When popular sitcoms gain millions of devoted followers, they can easily place expectations or even demands on the shows’ creators. And when writers deliberately pander to the crowd by writing in situations or gags that play on a show's history, relationships, or connection to other shows and celebrities, the name for that TV trope is fan service.
However, pandering to a show’s base goes very wrong when the fans' desires don’t fit with the rest of the story or make sense in the context of the show, such as the Friends foray into shipping two hotties, Joey and Rachel. On the other hand, sometimes it's absolutely worth it to just give the people what they want. In the instances below, it worked out pretty darn well.
After falling in love with Ted Danson as Sam Malone, a bartender in Cheers, fans were overjoyed to see Danson back behind a bar more than 20 years later.
In the Season 2 finale, Michael, a reformed demon in The Good Place, travels to Earth in an attempt to help set protagonist Eleanor, played by the inimitable Kristen Bell, on the right track. Who better to listen and give advice than a bartender, right?Loved it?
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The show’s titular character, Dr. Frasier Crane, originated on the long-running sitcom Cheers. Nearly all the main characters from Cheers show up in the doc’s popular spin-off series, Frasier, and audiences just ate it up.
In Season 9's “Cheerful Goodbyes,” a whopping six characters make appearances when Frasier travels back to Boston and his old buddies show up at his retirement party. Who doesn’t love a good crossover?Loved it?
Writers performed the ultimate fan service by bringing Brad Pitt in for a one-episode guest appearance. He and Friends star Jennifer Aniston were, at the time, one of the most famous couples in the world, so fans of the sitcom were hungry for them to appear together on the show.
In Season 8, episode 9, Pitt’s character Will is invited to a Friendsgiving dinner with the group, and it comes out that, in high school, he despised Rachel so much that he formed an “I Hate Rachel Green Club,” and started a rumor about her. It makes for a truly hilarious holiday.Loved it?
Throughout The Office, Dwight tries to maneuver his way into the top spot at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, so there was a surprising amount of satisfaction in finally seeing him achieve his goal in Season 9, episode 21.
Dwight is ready to take up the mantle, but is also in disbelief at finally ascending to the position he’d dreamed about for so long. Though Dwight isn't always a particularly likable character, fans were happy to see him get what he desired, and were even surprised to see him soften a bit in the aftermath of his promotion.Loved it?