Season 5, Episode 14: Diamond Sam


Original Air Date: January 15, 1987.

Written By:  Tom Reeder

Plot: The newly-engaged couple announce their betrothal to the gang, and Norm helps Sam obtain the expensive ring Diane likes for a rock bottom price.  Keeping the cut-rate secret from Diane turns out to be more costly than the legit ring, which she mistakenly tosses out the car window when the truth is revealed.

Thoughts: Now that all the will-they-won't-they angst is tied up, it's time for more light-hearted fare.  It's just plain fun seeing Sam and Diane as a couple again after so long, and when they make their engagement announcement, it's hard not to feel as giddy as they are.  This is really happening!  And they are so incredibly sweet to each other, you have to cringe when Sam makes his first misstep on the road to the altar.  

Sammy, Sammy, Sammy… you know Diane.  You know she'd be mortified to get anything, let alone something as important as an engagement ring from some shady street dealer.  Why you even gave Norm's friend a second thought is beyond my comprehension, and a lie is certainly not the way you want to start your commitment to each other.  Yes, the ring she likes is expensive and you want to make her happy, but she gave you an out and doesn't expect it.  Sam is doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, and so the deception begins.

The upside of his lie is that I can't feel the least bit sorry for him when it comes crashing down bit by bit around him.  From the silver corn cob holders to the pink dresses to the ultimate purchase of the real ring only to have her toss it in the street, Sam brings all of this on himself, and I enjoy watching him squirm.  Diane, while in the dark most of the episode, unwittingly dispenses comeuppance throughout, and can only do it because Sam's so crazy about her.  None of this would have happened much less escalated the way it does if he wasn't so hell-bent on making her happy.  He gets points for that, but still: know your woman, Mayday, and for God's sake, quit lying!  

When the truth comes out, Diane delivers the ultimate blow with the diamond ditch.  Though I understand her anger at the deception, I have to wonder what she is thinking here.  Is her plan to end the engagement over it, or just make a point about cheap jewelry?  It's a pretty bold move tossing an engagement ring out, no matter what the price.  

The end of the episode finds them both crawling around in the gutter in search of the high-priced ring, and perhaps the most valuable thing they both find is that it's not the cost of the ring that matters, but the feelings behind it.  Diane is adorable when she tries to express that simple theme using an 18th century fable, made brief with the moral "You're really neat."  Cue me melting into a puddle of sentimental mush as he places the ring on her finger.  Why are they so ridiculously good together, despite all the nonsense?  Gah!

Random: I take entirely too much joy in Carla's engagement denial and and breakdown.  [Insert evil laugh here.]  Did they ever find that ring???

 "Diane, I hope you're planning to stay for the entire ceremony this time. Ours was very touching, I thought." "I guess that leaves only one stud to satisfy all the babes in this bar." "And I can handle it, too." "It means that you don't understand this and you never will." "How much does that cost? Hahahahahahaha!" "Diane's not the kind of woman who'd like to find out that her ring was bought from a jeweler who begins every transaction with 'Pssst, buddy.'" "Where's the box?" "Every damn dress in the window was pink." "To what avail?" "To my butt's avail!" "No way in the world I'm gonna buy that expensive ring." "The ring is bought!" "Oh yeah." "I got a real interesting price on it." "Full price?" "Right around there, yeah." "Diane, you're really neat." "Explain that part about switching rings again?" "I guess i was just stupid to think that I could make someone like you happy on a budget of someone like me." "Could I just tell you the moral?" "What?" "You're really neat."