tv shows

Bit TV Review: Cheers (1982 – 1993)

The genre of US Sitcom is a common television program that airs now. E4 is a platform for such Sitcoms as The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and many other constant re-runs of these programs. The most recognised Sitcom by much of today, is of course Friends. Almost every person has heard of the program, and perhaps seen at least one episode when E4 used to show its re-runs. Now it has moved to Comedy Central in the UK but is still as popular as ever on the channel. One of the shows prominent directors James Burrows, was recently honoured which brought the gang, almost, back together. At this event, Burrows was also honoured for another Sitcom; Cheers. Cheers was co-created by Burrows, Glen and Les Charles, and the show became one of the most popular and longest running sitcoms of all times airing from 1982 to 1993. Cheers itself spawned two spin-off Sitcoms, one of which, Frasier, was incredibly successful and received acclaim of its own.

So where can you find the bar where everyone knows your name? The show airs in the UK but on UK GOLD and CBS Drama occasionally, so if you only have access to Freeview channels then you will miss out. Cheers is set in a bar in Boston, USA, and revolves around the workers and regulars of the bar. The characters involve Sam ‘Mayday’ Malone (Ted Danson) who is an ex-athlete, owner and bartender of Cheers, Carla (Ria Perlman) who is a feisty, short, witty waitress with way too many children, Norm (George Wendt) who is the regular who comes across as a passive and uncaring but shows at moments he is a genuine guy. A primary cast member from season one to five was Diane (Shelley Long) who is an outsider to Cheers, but begins as a waitress after being dumped. Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) rounds up the primary cast of the first season as a former coach who acts as a parental figure to everyone despite being ditsy. Of course, Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) is a huge part of the gang and despite being in almost every episode of the first season, he wasn’t bumped up to main cast member until season two. Throughout the eleven seasons, there were many main cast changes but Norm, Carla, Sam and Cliff remained characters in the show until the finale and even made special appearances in Frasier.

I found Cheers by pure coincidence, switching through many channels and leaving one on through default. The episode I first watched was luckily from the first season, and called “The Boys in the Bar” and revolves around Sam’s former colleague who comes out as gay. The episode focuses on Sam finally being understanding and supportive, as the rest of the bar are. Most of the critique of the episode from the time argued that it was too ‘liberal’ but it won “The Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Artists in the Entertainment Industry” (AGLA) and has been praised for its real depiction of homosexuals. The episode aired in 1983 and took a huge risk, as the ratings of the first season hadn’t been great, so bad to the point where it almost got cancelled. After this episode, the show began to improve ratings and eventually went on to become very popular.

It has soon become one of my favourite Sitcoms as they weren’t afraid to take risks and even throughout eleven seasons, managed to stay on top. It’s a show that has been parodied and homaged to by many different shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. Some of the humour can seem dated and too cheesy at moments, but once that theme song plays and you know it; I challenge you not to sing along.


TV Bit Review: GLOW (2017)

GLOW follows a group of young ladies, mostly aspiring actresses, who are cast as wannabe wrestlers attempting to give male wrestling a competition. The show debuts the entirety of its ten episodes on Netflix on the 23rd of June. It is led by Alison Brie, who plays Ruth Wilder, who is your typical struggling actress who yearns for a meaningful part. GLOW is based on the women’s wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, which integrated wrestling with colourful characters. It has powerful women, and provides a strong message for women, that they are badass!

GLOW has a variety of interesting and engaging characters, the cliche sleazebag b-movie  director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), the spoilt rich girl who rebels Melrose (Jackie Tohn) and the Indian-American girl Arthie (Sunita Mani) who seems to be constantly studying. Despite these stereotypes, as the show progresses the characters begin to develop more round personalities and we see every possible depiction of women in every shape and form. It has a variety of women from different backgrounds and different sizes. Once, the characters become more familiar, and the stereotypes begin to become more blurry. By episode five, I found myself enjoying the show a lot more and even Alison Brie begins to annoy me less. Full of great 80s moments, such as slow motion walks with power ballads, pop culture references and montages with badass music.

I was disappointed in the beginning half of series, but mainly because of Brie who I was looking forward to seeing her in her first solo role as a main character. I felt that she let down the whole show, as her character was neurotic, needy and annoying. Brie is going in a direction that seems a typecast of the same recycled role. Her character in GLOW is extremely similar to her character in Community and How to Be Single just to name a few. Once Brie finds her wrestling persona, she becomes an entertaining character and more likable. Other than Brie’s character in the beginning, which is bearable by the end of the show, I did enjoy the series. I expected more comedy than drama, but the drama and the serious moments surrounding the rest of the cast, including the newly single mother drama with Betty Gilpin’s character Debbie Eagan, did make the show more heartfelt. The trailer advertised more of an 80s comedy, but the comedic moments were hit and miss for me.

I love films and shows set in the 80s, because I’m a sucker for the music. I was highly disappointed with the beginning half of the show, but by the end I found myself hoping for more. If you choose to watch GLOW, be patient. It gets good, but it takes a few episodes to establish itself. GLOW begins a solo story about Alison Brie, but moves towards an ensemble which is where it finds its niche. I would’ve preferred it beginning as an ensemble but I would definitely love a second series.