Friday, August 31, 2012
Created by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee
Starring Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, John Mahoney, and Moose (as Eddie the dog)
My son (né 1996) and I watch a lot of movies and television together, though he'll only watch t.v. shows that overlap his life. So 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001) and Frasier he loves, That Girl (1966-1971) and Remington Steele (1982-1987) not so much. The nineties was the decade of the singles sitcom, most of the Peter Pan ilk, i.e. Friends and Seinfeld, but Frasier, a Cheers spinoff, is a sitcom for adult singles.
Frasier Crane, who lived in Boston when he was a character on Cheers, moves back to his hometown of Seattle, where he lives with his father and works as a radio psychiatrist. As befitting an adult, everyone on Frasier has a career. Frasier's brother Niles is a practicing psychiatrist, Daphne a home health care worker, Roz a radio producer, and father Martin a retired cop. Much of the show's comedy comes from the dichotomy between Frasier and Niles, the two most pretentious conspicuous consumers ever to grace television, and the more down to earth Martin, who loves sports and beer, Daphne, a working-class girl from Manchester, England, and the promiscuous Roz.
Though all of the characters are usually alone or in the wrong relationship, everyone is looking for that one true love. Frasier sums up the point of their lives in the last episode with his interpretation of the last stanza of Tennyson's "Ulysses" (see below): "While it's tempting to play it safe, the more we're willing to risk, the more alive we are. What we regret most are the chances we never took." All of the characters on Frasier are willing to take big risks to find real happiness, no matter how many times they fall flat, and none are willing to settle for less. Most of us could learn from that.
"It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
Frasier: The Complete First Season
Frasier: The Complete Series