Laughter Now Boarding: Why ‘Wings’ Will Always Be One of My Favorite Television Shows

The cast of "Wings"

The cast of "Wings"

By Daniel Ford

As a kid, summers meant Wiffle ball games in the backyard, homemade Caesar salads for lunch, and watching reruns of “Wings” on USA from 11 a.m. to noon with my younger brother.

I loved the show so much in fact that I neglected “Cheers” up until about a year ago—when I powered through 11 seasons of brilliance in just a couple of months. I’ve heard my father belly laugh during plenty of movies and television shows, but never quite as much as when we watched “Wings.” Tony Shalhoub’s down-on-his-luck cabbie Antonio Scarpacci remains one of his favorite characters of all time.

What’s weird is that this show appears more dated than its predecessor “Cheers” and its companion/successor “Frasier.” Setting aside the 1990s attire and haircuts, “Wings” features gags that involve phonebooks, $65 portable cassette players, and mail order catalog brides. Not to mention, it also depicts a version of air travel that doesn’t exist today thanks to post-9/11 security concerns. Unlike the workplace comedies that came before and after it, “Wings” can’t be mistaken for being set in any other era than the 1990s.

Despite that, the show’s brotherly bonding, workplace shenanigans, witticisms of bumpkin Lowell Mather, and a strong ensemble made up of actors and actresses that seem to actually like each other keep it funny and fresh.

With Stephanie Schaefer traveling abroad in Spain, I’ve devoted much my spare time to re-watching the show and picking out some of my favorite moments. I quickly found out that video clips of “Wings” are hard to come by. I wasn’t able to find my true favorite scenes—Lowell standing on top of a bell tower yelling at his promiscuous wife Bunny, Antonio’s priest making the sign of the cross at a picture of the world’s ugliest baby, the gang discussing the smelliest days in history after being duped by Roy to dig a hole in his backyard for his Jacuzzi, Kasey (Helen’s sister) and Brian burning down Joe and Helen’s house, Antonio’s first appearance as the head waiter of an Italian restaurant during a star-crossed Valentine’s Day episode, the old guy in the strip joint who yelled, "He screwed me blue," the Hackett brothers destroying their childhood home right before it was saved from being condemned, and Antonio yelling, “Talk to me pizza man!”—but here are some of the funny ones I did unearth:

Bring Me Some Heat

I constantly debate which is more awesomely bad throughout the series: Brian’s shirts or his ties.

This is also what some of my catches with my brothers look like. Getting old blows.

Ugliest Dance Partners Ever

A classic sitcom premise, but I can’t remember a more mismatched pair of dance partners.

Italian Design

Brian: “This is a game? I thought I’d died and gone to the boring part of hell.”

Gets me every time.

Something, Something, Something

Such a great guy moment. Tim Daly nails being an awkward, yet confident, guy trying to ask a woman out.

Stupid Men

“I like my men stupid.”

Who’s Hoo-Hah?

Hoo-hahs are always funny.

Welcome to Nantucket

One of the truly great intros the show only used for the first couple seasons. Wings Intro Theme

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