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Frasier aired from September 1993 until May 2004 on NBC.
In this witty sequel to one of television's most famous shows, Cheers'neurotic psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane ( Kelsey Grammer) got off his Boston barstool, divorced his nagging wife , Lillith, and moved back to his hometown of Seattle to begin a new life, which turned out to be a lot like his old life, full of smart people who constantly deflated his pompousness. Frasier had a new job, hosting a radio advice show on KACL, and a striking , ultrachic apartment with a panoramic view of the Seattle skyline. Into this too orderly world came his psychiatrist brother Niles ( David Hyde Pierce), who was even fussier than he was, and his grumpy blue-collar dad, Martin ( John Mahoney), a retired cop. Martin was disabled ( he had been shot in the line of duty)and came to live with Frasier, bringing his disgustingly tattered favorite chair and his small dog, Eddie, who simply sat and stared at Frasier. The three men argued constantly.
Smoothing the waters was Daphne ( Jane Leeves), a cheerful-and seemingly psychic -English home-care worker and physical therapist who looked after Dad. Frasier's chief foils at the station were sensible Roz ( Peri Gilpin), his producer and call-screener( oh, those nutty calls), and Bulldog ( Dan Butler), the macho sportscaster( The Gonzo Sports Show). Perhaps the funniest character in Frasier was not even seen at all. Niles' rich, insufferable wife, Maris, was only spoken of or descibed as she moved off-camera, flaunting convention and sweeping lower classes of humanity before her. Niles, who lived with her in her family's preposterously ornate gothic mansion provided hilarios running commentary.
Also interacting with Frasier was Gil(Edward Hibbert) , the restaurant critic at the station. Memorable guests included Frasier's conniving agent Bebe Glazer ( Harriet Sansom Harris) and his school age son Frederick ( various actors , most frequently Trevor Einhorn). Several Cheers alumni dropped by: Shelley Long, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, and Bebe Neuwirth ( Lillith). Real-life celebrities who did guest shots as callers to Frasier's show -literally phoning in their roles -included Mel Brooks ( as a man who was traumatized because Santa left him a dead puppy), Art Garfunkel ( who had so little to do that he agreed to stay on the line until tomorrow), Kevin Bacon ( one of Roz's bad dates), Jane Pauley ( Who set someone's lawn on fire for not curbing their dog), Randy Travis( who couldn't fit into his evening gown), and Bob Costas ( who asked a complicated basketball question).
Niles and Maris seperated in early 1997, leading to a long estrangement and eventually a divorce, in which Niles's unseen skinnier-than-imaginable " ice princess" tried to bleed him dry. Niles longed for Daphne , who took his shy advances as friendly banter and didn't realize he truly loved her. All the principals actively dated, resulting in one calamity after another . In 1997, Roz became pregnant , giving birth in May 1998, just as Frasier cost the entire KACL , crew their jobs by inadvertently convincing station management to switch to an all-Latin format ( they were rehired after a few months).
Joining in later seasons were Kenny Daly (Tom McGowan), the new station manager, and Donnie (Saul Rubinek), Niles' scrappy lawyer. Mel ( Jane Adams) was initially Frasier's girlfriend but she subsequently eloped with Niles. Niles really loved Daphne , however, so he and Mel eventually divorced -though not until Mel had tormented him for months by making him engage in a "sham" marriage. Finally during the 2000-2001 season , Niles and Daphne began dating and were engaged. The engagement was so long and complicated that in September 2002 they simply ran off to Reno and got married, to the dismay of parents and friends who wanted a formel wedding.
Frasier's and Niles' favorite hangout was the Cafe Nervosa. Eddie the dog was played by " Moose" for most of the run.
Most of the regulars found closure in the final episode.Daphne, who had become pregnant earlier in the season, gave birth to a baby boy, David. Martin found love in loud, sarcastic Ronee( Wendie Malick), and they were married by Frasier in a riotous wedding. Roz was named station manager, replacing the departed Kenny. And Frasier decided that the latest in a long parade of girlfriends -a onetime matchmaker named Charlotte ( Laura Linney)-was his true love. When she left Seattle to return to her business in Chicago, Frasier quit KACL, telling everyone that it was time to " take chances" and he was accepting a better job in San Francisco. But at the end of the episode viewers saw his plane landing in Chicago instead.
A Review from USA TODAY
Published on September 16, 1993
TV PREVIEW/BY MATT ROUSH
Cheers to NBC's Frasier
Frasier Crane has traded in ye olde boozy Boston haunt for something ( ugh) trendier, a Seattle coffee bar, drowning his fussy sorrows in a cafe latte supremo.
But the news about Frasier isn't all bad.
With NBC yearning to keep a bit of Cheers alive, Frasier fills the bill with an arch and often funny new setup. Like that classic comedy of losers, this spinoff earns its yuks by pricking the pompous , as in moving a ratty recliner into a delux condo of designer furniture.
Kelsey Grammer is in fine, puffed-up form in his new post as radio pop-shrink, dispensing addled advice to miserable call-in wrenches with celebrity voices ( Griffin Dunne and Linda Hamilton in the opener). As you'd expect, his own life is a wreck.
Having left Lillith and child behind, Frasier finds his much-coveted personal space invaded by his invalid dad , La-Z-Boy and mutely hostile dog in tow. Father Crane is such an intolerable , cantankerous irritant, even the talented John Mahoney can't make him sympathetic.
Too often ( at least in the first two episodes), this degenerates into loud shouting matches between persnickety Frasier and gruff-coot dad who snaps: " Aren't you the little hothouse flower?"
Thanks then to a delightful supporting cast to lighten things up a bit.
David Hyde Pierce, so hilarious as the suicidal son-in-law in NBC's neglected Powers That Be, is sly and waspish as Frasier's equally snobby brother, also a psychiatrist in a bad marriage.
And Jane Leeves, who played Miles' dotty girlfriend on Murphy Brown and Seinfeld's virgin, steals her scenes with a Tracey Ullman-esque eccentricity as the dad's part-psychic and all-loony live-in caretaker.
Befitting its pseudo-intelectual hero Frasier borrows a self-consciously arty Woody Allen gimmick with title cards to set up scenes: The Job, The Brother, Dear God, It Wasn't a Dream.
It doesn't get in the way, but its awfully affected. Thankfully the writing itself is rarely so coy , and Cheers vet James Burrows' direction is a polished delight.
Like most other Cheers fans, it's impossible not to miss the gang back East. But given the disappointing season at hand, Frasier will do.
A Review from The New York Times
Review/Television; A 'Cheers' Spinoff, Set in
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: October 21, 1993
One guy is a bit of a slob, happy to plop into his vibrating Barcalounger with a can of beer; the other is a finicky esthete, partial to fine wines and Eames chairs. Think Oscar and Felix in "The Odd Couple." The older one is working-class gruff; the younger upwardly-mobile sarcastic. Think Archie and Meathead in "All in the Family." "Frasier," Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC, is not the season's most original concept, but it's one of the few new series likely to survive. And deservedly, not just because it follows "Seinfeld."
Played with finely tuned pomposity by Kelsey Grammer, Frasier Crane, psychiatrist, is of course the character originally created for "Cheers." "Frasier" is the spinoff, developed by David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee, the team that also lists "Wings" among its post-"Cheers" credits.
Frasier has left Boston and his wife and young son to return alone to his hometown of Seattle. He has a radio call-in show on which he dispenses pop psychiatry to listeners (whose voices are supplied, "Simpsons"-like, by well-known but uncredited actors). His unimpressed producer is Roz Boyle (Peri Gilpin), who is somehow capable of finding a career lesson for Frasier in the long-ago suicide of the actress Lupe Velez.
At home, in an elegantly appointed apartment invaded by that Barcalounger, Frasier copes with his grumpy father, Martin (John Mahoney); Dad's odd little dog, Eddie, and a chirpy live-in home-care worker, Daphne (Jane Leeves) from Manchester, England. Daphne claims to be a psychic. Frasier discovers that his quest for solitude has been stymied by "my father, Mary Poppins and the hound from hell."
Rounding out the cast of regulars is Frasier's younger brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), also a psychiatrist. Oozing Yale University from every pore, Niles is even more fastidious than Frasier, the kind of pin-neat gent who chuckles discreetly about pranks at his wine club. "What scamps you are!" says Frasier dryly. Niles is married to Maris, who is never seen because of what he refers to as her "episodes." Maris is cold and distant but Niles loves her because she reminds him of his mother. But he also seems to be developing a yen for Daphne. "She's psychic," Frasier loftily informs him. "We've decided to find it charming."
With the pacing genius James Burrows directing the first several episodes, "Frasier" has managed to scatter an inordinate amount of inspired goofiness within its rather limited confines, from a mariachi band showing up for a public confrontation between Frasier and a newspaper columnist to tonight's family photo session before a Christmas tree for holiday cards (emerging from his bedroom, Frasier wonders, "Exactly how long have I been asleep?").
Martin, a former policeman, is recovering from an on-the-job bullet wound and can no longer take care of himself. That's why he's living with Frasier and providing endless opportunities for confrontations, both generational and cultural. For breakfast, Dad far prefers "eggs in a nest" to what he calls Frasier's "girlie food" of bran muffin and yogurt. Cheese? asks Dad. "No," Frasier replies in perfect deadpan, "I'd like to leave some blood flow for the clot to go swiftly to my head." When Martin buys a new sharkskin suit ("Look how it changes color when I move"), Frasier mutters something about "lumbering through life like some great polyester dinosaur."
Admittedly, the arch snobbery of Frasier and Niles can induce uneasiness and perhaps even downright hostility. But beneath the silly haughtiness ("I need routine," Frasier insists. "It is the magic that is me") are two intelligent middle-aged men desperately trying to position themselves in relation to their own lives and that of their aging parent. They are rather uncommon characters in a terribly common predicament. More to the point, Mr. Grammer and Mr. Pierce, perhaps the season's biggest scene stealer after Eddie the dog, can score serious points while being steadily hilarious. They and the rest of the cast are putting on a splendid act. Frasier NBC, tonight at 9:30 (Channel 4 in New York) Created and written by David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee; directed by James Burrows; director of photography, Ken Lamkin; art director, Roy Christopher; executive producers, Mr. Angell, Mr. Casey and Mr. Lee, with Christopher Lloyd. WITH: Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney.
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; A Chip Off The Old Sitcom
By ELIZABETH KOLBERT
Published: February 27, 1994
FROM ITS FIRST WEEKS LAST fall, "Frasier" was a hit consistently among the top 10 shows on television. Perhaps this does not surprise you; the sitcom, after all, grew out of one of the most beloved programs of all time, "Cheers." NBC could have put on Norm's putative wife, you say, and still have done good business.
Apparently you have forgotten "The Tortellis." That was the original "Cheers" spinoff, built around Carla's slimy ex-husband, Nick. It ran for just four months in 1987.
And in fact, that is frequently the fate of spinoffs. In light of the family histories of shows like "Tabitha" (daughter of "Bewitched") and "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye" (son of "The Rockford Files"), what is surprising about "Frasier" is not that it is in the top 10 but that it is still on the air at all.
"When I heard about 'Frasier,' my immediate, informed TV-guy response was: 'This will never make it to the end of the season,' " said Robert Thompson, an associate professor of television at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
To be sure, "Frasier" has more going for it than just Dr. Frasier Crane, the pedantic psychiatrist who once provided intellectual ballast for the bar. Seen Thursday nights at 9:30, the show follows "Seinfeld," which is now the third-highest-rated program on television. And, as everyone in programming knows, in television as in dating, a good introduction is more than half the battle.
"The show has had a very good opportunity, and it has taken advantage of it," said Grant Tinker, the former chairman of NBC and the founder of MTM Entertainment. Still, he added, success for a spinoff "is not an automatic at all."
The demise of "Cheers" was not yet sealed when talk of possible -- and multitudinous -- spinoffs began. Thus far, "Frasier" is the only one, and its producers say they demanded that it stay that way. "We didn't want to be one of those six new 'Cheers' shows," said David Angell, an executive producer of the program and a "Cheers" veteran. "We didn't want it to be, 'Do we watch the Carla show tonight or the Norm show?' "
Peter Casey, also an executive producer of "Frasier" and a "Cheers" alumnus, said he had qualms because of the poor track record of spinoffs. The first thing the producers decided to do in creating "Frasier," he said, was to move the eponymous character to a new job as the host of a radio call-in show in Seattle, as far away from Boston as possible "so it wasn't constantly in the shadow of 'Cheers.' " They also set out to transform Frasier, an eccentric on the original show, into a more mainstream character. "We had to humanize Frasier, make him more down to earth," Mr. Angell said. So they surrounded him with his own band of eccentrics.
On his series, Frasier, played by Kelsey Grammer, has acquired a brash, Mary Matalin-type producer, Roz, played by Peri Gilpin; a neurasthenic brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce); and a gruff ex-policeman father (John Mahoney). (Die-hard "Cheers" fans may recall Frasier's once mentioning that his father was a research scientist; that didn't quite fit in with the game plan.)
The show was also given a different atmosphere. "Cheers" was a "workplace comedy," though not much work ever got done; "Frasier" is more a "domestic comedy," set mainly in Frasier's apartment.
Recently, Frasier's ex-wife, Lilith, played by Bebe Neuwirth, made the trip out west for one episode, boosting the ratings considerably. Though some on the show's staff were tempted to bring her on earlier, Mr. Casey and Mr. Angell said they had resisted the idea until "Frasier" had time to create an identity of its own.
Warren Littlefield, president of NBC Entertainment, who is understandably thrilled with "Frasier," says spinoffs have been unfairly maligned and cites hits like "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," which emerged from "The Andy Griffith Show," as proof of the genre's strengths. When the audience already knows and likes a character, he says, "that's something to be celebrated, not avoided."
The genre is, in fact, almost as old as television; in 1955, "The Gene Autry Show" begat "The Adventures of Champion," a vehicle for Mr. Autry's horse. (Sadly for Champion, his show lasted only six months.)
The difficulty with spinoffs is that they are beset with all the problems of other shows, plus other problems uniquely their own. Characters who seemed enormously appealing in an ensemble may wear thin when forced to go solo. And inevitably, the spinoff is measured against the original, a comparison that is often less than propitious.
A classic case of unmet expectations was "Aftermash," a spinoff from "M*A*S*H." The show, which reunited Sherman Potter, Max Klinger and Father Mulcahy in a Veterans Administration hospital in Missouri, lasted just one season. Similarly, "Joanie Loves Chachi," a spinoff from the enormously popular series "Happy Days," made it through only half a season. Most of the cast ended up spinning back to "Happy Days."
The list of such disappointing sequels is, if not endless, certainly substantial. A sampling: "The Colbys" was a spinoff from the prime-time soap opera "Dynasty"; it died before finishing its second season. "The Brady Brides" reunited "The Brady Bunch" girls as married women; it was canceled after two months.
The show that probably produced more spinoffs than any other was "All in the Family." First came "Maude," whose title character started out as Archie Bunker's cousin. "Maude" ran for six years -- and produced its own spinoff, "Good Times," featuring Maude's maid, Florida Evans. "Good Times" lasted five seasons.
Another spinoff, "The Jeffersons," was built around Archie's black neighbor and alter ego, George Jefferson; a mammoth hit, it lasted 10 years and produced its own spinoff, "Checking In," centered on Florence, the Jeffersons' maid. "Checking In" checked out after a mere four weeks.
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was yet another mighty progenitor. It brought forth "Lou Grant," which ran five seasons; "Rhoda," which ran for four, and the scarcely remembered "Phyllis," which lasted two.
In recent years, what has become more common than the actual spinoff is the fake spinoff, by which characters are introduced on one show expressly for the purpose of launching a new show. This is what happened, for example, with "Melrose Place"; just before the premiere of that show, some of its characters were introduced on "Beverly Hills 90210." By the same strategy, characters from a forthcoming Aaron Spelling production, "Models Inc.," are to make an appearance this spring on "Melrose Place."
In the end, of course, probably the most important factor in determining whether a spinoff -- real or fake -- succeeds is its execution. Just like any show, a spinoff that is well conceived, well written and well acted is more likely to survive than one that is not. As Mr. Tinker put it: "If you just take your beloved character and give him to some bums, it's not going to work."
An Article from The New York Times
CRITIC'S CHOICE; Return of the Cranes
By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 21, 1997
Of all the cris de coeurs you'll hear this season, none is likely to be as impassioned, or as weird, as the mating call of Frasier Crane. In the season premiere of ''Frasier'' (Tuesday at 9 P.M. on NBC), he comes out of his long romantic slump and becomes entangled with his dream woman (Sela Ward), a model who is also a Ph.D. candidate in zoology. But when her busy schedule and an almost-ex boyfriend make her presence scarse, Frasier's family believes he has invented an imaginary friend.
''I'm not crazy,'' the distraught Frasier finally cries. ''I am dating a supermodel zoologist who I stole away from a football player and she's off to the Galapagos Islands to artificially inseminate iguanas. Is that so hard to believe?''
This unexpected twist reveals why ''Frasier,'' now starting its 5th season, remains one of the freshest sitcoms on television, as well as the smartest and funniest. (No offense to the clever ''Larry Sanders,'' but ''Frasier'' actually makes people laugh.) The show's acting has not taken a step toward caricature, and the bright writing gives every major character a share of center stage. This week it is Frasier (Kelsey Grammer), the most neurotic of call-in radio psychiatrists, who gets to rant. That provokes priceless knowing looks from his belovedly snobbish brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), their salt-of-the-earth father, Marty (John Mahoney), and the indispensible housekeeper, Daphne (Jane Leeve). On ''Frasier,'' the grace notes are as witty as the punchlines. Where else but on this smart sitcom would you find a joke on the word oxymoron? Caryn James
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Yes, America Has a Class System. See 'Frasier.'
By ANITA GATES
Published: April 19, 1998
DR. FRASIER CRANE'S apartment says a lot about him. The tan suede sofa is a copy of one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier. The view is the Seattle skyline. There are Lichtensteins on the wall, a baby grand in the alcove and a finely ground Kenya blend in the coffeemaker.
All Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) really wants is to be Cary Grant, but he can never quite pull it off. Even when he, his ex-wife and his brother find themselves in bathrobes (but let's call them dressing gowns) in a great Art Deco hotel room discussing irony, superegos, eggs Florentine and -- oh, by the way -- a tiny sexual infidelity, as he did in a recent episode, Frasier can't help summing it all up with ''Well, isn't this peachy?''
And if Frasier's own failings weren't enough to sabotage his efforts at urban sophistication, there's his father, Martin Crane (John Mahoney), retired cop, beer drinker, television watcher, plain speaker, whose sense of style is symbolized by the dreadful striped easy chair with duct-tape accents that he has plunked down in the middle of his son's elegant minimalism.
The dangers of class mobility in America have never been more eloquently addressed. And class is a subject long overdue for discussion, now that three or four people have admitted that they would have liked Paula Jones better if she'd gone to all the right schools.
There may be a hundred reasons that ''Frasier'' has been a hit sitcom since NBC introduced it in 1993 or why it has won the best-comedy Emmy Award every year it has been on the air, but for many viewers the heart of the series is the Cranes' intrafamily culture clash, the kind that's bound to occur when blue-collar Americans send their children to Harvard.
American television has never dealt much with the class system, possibly because of the lingering belief that we don't have one. Most series have picked a socioeconomic level and stuck with it: struggling working class from ''The Life of Riley'' to ''Roseanne,'' solidly, comfortably middle class from ''Father Knows Best'' to ''Home Improvement,'' or filthy rich on ''Dallas'' and ''Dynasty.''
One of the few conspicuously rich households on the 1998 schedule belongs to Maxwell Sheffield on ''The Nanny,'' a sitcom about a Broadway producer with a British accent who hires and learns to love a loud young woman with a Queens accent and very short skirts. The class gap on ''The Nanny'' is exaggerated for broad laughs, just as a larger gap was on ''The Beverly Hillbillies'' 30 years ago. Even ''Fresh Prince of Bel Air,'' Will Smith's sitcom about an inner-city teen-ager relocated to his wealthy relatives' home in a posh part of Los Angeles, tended to rely on stereotypes about the stuffy rich.
The closest thing to a serious portrayal of class mobility must have been ''The Millionaire,'' the 1950's series about a billionaire who liked to amuse himself by giving $1 million (tax free, that was the great part) to some deserving stranger. The half-hour was devoted to the story of how the lucky man or woman handled that new-found wealth -- usually badly.
But on innumerable shows, especially rags-to-riches mini-series, that sort of transition is a snap. Maybe that's because television has usually treated class differences as if they were strictly about net worth. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo often had more money than Fred and Ethel Mertz, because Ricky was a successful band leader (and eventually a movie actor), but they never seemed to have different tastes in fashion, food or art. At least not to the degree found among the Cranes.
Viewers quickly learned who they were dealing with during the first season of ''Frasier'' when, over latte at Cafe Nervosa, Frasier's dapper brother, Niles, described a trick he had played on someone at his wine club: switching labels between a Chateau Petrus and a Fourcas-Dupre. ''What scamps you are!'' said Frasier. ''His face must have turned redder than a Pichon-Longueville.'' The difference between the brothers is that Frasier knows they're being pretentious; Niles honestly doesn't.
David Hyde Pierce, who plays Niles, has said that his character was originally explained to him as ''what Frasier would be if he had never gone to Boston and never been exposed to the people at Cheers.''
Frasier's character was created in 1984 for ''Cheers,'' then NBC's highest-rated sitcom, as a love interest for Diane Chambers (Shelley Long). A psychiatrist with elbow patches and pear-shaped vowels, he was an educated and sophisticated contrast to the jovially working-class gang that hung out at the show's namesake Boston bar. Diane left Frasier at the altar, but he kept his seat at the bar, looking down his nose at the others' failings for eight more seasons. Luckily for Frasier, Martin never flew into town to reveal his son's humble origins. ''Cheers,'' in the tradition of a class-free America, acknowledged taste and economic differences, but in script after script it insisted that the postal worker and the professor might really socialize.
Back in Seattle, Frasier has given that sort of thing up, possibly because he gets enough blue-collar atmosphere at home.
Maybe, the Crane boys sometimes wonder, there was a switched-at-birth mistake at the hospital. ''Frasier, is he our real father?'' Niles once asked. Frasier answered tolerantly: ''Now don't start that again. We've been having this discussion since we were children.''
At times the brothers think they might be able to sophisticate Martin by exposing him to the finer things. Frasier recalls that even their own tastes were not always beyond reproach. ''Remember,'' he tells Niles, ''when you used to think the 1812 Overture was a great piece of classical music?'' Niles smiles wistfully. ''Was I ever that young?'' he says.
But that strategy doesn't work, and neither does Frasier's attempt to buy his father an Armani suit. Martin insists on stopping at a discount store, where he finds a wrinkle-resistant sharkskin ensemble instead. Offered any restaurant in town for his birthday celebration, Dad wants to go to Hoppy's Old Heidelberg. Which may be better than the steak place he once dragged his sons to, where patrons choose their meal from ''the steak trolley'' and anyone wearing a necktie has it cut off -- even if it's Hugo Boss.
Although Frasier earns his living in broadcasting (giving psychiatric advice on a radio call-in show), he makes fun of his father's unfortunate television habit. When he buys Martin a telescope, he says, ''Just think of it as having 100 more channels to watch.''
But Martin won't let his sons undermine his confidence in his common-man tastes and often gives as good as he gets. He refers to Frasier's breakfast of a bran muffin and a touch of yogurt as ''girlie food'' and corrects Niles when he describes the cuisine at a certain restaurant as ''to die for.'' ''Niles, your country and your family are to die for,'' Martin reminds him. ''Food is to eat.'' Martin isn't oblivious to changing standards around him; he just thinks they're insane. ''A dollar fifty for coffee?'' he says in one show. ''What kind of world are we living in?''
One of Martin's finest moments comes when Frasier, planning an old-fashioned live radio play, explains to Niles, ''People of Dad's generation would sit around at night listening to the radio, absolutely mesmerized.'' Before Niles has a chance to say that yes, he's well aware of that, Martin gives his older son a look and says, ''We were a simple people.''
One reason ''Frasier'' works is that both classes are made up of good people with values, which happen to be expressed in different ways. The show gives both coastal yuppies and Middle America a good name.
Kelsey Grammer once described his character, at a Museum of Television and Radio seminar, as ''flawed and silly and pompous and full of himself'' but ''genuinely kind'' and ''totally vulnerable.''
And then there's Niles. Niles, who is so out of touch with the mainstream that he explains creative visualization by suggesting that a radio listener might have ''a dog-eared copy of 'Middlemarch' '' nearby. That he tries to order a Stoli gibson with three pearl onions at a theme restaurant. (Niles who, by the way, mentions his $400 Bruno Maglis months before O. J. Simpson mentions his.) Niles of the cute smirk and boyish blond good looks (Leonardo DiCaprio in 15 years, if he takes care of himself) and tart tongue. Lilith, Frasier's formidable ex-wife, is in town? ''Ah,'' says Niles, ''that explains why blood was pouring from all my faucets this morning.''
But also Niles who, despite his elegance, can't dance (''Start with your left foot,'' suggests his instructor. ''Which one?'' Niles asks, all too honestly). And who has a painful case of unspoken, unrequited love for Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), his father's young English (working-class) live-in physical therapist.
Which could begin a list of things the ''Frasier'' writers are doing right: unrequited love as an opportunity for bawdy double-entendre (Daphne to Niles: ''I'm beginning to think I should spend an hour or two on the couch with you''), the lovable dog whom the lead character hates, Niles's never-seen monster of an estranged wife and occasional excursions into farce.
THE writers throw in literary and theatrical references -- without explanation, God bless them -- to the likes of Dorothy Parker (''What fresh hell is this?''), ''A Chorus Line'' (''I'm a dancer. A dancer dances.'') and ''Hamlet,'' sort of (''We're a hit. A palpable hit.'').
While most sitcoms change scenes with a shot of the exterior of a building and some perky music, ''Frasier'' does it with subtitles, like ''A Coupla White Guys Sittin' 'Round Talkin' '' and ''Could Guy's Last Name Be Feydeau?''
The show is just plain smart. But America might not forgive the Crane brothers their sophistication, their culinary pretensions and their decorating budgets if they didn't have Martin around to remind them where they came from.
Correction: April 19, 1998, Sunday A picture caption on page 35 of the Arts and Leisure section today with an article about the television show ''Frasier'' reverses the identities of two actors. David Hyde Pierce is at the left, Kelsey Grammer at the right.
An Article from Time Magazine
Five Cheers for Frasier
Monday, Sep. 28, 1998 By JAMES COLLINS Article
For a group of people who are taking on the biggest job of the new TV season, the cast of Frasier seems pretty relaxed and excited. At a recent rehearsal of the first episode, Kelsey Grammer, who plays Frasier Crane--radio psychiatrist, aesthete, lech--cracks jokes and sucks on a lollipop. David Hyde Pierce--Frasier's brother Niles--lounges on the set sharing a newspaper with John Mahoney, who plays Frasier's and Niles' father Martin. Jane Leeves, Martin's home-health aide, and Peri Gilpin, who plays Frasier's producer, chat and giggle on a nearby couch. Moose the dog (known on the show as Eddie) curls up in a chair. Even on the night of the filming, as they practice lines in a crowded hair-and-makeup room, there's more ebullience than anxiety. Grammer struggles to remember a line that begins, "And finally..." Over and over he says, "And finally...And finally...And finally..." until he gives up and jokes, "Orgasm! That's it! And finally orgasm!"
This week Frasier becomes television's most prominent comedy. Its season premiere airs Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. e.t. as part of NBC's Thursday lineup, which for years has been the most dominant in prime time. Occupying the Seinfeld slot will give Frasier added prestige and viewers. If it can hold on to them, the show is virtually guaranteed to be the highest-rated comedy this season. The move is in fact a homecoming for Grammer, since Cheers, where his character originated, was shown during the same time period, and Frasier started out on that night before moving to Tuesday in 1994.
"I thought it was appropriate," says Grammer of his return. "I do think we are the premiere show on NBC and the best series on television." Many people agree with him. Earlier this month, Frasier won its fifth consecutive Emmy, a record. It has continually earned praise over the years for being intelligent and literate, and it has been a perennial ratings success, always finishing in the Top 20.
And yet there are also some bad fairies at the party, a small band for whom two minutes' exposure to Frasier, with its forced repartee about boutonnieres, is an excruciating experience in midcult hell. For us, the apotheosis of Frasier is not a great cause for celebration. What are we going to do on Thursdays at 9? The alternatives aren't terrible: we could watch Diagnosis Murder, the sublimely hokey CBS drama. We could read Wallace Stevens. But is it possible that there is another option? Could it be that even someone most resistant to Frasier's charms could learn to love it? Well, maybe.
The first step to acceptance--of a spouse, a parent or a television program--is to honestly acknowledge that person's or program's flaws. To us dissenters, the problem with Frasier is that it is not as smart as it thinks it is. Merely mentioning Biedermeier should not pass for wit. Of course, the show makes fun of Frasier and his twittering brother, while Martin, an ex-cop, is intended to provide an earthy contrast to them. But viewers are still supposed to find the Crane boys sophisticated and lovable and ever ready with the withering riposte. Au contraire, they are often insufferable. Too frequently Grammer and Pierce adopt the mannerisms and voices of two actors in a provincial production of Noel Coward, working themselves to death. The other members of the cast, including Dan Butler as sportscaster "Bulldog" Briscoe, are likable enough, but the brothers dominate.
Despite its reputation, Frasier really is just another sitcom, and it uses all the typical devices. It seems as if almost every comedy on TV ended last season with a dramatic plot twist, and Frasier was no exception: everyone was fired from the station. This fall's first episode shows Frasier as he tries to deal with the grief over losing his job, and while it is above the average level of TV comedy, it's still fairly routine. Frasier's smashing a pinata at the ex-employees' picnic is the kind of contrived moment you could just as easily have seen on Coach.
But even someone who resists Frasier's charm can find attributes that make it distinct and admirable. First of all, unlike Roseanne or Seinfeld or Home Improvement or Mad About You or so many other sitcoms of recent years, it does not star a stand-up comedian. Grammer is an actor playing a part, not a comic who has had a show built around him. As a result, Frasier has a presence as a character that is rare on TV today. He is not just a comic's alter ego, but a creation who seems to have a life of his own.
This quality of richness is one that distinguishes the show as a whole. The writing is more writerly and the acting is more, well, actorly. On most sitcoms, all the lines but the jokes seem dispensable, and the shows seem to have been mostly put together in the editing room. In contrast, the best Frasier episodes seem like little 22-min. plays whose scripts have words that actually matter, and whose scenes build as they would onstage. Indeed, that's where most of the ensemble started out. "Maybe because of our theater training we are conditioned to listen to each other," says Grammer.
As for the writers, they are not all veterans of TV or college humor magazines, but include playwrights and novelists. Even the writers' room has a different mood from that of most sitcoms. Instead of the usual Buddy and Sally rat-a-tat-tat of joke pitching, there are often 15 minutes of silence, as a new idea is considered. The writers feel their words are given an unusual amount of respect, by Grammer especially. "He will try every possible way to make something work before he questions it," says writer Jeffrey Richman.
The merits of Frasier are on display in an episode like last season's "Room Service," which recounts the consequences when Niles has a tryst with Frasier's ex-wife Lilith, who is visiting from out of town and after whom Frasier continues to lust. The construction is faultless, as a waiter delivers breakfast to Lilith and Niles; returns to find Lilith and Frasier; and on his third visit discovers Frasier and Niles. Before he learns what Niles has done, Frasier is blustery and assured, waggling his taurine head. "My ex-wife--we're sort of reconnecting," he confides to the waiter when they are alone. "Who knows? It just might work out this time."
Now, having got the spot he wanted, Grammer must deliver. "I'm feeling some pressure," he admits. "Certainly because of what others expect of the show now, and my own sense of pressure is so insane I don't need any additional help. I am completely capable of self-annihilation at any moment." (That's almost literally true--Grammer has had terrible struggles with drugs and alcohol, and in 1996 he entered a rehab after flipping over his Viper while intoxicated.) No one expects Frasier to match Seinfeld's ratings. Still, millions of new viewers will sample the show, and NBC is counting on it to convert a lot of them. It surely will, and maybe even some of the bad fairies will turn good.
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Goodbye, 'Frasier'; Hello, Kelsey Grammer?
By MICHAEL JOSEPH GROSS
Published: April 25, 2004
STANDING bare-chested on a Paramount soundstage, warming up for a scene in the third-to-last episode of ''Frasier,'' Kelsey Grammer sang ''Stairway to Heaven'' as costume people helped him into a shirt and tie. Then he approached Gabrielle James, the diminutive script supervisor who for 20 years (9 on ''Cheers'' and 11 on ''Frasier'') has helped him learn his lines, always at the very last minute.
Ms. James cued him: '' 'Come on, come on, park already! I can see the train.' ''
Mr. Grammer, eyebrows scrunched, said ''When?'' in his natural voice, several registers lower than Frasier's, and then shook the mistake out of his head when Ms. James corrected him sharply -- ''Where?'' -- and continued: ''On the tracks, where do you think? Oh my God, it's leaving.''
Ms. James, in the diplomatic tone one uses to describe the boss's funny habits, said, ''He likes that edge of panic, because he thinks it keeps his work fresh.''
Keeping fresh is particularly important to Mr. Grammer, 49, who is living out a character actor's dream: he has parlayed a four-episode guest spot into the longest-running and almost certainly the most lucrative acting job in sitcom history. Only James Arness, on ''Gunsmoke,'' has played a single role for so long in prime time. Frasier Crane has brought Mr. Grammer critical acclaim -- three Emmys and two Golden Globes -- and a salary that is said to be about $2 million an episode. (Wearing a pair of $15 white trousers bought during one of his monthly trips to Costco, Mr. Grammer said that his paycheck had never been reported accurately.)
The character is so well known that when Mr. Grammer visited Africa in 1996, a Masai warrior addressed him as Frasier. But in television, such ubiquity can stall, or even kill, a career. ''Television overfamiliarizes people with you,'' Mr. Grammer said over lunch in his office during several days of interviews in early March. ''So preconceptions about who I am may take a while to die.'' In other words, he can leave ''Frasier'' -- the final episode will be broadcast on May 13 -- but can he leave Frasier Crane behind?
The character that's come to define him was born, Mr. Grammer said, ''as a plot device.'' In 1984, ''Cheers,'' in its third season, needed a new romantic interest for Diane, the fussy intellectual barmaid played by Shelley Long. The effete psychiatrist Frasier Crane became the catalyst for her final breakup with Ted Danson's Sam and also provided ballast for the show's blunt barroom humor, so Mr. Grammer was invited to stay on. ''We kept him around for the banter,'' said James Burrows, one of the creators and directors of ''Cheers,'' who has also directed many episodes of ''Frasier.''
When ''Cheers'' ended, NBC saw spinoff potential in Frasier Crane, and the former plot device became a full-fledged person. The new Frasier moved to Seattle, his hometown, for a job as a radio psychiatrist and the barroom good fellowship of ''Cheers'' was replaced by what Mr. Grammer called ''a more mature set of relationships'': with his ailing father, his ultrafastidious brother, his feisty producer and his father's semi-psychic caretaker. For Mr. Grammer, whose family life has been marked by tragedy (his father and sister were murdered; his two half-brothers were killed in a shark attack), Frasier's family became a kind of surrogate. ''These relationships I learned at work -- having a father, having a brother,'' he said. ''I don't have those things.''
In early episodes of ''Frasier,'' Mr. Grammer's performance relies heavily on the bundle of mannerisms that had sustained him on ''Cheers.'' But in time, Mr. Grammer ''found a way to do more with less,'' said Christopher Lloyd, a writer and executive producer of ''Frasier.'' He compared Mr. Grammer's technique to Jack Benny's: ''How do you get to that point where you turn to the audience and not move a muscle, and they laugh, because they know what you're thinking? As Frasier has matured, I think Kelsey has gotten a lot closer to having that ability.'' (Mr. Grammer frequently speaks of Jack Benny as a role model, and produced and was host of a 1995 tribute show called ''Kelsey Grammer Salutes Jack Benny.'')
Mr. Grammer grants that his technique has evolved, but he said that his understanding of the character's motivations has remained constant since those first episodes on ''Cheers'': ''The first two choices that I made have been linchpins for the characterization. The first is that he's a responsible psychiatrist and would be loath to do anything unethical, and the other was that he loved Diane fully, which has defined the way that he loves in every relationship he's had.''
And he's had quite a few: Frasier's search for love has been perpetual, and sometimes numbingly repetitive. ''He was always looking for the perfect woman, and his definition of the perfect woman was often a superficial one, a trophy catch,'' said Joe Keenan, another of the show's executive producers and writers. Mr. Grammer's romantic life bore some resemblance to the character's: his 1986 autobiography, ''So Far,'' provided a detailed account of his many relationships, including marriages to Doreen Alderman, a dancer, and Leigh Anne Csuhany, a stripper, both of which ended in divorce.
But while Frasier Crane may be a lothario, he has always been scrupulously candid with his girlfriends. Mr. Grammer explained, ''If it doesn't start out right, if there's anything wrong, he voices it, because it's better than being dishonest.'' Mr. Grammer, who had a long public struggle with alcohol and drugs that included a jail sentence in 1990 stemming from a drunken driving conviction, said that he had learned from his alter ego: ''I used to excuse bad behavior a lot, thinking that it wasn't worth bringing up. That may be a better reaction a lot of the time, because you can't actually insist that everybody live up to your standards. But you can begin to change with the people you get close to, and Frasier encouraged me to believe that was possible.'' Such lessons also helped Mr. Grammer to begin what he called ''the most profound, most rewarding, most honest'' relationship of his life, with the former New York University film student and Playboy model Camille Donatucci (now Grammer), 35. They married in 1997 and had a daughter, Mason (his third child), by a surrogate in 2001.
Mr. Grammer scoffs when asked if the challenge of playing Frasier has ever waned. But in recent years he has sought an increasingly demanding workload on the show. He has directed as many as eight episodes a season, because, he said, he enjoys ''the additional challenge of being outside the character and inside the character at the same time. Being out of my depth makes me feel alive.''
Mr. Lloyd agreed, and wondered where Mr. Grammer would find the same feeling post-''Frasier'': ''He always has twice as many lines as anyone, he's always driving the story, and adding to that his directing responsibilities -- he loves being the center of this whole creative vortex. What is it going to be like for him without that?''
Mr. Grammer said he had no fear about functioning without Frasier Crane, and then added, after a long pause: ''The only fear I have is that no one will let me be other than Frasier. When I first decided to become an actor, I thought, if I have talent, if I have some luck, I'll be able to do almost anything any person has ever done. And I really thought that meant swordfighting, race car driving, submarine captain. More than anything I always wanted to play different characters. And if I have lost that ability, that would make me sad.''
His occasional forays beyond Frasier have often demonstrated the near-impossibility of escape. When he played Macbeth on Broadway three years ago, the production closed after just 10 days. ''Most of the reviews were centered on how I looked like Frasier,'' Mr. Grammer noted ruefully. Some of his best-reviewed work has been in movies where his face can't be seen, doing voice-overs for animated films like ''Toy Story 2.''
He does have some acting projects forthcoming, including a musical, ''Christmas Carol,'' for NBC. He is considering Broadway offers, he said, and seemed most enthusiastic about the prospect of playing Albert in a revival of ''La Cage aux Folles'' later this year. ''I've never worn a dress onstage, so maybe it's time,'' he cracked, acknowledging that there may be a bit of typecasting in going from the practically gay Frasier to the unambiguously gay Albert. Through his production company, Gramnet, he continues to produce the sitcom ''Girlfriends'' for UPN and is filming pilots for Fox, NBC and Spike TV (the last, called ''Girls on Girls,'' is a female version of ''The Man Show,'' starring Camille Grammer). Gramnet also hopes to mount a stage musical called ''J. Edgar,'' starring Mr. Grammer as J. Edgar Hoover, with John Goodman as Hoover's assistant, Clyde Tolson.
During a winter visit to his Polynesian plantation home in Maui, Mr. Grammer said, he pondered life after ''Frasier.'' He opened the Bible at random and placed his finger on the page, and the verse he found was, ''You will be tilled and sown.'' He liked that answer. ''Frasier and I share the idea that we're just trying to do the world some good,'' he said. ''Frasier could have gone way off the deep end as some kind of self-serving egomaniac. He's a little bit self-obsessed, but he's not an egomaniac, and that's maybe something I bring to the table.''
One conspicuous reward of Mr. Grammer's time served is his new seven-bedroom, 11-bathroom mansion in Beverly Park, a development of gated estates in the Hollywood Hills. A few months after ''Frasier'' ends (probably in September, when his second child with Mrs. Grammer is expected to be born), he and his family will move into the Italian-style behemoth that he jokingly called ''high-end tract housing.''
Showing visitors through the empty house, whose front door wouldn't be out of place at Charles Foster Kane's Xanadu and whose marble master bathroom would dwarf the living room of an average suburban dwelling, Mr. Grammer looked small, and his voice echoed strangely in the long hallways. Several times, he said, ''I'm not the kind of guy who lives in a house like this.'' The kind of guy who lives in a house like this is Eddie Murphy, who's down the block, or Rod Stewart, who lives nearby.
When Mr. Grammer had driven up to Beverly Park's front gate, the guard had either not recognized him or had done a good job of pretending not to. When he asked for a name, Kelsey Grammer pronounced it brightly. The guard checked to make sure that he was on the list, then waved him into his new neighborhood. Mr. Grammer seemed gladdened by the challenge. At last, perhaps, a crowd to get lost in.
An Article from CNN
Commentary: A fond adieu to 'Frasier'
Remembering a show for the ages
By Todd Leopold
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 Posted: 11:22 AM EDT (1522 GMT)
(CNN) -- There's an old theater saying: Dying is easy, comedy is hard.
And if comedy is hard, farce is almost impossible. The whole form is like a precisely wrought handmade clock; it depends on timing, rhythm and that unteachable concept called chemistry.
Farce is often dismissed as slapstick and door slams, but ask any actor: It's hard work to make such a souffle.
"Frasier" did farce better than any show on the air. It may have done farce better than any show in TV history. All its parts -- the writing, acting, directing -- were lovingly assembled to make comedy. Laugh-out-loud, how-did-they-do-that, you-can't-see-the-parts-move comedy.
But put all those parts together and you still may not get a classic. Farce also requires warmth, love, a willingness to sympathize with a character -- even as his balloon is being pricked or he's falling down the stairs.
And "Frasier" had that in abundance. The warmth -- and the pratfalls.
The sum of the parts
Think about most sitcoms. They're machines -- not so much about characters and dialogue as the rat-a-tat-tat of wisecracks and jokes. You could write many of these shows in your sleep, and rumor has it that some are.
"Frasier," however, was different. Its characters were three-dimensional. Its scenes ran longer (deliberately, said the producers, in an attempt to short-circuit short attention spans) and had a different rhythm than those of other sitcoms.
The show had perfect casting: Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane, David Hyde Pierce as his fussy brother Niles, old pro John Mahoney as father Martin Crane, effervescent Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, sharp-tongued Peri Gilpin as co-worker Roz Doyle.
And of course, "Frasier" had terrific writing, led by Joe Keenan, Christopher and David Lloyd, Peter Casey and the late David Angell; and directing, particularly James Burrows and David Lee.
But with all that, when I think about classic moments from the series, I don't think of clever lines or great camera angles. I think about the sum of the parts.
I think of a routine in which the cast was in Frasier's kitchen, getting ready for a party, and moved food items from one side to another with the goofy precision of a Rube Goldberg device.
I think of the wonderfully escalating tension that formed when the Crane brothers took over a restaurant, or shared a ski lodge, or simply battled for attention.
I remember a delicate scene in which Niles danced with Daphne, long before the two got married.
And I think of line deliveries: Grammer's wonderful indignation, Pierce's exasperated fussiness, Mahoney and Leeves and Gilpin and the always wonderful supporting actors and guest stars.
Farewell to a true TV friend
"Frasier" wasn't a groundbreaking show.
It was a successful spinoff (from "Cheers"), but there had been successful spinoffs before.
It was a combination workplace and family comedy, but there had been shows that combined workplace and family comedies before.
It had its faults -- some say it jumped the shark when Niles and Daphne got married -- and, as with any long-running show, it could get tiresome sometimes.
But, with all that, it shouldn't go out ignored.
Over the past few weeks, my mailbox at work has been filled with notes from publicists and media types telling me about events related to the "Friends" finale. I've seen "Friends" DVD packages at stores, ideas for "Friends" finale parties, essays on why "Friends" matters and how NBC will cope without Le Six Amis. Nothing about "Frasier."
I've never understood all the frenzy about "Friends." If it's been groundbreaking, it's for what it represents -- perhaps the first youthful ensemble show to become a huge hit -- than what it is, which is a comedy machine that filled the gap left by "Seinfeld" and happened to hit the zeitgeist jackpot.
In 10 years, there will be another hip and trendy show, and when it goes off the air, much ink will be spilled pondering what it all meant.
But when it comes time to put together an all-time list, trendiness takes a back seat to quality. In that regard, "Frasier" was a show for the ages.
Another Article from CNN
'Frasier' has left the building
By Andy Walton
Friday, May 14, 2004 Posted: 2:49 PM EDT (1849 GMT)
Editor's Note: The following story contains plot details about the final episode of "Frasier" that some viewers might not want to know before viewing the show itself.
(CNN) -- "Frasier" made its final curtain call Thursday after 11 years on the air.
The finale opens with Frasier saying goodbye to Charlotte (Laura Linney), the matchmaker with whom he had a whirlwind romance, as she moves to Chicago.
The show then dives into the broad farce that was one of the show's trademarks.
Forced to plan their father's wedding on only eight days' notice due to a scheduling mix-up, psychiatrists Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles (David Hyde Pierce) stage an extravaganza complete with Chinese acrobats, a gospel choir and a skywriter -- only, as happened so often on the show, to see their elaborate plans collapse.
As the wedding is turning into a debacle, Niles' wife, Daphne (Jane Leeves), goes into labor. A ring-swallowing dog, a monkey and a ceremonial cannon round out the mayhem.
After the wedding, Frasier finds that his family and friends have reached turning points in their lives, and he decides to do the same.
He accepts a job in San Francisco as a TV advice host. His goodbye to his family and to his radio listeners ends with a recitation from Tennyson's poem "Ulysses."
In the show's final scene, Frasier is on a plane talking to guest star Jennifer Beals about taking a chance and moving on -- and then an announcement reveals that he has landed not in San Francisco but in Chicago, and the chance he's taking is not on a job but on romance.
Kelsey Grammer is walking away from a character he has played for 20 years -- nine seasons as part of the ensemble on "Cheers" and 11 more as the lead of his own show.
Grammer's character, Dr. Frasier Crane, was introduced as the stuffed-shirt fiance of the prim barmaid Diane on NBC's long-running "Cheers."
When that series ended in 1993, the network spun off "Frasier." NBC, which had long owned Thursday night ratings with shows such as "Seinfeld," "Cheers" and "The Cosby Show," scheduled "Frasier" to expand its success into Tuesday night.
"'Frasier' was in kind of a class of its own," says Robert J. Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
"It was sort of this drawing-room kind of comedy. If there had been sitcoms in 18th century French court, then it would have probably have been 'Frasier.' "
"It was arguably, at its prime, one of the best-written sitcoms on the air, and probably one of the best-written sitcoms ever," Thompson said.
"The only sitcom in TV history where you could expect a joke about [19th century philosopher Arthur] Schopenhauer to appear."
"Frasier" shone on award nights, winning 31 Emmys in all and five consecutive best comedy Emmys -- a record on both counts.
The series began with Frasier back in his ancestral home, Seattle, as a radio advice host. The audience meets Frasier's similarly fussy brother Niles, also a psychiatrist, and his radio producer and foil, Roz (Peri Gilpin).
Frasier's father Martin (John Mahoney), a cop with working-class sensibilities who is forced to retire after he is injured in the line of duty, moves in with Frasier.
Also moving in is Martin's sometimes flighty, sometimes psychic, always English physical therapist Daphne. His father's dog, Eddie, (a Jack Russell terrier) rounds out the group.
Niles is immediately smitten with Daphne, but he doesn't dare tell her. One of the most anticipated episodes in the series came at the end of the seventh season, when the pair, Niles recently remarried and Daphne fleeing the altar, ran off in a motor home.
After the NBC announced the show's cancellation, Grammer told TV Guide in February that he would be willing to return for another year, but faced with lagging ratings, the network brass decided otherwise.
When asked where "Frasier" fans can go for something like it when the last episode airs, Grammer said, "Well, we're on in syndication," only half-jokingly.
"I'm not sure sophisticated comedy has a place on television any more," Grammer said. "I'd like to think it still does ... But I'm not sure the networks are interested, I'm not sure anybody else is interested in sophisticated comedy any more."
Thompson takes issue with Grammer's claim, though. "The very existence of 'Frasier' and the very enormous success of 'Frasier' shows that Kelsey Grammer's wrong, that there is a place for it. That character, Frasier, has lasted longer than virtually any other character on American television."
Frasier's 20 seasons on two shows matches the record number of seasons James Arness played Marshall Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke," but Arness appeared in far more episodes.
"I think it simply means that it's hard to do that kind of thing well, so that everybody likes it, not only people who are getting the obscure jokes and references to things you might have taken in your graduate course in comparative literature," Thompson said.
To watch some clips from Frasier go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=frasier+tv+show&aq=f and to watch some episodes go to http://www.solie.org/alibrary/Frasier.html
For Tim's TV Showcase go to http://timvp.com/tv/frasier/
For some Frasier-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/frasier
For a great review of Frasier go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080215232758/www.televisionheaven.co.uk/frasier.htm
To watch the opening and closing credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml5U0sKe1mU
� Date: Sat April 16, 2016 � Filesize: 38.2kb, 79.8kb � Dimensions: 800 x 1000 �
Keywords: The Cast of Frasier (Links Updated 7/27/18)