“Is there anything I can do to make it up to you”, asks Diane in the beginning of “Sam at Eleven”. “Yea, yea: but you wouldn’t” replies Sam.
The emotional connection that these two share is obvious to the most ignorant even. Sam is invited to participate in an interview chronicling Sam’s pitching for the Red Sox. But Diane is wary of the invitation, and even Carla finds out that Sam was the last on the sportscaster’s list.
“Those where-are-they-now interviews on T.V are depressing”. She refers to Sam as attractive and he pounces like a fox on a rabbit: Sam asks why Diane thinks he’s attractive. Flirtation ensues. And Diane admits that he’s “sometimes unrepugnant”.
Meanwhile Carla watches for any intruders and she’s very protective of Mr. Malone. Coach has a great line in it as well: “Sometimes I think of the smartest thing to say and it comes out so stupid,” says Coach after Carla scolds him and reminds him of Sam’s investment in the interview.
As the interview proceeds Sam is anecdotal and eloquent, but as he gets going a newsperson enters the picture and declares that a present athlete has a juicy bit of information to share. So Sam is abandoned by his friend, the anchorman.
Diane runs to the backroom where Sam is sulking. She tells him that she has a cheerleader squad rejection story and what follows is a layered parallel, akin to a plot-wise double entendre, which Cheers, and largely theatre, does from time to time: she’s his cheerleader tonight, and like an inanimate doll she poses herself for Sam, the action figure.