What if Shelly Long doesn't leave Cheers?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by jason88cubs, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. jason88cubs

    jason88cubs Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    illinois
    What do you think happens to the show?

    I've always been fascinated by this scenario.

    When Shelly left "Cheers" it had just been getting bigger and bigger. The "will they or won't they" relationship of Sam and Diane had hit it's peak. Cast members though had tired of Shelly as she had started to show signs of being a primadonna.

    Kristie Alley replaces Shelly Long , the show's dynamic changes but Cheers continues it's run with 6 more solid seasons becoming one of the greatest shows of all time

    What say you?

    Does Sam and Diane get married eventually and start a family?
    Eventually they would have had to had something happen between the two.

    How long does the show last?
    I would say if Shelly stays your looking at 8-9 seasons.

    If Sam and Diane DO get married you lose the "womanizer" aspect of Sam, and really "Cheers" almost becomes "The Sam and Diane show" (sort of like The Office, once Jam and Pam got together, both chracters were't the same)

    Does Diane possible get married to another man?

    Love to hears what everyone thinks
     
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  2. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

  3. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    People associated with the show have said that it probably wouldn't have lasted as long if Shelley had stayed with it, because they were running out of stories for Sam and Diane. It had gotten to the point where they either had to work things out and stay together (which would be boring) or break up forever. When she left everyone worried that it would kill the show, but instead it gave it a second wind.
     
  4. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I agree with what Squealy has to say.
     
  5. Her leaving was almost as sad as Cheryl Hines leaving Curb Your Enthusiasm. Fortunately, Kristie Alley was sexy enough to pick up the slack and Woody Harelson upped his game.

    If I were the writer for the show and she stayed... Sam would marry Dianne and they have children. Sam sells the bar to Carla. He becomes a patron to escape married life with kids.
     
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  6. 905

    905 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern IL
    I'm a big Cheers fan, and Diane's my favorite. But I agree with Squealy. I also see Rhapsody's idea.
     
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  7. jason88cubs

    jason88cubs Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    illinois
    Here's what I thought of

    Season 5-Sam and Diane marry
    Season 6-Sam and Diane try to have a baby, Frazier and Lillith marry, we see those 2 couples interact. Lillith announces she is pregnant at the end of season 6 and so does Diane as Frasier says "once again Diane has to steal my spotlight"
    Season 7- Both Lillith and Diane give birth. Storylines of parenting. Woody and Kelly start dating. Sam and Frasier have different advice on how Woody should treta the relationship
    Season 8-Diane gets an offer to finish her book. Series ends with the Malone's moving to Cali, Sam sells the bar to Mr Gaines who takes over Cheers with Woody.
     
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  8. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    Perhaps the best actor replacement in TV history. And I like Long (whose first name is spelled Shelley, btw).
     
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  9. cboldman

    cboldman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hamilton, OH USA
    I was actually watching a few of the key relationship episodes on Netflix earlier today. I loved the dynamics between the two characters and I don’t buy that they couldn’t have continued to keep them in the show together and keep it entertaining. I also don’t see why they shouldn’t have ended up together at the series conclusion.
     
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  10. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Agreed. I loved Shelley/Diane, but the whole Sam and Diane thing was getting old. Rebecca was a breath of fresh air.
     
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  11. Carla, having been very frugal. Saving her tips and wages for years. Also being a sole relative to the king of a band of gypsies. who leaves her an inheritance.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  12. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I can't remember when Long made it clear that she was leaving the show, but regarding the Sam/Diane arc, I have to believe the "will Sam propose again?" angle would have been stretched out to the S5 finale had they known for sure she was staying. Then their engagement would have lasted all of S6.

    That aside, while the Diane years were great and gave us many of their best episodes, the show thrived when she left. Both Woody and Frasier were given more attention as main characters, and the Sam Malone character seemed reenergized for most of the rest of the run (not S11, when his character looked bored and tired).
     
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    According to Shelley herself, she gave her all during the rehearsals and felt drain by the time lunchtime came around so instead of socializing like the other actors would, she'd lock herself in her room and try to relax before going back into it. That way of working created a separation from the other cast members. Only Ted Danson seemed to have a close relationship with her, mainly because of needing to work so much with her due to the relationship dynamic between the two characters. In fact, Ted took Shelley out at a premiere of one of his movies which sparked speculation that she was returning to Cheers, at the time.

    Anyway, according to Ken Levine, the biggest moment in the series was at the end of season 1 when Sam & Diane throw themselves into each other's arms.

    "When we finally filmed that scene and Ted and Shelley threw themselves into each other’s arms the audience absolutely exploded. It’s the loudest longest reaction I’ve ever seen. I remember turning to my partner and saying, “We’ve peaked. I can’t imagine anything else we could possibly do with these characters that would evoke that much of a reaction. Certainly not sleeping together.”

    The Charles Brothers kept that relationship going for four more years and there were some fabulous episodes but I still maintain I was right. "


    [​IMG]

    "I don’t know how the Sam & Diane relationship would have evolved had Shelley remained on the show. I sort of felt we were treading water her last two seasons.

    Sam and Rebecca were never meant to have sexual chemistry. But the actual relationship between them kept changing as Rebecca’s character kept changing. At first she was a real martinet. But that didn’t work. Once she became an emotional disaster area then she was comic gold.

    One season our arc was that Sam was going to try to get into her pants. For the entire year he resorted to one unconscionable ploy after another.

    NBC tested the show that season and Sam tested the highest. Why? Because the audience found him sympathetic, with high morals, and very protective of everyone at the bar. Huh??? What (censored) show were THEY watching? Sam did everything but slip her a roofie."


    As for whether Shelley was tough to work with, he says the following ;

    "There was really very little controversy on CHEERS. So when minor flare-ups occurred they got increased attention. Case in point is Shelley Long. Yes, she could consume a lot of rehearsal time, but that was just her process. And it was because she cared so deeply about getting it right. She’s a very good-hearted person. Trust me, I’ve worked with monsters. I’ve worked with actors who were mean-spirited, unhappy, and took a perverse delight in making everyone else around them unhappy too. That was not Shelley. She asked a lot of questions? And at times it was annoying. But so what? Look at the results. On the screen she was just luminous. She managed to take a character who easily could have come off strident, condescending, and insufferable and made her real, loveable, vulnerable, and funny. With all due respect to the gifted ladies who have won Emmys for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy over the last thirty years, I don’t think any can compare to Shelley Long. This may result in fifty angry comments but I stand by it."

    And a few years apart, answering the question with more or less the same content ;

    "Now let me say a few words about Shelley’s behavior. She could be difficult. She could be obstinate. She could over-think something to death. But it was never out of spite. It was just her very exacting process. At times I will admit it was frustrating. And exhausting. But Shelley has a good heart. She is a sweet person. And in her defense, she had an incredibly complex difficult character to play. To make Diane Chambers loveable and funny while still maintaining her haughty attitude took a very special actress. It would be so easy to just hate Diane. Shelley did an extraordinary job. I can't think of a single actress who could have done the role better... or even as well. So if it took her longer to find the moments and just the right shading then tough. The results were on the screen."

    And also an interesting tidbit he pointed out that I wasn't aware of ;

    "Don’t forget CHEERS won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series late in its run too. So it’s not just the first few seasons and Sam & Diane."

    My personal thoughts are that Diane was starting to just moralize and wag her finger at everything towards the end which made her seem like a killjoy to me. People are having fun but because it didn't fit her standards, she'd put on the breaks.

    By comparison, I find Rebecca a much funnier character. Probably not a popular thing to say but... Diane was great but I wouldn't have been able to hang in there for 11 seasons with her. When she left was the right time which made me happy she was part of it and she was a big positive part of it but IMHO bigger and better things happened with Kirstie onboard.

    For those who are unaware, the last episode had two endings filmed. The one we saw on TV where Diane leaves but that one was filmed without an audience to keep it a surprise. What was shown to the audience was an ending where they finally marry.

    Here it is below. In my opinion, it's comically far weaker than the ending we're familiar with.

     
  14. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    The Sam and Diane storyline may have been a little tired, but Shelly Long was a billion times funnier than Kirstie Alley.
     
  15. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I get why they dropped that personality trait of hers early on, as it made her kind of unlikeable, but Rebecca was really funny early on when she was "Ms. High and Mighty Professional Woman," constantly burning Sam every time he tried to be flirty or cute with her. Once she became neurotic, she was far more likable, yet still funny. The episode where she loses her mind because Frasier's doctor friend keeps coming on to her and nobody believes her, was her breakout episode.

    As for Long, yes, she did a great job at making an unlikeable character likable, but I have heard too many stories about her off camera to be much of a fan. In particular, trying to get Kelsey Grammar fired or his character scaled back, because she wanted her character to be the only intellectual in the bar, seems pretty dirty, but I am sure not unheard of in the entertainment industry.
     
  16. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    Long appeared three times on Frasier, so I’m glad Grammer didn’t hold it against her.
     
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  17. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I may do a thread titled Night Court: What If.
     
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  18. cboldman

    cboldman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hamilton, OH USA
    I’d have to go back and review, but it seems to me that Sam was often portrayed as genuinely stupid in later seasons, in contrast to the Diane days, when she sometimes regarded him that way, but he was actually just non-intellectual. The Sam from the later seasons seemed a little too comically broad for my taste. Early on, he may have led with his libido, but he wasn’t a dummy.
     
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  19. Jacline

    Jacline Forum Ghost

    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    Great question and topic, jason. :righton: I'm a huge Diane Chambers fan and I'm enjoying evey post in this thread.
     
  20. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    That never happened.

    By Ken Levine: Did Shelley Long try to get Kelsey Grammer fired?
     
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I remember an interview with Ted Danson where he was asked how Sam is different "this season" (whatever season it was) and it definitely was a later season. His reply after chuckling to himself was something like "Well, I'm a lot dumber, now."

    It was very funny but he'd have flashes of brilliance. It's comedy so we can't analyze this too much but there's an episode where he deconstructs somebody from a psychological level which was funny.

    The first episode was funny because Sam predicted how things were going to turn out and figured out Diane from the moment he saw her. It would've been interesting to see how the writers could've written the series had Sam been one step ahead of Diane every time instead of the other way around.
     
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  22. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Not the biggest fan of Cheers, but that show EVOLVED. Coach dies. Woody takes over. Diane Leaves. Kirtsey Alley takes over. Fraiser is a bit character and become a main character. Great casting over and over again.
    Only SNL has done it more often successfully.
     
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  23. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Noted Hollywood writer Ken Levine has said on his blog that when he was on Cheers, that was essentially the sentiment. They worried incessantly about how they were going to replace Long, but they opted to go with a radically-different character, and Kirstie Ally turned out to be a perfect choice. And the show went on for another 6 years. He's very clear that there's no way that could have happened if the cast had not changed.

    I had heard Long was difficult to work with, but Levine has nothing but praise for her, at least from the writing staff's point of view.
     
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  24. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Did you read my posts before writing this one? Already covered extensively. :D
     
  25. jason88cubs

    jason88cubs Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    illinois
    I prefer the Diane years because it's more "Bar centric" but I feel the Rebecca years has more "laugh out loud" moments (veggie boyd, Sam and Mr. Hill clashing,)
     

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