My first brush with Frasier was more than a decade ago on the Star Plus TV channel. Frasier was a staple on it, but I could never understand what was happening and why it was supposed to be funny. After a lifetime, I am glad I gave Frasier another chance.
Frasier (Kelsey Grammar) is a radio psychiatrist, who after a separation with his wife moves to Seattle, to live with his dad and his dog. His younger brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), also a psychiatrist, lives in the same city embroiled in an unhappy marriage. Completing the family is Daphne, a physical therapist for Frasier’s dad, who lives with them taking care of the house. The humour in the series comes from the differences between these characters and the complexity from Frasier’s conversations on radio. Frasier and Niles are highbrow snobs, while their dad is a beer swilling ex-cop. Add to this the competitive streak between the brothers, which should have died way back in high-school. The public call in to Frasier’s radio show to get advice on their personal problems and the show gets some real depth by linking their troubles to the flaws in Frasier’s persona.
Frasier ran for a stupendous 11 seasons (264 episodes) and getting through Season 1 was the hardest for me. Once the people and format become familiar, Frasier becomes as warm and comfortable as a puppy. Though the script is nothing to write home about, it is the fantastic acting by Kelsey Grammar and especially David Hyde Pierce which makes this series memorable.
There are a few episodes which really stood out for me. Ham Radio (Season 4) was stomach-churning hilarious! Odd Man Out (Season 4) reminded me of the times I felt really alone. Cranes Unplugged (Season 8 ) showed how things like TV and busyness can hide dissent in the family, instead of bringing it out and making everyone discuss the issues. Rooms with a View (Season 10) was an especially poignant episode, which reminded me of tense moments spent in hospitals with sick family members.
Watching through a TV series this long feels like living a lifetime with the characters. I am glad to say that Frasier is well worth the time! 🙂