Cheers: Season 8, Episode 11

Feeble Attraction (7 Dec. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 75 users  
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Due to declining business since he has decided not to work, Norm has to fire his secretary, the mild mannered Doris. He writes her a letter of reference, which in her warped mind she ... See full summary »

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Title: Feeble Attraction (07 Dec 1989)

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Due to declining business since he has decided not to work, Norm has to fire his secretary, the mild mannered Doris. He writes her a letter of reference, which in her warped mind she misconstrues as a love letter. She confesses her supposed mutual love for Norm. Despite subtle and not so subtle hints from Norm, Doris just won't leave him alone. Frasier tells Norm that she is suffering from lack of self-esteem and he needs to build up her confidence to get rid of her. But a confession by Doris as to why she wasn't attracted to him when she worked for him gives Norm the idea of how best to get her to stop loving him. Meanwhile, Woody and Rebecca bore the gang with their respective stories. Woody's is about the coldest day ever in Boston, knowledge of which ultimately comes in handy. Rebecca's is about the antique desk that Robin has given her as a gift. He has let her know that there is a ring associated with the desk, the 'where' he will divulge to her next he sees her in two weeks. ... Written by Huggo

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Comedy | Drama

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7 December 1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Doris: Cliff, when you get out of the service, could we go out together?
Cliff Clavin: Well, ah, you know Doris, there's actually no rule against mailmen dating women. It just sort of turns out that way.
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References Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) See more »

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Seasons in the Sun
(uncredited)
Written by Jacques Brel & Rod McKuen
Performed by Cynthia Stevenson
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User Reviews

 
Can I Sing "Seasons In The Sun" To You?
5 May 2011 | by (New York, NY USA) – See all my reviews

"Feeble" is the keyword here. Norm fires his secretary, who promptly falls in love with him. Cynthia Stevenson reprises her role as Doris from "The Two Faces Of Norm," although I have no idea why. Was Doris The Dim-Witted Secretary so funny that they had to bring her back? Was Stevenson signed to an NBC development deal? Probably. She also guest-starred on "Empty Nest" and five years later she got her own NBC sitcom called "Hope & Gloria" which wasn't very good.

Neither is this episode. It feels claustrophobic and diseased. Even the two B-stories were taken out of the scrap pages of the dullest writer's notebook: Woody wins a radio contest and Rebecca gets a new desk. Where exactly does this episode fail? Let's take a closer look.

At this point in the series' run, the writers were feeling pretty much invincible. They had survived the departure of Diane and helped the show find a second life and new style. They had developed characters and taken two new cast members- Woody Harrelson & Kelsey Grammar- from unknowns to A-List comedy stars. They had gotten so confident that they figured they could take any plot and turn out a good episode by dressing it up with enough jokes. But the premise here is faulty: Doris is a timid and sickly character until she develops her crush on Norm... then she's a hard-driving, uncompromising, single-minded lunatic. Yeah, right. And the entire obsessive relationship takes place within the confines of the bar. In a single day's time. It's as unlikely as it is difficult to watch.

I guess the biggest disappointment here is George Wendt, who gets his own episode and a script that any comedic actor would kill for. It's unfortunately about this point in the show's run that George seemed tired and unhappy about being the episode lead- he would rush through his lines with no grace, no comic exploration or timing, and very little commitment. This would climax with the disastrous "The King Of Beers" from Season Eleven. He seems cranky and bothered instead of honored and elevated: the man was clearly getting spoiled by sitting on a stool and drinking beer full-time. Kirstie is porked up in this episode, and the only outfit they could use to disguise her rapidly-expanding assbeef looks like it belongs in a window fixture from a 1970's era basement rec room.

The episode is not terrible, but it's rusty and cumbersome and showing its seams.

GRADE: C-


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