Diane Chambers (played by Shelley Long): [on the telephone for Sam] “Yes, yes, I'll take a message... You're welcome.”
[Diane hangs up the telephone]
Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson): “Well?”
Diane: " ‘You're a magnificent pagan beast.’ "
Sam: “Thanks, what's the message?”—Cheers, Season 1, Episode 1, “Give Me a Ring Sometime,” written by Glen and Les Charles, created by James Burrows with Glen and Les Charles, directed by James Burrows, air date September 30, 1982
Throughout much of the Eighties, if I ever had any down moments, I would turn on the latest episode of Cheers and banish the gloom, at least for awhile. Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere of one of the greatest sitcoms of them all, and just in time to tell the tale—and what a tale it is!—is Brian Raftery’s oral history in the new issue of GQ Magazine.
I use “tale,” singular, but judging by the backstage anecdotes related, I have a strong feeling that there’s plenty more where that came from—something on the order of a Hollywood One Thousand and One Nights. Many of them, predictably, involve resident wildman Woody Harrelson. (“You couldn't do what I did now because of all the tweeting and Facebooking. All the shit I did back then, I'd be hung from the rafters.”)
I don’t want to spoil the rest for you. Read the whole thing (and preferably online, which contains bits left out of the print version.) Then, when you’re done, watch the show again. Just don’t ask when they’ll ever have anything as warm and funny again on TV, because the question will only break your heart.