Cheers (1982–1993)
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The Boys in the Bar 

When Sam publicly supports an old teammate who has come out of the closet, Norm and the gang are afraid that "Cheers" will become a "gay bar."



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Kenderson
Michael Kearns ...
Lee Ryan ...
Barney (as Tom Babson)
Shannon Sullivan ...
John Bluto ...


Tom Kenderson, Sam's old roommate from his Red Sox days, has just written his autobiography and is launching the book at Cheers since Sam is mentioned in it. Despite Tom asking Sam to read it before the book launch, Sam fails to do so. As the book is launched in front of a few reporters, Sam wishes that he had read it since Tom used the book as his way of coming out, which shocks Sam if only because Tom was a bigger womanizer than even him back then. Sam wants to be supportive of his old friend, but he is also deathly afraid of being construed as being gay himself. His support for Tom eventually wins out, which angers the regulars of the bar, who are afraid that Cheers will turn into a gay bar. Those regulars' concerns extend to being surrounded by what they assume will be stereotypically effeminate accoutrement around the establishment. They are also certain that they could spot a gay man a mile away, and as such they vow to scare off anyone who fits that mold. Sam has to decide ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

27 January 1983 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The autobiography of Sam's gay baseball friend in "The Boys in the Bar" Episode: #1.16 is called "Catcher's mask" See more »


Norman says that 7pm is "seven bells." Later in the series, it is disclosed that Norm served in the US Coast Guard. As such, he should be aware that 7pm would equate to either 2 bells or 6 bells (depending on whether the ship split the dog watch). Character backstories are created as a series progresses. There is no way the writers could know in Season 1 that Norm was going to be in the Coast Guard later in the series. As such, this is not an error. See more »


Norm Peterson: One night, Vito let's a gay group hold a meeting in the back room, right? Gay's for the... metric system. Story got in the newspaper, gets a lot of attention, and next thing you know, Vito's Pub turns into...
Norm Peterson: [in an effeminate voice] ... Vito's Pub.
Norm Peterson: All the regulars left, Sammy. Out went the oars and the moose heads, in came the plants and ferns. Ferns - eww. I just don't want that to happen to Cheers, that's all.
Sam Malone: I don't believe that stuff. Bars don't turn gay overnight.
Norm Peterson: You don't have to ...
See more »


Spoofs The Boys in the Band (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

The Boys in the Bar (#1.16)
4 April 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

An old team mate and a good friend of Sam's comes out as gay in his book and has a press conference in Cheers. The regulars are worried that it will become a gay bar. So the next day when Diane tells them there are two gay guys in the bar they find three guys who they think are gay and want Sam to kick them out or they threaten to leave. Sam refuses to because he doesn't want his bar to be the kind where people are thrown out from, so they trick the guys out. Only turns out those were not the gay ones.

I really liked the episode! So interesting to see a gay themed story from the 80's. And they did it so well. Showed the bigoted views people had. Showed Sam struggle but take the decent way to both accept his friend or who he is and refuse to kick people out of his bar. And the twist at the end also showed biases people have about gays. So well done!

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