“What are you up to, Normy?”
“My ideal weight if I were 11 feet tall.”
Or maybe …
“What’s shakin’, Norm?”
“All four cheeks and a couple of chins.”
Wait, I got a million of them. Seriously. There's like a million of them. And they're all great. Few running gags in the history of television had the legs of your entrances on “Cheers.” Let’s see: there were the brilliant putdown setups for Lenny and Squiggy on “Laverne and Shirley”; there was Dwayne’s “Hay-Hay-Hay” on “What’s Happening” and the universal “Hi, Bob” of “The Bob Newhart Show”; and of course there were Kramer’s slapstick pratfalls on “Seinfeld.” But for pure comedic gold, nobody mined the art of the entrance like you.
"What's the story, Norm?"
"Boy meets beer. Boy drinks beer. Boy meets another beer."
Or maybe …
"Can I pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?"
"A little early isn't it, Woody?"
"For a beer?"
"No, for stupid questions."
We may have wanted to be the Fonz or David Starsky or Sonny Crockett, but we wanted to hang out with Norm Peterson, drinking beer at Cheers or ordering the Feeding Frenzy at the Hungry Heifer. You were the jolly layabout, the apathetic slacker who spoke to the inner sloth in all of us. In a perfect world, we all might sidle up to barstool at a place where everybody knew our name. With Norm Peterson anchoring the bar, “Cheers,” as Alex Pappademas wrote in The New York Times Magazine, became “the paradigmatic post-‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’' friends-as-family sitcom that paved the way for everything from ‘Friends’ to ‘The Office.’”
On your birthday, three “Cheers,” starting with the perhaps the greatest opening segment the show ever produced:
It's a long walk to the joke in the next clip, but well worth it:
And, finally, the big montage!