This Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of Cheers. In honor, GQ has culled together an extensive oral history of "The Best TV Show That's Ever Been," according to Amy Poehler (or me), and it's a completely awesome and exhaustive piece. Did you know Lucille Ball was approached to play Diane's mom? Or that Sharon Stone, Kim Cattrell, and Marg Helgenberger were all considered for Kirstie Alley's role? Or that Kurt Vonnegut once told an interviewer, "I would rather have written Cheers than anything I've written"? Pretty sure he was lying.
An 11,000-word testimony of the sitcom's 11 seasons, the oral history delves into those well-founded rumors of Shelley Long's dominant self-involvement, Kelsey Grammer's substance-abuse issues, and Ted Danson's marriage-destroying affair with Whoopi Goldberg, which ultimately became a catalyst for the show's final season.
Plus, there's other stuff about sex, drugs, and personnel drama. Here're our five favorite highlights.
1. Shelley Long's delusions of grandeur pissed people off for life.
Rhea Perlman: It's not really something I can talk about, to tell you the truth. I can't go there. I don't think it's worth it, at this point in life.
2. Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson once skipped work, got high, and tripped on shrooms.
Danson: I'll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley and Rhea were carrying that week's episode, and the guys were just, "Let's play hooky." We'd never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, "You want to try some mushrooms?" I'd never had them, so I'm handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours.
3. Woody Harrelson was quite the womanizer.
Jackie Swanson (Kelly "Kelly Kelly Kelly" Gaines, Woody Boyd's equally simple love interest): Women were in pursuit of Woody. It seems like he always had a new girl visiting the set. I remember seeing, at different times, Moon Zappa, Ally Sheedy, Penelope Ann Miller, and Glenn Close. I don't know that he was dating all of them. I did have a crush on him. Who didn't?
4. Kirstie Alley served as his fuck-motel therapist.
[Kirstie] Alley: Woody and I instantly hit it off. I was married, but he would show up at my house sometimes and stay over. One night he brought this girl to bang, and then in the middle of the night he decided he didn't want to, so he was knocking on my bedroom door: "Kirs? Kirs? Can you talk to me a minute? I'm just not into this chick." I said, "Woody, you have to take responsibility. I can't coach you into sleeping with her, but you need to go back there, dude." I think she was in the bedroom crying while we were chatting about this.
5. Ted Danson has a nice weiner.
Alley: There were bathrooms where you'd take showers before the show. So the big game became getting the door open, so that you could take pictures of nude people. I have the greatest picture of Ted. That was a big caper: There was one person [opening] the door with a butter knife and another person kicking the door in so I could get a photo. He's decapitated, but totally nude. And he's really well-endowed.