Ted Danson and Shelley Long's Sam & Diane formed a "TV pairing whose dynamic was defined by a flirtatious-cum-combative energy, brought to life by two of the best comedic performers of their generation, who proved just how compelling a protracted opposites-attract mismatch could be for a television audience, and how much it would come to define and shape Cheers as a whole," says Vikram Murthi. He adds: "For a few glorious years, Sam & Diane was as riveting as anything the medium has ever produced. More impressive was that it was entirely predicated on the explosive chemistry, and physical vulnerability, between two young actors on the brink of national stardom. Sam & Diane has clear precedent in the romantic pairings of ’30s and ’40s screwball comedies. Cheers creators Glen and Les Charles and James Burrows have cited Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn’s heightened, antagonistic energy as a loose inspiration, but it’s possible to see traces of the relationship in most of the madcap duos of the era. The series also provided its own spin on the litany of recurring themes and tropes within the genre. A strong-willed woman challenges and disrupts her male counterpart’s traditional masculinity. Their respective behaviors are rooted in their different class backgrounds. They primarily communicate in witty repartee and navigate farcical situations generated by convenient misunderstandings. Some of this is part and parcel with classic sitcom writing, but Cheers, especially in its early years, harkened back stylistically to a more bygone era of comedy."