Cheers: Season 4, Episode 19

Dark Imaginings (20 Feb. 1986)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 113 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Sam suffers a hernia while trying to prove that he's not getting too old.



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Title: Dark Imaginings (20 Feb 1986)

Dark Imaginings (20 Feb 1986) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Callaway ...
Jack Turner
Deborah Dalton ...
Nurse Louise
Bonnie (as Pamela Bach)
Tim Dunigan ...
Dr. Steve McDonough
Christine Dickinson ...
Lisa Vice ...
Judy Turner
Jere Fields ...
Nurse Brenda (as Jeré Fields)
Peter Neushul ...
139th Street Quartet Baritone
Larry Wright ...
139th Street Quartet 2nd Tenor (as Larry F. Wright)


Cliff brings in the next in the long line of home grown vegetables resembling something, this one being a turnip, with its green top, that he thinks looks like June Lockhart. The gang thinks Cliff has gone off the deep end, and Cliff himself finally agrees. Cliff wants to spend a little time with Frasier - in other words, Cliff wants some free therapy. The time with Frasier does Cliff some good, until... Meanwhile, Sam is dating a very young woman named Bonnie, who, generationally has more in common with Woody. To prove his 'youth' in front of Bonnie, Sam challenges Woody to a racquetball game. The game takes its toll on Sam, who, after the fact, is in pain, but hides it from the gang. He tells everyone he's off on a ski trip, but in reality, he has pulled a hernia - what he considers to be an old man's ailment - and goes to the hospital. Diane tracks him down to the hospital, where they have a philosophical chat about aging. Over the course of the day, Sam has a roller coaster of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

20 February 1986 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Diane Chambers: Does Sam's behavior give you pause? Me thinks the man doth protest too much.
Woody Boyd: Excuse me Miss Chambers, but shouldn't it be 'I thinks'?
Carla Tortelli: Not in your case, Woody.
See more »


References Star Trek (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Best Cheers Episode
23 January 2009 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

The most nuanced, unexpected Cheers episode. Sam starts diving headlong into a midlife crisis, dating young women and overexerting himself at sports.

When Sam suffers a hernia playing Woody at racquetball, he hides his going to the hospital - Diane tracks him down and insists it's okay to accept growing old. Sam bristles at this and checks himself out of the hospital.

However, Sam suffers a relapse and returns to the hospital, where Diane announces that he was right - he shouldn't accept growing old, pointing out many great figures who performed great deeds well into old age. Sam is aroused by Diane's speech - she gives the classic line as Sam advances on her: "Oh, Sam, this is wonderful. An old person wouldn't be doing this. This is the act of a vital, strong, young man. Who wants a woman. Who wants sex. (Sam gets too close) Who won't GET it..." After Diane departs, Sam meets his new roommate, who is a blond version of Sam. They bond, discovering that they're both getting older but have plenty of virility and drive. However, when the man introduces a young woman to Sam, Sam hits on her - then discovers she's the man's daughter.

After the man leaves the room, Sam becomes introspective - he sits quietly at the hospital window as it rains.

While the episode remains lighthearted through most of the episode, it refuses to give an easy answer. The message of "You're as old as you feel" is subverted as Sam realizes that while he's not an old man, time *is* slipping away. His counterpart had a daughter, and was presumably married, while Sam is a bachelor and childless. How much time does Sam have left? This episode was typical of the gravitas the Sam character had during the "Diane years" - an alcoholic womanizer who was struggling with life. Sam would never recover it til the last few episodes of the series.

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