It kicked off NBC's decades-long run as the Must-See TV king and featured some of the funniest characters in the art form's history, but don't let that fool you. Cheers' oak-cask color palette, days-gone-by opening credits, and wistful clarinet score were leading indicators that beneath the boozy, bawdy laughs flowed an undercurrent of melancholy. In the show's final episode, the dam finally burst. After one last failed shot at love with brainy Diane Chambers, Sam Malone — the alcoholic, womanzing former ballplayer at the series' center — is abandoned by the core cast one by one, leaving him alone in the dark with the true love of his life: his bar. After years of beautiful balance between smart and silly, the show played its greatest trick — taking itself seriously.