Frasier originally began as a spin off from Cheers, however it was able to carve its own identity very quickly and ended up running just as long as Cheers. 11 seasons in total, it is also now regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
Frasier is probably my favorite comedy series. It really succeeded on all counts. Great, clever story lines, sophisticated humor, likable, well fleshed out and interesting characters and terrific performances.
I think the key to the shows success was how divorced it was from its predecessor Cheers.
Cheers had been a huge series. As we explored in the last article Cheers was one of the most successful television series of all time with its finale being seen by over 90 million people in the US alone.
Thus as you can imagine when it came time for the spin off show it must have been tempting to make it more of a direct follow up to Cheers.
However Frasier instantly avoided just simply resting on Cheers long back catalogue by moving Frasier Crane into an entirely different city and creating a whole new family for the character to interact with which would in turn allow us to see a whole new side of him that we never could in Cheers.
In Cheers he was part of a large group of friends. We didn’t see much of his life outside of the bar apart from the odd episode with Lilith, and even then he and Lilith were always in the bar anyway. We certainly didn’t know much about his family or upbringing or back story.
In Frasier however through the characters of Niles his younger brother and Martin his father we were able to find out more about who the character really was as he was now part of a family, with his relationship with Martin and Niles being ultimately much more nuanced and deeper than any he had with say Sam, Cliff or Norm.
Frasier definitely stands as its own seperate series. You do not need to have seen or even know about Cheers to watch Frasier. Though most of the main cast of Cheers did make guest appearances in Frasier, ultimately the show more than manages to hold up on its own.
Just like I did for Cheers I will be giving an overview of the series as well as reviewing each of the main characters and looking at th top 10 greatest episodes (in my opinion).
The character of Dr Frasier Crane originally began on Cheers. He was introduced in the shows third season as Diane Chambers new love interest and a rival to Sam Malone. Ironically he was intended to be a very unlikable character that would eventually be dumped by Diane after only a few episodes. Kelsey Grammer who played the character however managed to win over audiences with his performance. He always managed to get a laugh from them, even when they were the flattest lines. The writers apparently at one point would deliberately give Grammer bad lines to see if he could get a rise from the audience with them and he always managed to. This can be seen in the season 4 episode “The Triangle” where Frasier after chewing Sam and Diane out gets a massive and unexpected round of applause from the audience simply because of Grammars delivery.
The characters popularity as well as the rapport Grammar struck up with Ted Danson caused the writers of Cheers to keep Frasier on even after Diane did eventually leave him in the final episode of season 3. He became a popular recurring character throughout season 4, and eventually a main cast member in season 5. He would remain a regular until the shows end, and was the center of many major storylines including his marriage to Lilith played by Bebe Newirth as well as the birth of their son, Liliths affair and his resulting suicide attempt, his brief romantic relationship with Rebecca Howe and his eventual reconciliation with Lilith.
In addition to this during his time on Cheers the character of Frasier along with Lilith appeared in a crossover episode of the sitcom Wings as did many other characters from Cheers.
Partway through filming Cheers season 9 Kelsey Grammer apparently approached the producers of Cheers and talked about doing another series with them once Cheers had finished.
Grammer said that he felt Cheers would be coming to an end soon and it only lasted two more series.
The new show Grammar was going to star in after Cheers had finished would have seen Grammar play an eccentric, crippled billionaire who tries to run his empire from his bedroom whilst being taken care of by his physical therapist who would have been Hispanic, with there being an extreme culture clash between Grammars character and his physical therapist.
Ultimately after this idea was rejected it was decided to instead spin the character of Frasier Crane off from Cheers into his own show.
Grammer said that initially he did not want to keep playing Frasier, but ultimately was won over by the quality of the pilots script.
Frasier’s own series which was simply titled Frasier is set many months after the end of Cheers.
At some point Frasier and Lilith who were shown to reconcile at the end of Cheers, finally break up for good and Lilith is granted custody of their son Frederick. Frasier soon finds his life in Boston difficult. Patients are hard to come by after his public suicide attempt, and he begins to find his life including even his nightly visits to Cheers now rather dull and boring.
Thus he decides to move back to his home town of Seatle. There he gets a job as a radio psychiatrist on KACL. Though he gets off to a ropey start, he soon becomes one of the most popular radio personalities in the city. He also strikes up a friendship with his producer Roz Doyle played by Peri Gilpin, and buys a lavish new apartment in the Elliot Bay towers. Finally he also reconciles with his younger brother Niles Crane played by David Hyde Pearce who is also a psychiatrist. Though Niles and Frasier are very close with one another they are also fiercely competitive too.
Just as Frasier is beginning to enjoy his new life in Seattle he has to take care of his father Martin Crane played by John Mahoney.
Martin Crane was a policeman. He had to retire when he was shot in the hip whilst stopping a robbery in a convenience store.
With his wife Hester Crane having passed away many years earlier, Martin now lives on his own. He walks with a cane after the shooting and is a difficult, miserable, grumpy, bad tempered man. His relationship with his sons was never close even when they were children. Frasier and Niles who both had very similar personalities had a taste for the finer things like wine and Opera whilst Martin instead had a much greater interest in sports.
Martin due to his disability finds that he is unable to live own and thus has to move in with Frasier despite their awkward relationship with one another.
Things do not go smoothly for Martin and Frasier. Both are cold and even downright hostile to one another (Martin more so than Frasier). Frasier also does not like Martin’s pet dog Eddie either who keeps annoying him by staring at him. Frasier also can’t stand his fathers ugly recliner either.
Things get so bad between them after only a few weeks that Frasier considers moving Martin into a retirement home, but on Niles suggestion he hires a physical therapist named Daphne Moon played by Jane Leeves who ends up coming to live with the two of them. After a heated argument with Martin however Frasier suggests that Martin and Daphne move into their own house, but Martin refuses saying that he believes that he and Frasier can develop a much closer relationship with one another and thus he continues to live with his son who agrees with him that there is a possibility of them becoming closer.
Niles meanwhile who is married to a rich, anorexic and selfish woman named Maris ends up falling in love with Daphne Moon. Though he does not act upon it and instead simply becomes a close friend of Daphne’s. Frasier and Martin meanwhile both notice Niles attraction to Daphne.
Things are tense between all three Crane men for the first year, and many attempts made by all 3 of them to try and bond with one another go disasterously wrong such as their attempts to eat at a favorite steak house of Martins which results in Frasier and Niles being rude to the waitresses and angering Martin to the point where he leaves in disgust. Then there is also Frasier and Martins attempt at going on a holiday in a Winabago together where they have to bring along Niles and Daphne together as buffers, and they end up dragging Daphne over the border to Canada which nearly results in her being deported back to England and Niles is also nearly caught video taping Daphne whilst she sleeps. Frasier and Niles attempts at writing a book together goes horribly wrong and results in the two men coming to blows.
One event that brings Martin and Frasier closer together however is when Frasier discovers that one of his parents had an affair. At first Frasier and Niles believe it to be Martin and Martin tells them it was him. Frasier later discovers that it was Hester however and that Martin only lied to protect her memory. Frasier then reveals to Martin that Lilith cheated on him as well with Dr Pascal and this helps bring the two of them much closer together.
Roz and Daphne also develop a very close relationship too and eventually become the best of friends. Roz also develops a friendship with Martin too, but her relationship with Niles is bad as Niles forgets who she is for a whole year and then when he finally does remember who she is he begins making fun of her sex life.
Frasiers love life meanwhile is bad. Though he is involved with many women he is often unable to make the relationship last. At one point his ex wife Lilith visits Seattle thinking that he wants to get back together with her after she discovers an old note written many months ago before their divorce in their old Boston flat where Frasier confesses his love for her. The two have a night of passion with one another after which they soon realize that they cannot get back together, but decide to remain friends.
Frasier soon settles into his new life comfortably and by the start of the second season he is much happier, more content person having re established relationships with all of his family as well as having made new friends and having forged a new and highly successful career.
His father Martin also becomes a much happier and more friendlier character too, thanks in part not just to Frasier, but his physical therapist Daphne Moon whom Martin becomes very close with.
Things don’t go entirely easy for Frasier however. He suffers a number of very public humiliations. He ends up getting into a fight with a critic who slates him publicly, he ends up offending the population of Seattle many times when he says a young woman would be better off leaving and then unknowingly calls the population of the city whiny twits on air and then tells a racist joke at an award ceremony, that also unknown to Frasier mocks a recent tragic event.
He also is frequently pranked by Bob Bulldog Briscoe a co worker at KACL who among other things makes Frasier sing three little maids in a high pitched squeaky voice. Roz often has to deal with Bulldogs leacherous advances too.
Lilith also gets married and though Frasier is jealous he nevertheless wishes her well in her new life.
At the start of season 3 Frasier begins a romance with his new boss at KACL Kate Costas. Initially he and Kate dislike one another hugely. However after a huge fight with one another they end up having sex. Unfortunately this results in yet another public humiliation when Frasier and Kate end up having sex in his booth which subsequently ends up on the air.
Though this nearly costs Frasier his job he still attempts to pursue a relationship with Kate, but the two decide to break it of after Kate leaves KACL and the two discover that they have nothing in common with one another.
Maris and Niles relationship meanwhile comes to an end when Niles with a little prodding from Frasier and Martin has enough of her selfish behavour.
Niles and Maris spend a long time trying to reconcile, and though they come close eventually Maris ends up having an affair with their marriage counseller Dr Shenkman ironically finally bringing an end to their marriage.
Martin meanwhile begins dating a woman named Sherry who though kind and considerate, Frasier and Niles nevertheless still dislike due to her loud and bombastic nature.
This leads to an argument between the Crane boys and their father, but eventually Frasier points out the hypocrisy of Martin being angry at them for not taking to Sherry, considering he always made their wives, Lilith and Maris feel unwelcome.
Martin acknowledges this and apologizes, with the three of them agreeing to be more civil to one another’s partners from now on.
Though Sherry and Martin are very happy together eventually the two break up due to the fact that Sherry doesn’t want to get married.
Roz also becomes pregnant after a one night stand and gives birth to a baby girl named Alice.
Frasier meanwhile after chickening out and leaving Daphne at a rally decides to make a stand over a non issue at his work which results in him getting fired by his new boss the sweet natured Kenny.
Feeling guilty at having fired him Kenny tries to get Frasier his job back, and though he succeeds he himself is fired.
Frasier then tries to recruit all of KACL’s talent including Bulldog to help him get Kenny’s job back but in doing so he gets all of them including himself fired.
Frasier soon goes through a long period of unemployment and depression whilst Niles meanwhile is also bled dry by Maris who after being dumped by Shenkman tries to get back with Niles only for Niles to angrily reject her. Maris in an attempt to get back at Niles drags their divorce out for months resulting in Niles having to leave his house and live in a small flat.
Things become more complicated for the Crane boys when Lilith’s new husband comes out as gay and leaves her. Lilith depressed returns to Seattle hoping to seduce Frasier but instead she and Niles end up in bed together. Though this causes a strain in all three’s relationship they are all ultimately able to overcome it.
Roz soon puts Niles up with a friend of hers named Donny Douglas. Donny proves to be an excellent lawyer and helps Niles win his lawsuit against Maris. However unfortunately Donny falls in love with Daphne and begins a relationship with her.
Frasier meanwhile is later given his old job back as are all of his old colleagues. Though his career soon returns to normal his love life still remains bad and he continues to wreck every promising relationship he has with a woman.
Roz and Bulldog meanwhile have an affair which comes to an end when Bulldog dumps her, though she had intended to dump him first. After Bulldog is fired from his job at KACL he ends up as Alice’s babysitter where he reveals that he is in fact in love with Roz and that was why he broke up with her because he was scared. Roz who does not feel the same way lets him down gently.
Donny and Daphne soon become engaged, whilst Niles heartbroken at having missed his chance with Daphne soon begins dating Maris’s former plastic surgeon Mel. Mel is like Maris, controlling, bossy, vain, selfish and bullies Niles, but Niles nevertheless ends up marrying her.
Frasier however accidentely lets it slip to Daphne that Niles is in love with her and Daphne soon develops feelings for Niles. Eventually Daphne lets it be known with help from Frasier how she feels about Niles and Niles and Daphne run away together mere days after Niles marries Mel and on Daphne and Donny’s wedding day. Donny is humiliated and tries to sue both Daphne and Frasier when he finds out that Frasier had a hand in bringing them together. Ultimately however Donny soon drops the lawsuit whilst Mel meanwhile promises Niles a quick divorce as long as he agrees to humiliate himself. Eventually however when Niles lets it be clear he loves Daphne in public and Mel’s story is blown with a friend of Mel’s making sure that they are both divorced as quickly as possible.
Niles and Daphne later decide to move in together but unfortunately things are complicated when Daphne’s mother moves to Seattle after Daphne’s father leaves her. She ends up living with Niles and Daphne and is a rude, cruel and obnoxious woman, but nevertheless her and Daphne do start to become closer as time goes on.
Niles and Daphne later decide to become engaged.
Frasier also begins a petty feud with his upstairs neighbor Kam Winston. Though Kam gets the better of Frasier in virtually every one of their confrontations the two do eventually bury the hatchet, with Martin even beginning a relationship with Kam’s mother briefly.
Roz meanwhile begins a relationship with a garbage man named Roger and the two soon fall in love, with Roger also developing a close relationship with Alice. Ultimately however their relationship ends and a depressed Roz later ends up sleeping with Frasier. The two however decide not to pursue a relationship and remain friends.
Niles later brings Daphne’s father to Seattle in an attempt to bring Daphne’s parents back together. Though it ends badly Daphne’s father later convinces Daphne to get married to Niles right away.
Lilith later returns to Seattle hoping to have another child with Frasier. Though Frasier does briefly consider it he ultimately decides against it, though he and Lilith part on good terms.
Niles also suffers a heart attack and very nearly dies, but he is fortunately able to recover.
Frasier later begins a relationship with a nasty woman named Julia at KACL whom Roz despises which leads to a slight strain in his and Roz’s relationship.
Frasier later ends up leaving Julia after she is rude to his entire family.
Daphne soon becomes pregnant with Niles child, whilst Daphne’s mother moves out, but still lives in Seattle.
Martin also enters into a relationship with Frasiers former babysitter Ronnie.
Frasier also returns to private practice, whilst keeping up his job at KACL.
Maris meanwhile murders her new and violent lover. She ultimately however is able to escape from prison and flees to a far away island.
Ronnie and Martin soon become engaged and eventually get married, with Martin moving out of Frasiers house, but not before thanking him for all he has done for him over the past 10 years. Roz is also made the new head of KACL after Kenny leaves to pursue his dream of becoming a radio star.
With all of his friends moving on to new chapters in their lives Frasier decides to move city once again. Having got a new job on television with the help of his dodgy agent Bebe Frasier leaves Seattle parting company with all of his friends and family on excellent terms, with all of them thanking him for the positive impact he has made in their lives. If it hadn’t had been for Frasier Niles would never have met Daphne and Martin would never have met Ronnie.
Though we are lead to believe that Frasier left Seattle to take a new job on television the end of the series actually reveals that he has instead flown to Chicago to be with a woman named Charlotte originally his matchmaker who he had fallen in love with, but who had to leave to resume her old job in Chicago. Whether or not they resumed their relationship is never revealed.
Frasier ran for an impressive 11 years, as long as Cheers itself did. It was consistently popular in terms of viewing figures and critical acclaim throughout its 11 year run. Kelsey Grammer’s character in The Simpsons Sideshow Bob would be modelled somewhat on Frasier and there would be a number of references to Frasier in Sideshow Bob’s many appearances most notably in the episode “Brother from Another Series” which featured David Hyde Pearce as Bob equally villainous brother Cecil. One scene even makes a reference to Maris. Another Episode features John Mahoney as Sideshow Bob and Cecil’s father. This episode “Funeral for a Fiend” was released 3 years after Frasier had finished and thus was a Frasier reunion in some ways.
Finally Kelsey Grammer would reprise his most famous role one more time in a Doctor Pepper advert in 2008. This advert sees Frasier back in his job as a radio shrink on KACL. If it is canon then it can be assumed his relationship with Charlotte didn’t work out. Or maybe it did, and they both decided to move back to Seattle.
Either way Frasier is back on KACL and he gets a phone call from Lilith with Bebe Newirth also reprising her role before he hangs up angrily. Here it is here.
To this day Frasier remains one of the most popular sitcoms of all time and has certainly stood the test of time as much as its predecessor Cheers has.
Now I found this to be a bit more difficult than deciding what the best seasons of Cheers were as I honestly love every single season of Frasier. However I would still agree with the general consensus that Frasier was definitely better in its earlier seasons.
I think the 11 seasons of Frasier generally tend to blend into one another more than the 11 seasons of Cheers. Cheers can be divided into two era’s the Diane years and the Rebecca years. Frasier however even though there are big changes in the shows dynamic such as Niles and Daphne getting together there isn’t quite such a clear distinction between two periods of the shows history.
Still overall looking back on it I would say that the best period in the shows history for me would be series 2-6 with Series 2 being the best series overall. Obviously it represents a time when the show was still fresh and full of ideas, however unlike season 1 they have also really established what the show is more clearly.
I do love season 1, but it can feel a bit uneasy watching it at times. It feels like Frasier, but its not quite there yet. Niles is a bit too much of a snob to the point where he can seem a bit unpleasant. Roz and Daphne have no interaction or relationship, and Martin is a miserable, bad tempered character.
I remember when I was young and I saw the later series first Martin was my favorite character because he seemed like such a nice, sweet, jolly old man with a great sense of humor. So as you can imagine when I later saw the early season 1 episodes where he is such a sour puss it was quite a shock.
However I actually really do like that about the character, how his life changes for the better in ways he could not have imagined. To begin with it seems like such a horrible situation he and Frasier are in. Martin can’t live on his own, he has a bad relationship with both of his children, and now he has to live with one of them, and both Frasier and Martin could not be more miserable about it. Both had these big plans. Frasier imagined himself as a swinging bachelor living in his fancy new flat, Martin hoped to retire and play golf with Hester, now they have both been thrust together. However its nice to see how both men are able to make the best of it and end up having an unbelievably happy life together. So much better than if they hadn’t ended up living together. Think how much worse Frasiers life would have been if Martin hadn’t been living with him? Think how much worse Martin’s life would have been? He would have never met Ronnie, his relationship with his sons would never have become so close and he would have been most likely on his own. Niles also would still be in an abusive relationship with Maris, and would never have met Daphne either.
Its wonderful watching Martin go from this bitter old man who feels his life is over to a happy, kind, sweet character who eventually ends up getting married again!
However whilst it is an interesting story it sometimes can feel a bit odd watching Martin and the other characters in their early years, and the relationship between Martin and Frasier can sometimes get a bit too tense such as in the third episode of the series 1 “Dinner at Eight”.
However by season 2 the show has already found its identity. Martin is closer to the Martin we know from later years. Roz and Daphne’s friendship has begun and they have toned down Niles somewhat.
Series 2 contains some of the shows best episodes and is probably its most consistent series overall.
Series 3 is a good strong series. For the first time it introduces a recurring character who serves as a love interest for Frasier, Kate Costas. Most of Frasier’s romantic partners were just cardboard cut out characters who had little or no personality and really served no purpose other than to get Frasier into an embarassing situation..
Kate was a great match for Frasier. Much like Lilith she was a strong, dominant woman who could really put Frasier in his place. Mercedes Ruehl also had great chemistry with Kelsey Grammer too, she was probably the actress who played off of him as a girlfriend the best after Bebe Neuwirth. I don’t think they ever matched the Frasier/Lilith chemistry in Frasier with any of his many girlfriends, but Kate was definitely the one who I think came closest.
Series 3 also tried to shake things up a bit by having Niles and Maris become seperated.
Season 4 meanwhile has always been a favorite of mine. It is probably the most consistent series in terms of quality after series 2.
Series 5 I think not only also a very strong series overall but it has probably the best finale for me. I just love watching Frasier get everybody fired through his own arrogance and flat out stupidity.
Series 6 though having many great episodes is really where I think the golden age of Frasier begins to end. Niles and Daphne’s romance begins to take over the show a bit too much. I have never liked Niles and Daphne’s romance. Much like Sam and Diane I found it to be tedious and completely unbelievable.
Really I defy anyone to find a more ridiculous couple than Niles and Daphne. They have nothing in common with one another yet they never have virtually any arguments with one another either. At least Sam and Diane’s incompatibility was addressed as a major plot point Niles and Daphne’s never was except for one episode “Daphne Returns” where they had one fight and that was that.
From then on there are many Niles/Daphne episodes and the introduction of Daphne’s family as recurring characters is also a turn for the worst in my opinion. However I didn’t mind Daphne’s mother quite as much in series 10.
Still don’t think this means that I feel there are any bad seasons of Frasier. There is still a lot to be enjoyed in the later years.
One of the real sadly under utilized highlights of the later seasons is definitely Cam Winston, Frasiers nemesis. Kam was essentially the Frasier equivilant of Gary from Cheers, but it didn’t matter as like Gary he was loads of fun and just the way Kelsey Grammer would shout hysterically “CAM WINSTON!” was in itself comedy gold.
The finale series of Frasier I’d say is close to being the weakest. There are some truly outstanding episodes such as “The Doctor is Out” which features a very memorable guest performance from Patrick Stewart. However I don’t like the direction this year takes overall. I am not that big a fan of Ronnie Martins main love interest. She was okay, but I would have preferred Martin to have ended up with Cam Winston’s mother. Not only she was she ages with Martin, but it would have been a wonderful twist if they had gotten married and Frasier and Cam ended up as step brothers!
The ending of the series itself also left me a bit flat too. I liked how they resolved Niles and Daphne’s storyline. Even though I am not a fan of Niles and Daphne I think it was nice after all the hell Niles went through with Maris and Mel that he finally ended up with the woman he loved and a nice family. Similarly I did like the way Martin finally found love again too and I also liked the way we really saw what a positive impact Frasier had had on his friends and family’s lives and how him leaving Boston wasn’t just a good thing for him.
However I sadly don’t think the finale did a good job of rounding Frasier himself’s storyline up. It basically ends on a cliff hanger and also I don’t really like Charlotte either. I fail to see what makes Charlotte so special that he wont just mess things up with her the way he has done with every woman he has been involved with for the past 10 years.
I think in order to really hammer home the idea of Frasier having finally found the one then they would have had to had her be in the entire last season as a main character rather than just thrown in at the last minute.
A lot of fans over the years have suggested that it would have been better to have had him and Roz finally get together. I must admit I have mixed feelings about this. They definitely could not have had them get together in the series itself. However they could have had them get together in the last episode. If done right it could have been very moving seeing these two people who have both been so unlucky in love and been through so much together falling in love.
I will admit ending Frasier’s storyline was probably a very difficult thing to do. They had made him for the past 11 years someone who could not hold down a relationship for longer than three weeks. To suddenly have him find the one and not mess things up now would seem ridiculous.
Thus you are only left with 3 options.
Have him and Roz get together which would be very difficult thing to do and if done wrong could make them both just seem like they were settling after all of their failed relationships.
Have him get back together with Lilith which would seem very unlikely after 10 years of them both going on about how bad their relationship was.
Have him suddenly find the one after 11 years of destroying every relationship with every woman he has been involved with, many of whom were completely perfect for him.
Thus having him appear in a promising relationship that we are just left to assume this time he might make work is probably the only thing they could have done.
I remember I once imagined a truly awful ending for Frasier just for fun. I had Niles and Daphne breaking up and Daphne telling Niles he was never going to see his son again, Martin and Ronnie splitting up and Frasier getting back with Lilith, not because they loved each other, just because they are desperate. Frasier then goes back to Boston and the final shot sees him walk back into Cheers where he tells Sam Malone that the last 11 years were a complete waste of time.
That truly would have been the worst ending to any tv show ever made ever!
Overall I would rank the seasons of Frasier like this
1/ 2nd season
2/ 4th season
3/ 5th season
4/ 3rd season
5/ 6th season
6/ 7th season
7/ 1st season
8/ 8th season
9/ 9th season
10/ 10th season
11/ 11th season
I don’t think Frasier had a single bad season, though obviously some were better than others. I think it remained consistent throughout its entire run and was still producing classic episodes right to the end.
Top 10 episodes
10/ Love Bites Dog
Now Bulldog episodes were always favorites of mine. I think in much thee same way as John Hill episodes of Cheers really gave Ted Danson a chance to do some of his best comedic acting then Bulldog episodes of Frasier really gave Kelsey Grammer an opportunity to up his performance too.
This can be seen in the last part of the episode where in order to get Bulldogs spirits up Frasier has to pretend to be a regular guy. Frasier trying to be all macho and callng Bulldogs ex a bitch and screaming about dumping his next girlfriend someone hotter “because we’re guys and THAT’S WHY GUYS DO!” is one of Kelsey’s best ever performances and it gets even better when he tries to do it to Niles only for Niles to slap and bring him back to normal after which he minces off into the distance.
That was one of the great things about Kelsey’s performance as Frasier is the way he could be so masculine when he shouted and screamed yet so effeminate at other times such as when he was with Niles.
9/ Travels With Martin
One of my fave season 1 episodes, this episode offers us quite a funny insight into the Crane family history where we see how awful their holidays where due to their different interests. Its also funny watching the four of them, Niles, Frasier, Daphne and Martin try and escape from the difficult situation they land themselves in.
John Mahoney has in fact cited this as his favorite episode as he says he likes the way Martin goes back to treating Niles and Frasier like children even at one point shouting at a driver “Hey watch it I got my kids in the car”.
8/ The 1000th Show
I always loved this episode. To me this episode demonstrates Frasiers extreme ego better than any other, not only through the Frasier Crane day rally that he sets up but also through the way he doesn’t walk down a particular street because he is afraid he will be mobbed by fans like The Beatles or when he tries on every pair of shoes in the shoe shop. Its also one of Niles finest hours as we see the depth of his petty jealousy too. I think one of David Hyde Pearce’s best moments as a physical comedian is in this episode when he thinks a man tried to assault him with a fish. That bit never fails to crack me up.
7/ Bad Dog
Another great Bulldog episode. This is probably the episode that casts Bulldog in the most unsympathetic light in the entire series. Normally Bulldog is a bit jerk, but a lot of the time he is shown to have a heart of gold. However here he is a miserable cringing coward who actually uses a pregnant woman as a shield.
My favorite thing about this episode is the way Frasier goes to all of these big Shakespearian schemes where brings in everyone from his mother to his number 1 fan to brake Bulldog and in the end its Martin who gets him with something so simple “Hey Bulldog there’s a guy there with a gun.”
Its a classic example of how Frasier and Martin see things so completely differently and also how Martins more simplistic approach is more effective.
6/ The Show Where Lilith Shows Up
The first of many Lilith and Cheers crossover episodes. This is the best in my opinion. Lilith’s introduction alone is a classic where she humiliates Frasier on the air. I love the way Frasier is so humiliated he actually tries to fire Roz who orchestrated Lilith being on his show. When you think of the times and ways Roz has humiliated Frasier the fact that it was this one that provoked him into firing her shows how much Lilith was able to get under his skin.
Lilith fits into Frasiers world perfectly, as well as she fits into Cheers in fact. Her interactions with all of the main cast are great. Her intimidating both Martin and Eddie, Daphne getting a psychic headache in her presence, Niles beef with her over her sniggering at Maris’s wedding vows and her and Roz teaming up to mercilessly tease Frasier. If there’s two people who can really put him in his place then its these two.
Overall a great episode, and its not hard to see why they would bring Lilith back almost once every year, sometimes more often.
The character of Lilith really became the big link between both Cheers and Frasier as she was the only character other than Frasier himself to become a prominent character in both.
5/ The Matchmaker
This episode demonstrates what Frasier does the best absurd farces where the main characters get completely the wrong impression. I love the way Roz has the chance to tell Tom the station manager who thinks he and Frasier are going out the truth, but she decides not to because Frasier is his usual arrogant, condescending self. I always loved those moments where Frasier is about to walk into absolute disaster and Roz could easily stop him and is about to but because he is so arrogant and conceited Roz just lets him go to hell his own way and gets a good chuckle out of it.
Tom proves to be a incredibly likable character. Its great the way he takes the truth in such a cool way. Even though its a farce, for once it doesn’t blow up in Frasier’s face. I’m almost sad at the end that he and Frasier didn’t end up together. Just saying I would have preferred him to Charlotte.
There are so many great moments in this episode, from Roz calling Niles a little titmouse, Martins reaction to finding out Tom is here for Frasier and Tom’s reaction to Maris being a woman.
All around an excellent episode.
4/ The Two Mrs Crane’s
Another great farce episode, though this one doesn’t end so well for Frasier. Where as with Tom it was just a simple misunderstanding with Clive they deliberately lie. Unfortunately all of their little lies backfire on them when they start to use them to to take digs at each other.
My favorite is when Niles says that Frasier is impotent.
I also love the way that Martin is the only one who is able to keep up his lie, despite Frasier telling him that he wouldn’t be smart enough to do so.
Clive’s finale words about Martin being a sweet old astronaut are just pure brilliance.
3/ The Doctor is Out
This episode is just pure class from start to finish. Patrick Stewarts performance really helps to elevate it, but there are plenty of other classic moments such as Frasier dancing in the gay bar with his kinky little shorts or him yelling at Gil “SHUT UP YOU BIG QUEEN!”. Classic angry Frasier moment.
2/ Radio Wars
Now it could be argued that this is just a remake of an earlier season 3 episode where Bulldog keeps pranking Frasier all of the time. One prank where Carlos and the Chicken make Frasier sing “I’m in the mood for love” is even similar to Bulldogs prank where he makes him sing “Three little maids”. Still I don’t care this is one of my favorite episodes. My favorite bit is at the end where Frasier tries to get revenge on them, yet he is so clueless, despite being a supposed expert in human behavour he doesn’t realize the brilliant weakness he has exploited in Carlos and the Chicken and continues to try and make his long winded and stupid speech to them.
1/ Ham Radio
Often hailed as the best episode of Frasier ever made by many this is certainly my favorite episode. This was in fact the first episode of Frasier I ever saw on an old best of Frasier video that my sister had got for Christmas.
I just love everything about this episode from Frasier driving the actor to quite with his egomania to Roz saying “mupple mubbeber” after being at the dentist when she is supposed to be playing a woman with an exotic accent.
However I think its Gil that steals the show. I always loved Gils character. Him, Bulldog and Kenny I think really added a lot to the show.
I love when he tries to include his cheesy speech about his boyhood in Surrey that Frasier cut. That one line made me a Frasier fan for life “Rumping with my school chums in the fens and spinneys”.
Frasier Crane is definitely one of televisions greatest characters. He is really an absolute tour de force. The character of Frasier above all else is portrayed as intensely likable. He is at his heart a good man who genuinely wants to help people and who does despite his somewhat bumbling nature make his friends and families lives much better.
He takes care of his invalid father for over a decade, he helps both Niles and Daphne get together, he offers constant and vital support to Roz when her child is born. Thus regardless of his many faults and there are many you always still root for Frasier.
Of course at the same time this does not mean you don’t take immense enjoyment in watching his many public humiliations. The great thing about Frasier’s many failures is that they are almost all self inflicted. Frasier is almost Shakespearian in his downfall. He never listens to anyone and often treats those around him like Martin and Roz like children, even once exclaiming that when he is wrong the world makes a little less sense.
Thus its always funny watching his own arrogance and ego completely destroy him.
The only times it can get a little bit annoying are to do with his love life. It can be frustrating watching Frasier break up with so many perfect women for him for the stupidest reasons like when he dumps Claire who could not be more of a match for him in season 9.
Still overall I would rate Frasier as one of my all time favorite characters in anything.
So many people I have spoken to have said that Niles is their favorite character and its not hard to see why. Whilst I’d say it is still unquestionably Grammers series I think its also fair to say that David Hyde Pearce was as good a find for this series as Kelsey Grammer was for Cheers.
Pearce was a better foil for Grammer than anyone in either Cheers or Frasier even Lilith. They play off of each other in so many great ways. There are great moments of hilarity such as their endless and petty fighting, but there are also a number of touching moments where we see the depth of how much they really do care for one another.
Niles offered quite an interesting parallel to Frasier. In many ways he was quite similar to the Frasier we were first introduced to at the start of Cheers. David Hyde Pearce even described Niles as the Frasier who never went to Boston.
Thus we saw how Frasier who had obviously benefited from his experiences at Cheers was able to in some ways bring Niles down to earth, but at the same time we were also able to see how Niles managed to drag Frasier bag into his old habits and make him the snob he had been before he went to Cheers.
Growing up Martin Crane was always my favorite character growing up. I think Martin is arguably the most well developed character over the course of the series. When we first see him he could not be a more difficult character. He does nothing but put his son down and moan about his lot in life. However gradually over the course of the first two years we see Martin grow into a much happier character and his relationship with his son improve greatly.
By season 3 its hard to imagine Martin and Frasier ever having had a bad relationship. Despite their different personalities they are always there for each other when it counts. One of my favorite moments is in “Frasier Grinch” when Martin buys Frasier the outlaw lazer robo geek he hadn’t bought Freddie for Christmas.
I also loved the last episode of series three where we see unseen flashbacks to just before the start of the series where Martin can barely even talk to either of his sons, then at the end of the episode we cut back to the present and Martin enters the apartment chatting casually to Niles with a big smile on his face. Its wonderful to see how far he has come in both his relationship with his sons and his general attitude to life in only three years.
Martin’s story is overall a very uplifting one. We see a man go from being a crippled widowed invalid who can barely speak to his sons, to a happy, loving father who eventually marries again.
Daphne Moon is a character I have mixed feelings for. I don’t dislike her, but I feel she is a character who only works with certain other characters. Her and Martin are always a great pairing with Daphne being like the daughter Martin never had. Her and Roz are also a great double act too particularly when they are whining about Frasier. One of my fave moments is when Roz says in order to get rid of Frasier she tells him he has lost weight and he ends up checking his arse in the reflection of the fending machine, whilst Daphne tells him he has gained weight and he skips dinner and sulks in his bedroom and Daphne has the whole evening to herself.
However whilst Daphne works well with these characters sadly she is awful with Niles as her and Niles are totally unbelievable couple. This is isn’t a problem in earlier series but in the later years after her and Niles get together they are almost always paired together and whilst Niles still gets plenty of good moments with Frasier, Daphne sadly I feel gets to interact less with Martin and Roz and Frasier all of whom she ironically plays off of better than her own husband.
I was completely in love with Roz growing up, and even today I’d still say Roz is the perfect woman in every way, gorgeous, intelligent and witty.
Its wonderful the way she can cut Frasier down to size at any moment. Though he doesn’t know it because he is so arrogant he is completely at the mercy of Roz’s acid tongue.
Sadly Roz was often the most wasted character. Indeed there are many episodes where her total screen time amounts to probably no more than two or three minutes.
Still Roz I think still served a vital role in the series as it was really through her that I think we were able to see other memorable characters at KACL such as Kenny, Bulldog, Noel and Gil. She was Frasiers link to KACL.
She was also Frasiers only friend who wasn’t a member of or in some way connected to his family and thus I think really enabled the show to be more than just another family sitcom.
Other Series That Are Set In The Same Universe As Frasier
Obviously Frasier takes place in the same canon as Cheers being a spin off from that series. However what a lot of people don’t know is that Frasier also takes place in the same universe as many other classic 90’s American sitcoms.
Before Frasier got his own series. Back when he was a character on Cheers he and Lilith appeared in an episode of Wings.
The characters of Daphne Moon and Niles Crane also appeared in an episode of the short lived 90’s sitcom Caroline and the City in the episode Caroline and the Bad Back. Chandler Bing also appeared in an episode of this series too.
Thus through Caroline and the City both Frasier and Friends are set in the same universe. Friends also had a crossover with another series Mad About You. The character of Ursula Buffay Phoebe’s twin sister was a recurring character on both Mad About You and Friends. Seinfeld in turn also had a crossover with Mad About You. Cosmo Kramer appeared in an episode of Mad About You.
Thus through Mad About You Friends and Seinfeld are set in the same canon which means that Seinfeld and Mad About You are set in the same canon as Frasier and Caroline in the City too.
Pretty cool eh. Sadly however Cheers also had a crossover with St Elsewhere. Since the events of St Elsewhere where revealed to be a dream this means that Cheers and Frasier and Caroline in the City and Friends and Seinfeld and Mad About You are all just a dream too, so I guess you can’t take these crossovers too seriously. Apart from Frasier and Cheers obviously.