second era of Cheers. if unlike me you watched the show when it was originally airing you may have been more attached to the previous era, for me though the later seasons were just as memorable as the first.