In his goodbye speech earlier today at Andrews Air Force Base, Donald Trump's final remarks as president were "Have a good life. We'll see you soon."
For fans of the classic NBC comedy Cheers, those words immediately call back a crucial episode in the series, when Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and Sam Malone (Ted Danson) agree to postpone their wedding so that Diane can focus on her suddenly burgeoning writing career. She thinks she'll only need six months to finish her novel, butSam sees the big picture, and knows that following her dreams will lead her away from him.
As she bids what she feels is a temporary farewell, Sam says "have a good life." Diane objects to that phrasing, assuring him she'll return. He appears to accept that, and she leaves the bar for what he knows is the last time. As he watches her walk away, once again, he quietly says "have a good life," and then it fades into a fantasy of the two of them happily growing old together, a future they will not share.
This was Long's final episode as a series regular, as she left the show at the end of Season 5, allowing the show's creators to re-focus the show away from the Sam/Diane relationship and back on the bar as a whole, which gave it a new kind of life that ran for six more years.
Despite being the most boob-tube dependent POTUS of all time, Trump was likely not thinking about Cheers as he left the presidency. But even by inadvertently quoting the show, he's given us a lot to break down here.
Could it be that he sees himself in the Diane role, as someone who is leaving for a while, but adding a "we'll see you soon" to assure us he's not gone for good? Of course in Diane's case, save for an appearance six years later in the series finale, that wasn't true, which falls in line with most of the things that come out of the now-former president's mouth.
Or does he see himself in the "macho man" Sam role, reluctantly realizing that the country will not be returning to him, yet still fantasizing that America will love him more than anyone has loved anyone in the history of anything?
As citizens, we could see the Trump presidency as the entire Sam/Diane relationship — an often contentious, love/hate affair full of snarky, unrelenting verbal spats. It was a battle of frustrated egos that drew enough attention to dominate water cooler talk, but ultimately needed to be jettisoned in order to keep the show alive and thriving in a fresh new direction.
However you slice it, Donald Trump's last line in office was a Cheers quote, and it was weird. Let's just hope there wasn't a Frasier Crane somewhere in the Trump administration, as we don't need a spin-off that lasts 11 more seasons.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.