CBS Television Distribution

Rhea Perlman envied her character's personality on Cheers

Cheers was an iconic series that aired from 1982 to 1993 on NBC. The series featured well-written characters, a memorable setting, witty humor and a lot of beer. 

Cheers was a show where friends came together, both in real life and at the Boston neighborhood bar, fittingly named "Cheers."

One of those familiar faces inside the Boston bar was Rhea Perlman who played the role of Carla Tortelli, the quick-witted and often sassy waitress, for a total of 11 seasons. 

In a 1990 interview with The News Tribune, Perlman was celebrating the 200th episode of Cheers. She reflected on her character and said she envied Carla's ability to be quick on her feet in any situation. 

"Verbally, I'm not that quick," Perlman said. "I'm not the queen of one-liners. Carla's great. She has no time in her life for BS. She tells it like it is. Sometimes I think, 'Whoa, I wish I could say some of that stuff.'"

In another interview with Bennington Banner, Perlman said Carla had five kids, no husband and worked for little money, so she never blamed her character for being guarded. In fact, she created her to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder at all times. 

"You've got to realize how hard-pressed Carla is," Perlman said. "God knows what her house and kids look like. She never has a moment to relax. She drinks 90 cups of coffee a day to keep going. There are thousands of women with her problems."

Perlman would quickly discover just how many women shared the same issues as Carla did. According to the interview, she would get fan mail each week from women telling her how much they loved and related to Carla. 

Everyone was striving to be as honest as Carla was in the series, including Perlman. It wasn't only women who sent her fan mail, though. Many men would send her letters with some interesting messages inside.

"One guy wrote me from prison and said he was in love with Carla," Perlman said. "He asked me to wait for him until he gets out and said he wants to call me."

Carla was loved by everyone. People related to her realness and it left Perlman envious of how quick and stern her character could be. 

"Carla's at her best when she gets into verbal exchanges with Diane," Perlman said. "Those two women hate each other. Instead of disguising it with polite chit chat, they fight like a pair of alley cats."

Watch Cheers on Catchy Comedy

Weeknights at 11p ET | 8p PT

By using our site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy