This week, I like Cheers. I’ve been expressing my appreciation for certain television shows a lot lately and Cheers is a unique example for two reasons. First, we’re coming up on the twentieth anniversary of the series finale (May 20th). Secondly, I never watched Cheers during its original run because it wasn’t a show I would have particularly enjoyed from the ages of 4 to 15. But I do remember Cheers for being an iconic, primetime show that NBC proudly showcased on Thursdays nights, well before the networks devolved into platforms for talent contests. You may not have watched many episodes either but I bet you recognize the theme song.
So I was browsing through the TV shows that Netflix offers for instant viewing and I came across Cheers. Learning that all 275 episodes are available online struck me as a disappointing result for this show that was once so hugely popular. I dunno – I imagine that, for TV shows, being made available for unlimited online viewing with no commercial interruptions is the equivalent of a sick horse being put out to pasture to spend his final days alone. It’s like the owners of Cheers (NBC or whoever) have finally thrown their hands up and said, “We can no longer make any money off of this show. It can’t hurt to give it to Netflix.”
Let me get back on topic. Cheers is a great show and although I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Season 1 from 1982, they touch on some topics that remain very relevant in today’s world. A parent’s awkward dealing with a child’s homosexuality, the Boston Red Sox / New York Yankee rivalry and more. Other neat observations: men’s and woman’s fashion has changed A LOT since 1982 and even though he had been in the NBA for 3 seasons by 1982, Larry Bird was already revered enough to have his poster on the wall of the pool room in the back of the bar.
One last quality that I enjoy about Cheers: each episode is only 30 minutes long. Episodes of my current and all-time favorite shows (The Walking Dead, Twin Peaks, Breaking Bad, LOST, etc.) are all an hour long. So the shorter episodes of Cheers seem like small-but-refreshing bursts of entertainment.
OH! One more thing! I don't go to bars but if there was a bar like "Cheers" nearby, I would definitely go to it. Nice open floor, well-lit, lots of tables and all that brown wood and shiny brass!
This week, I love NES nostalgia. I was the last kid in my class to get a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) but unlike the other kids, I had unlimited access to a huge library of games to play thanks to my parent’s video rental store. I don’t get to play video games very often these days but I recently came across a YouTube channel that brought the NES nostalgia flooding back. The NES Guide’s lone purpose is to provide gameplay footage of every NES game that was produced for North America. Most of the videos are about 10 minutes long and even though I haven’t played these games since Cheers was on the air (see what I did there?) watching these videos makes me vividly remember guiding Mario to his next mushroom, getting pummeled by Mike Tyson, breaking tackle after tackle with Tecmo Bo and so much more. All of this nostalgia has made me scout eBay for used NESs and even learn more about the virtual console offered for the Nintendo Wii that allows you to play these classic games online. I don’t know if Graham will want to try video games but I sure would like to have him start where it all began for me.
This week, I don’t like Duke’s situation for next season. Let me first just say that, even though Duke advanced a lot further in the NCAA tourney than I thought they would, I was still crushed when they lost to Louisville in the Elite 8. My main issue was the way they lost. Duke didn't lose many games (six this season) but when they did lose, they lost BIG. Looking forward to next season, I don't anticipate any leadership coming from the few "big men" that will be returning. Lots of fans will be looking to Josh Hairston to be a leader but he's much better at providing comic relief in the locker room. That's Josh goofing off in the background at the 1:00 mark of this video. Duke has one (1) player returning next year that is taller than 6'8", and that guy will be a sophomore. Even if Duke snags a tall, high-profile recruit that plays center, he'll still be a freshman. It will be an interesting season indeed.