Although Cheers had dropped from first to eighth place in the ratings from 1990 to 1992, its 11th and final season still enjoyed a very healthy viewership; in fact, its closing episode ranks as the fourth highest-rated series finale in TV history. Highlighting the show's climactic season was the new design for Cheers (necessitated by a fire precipitated by a chain-smoking Rebecca [Kirstie Alley]); the breakup of the marriage of Frasier and Lilith Crane (Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth); the election of newly-married Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson) to Boston's city council; and the very last scene of the very last show, in which the garrulous Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) finally revealed the meaning of life: "Shoes." The biggest event of season eleven was, of course, the long-awaited return of former series regular Shelley Long as Diane Chambers, which occurred during the aforementioned two-hour finale (actually 90 minutes if one discounts the series retrospective that ran just before the episode, itself). Now a successful TV writer, Diane was invited back to Boston by Sam Ted Danson, whereupon they both spun tall tales about their nonexistent happy marriages before coming to the realization that they were still very much in love. Once again, Sam proposed; once again, Diane accepted; and once again, the marriage never came off, prompting Sam to close Cheers permanently. While the bar's customers and crew pondered over their futures, the audience was assured that least one of the regulars, Frasier, would be headlining his own sitcom come September. Going out in a blaze of glory, Cheers won the last of its multitude of Emmy awards. On this occasion, the statuettes went to Danson (for the second time) and film editor Robert Bramwell, who had assembled the valedictory episode "One for the Road."
Related collections and offers