Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: Cheers received protests over their famous Thanksgiving episode, “Thanksgiving Orphans.”
One of the all-time great episode of Cheers occurred in the fifth season of the series, Shelley Long’s final season on the show. Titled “Thanksgiving Orphans,” the episode was written by Cheri Eichen and Bill Steinkellner (they are married and Eichen now goes by Cheri Steinkellner, but I don’t know if they were married at the time that they wrote this episode together). The concept of the episode is that due to various events, pretty much all of the gang from Cheers are alone on Thanksgiving. Cliff’s mother is feeding the homeless, and Cliff wasn’t interested in doing that this year. Norm’s wife, Vera, was visiting her family and Norm did not want to go. Woody decided not to travel to Indiana to spend the holiday with his family. Sam’s girlfriend at the time had her sister in town and they didn’t want to spend the holiday with Sam’s friends. Carla’s kids were spending the holiday with her ex-husband, Nick, and his new wife, Loretta. Diane had been invited to a party by one of her professors, but discovered that he intended for his graduate students to work as servers at the party. Finally, Frasier was just plain lonely. So everyone joined together for dinner at Carla’s new home.
However, a screw-up with the turkey led to dinner being so late that all of the side dishes got cold and the guests all got heated. A little food was thrown and then suddenly, everyone was ready for a food fight when Diane walked in on them from the kitchen, where she had just been checking on the turkey…
She exhorts them to all calm down and it looks like she might be succeeding…when Sam suddenly hits her right in her face with some cranberry sauce and so the food fight began!