Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Best Episodes Of Cheers According To Fans

Over its 11 seasons on the air, Cheers aired more than 250 episodes. The show is iconic because of its indelible characters and its memorable setting, but it's also remembered because of the consistent quality it was able to churn out over the course of its run. Like all great sitcoms, Cheers had its fair share of below average entries, but it also had a slew of episodes that stack up as some of the best half hours of television ever created. 

Some of those episodes were important for the show's overall narrative and continuing storylines, focusing on the relationships between characters like Sam and Diane, or Frasier and his wife Lilith. Just as often, however, many of the show's best episodes were one-offs that simply took an exciting, funny premise and executed it well. Thanks to IMDb's rating system, we know the 14 episodes of Cheers with the highest user ratings, making them the ones that the show's fans love most. 

Showdown: Part 2 puts Sam and Diane on boil

"Showdown: Part 2" is one of the best examples of the chemistry between Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) on full display. As the first season's finale, it comes after an entire season of flirtation between the two characters, and ultimately suggests that there's plenty of romantic potential in store for the two of them. The conflict at the center of the episode comes from Sam's brother, Derek, who whisks Diane away on a trip. When she returns, Diane is torn between Derek, who is an ideal match for her, and Sam, who she has a clear attraction to. 

Ultimately, Sam and Diane confront one another over their feelings in the bar's office, and realize that there's a lot of potential for something really great between them. After Diane rejects Sam's advances, the two of them argue some more, and then embrace in a passionate and deeply romantic kiss. It's a great finale, and a perfect culmination to an entire season of will they/won't they tensions between the characters. 

The Bar Manager, the Shrink, His Wife, and Her Lover all walk into a bar...

The complicated title of "The Bar Manager, the Shrink, His Wife, and Her Lover" only partially describes the madness at the center of this episode. The episode starts with Lilith's (Bebe Neuwirth) return from her eco-pod experiment with Dr. Peter Vogt. When she returns, she discovers that Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) are on the verge of sleeping with one another, and Frasier is forced to again decide who he really wants to be with. 

Lilith also reveals that Vogt is mentally unstable, and says that the eco-pod experiment was a complete disaster. She returned to Boston in the hopes of winning Frasier back, but he is hesitant about jumping back into a relationship with her after she revealed her affair. Vogt ultimately shows up and pulls a gun on Frasier, but Lilith gets in the way, forcing him to drop his weapon and surrender to police. Frasier and Lilith then reconcile, but only temporarily. Their volatile relationship was always doomed, but it provided plenty of drama before it came to a permanent end. 

What Is... Cliff Clavin? is a Cliff classic

"What Is... Cliff Clavin?" has only gained more emotional resonance in the wake of Alex Trebek's death. The episode features Trebek as a guest star as Cliff puts his knowledge of trivial information to the test by appearing on Jeopardy! Although Cliff initially appears to have a win in the bag, he gets overconfident in Final Jeopardy and eventually walks away with almost nothing. Later, Trebek visits the bar and reveals to Cliff that he believes Cliff's answer should have counted, and eventually threatens to resign from the show. Ultimately, though, Cliff convinces him to stay on by explaining how much the show has meant to him over the years. 

After Cliff begins bragging that he's the person who saved Jeopardy!, Alex reveals that he thinks Cliff is scary, and only told him he would resign from the show in order to placate him. The episode also features Sam receiving a series of phone calls from his exes, but the episode really soars because of its focus on Cliff and a stellar guest appearance from Alex Trebek. 

The farce is with Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey

Another episode from late in the show's run, "Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey" is a season 11 episode that showed just how good Cheers was as it approached the finish line. This is the show in full-on hijinx mode, as Cheers prepares to take on their rivals at Gary's Olde Towne Tavern on St. Patrick's Day. Sam and Gary, who owns Gary's, make a friendly wager about who will make more on St. Patrick's Day, and Sam ultimately loses the bet after Gary walls off Cheers, trapping Woody (Woody Harrelson) inside. 

Sam and several other men from the bar are then forced to get naked and sing outside Gary's, after which they vow to get their revenge. To do that, they recruit Harry the Hat, who initially turns them down but eventually reveals that he's had a master plan all along. Harry fools Gary into believing that he wants to tear Gary's down to build a mall, but after Gary's has been destroyed, Gary discovers that the check Harry wrote is bouncing. It's pretty harsh payback, but it's hilarious nonetheless. 

It's Lonely on the Top...of Sam's head

"It's Lonely on the Top" lets the show get a little meta. The episode's premise is actually remarkably simple. After Carla sleeps with Paul, her enormous guilt leads Sam to confide a secret of his own to her. At the episode's end, Sam pulls off his hairpiece to reveal what his hair actually looks like. The scene is memorable in part because it's a clever wink to audiences, who were already largely aware that Ted Danson was wearing a hairpiece on the show. 

One of the most remarkable things about the episode is Danson's willingness to make fun of himself. He was going bald, and he was willing to acknowledge it for the sake of a good joke. "It's Lonely on the Top" is one of the show's last episodes, and also one of its most lighthearted and fun. Ted Danson may have been a leading man, but he knew how to poke fun at himself and his image. 

I Do, Adieu is a bittersweet goodbye

"I Do, Adieu" is one of the most consequential episodes in the entire run of Cheers. After a long engagement, Sam and Diane appear set to be married, at least until Diane discovers that one of her manuscripts has been read and praised by publishers. Initially, Sam suggests postponing the wedding so that Diane can focus on her writing, but they ultimately agree to move forward and decide to hold the wedding at the bar. 

When Woody hears that Diane's book will likely be published if she chooses to finish it, the couple ultimately decide to call off the wedding so that Diane can write. Then, Diane and Sam embrace, and Diane promises that she'll return to the bar in six months. Sam replies by telling her to "have a nice life," an indication that he doesn't think she'll be able to keep that promise. The extremely melancholy episode ends after Diane has left the bar, and the show, with Sam imagining the two of them growing old together and living a happy, quiet life. 

One Hugs, the Other Doesn't...but which one?

"One Hugs, the Other Doesn't" is another Cheers episode featuring a stellar guest star. In this case, that guest star was Emma Thompson, who plays Frasier's first wife. When Frasier and Lilith run into her at a birthday concert, Frasier is forced to reveal to Lilith that he was married before his relationship to her. As is the case in "Dinner at Eight-ish," Frasier's habit of only revealing part of the truth ultimately comes back to bite him. 

Although Frasier and his first wife, who is known as Nanny G because of her career as a children's entertainer, were married only briefly when they were quite young, it's clear that they still have strong feelings for one another. Ultimately, all three characters have to weigh their feelings, and Frasier has to decide which woman is more important to him. Even as he does this, he realizes that both Lilith and Nanny G won't wait around for him indefinitely. 

Simon Says...get John Cleese as the guest star

Season 5 is definitely the most popular season on this list, and with good reason. That season was Cheers at the peak of both its popularity and its powers, and "Simon Says" is a great example of what the show was capable of when it wasn't holding anything back. In this episode, Sam and Diane attend a couple's counseling session ahead of their wedding ceremony, and Monty Python's John Cleese plays the counselor

Cleese's character comes to the conclusion that Sam and Diane are no good for one another, and Diane proceeds to spend the rest of his visit from the U.K. yelling at him about how incorrect his prognosis is. In the end, he tells them what they want to hear, but only so they'll leave him alone. It's a hilarious episode that also gets at the deeper question buried inside the series. Sam and Diane are the show's leads, but does that mean that they're meant to be together? In the end, Cleese's marriage counselor turned out to be right.

Abnormal Psychology is Frasier's forte

There's a reason that Frasier was the character that wound up with a successful spin-off, and it's on display in "Abnormal Psychology." Frasier provided plenty of laughs as part of the Cheers ensemble, but he could also be hilarious in other circumstances. In this episode, Diane suspects that Frasier is trying to hide romantic feelings he has for a colleague, Dr. Lilith Sternin, and hatches a plan that ultimately leads to Frasier's participation in a televised debate with other psychologists. 

The episode is great as a showcase for Kelsey Grammer's Frasier, but it also works well because of the smart execution of its premise. Diane does a little bit of meddling to get the ball rolling, and then she just watches the comedy unfold from there. Cheers was a show with an all-time great ensemble, and the show knew how to use them all well. When Cheers was at its best, the show let its actors cook, and the comedy came naturally from there. 

An Old-Fashioned Wedding is not what you get in this classic

"An Old-Fashioned Wedding" is proof that Cheers still had plenty of juice even after 10 years on the air. The episode is focused on Kelly and Woody's wedding, but the reason that it works so well is that everyone has a part to play in the disaster as it unfolds. Kelly and Woody, who had previously agreed to wait until after the wedding to consummate their marriage, instead decide to consummate it the morning of the ceremony. 

As they try to hide their prenuptial affair from Kelly's father, the rest of the gang finds ways to get into trouble throughout the rest of the ceremony. Sam and Cheers have been hired to provide alcohol for the event, while Carla frets over an astrological chart that suggests Kelly and Woody aren't meant to be together. Even in its tenth season, Cheers was still a show about messed up people finding community, and occasionally love, with one another, and "An Old-Fashioned Wedding" was a great example of that. 

Pick a Con... Any Con shows Sam in action

Although the premiere season of Cheers is widely acclaimed, many of the show's standout installments came in later seasons. "Pick a Con... Any Con" is a gem from the show's first year, and focuses on Sam's discovery that a con man has grifted Coach for thousands of dollars. After he discovers the con, Sam attempts to use Harry "The Hat," a skilled grifter in his own right, to win the money back. 

The beats of the episode are familiar to audiences who have seen any sitcom, but they also highlight the closeness that Sam feels with the regulars at the bar and his staff. Sam can present as a gruff, uncaring figure, but it's his close relationship with the other members of the show's ensemble cast that ultimately humanizes him. He can be a jerk, but he tries to help people when he can, and "Pick a Con... Any Con" is a prime example of Sam in action. 

Thanksgiving Orphans make great dinner companions

Another season 5 episode, "Thanksgiving Orphans" is famous largely for its climactic food fight. The episode's premise comes from the fact that all of the show's main characters are either stranded or have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. As a result, they all decide to eat together, and things go haywire from there. The food fight is one of the show's most memorable moments, in part because it feels like something that most shows about adults would never even attempt. 

As was often the case on Cheers, though, the tension between the characters was often part of the point. Sam and Diane were probably in love, but they were often at each other's throats as well, and those things went hand in hand. In "Thanksgiving Orphans," as the crew is waiting for a turkey that is taking far too long to cook, tensions boil over as they often did. From there, given the characters involved, a chaotic, hilarious food fight seemed almost inevitable. 

Dinner at Eight-ish is a full meal of laughs

The thrust behind "Dinner at Eight-ish," which Cheers fans love dearly, is a dinner party that goes sour pretty quickly. The party in question involves Sam and Diane joining Frasier and Lilith at their house to celebrate their first week of cohabitation. Things go sideways fast, thanks to the revelation that Frasier and Diane were engaged at one point. After discovering this startling piece of news, Lilith locks herself in the bathroom. After that, Sam and Diane also break into a fight, and the whole party devolves into a series of squabbles. 

Diane's argument with Sam comes after Sam realizes that Lilith's kitchen helper is a former girlfriend, and Diane is furious about the fact that it's impossible to go anywhere in Boston without finding one of Sam's former flames. The episode resolves with a joke, as Frasier decides to lock the door to the bathroom where Diane and Lilith are from the outside and take Sam to watch gladiator shows. The fights are what make this episode really sing, but like every great Cheers episode, it's also packed with laughs. 

One for the Road is a final toast to a superb series

If the series finale of a TV show is beloved, it's almost guaranteed to take the top spot in any list of best episodes. "One for the Road," the final episode of Cheers, has a staggering 9.2 rating on IMDb, which is half a point better than any of the other episodes on this list. Fans love this episode for good reasons, though. Cheers found a way to wrap up all of its ongoing storylines in a way that was both satisfying and surprising

The episode's main thrust comes from the return of Diane, who had been absent from the show for years by that point and almost lures Sam away from the bar and Boston. Ultimately, though, the two of them agree to go their separate ways, even as the show's supporting cast moves on to new chapters in each of their lives as well. The episode, which manages to be remarkably funny on top of everything else, also has a perfect ending. Sam closes up the bar, tells a potential customer that it's closed, and then turns the lights out on the joint, and the series, one last time