Differences between Frasier in Frasier and Cheers

Now I am a huge fan of the two American sitcoms Cheers and its spin off Frasier. I think both shows are really the cream of the crop of American sitcoms. Even today series like The Big Bang Theory still follow the same basic template that Cheers laid down all those decades ago with Penny and Leonard being this generations Sam and Diane, the odd romance made up of two people who could not be more incompatible.

However one thing I and many other people have noticed about the two series is how different the character of Frasier is across both series. Whilst many of these differences can be explained by Frasier simply being older in the second series, others are flat out contradictions, and so I thought just for fun (and because I am incredibly bored LOL) to draw up a list of the various discrepancies and changes in his character between the two series.

Note: I am not saying that this makes the two series inferior, but I just find it quite interesting how much they ultimately had to change the character when giving him his own series.

Cheers Version of Frasier

  • In Cheers Frasier enjoys watching Sports all the time and even gets into a heated argument followed by a race to see who gets to go to a sports game first.
  • In Cheers Frasier also loves playing practical jokes. He is the victim of one in season 3 with the Snipe hunt, but he enjoys it and takes it in good humor saying being pranked makes him feel like he was one of the guys, and later pranks the rest of the gang. Many see this as the moment that Frasier really became friends with the Cheers gang. He also plays many other pranks on people throughout the series including Sam, Cliff, Carla (whom he pranks when she believes her deceased husband is trying to contact her) and on one occasion the entire gang when he helps Cliff play a prank about a frozen head.
  • In Cheers Frasier enjoys drinking beer all of the time.
  • In Cheers he is able to make new friends very quickly and is also able to be friends with people who are completely different to him like Norm, Cliff, Paul, Woody, Sam Malone and even Carla.
  • In Cheers Frasier loves science fiction and horror movies. He offers an incredibly deep analysis (like the type you’d read on any fansite or magazine) of classics such as ET, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Forbidden Planet. He also even enjoys watching schlocky horror movies such as the low budget one Rebecca’s sister stars in. He is also a fan of Star Wars and considers it on a par with Citizen Kane and Murder on the Orient Express.
  • His attitude towards the women in his life is very intense. He tends to fall very hard for one woman and devotes his entire existence too her to the point where if she leaves him he loses his mind. When Diane leaves him he suffers a complete mental breakdown, becomes a raging alcoholic for a whole year, gives up his profession and ends up working as a janitor in Cheers and even pulls a gun on Sam. When Lilith leaves him he fakes a heart attack, calls her a slut and threatens to kill himself in public to try and stop her from leaving. He is only seen in two very long term relationships as a result of this throughout the series.
  • It is implied that he came from a very wealthy background. Mentioning his family fortune at one point and his fathers pet Owl that he used to go hunting with.
  • Other than her affair, Lilith and Frasier are shown to have a happy marriage, though she is the dominant of the two of them, their relationship is still very close.
  • His father it is mentioned in one episode is a research scientist and dead. He says that originally he wanted to be an actor, but his father insisted that he join psychiatry. Frasier refused at first, but it was only after his father died that he realized it was his true passion which led to feelings of regret over his relationship with his father.
  • His mother is portrayed as a cold, possibly unstable woman.
  • He gets into fights with people at Hockey matches in one episode and overpowers Sam a professional athlete in another and ties him up.
  • After Diane leaves him he makes it known regularly how much he hates her. He frequently gets into arguments with her at Cheers, makes fun of her, joins in Carla’s verbal insults of her and at various points even comes close to attacking her physically.
  • He regularly breaks his ethics and shares some of patients most intense secrets with the gang for laughs.
  • He loves dogs and owns one as a pet in season 3.
  • His apartment is a very plain and barely decorated abode.

Frasier in Frasier

  • In Frasier he hates sports to the point where he can’t even sit through one Basketball game in order to bond with his father.
  • He hates beer and can’t drink it.
  • He can’t stand practical jokes. He considers them beneath him and regularly falls for them and can’t take them and can rarely carry them out properly. His father attempts to tell him being pranked makes him one of the guys, but he never sees it that way and just sees them as being mean.
  • He is often unable to make friends who don’t share his interests. Though he does have a few ordinary friends such as Roz, most of the time his only friend is his brother Niles.
  • His father is alive and a retired cop. This is actually explained in the show where Sam shows up and Sam mentions this to Martin after which Frasier says he had had a fight and Martin hung up and called him a stuffed shirt and that’s why he told people Martin was dead. “what did he say about me the old man the cop.” “He told me you were dead Martin”. “You’re a cop, you told me he was a research scientist” “you were dead what did it matter.”.
  • His desire to become a psychiatrist came from his mother who was a psychiatrist rather than his father.
  • At no point is it mentioned that he ever wanted to be an actor, though he is known to have had an interest in the theatre.
  • His mother is regularly described as a sweet, loving woman who always found something to like about someone.
  • He is afraid of any physical confrontation with anyone, though there are two occasions where he attacks two people who provoke him. One who sits in his chair and another who corrects his French prounciation.
  • His devotion to his ethics is so strong that when he violates them he feels sick to the point of nearly vommitting.
  • His attitude towards the women in his life is very different. He is never able to make it work with one woman. He will often deliberately ruin a relationship with a woman who is potentially perfect for him by picking out a minor flaw in her and being driven mad by it. Thus as a result of this he is never in a relationship that lasts longer than 3 weeks in his own series.
  • He comes from a working class background with his father being a blue collar cop.
  • He loathes science fiction and horror movies and looks down on them greatly, considering it a tragedy that one of his favorite Shakespearian actors is forced to star in a science fiction series.
  • He despises dogs and even has dreams where he murders his fathers dog Eddie and takes any opportunity he can to get rid of him.
  • In Frasier his marriage to Lilith is frequently said to have been unhappy and miserable. “Niles you forget I lived with Lilith I can live with anything”.
  • In Frasier it is said that he never let it be known to Diane how much pain she made him feel when she left him at the Altar, to the point where when Diane writes a play based on her experiences at Cheers, her Frasier character is civil to her and says he holds no ill will towards her. The last time Diane met Frasier in Cheers he grabbed her intensley to the point where he hurt her, and when she said he was hurting her he screamed in her face “AND YOU NEVER HURT ME!”
  • His apartment in Frasier is lavishly decorated to the point where leaves Daphne a diagram when she cleans it to make sure that she doesn’t mess up his decorating style. “Askew Daphne ASKEW!”

As you can see the Frasier in Frasier is in some ways almost the complete opposite from his Cheers incarnation. Again however some of these discrepancies can be explained. For instance the reason he can never make it work with a woman in Frasier could be seen as a result of his negative experiences in Cheers. Also his inability to make new friends in Frasier is addressed many times in Frasier. There are episodes that show him revert to his Cheers persona. The most notable example of this is in season 5 in the episode “Where Every Bloke Knows Your Name” where he starts attending a bar and is shown to become friends with ordinary people like his friends back in Boston and even starts drinking beer and indulging in activities like playing darts that he would normally look down upon with Niles.

Others however like his attitude towards Diane and his dislike of dogs are just flat out contradictions,  but hey in the history of a character who lasted 20 years there are bound to be continuity errors.

20 thoughts on “Differences between Frasier in Frasier and Cheers

  1. This was really well done and good reading! I haven’t watched “Cheers” for a long time, but do remember some of these points. My daughter and I have just finished watching the complete “Frasier” series, so this was nice to compare and contrast the too. Thank you! I don’t think we are going to watch the “Cheers” series, so this helps us out. 🙂


  2. Found this because I was just watching an episode of Cheers where his mother seems totally different from the descriptions of her in Frasier. Bit of a shock really, but as you say, there were bound to be some inconsistencies

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember in Cheers was she threatened to kill Diane behind her son’s back. Then, later on the show when Diane brought it up and her ghost was in denial but still was quick to insult and disapprove, now more aware of the fact she was quick to insult and disapprove. What I got from watching the mother in both shows is she seems to be threatened by any other woman and was two-faced including: mean in front of Fraiser’s gfs in Cheers and then caring and sweet in front of her sons explaining why they weren’t “The one” and her husband. It took Fraiser a deep analysis to finally realize how she really was and how it affected him in the long run.


  3. Got to say I have not seen a great deal of cheers, however I do love Frasier. I also really like this comparison of Cheers Frasier and Frasier Frasier.

    I would like to point out that Frasier does drink beer in Frasier, and I refererence the episode in season 2 when Frasier and Martin are drinking beer at the bar that is being demolished. Perhaps he does drink beer, but only on rare occasions.

    Also in reference to the basketball game, Frasier seems to be enjoying himself. He even participates in the wave that happens. It’s Martin who does not seem to be enjoying himself, whilst his mind is on the 20 year old murder case.

    It is never really mentioned that Frasier hates dogs all together, just Eddie. The only other exception is when Eddies litter has been dropped off at his apartment, and Frasier tries to find new homes for them all.


  4. I see these continuity errors (I have watched Frasier twice through and am now about halfway through Cheers) and although I don’t think they were intentional I think most of them can be explained relatively easily.

    -From what I understand, Frasier moved to Seattle because of something like a nervous breakdown after his divorce from Lilith. Naturally because of this there are bound to be changes to his personality and especially to his attitude toward relationships.
    -The dog thing can be explained by Frasier having given up Pavlov because of his relationship with Diane. He hated Diane after their relationship ended and therefore hated dogs, which reminded him of Diane. But I think he specifically hates Eddie. Also, Martin had been noted before being shot as “not being a dog person” indicating that his son possibly changes opinions about pets easily as well.
    -Throughout Cheers there is something of a struggle that Frasier has between being sophisticated and being an everyday normal guy. This bleeds into Frasier: in a second season episode there is a flashback to the first time he had coffee with Niles after arriving in Seattle and he says something to the effect of, “if a cup of good old black coffee ever fails to satisfy me, just shoot me.” His complicated coffee orders later in the series are a running joke. The more time Frasier spends with Niles and the Seattle elite, the more sophisticated he behaves.

    In general, I think Frasier’s personality changes can be attributed to moving out of the situation of Cheers. Even when Woody shows up in Frasier, they find that they can’t relate to each other anymore because it was more about sharing the experience of being in Boston at Cheers together than about having common interests or personalities. Frasier is generally flexible depending on who he is around and he moves along a continuum between a Sam Malone (or even Martin Crane)-type personality and a Niles-type personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Frasier lies frequently in “Frasier” to make a deal or avoid embarrassment. It is only in certain episodes where it is a part of the plot that he supposedly always follows his ethics.
      He hasn’t just changed due to a NBD, because he talks about some things as if he never participated or enjoyed them and a few of those things he did regularly on Cheers. In Frasier, he was never good at any sports except racquetball, and that apparently only after moving back to Seattle.
      General Sports: In Cheers, Frasier skied (near hotel where he stayed with Dianne) and talked about golfing. In Frasier he rhetorically and sternly asks Martin when he (Frasier) ever showed a liking for basketball. In another, Frasier repeats what his knowledgeable workmate said about a basketball game and Martin is stunned to hear him say something so accurate.
      Yes, he indicates he dislikes dogs on Cheers. He refers to dogs as one of God’s lesser creatures in one episode.
      Some of the differences could be explained by being more mature, or in other cases, more jaded.
      Martin Crane’s “death” was supposedly explained in the Sam episode on “Frasier”, but in Cheers, Frasier had, as the OP indicated, possessions from his late father. That implies an actual death, not just a story from when FC was upset.
      I watched Frasier first, then Cheers. It’s fun to see the people in Cheers who played *different* roles in “Frasier”: Mahoney played a chintzy song writer on Cheers, then Martin Crane. There were a couple others, but I forgot. Jennifer Tilly played the same basic character on both and Frasier nearly married her on Cheers.
      Nanny G was portrayed by Emma Thompson on Cheers and two different ones on Frasier (the one on the highway in his dream and Laurie Metcalf on the Nanny G episode).


      • As an addition to your mention of Mahoney playing the ad man/jingle writer; Peri Gilpin shows up in the last few episodes as a reporter doing a profile story on Woody during his run for City Council.


  5. Pingback: Westworld (Season 1) – Red Vines and Twizzlers

  6. Ken Levine created the Fraser character, when Cheers was cancelled, he had nothing more to do with the character, save for one episode. He was agasht at what the new writers had done to Fraser.


    • This is totally untrue. Ken Levine writes a blog where he has talked about his experiences creating the TV series Frasier among other things.


  7. Great analysis! Only thing I would mention is that in frasier you said he hates beer and never drinks it. He actually does drink a few beers with Martin when Dukes was about to be demolished so they broke into the cleared out bar for one last drink and ended up staying and drinking until the sun came up. Feel free to add that if you like! Other than that great job! 🙂


    • I’m currently re-watching Cheers and just saw the episode (S8E18 “Severe Crane Damage”) where Frasier rides on a Harley with a woman he calls “Viper”. But he rode on the back, she drove it. And at the end he admitted he was terrified and was done with it.


  8. I’ve always noticed the differences myself. I actually like him more when he was more relaxed at the Cheers bar which I think was kind of the point because you relax, hang out and go to a bar. I think he changed so much because he wanted to start over and write off “Hate” his past experiences except for the bar which he did bring up to Daphne he liked going to at one point showing up at her similar hangout. But personally, I found the way they portrayed his mother in Cheers actually reminds me of his brother’s Niles wife Maris. Um, I think they call that co-dependency? Poor Niles and Fraiser but then again if they had no conflict there would’ve been no show. Great comparison! I’ve thought about this is in the past too myself.


  9. My wife also noticed that in cheers it mentions Lilith being pregnant with a boy but she doesn’t remember them ever saying what happened to the boy and in Fraser it is never mentioned that he has a son or any children


    • I guess you weren’t paying attention? The son’s name is Frederick, and several episodes in each series were devited to him.


  10. I think this was Niles, not Frasier: “His devotion to his ethics is so strong that when he violates them he feels sick to the point of nearly vomiting.” Bottom line, Frasier was a supporting character on Cheers so changes had to be made in order for him to lead a show and get to 100 episodes at least. Great analyisis.


  11. I think the reasons behind the discrepancies were really rooted in the fact that they were making Frasier in a different landscape entirely. The thought people would one day have entire seasons of TV shoes on DVD or would be able to stream them was not even considered at the time. Though Cheers was in syndication when Frasier was in production (and still is), I doubt the producers of Frasier imagined these kinds of comparisons would be possible, as at most someone was watching perhaps a single episode of Cheers in an afternoon timeslot and a first run Frasier episode later that day. So, other than the most glaring inconsistencies, (like Frasier’s father being dead), they probably felt no great need to sew up loose ends.

    When you “binge” these shows you can really tell they weren’t intended to be viewed so close together, as evidenced by repetitive gags and callbacks which are almost grating when you watch a half dozen episodes in a row. I am working my way through Frasier and I noticed in season 3, he screams at the top of his lungs so often that it HAD to have been a conscious choice they made. It comes off as bizarre when I watch many episodes in succession but I never noticed it the first time around. it was just produced with a completely different mindset than a lot of stuff made today.


  12. I personally think Frasier in Frasier is more of a cover up of who he deep down really is. He moves to Seattle and constantly refers to himself as a well respected radio psychiatrist and therefore feels he needs to be seen as a well refined and educated man. He often refers to the fact that he is public icon and I suppose he feels like he’s being judged. I came to this conclusion when I watched the episode of Frasier- Daphne’s room season 2 episode 17. Right at the beginning of the episode he realises he’s alone in the apartment and begins playing he’s piano in a harmonic way before he changes and decides to play great balls of fire! Breaking out in song and and whizzing on his stool but suddenly stops and goes back to the original tune when Niles and Martin walk in. I do believe he likes the finer things in life like the places he’s dines and the opera ect but I also feel he likes the ordinary too. This is just my personal take on it


  13. The person I was at 30 and the person I was at 40 could not be more different. I used to watch sports, go to bars with friends, eat fast food, not exercise, listen to different music, etc. It’s not a stretch that Frasier would evolve in the same way, or that his behavior is situational depending on whom he is with.


Leave a Reply to Nic Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s