Cheers and The Tortellis

Cheers (1982-1993)
The Tortellis (1987)
Type: Spin Off
Group 2

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: just because a character is a good supporting character on a show does NOT mean he/she will make a good lead character on a show.

    Another case in point: the largely forgotten first Cheers spin off The Tortellis. Nick Tortelli was a recurring character on Cheers. He was Barmaid Carla Tortelli's slimeball ex-husband. While still on Cheers Nick had become remarried to a buxom and not too bright blonde named Loretta. This spin off had Nick and Loretta moving to Las Vegas along with Nick and Carla's son Anthony and Anthony's wife Annie (all of whom had been established on Cheers). Nick and Anthony Tortelli ran a television repair shop.

    The problem with this is that Nick was scum. It is very hard to get people to tune in week in and week out to watch a scumbag. On All In The Family, Archie Bunker was a hateful bigot but they gave you room to not despise him: his wife was a little dingy, his daughter and son-in-law were very in his face about everything... in the end you might not have agreed with him at all but you could understand him being cranky and wanting to shout. Plus Archie actually had a lot of heart under all the hate. Nick was not so three-dimensional a character though. As an occasional supporting sleaze bucket character he could be amusing but as the center of a show (shudder) nooooooo.

    That being the case, no one watch and the show never lived beyond its status as a mid season replacement. The next attempt to spin off Cheers would go with a character 180 degrees different in the form of Doctor Frasier Crane and would be a massive success. Now Nick Tortelli showing up to annoy everyone on Frasier for one episode (IN THE NAME OF GOD JUST FOR ONE) - that would be funny.

Other Cheers Crossover Links
Cheers and Frasier
Cheers and St. Elsewhere
Cheers and The Simpsons
Cheers and Wings

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