Season 5, Episode 6: Tan N' Wash

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Original Air Date: November 6, 1986.

Written By:  Cheri Eichen and Bill Steinkellner

Plot: Norm lets the gang in on an exciting investment opportunity-- a tanning salon/laundromat.  The excitement soon wanes.

Thoughts: Since the main plot of this episode is rather uninteresting in my humble opinion, I'm going to focus on the Sam and Diane piece of the story (surprise surprise!).  They're still in Diane-chases-Sam mode, but this episode lets Sam show us a bit more of his feelings, which is what makes it a good one.  

Diane has a special date lined up with Chad and drops enough information to get Sam a bit riled up about it, though he'd never let on to her.  The day after the date, Diane comes in singing "Isn't It Romantic?" (oh, Coach…) and generally acting as though she'd been touched by an angel.  Sam, in a fit of jealousy, asks Woody to go get the details of her date.  He does, and boy is Sam sorry he did.  Woody describes Diane's evening of enchantment in fluent Diane-ese as Sam does a slow burn, building to a dramatic climax at her place, at which point Woody pulls the rug out from under Sam, telling him that Diane says if he wants to know the rest he'll have to ask her himself.  Busted!  I love Sam's frustration and chagrin.  She knows him so well!

Sam manages to turn the tables when she tries to draw him out yet again by talking about breaking things off with Chad.  He feigns relief and tells her how tormented he was by the whole affair-- "All I've been able to think about is you and Chad, in your apartment, in his car, on the stairs, doing things even we never did.  I can't eat, I can't sleep..."  Diane eats it all up with a spoon until he reveals he's playing her, and it's her turn to be frustrated. 

Nothing more comes of all this, but I suppose it is enough to know that Sam's beginning to crack under the strain of hiding his feelings about Diane.  How much longer can he watch her move on without him?  It's a dangerous game, Sammy.

In the Tan n' Wash plotline, we see another instance of the gang turning on one of their own when things don't go their way, but there's Diane again, brokering the peace and bringing everyone back together with her honesty and concern for their relationships.  Again, I don't know how they functioned when she wasn't around to resolve these squabbles.

Random: Sorry about the delay between entries.  I needed a hiatus-- lots going on IRL.  I shall try to do better!  On an episode-related note, the discussion of dreams in the open is hilarious.  Wish I could transcribe the whole thing.

 "Sweet, transparent bravado… Could there be a soul dearer than the little boy lost, trembling on the edge of despair, yet struggling manfully to maintain his stiff upper lip?" "Thank you for noticing." "Sammy, it's not who you know, it's who I know." "I happen to have what Restoration poets referred to as alabaster skin." "Well, at least your hair looks nice." "God, how this must torment you." "I refuse to ask her about last night. You ask her, Woody." "Miss Chambers said if you wanna hear the rest, you gotta ask her yourself!" "Frasier, a sunburn?" "No, I'm doing my impression of a blood blister." "You know, if you hadn't chosen bartending, you could have had a career in the theater." "Or as a model." "It's lonely at the top." "Yeah, but the food's better." "Let's go play in the snow!" "Last one out's a Clavin!" "Ohhhh… I'm always the Clavin." "Bad news, Mr. Peterson?"