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Frasier is an American sitcom broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, from September 16, 1993 to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee (as Grub Street Productions) in association with Paramount Television.

A spin-off from Cheers, Frasier stars Kelsey Grammer as psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane. David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin and Moose (a Jack Russell Terrier) rounded out the regular cast.

Frasier won a record 37 Emmy Awards during its run, and a poll taken by the British Channel 4 of the sitcom industry voted Frasier the best sitcom of all time. It is one of the most successful spin-off series in television history, and one of the most critically acclaimed comedies in the history of television.

Situation

Psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane (Grammer) returns to his hometown of Seattle, Washingtonmarker, following the break up of his marriage and his life in Bostonmarker (which was covered in the series Cheers). His plans for his new life as a bachelor are complicated when he is obliged to take in his father, ex-police officer Martin Crane (Mahoney), who had to retire and is unable to live by himself owing to an injury caused by being shot in the line of duty. Frasier and Martin are joined by Daphne Moon (Leeves), Martin's eccentric English live-in physical therapist and caretaker, and Martin's dog Eddie (Moose). A frequent visitor to their apartment is Frasier's effete younger brother Niles (Pierce), a fellow psychiatrist. Niles' infatuation with and eventual love for Daphne, feelings which he does not confess to her openly until the final episode of the seventh season, form a complex story arc that spans the entire series.

Frasier hosts a popular radio talk show on KACL 780AM (named to honor the show's creators, Angell, Casey, and Lee). His producer is Roz Doyle (Gilpin), a woman with a very active romantic life who, while decidedly different from Frasier in taste and temperament, nevertheless becomes a very close friend over the course of the series. He and his brother are also very frequently customers in Café Nervosa.

Numerous running jokes and themes develop throughout the series. Chief among them are the class and familial conflicts among Frasier, Niles and Martin. The two sons, who possess fine tastes, intellectual interests and rather high opinions of themselves, frequently clash with their blue-collar, down-to-earth father. A running theme, particularly in the early seasons, is Frasier's and Martin's difficulty in reaching an accommodation with each other and in sharing an apartment.

Despite being similar in personality, interests and sensibilities, the relationship between Frasier and Niles is no less turbulent. They have an intense sibling rivalry and their jealousy of each other and petty attempts at one-upmanship — which frequently result in chaos — drive many of the plots. Frasier is also seen at times to be more able than Niles to adapt — even if only with reluctance — to situations where he needs to be less pretentious and more practical.

Other storylines include the breakdown of Niles' marriage to the never-seen Maris, Frasier's search for love in his own life, and the various attempts of the two brothers to gain acceptance into Seattle's cultural elite.

Structurally, many episodes center around misunderstandings or elaborate lies which multiple characters are forced to "play along" with, in order to conceal the truth. Frasier also featured many "once-a-year" plot devices, such as an appearance by Frasier's ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) and son Frederick. Season finales sometimes took the form of a "two part" special that was concluded as the season premiere the following season.

Relationship to Cheers

Many regular cast members from Cheers made appearances on Frasier, with the exception of Nicholas Colasanto (Coach), who died before the advent of Frasier, and Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe). Bebe Neuwirth (Lilith Sternin) was the lone character of Cheers, other than Grammer, to become a recurring character on Frasier. Kelsey Grammer has said that Frasier allowed him the opportunity to settle an old disagreement with Shelley Long, who had played Diane Chambers on Cheers. On Cheers, Long did not like the Frasier character and lobbied hard to get Grammer removed from the show. The producers disagreed, noting that the audience liked him. This allowed the two actors to make peace, Grammer has said "The Show Where Diane Comes Back" is one of his favorite episodes. Long also played Diane Chambers in two other Frasier episodes. The first was a brief surprise cameo in a 1994 episode, and once again in the 2001 season premiere, both times as figments of Frasier's imagination.

Some cast members of Frasier had appeared previously in minor roles on Cheers. John Mahoney played Sy Flembeck, an over-the-hill advertising executive hired by Rebecca to write a jingle for the bar. In it, Grammer and Mahoney exchanged a few lines. Peri Gilpin was in a Cheers episode titled "Woody Gets an Election", playing a reporter who interviews Woody when he runs for office.

Similar to Norm Petersen's wife in Cheers, Niles' wife Maris is never seen or heard from. This style is used again when Martin meets the woman he has been watching from across the street via his telescope, for Martin's friend Duke, and for Senator Adler when he arrived at Frasier's apartment.

In some cases Cheers directly contradicts Frasier or vice versa. Frasier's mother, who in Frasier is always remembered as a sensitive, intelligent woman and a wonderful mother, appears in a Cheers episode (played by Nancy Marchand) and threatens to kill Diane Chambers with a gun if Diane does not end her relationship with Frasier immediately. She was portrayed in a 2001 episode of Frasier (on Martin's old cine movies) by Rita Wilson, who reprised the role during Frasier's imaginary experiences with the important women in his life. In this case, she was once again portrayed as threatening toward Diane (and Lilith), citing her reasons as concern for Frasier's happiness.

In the eighth season Cheers episode "Two Girls for Every Boyd", Frasier tells Sam Malone (Ted Danson) that his father, a research scientist, had died. In the Frasier Season 2 episode "The Show Where Sam Shows Up", when Sam meets Martin, he brings up the discrepancies. Frasier explains it away by saying that at the time he had just had a fight with his father on the phone and was very angry. In "The Show Where Woody Shows Up", Woody Boyd upon meeting Martin says he remembers hearing about him - probably from Sam talking about his experiences in Seattle when he returned to Boston.

In the ninth season episode of Frasier, "Cheerful Goodbyes", Frasier returns to Boston to give a speech, and Niles, Daphne and Martin come along to see the city. He runs into Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenburger), from Cheers, in the airport, and learns that he is retiring and moving to Florida. They all attend his retirement party, and Frasier reunites with the rest of the gang from Cheers including Norm Peterson (George Wendt), Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman), Paul Krapence (Paul Willson), Phil (Philip Perlman) and Walt Twitchell (Raye Birk).

In the eleventh season episode of Frasier, "Caught in the Act", Frasier's married ex-wife, children's entertainer Nanny G, comes to town and invites him backstage for a rendezvous. Nanny G appeared on the Cheers episode "One Hugs, The Other Doesn't" and was portrayed by Emma Thompson. In this episode of Frasier she is portrayed by Laurie Metcalf. She also appeared in the second episode of Season 9 of Frasier, "Don Juan in Hell: Part 2" in a brief cameo and was played by Dina Waters.In the eleventh season episode, Nanny G asks Frasier "Do you know what it's like to play the same character for 20 years?" an obvious reference to Kelsey Grammer having played the character of Frasier Crane for 20 years.

The set of Frasier itself was built over the set of Cheers on the same stage after it had finished filming. The producers for Frasier made certain there were no stools in the coffee shop used for many scenes in order to distance it visually from the Cheers bar.

Cast



Much like its predecessor Cheers, Frasier was based around an ensemble cast, centering the storylines around the same group of characters.

Character Actor Notes
Frasier Crane Kelsey Grammer The title character, working as a radio psychiatrist
Niles Crane David Hyde Pierce Frasier Crane's younger brother, also a psychiatrist who works in private practice
Martin Crane John Mahoney Father of Frasier and Niles. A police officer who was forced to retire due to an injury to his hip that ultimately leads to him living with Frasier.
Daphne Moon Jane Leeves English physiotherapist originally hired by Frasier to help his father
Roz Doyle Peri Gilpin The producer of Frasier's radio show, who becomes a close family friend
Eddie Moose / Enzo Martin Crane's pet Jack Russell Terrier


Kelsey Grammer was briefly the highest paid television actor in the United States for his portrayal of Frasier, while Jane Leeves was the highest paid British actress. Following on from his character's many appearances in Cheers, Grammer also tied the record for the longest running character in prime time, equalling the twenty years set by James Arness. Originally there was to be no brother, Frasier having told his bar friends at Cheers that he was an only child, but Hyde Pierce's acting ability and resemblance to a young Kelsey Grammer resulted in the role being created. The character of Roz Doyle was originally to be played by Lisa Kudrow, but her performance during rehearsals did not correspond to the demands of the role. The character was named in memory of the producer of the television series Wings that was created by the same creators as Frasier.

In addition to the ensemble, a number of additional characters would be introduced to advance the storyline. These included appearances by characters from Frasier's former incarnation on Cheers, such as his ex-wife Lilith Sternin played by Bebe Neuwirth. Some of the additional characters made regular appearances during particular seasons, such as Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe played by Dan Butler, the host of a radio sports show that aired following Frasier's show, who made regular appearances in seasons 5 and 6.

Production

The show is set in Seattle, Washingtonmarker, but only one episode, "The 1000th Show", was filmed there. The remainder was filmed on Stage 25 ( ), Paramount Studios, and at various locations in and around Los Angelesmarker.

The radio station callers' lines were spoken by anonymous voice-over actors while filming the show in front of a live audience. This gave the cast something to which they could react. During post-production, the lines were replaced by celebrities, who literally phoned in their parts without having to come into the studio. The end credits of season finales would show headshots of all the celebrities who had "called in" that season.

Skyline

No building or apartment in Seattle really has the view from Frasier's residence. It was created so the Space Needlemarker would appear more prominently. According to the Season 1 DVD bonus features, the photograph used on the set was taken from atop a cliff, possibly the ledge at Kerry Parkmarker, a frequent photography location. Despite this, Frasier has been said to have contributed to the emergence of an upscale urban lifestyle in 1990s Seattle, with people seeking properties in the same location depicted in the show in search of "that cosmopolitan feel of Frasier".

Reception

Critical reaction

Critics and commentators broadly appear to have held Frasier in high regard, with negative comments focusing principally on later seasons. Caroline Frost said that the series overall showed a high level of wit, but in common with other commentators such as Ken Tucker and Robert Bianco felt that the marriage of Daphne and Niles in season ten removed a lot of the comic tension. Tucker specifically felt that their marriage made the series seem desperate for storylines, while Bianco felt that it was symptomatic of a show that had begun to dip in quality after so much time on the air. Kelsey Grammer acknowledged the creative lull, saying that over the course of two later seasons the show "took itself too seriously". Commentators do, however, acknowledge that there was an improvement following the return of the writers Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan, although not necessarily to its earlier high standards.

Writing about the first season, John O'Connor described Frasier as being a relatively unoriginal concept, but said that it was generally a "splendid act", while Tucker thought that the second season benefited greatly from a mix of "high and low humor". Tucker's comment is referring to what Grammer described as a rule of the series that the show should not play down to its audience. Kevin Cherry believes that Frasier was able to stay fresh by not making any contemporary commentary, therefore allowing the show to be politically and socially neutral. Other commentators, such as Haydn Bush disagree, believing the success of Frasier can be attributed to the comedic timing and the chemistry between the characters.

In spite of the criticisms of the later seasons, these critics were unanimous in praising at least the early seasons, with varied commentary on the series' demise ranging from believing, like Bianco, that the show had run its course to those like Dana Stevens who bemoaned the end of Frasier as the "end of situation comedy for adults".

Awards

The series won 37 prime-time Emmys during its 11-year run, breaking the record long held by The Mary Tyler Moore Show (29). Grammer and Pierce each won four, including one each for the final season. The series holds the record for the most consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning five from 1994 to 1998.

Grammer has been Emmy-nominated for playing Frasier Crane on Cheers and Frasier, as well as a 1992 crossover appearance on Wings, making him the only performer to be nominated for playing the same role on three different series. 2003 was the first year that Grammer didn't receive an Emmy nomination for this series. David Hyde Pierce was nominated every year of the show's run, breaking the record for nominations in his category with his eighth nomination in 2001; he was nominated a further three times after this.

Ratings

The ratings for the show should be read in the context of their broadcasting times on NBC, listed here:

All times listed are North American Eastern Standard Time.

  • September 1993-May 1994 - Thursdays 9:30pm


  • September 1994-May 1998 - Tuesdays 9:00pm


  • September 1998-May 2000 - Thursdays 9:00pm


  • October 2000-May 2004 - Tuesdays 9:00pm


Nielsen ratings:
Season Year Ratings rank
1. 1993-1994 # 7
2. 1994-1995 # 15
3. 1995-1996 # 11
4. 1996-1997 # 16
5. 1997-1998 # 10
6. 1998-1999 # 3
7. 1999-2000 # 6
8. 2000-2001 # 17
9. 2001-2002 # 14
10. 2002-2003 # 26
11. 2003-2004 # 35


Merchandising

Video and audio

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released all 11 seasons of Frasier on DVD in Region 1, 2 and 4. A 44-disc package containing the entire 11 seasons has also been released.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 24 May 20, 2003 November 24, 2003 January 13, 2004
The Complete 2nd Season 24 January 6, 2004 June 7, 2004 June 3, 2004
The Complete 3rd Season 24 May 25, 2004 September 6, 2004 September 10, 2004
The Complete 4th Season 24 February 1, 2005 July 18, 2005 July 20, 2005
The Complete 5th Season 24 June 7, 2005 November 27, 2006 January 11, 2007
The Complete 6th Season 24 September 13, 2005 May 14, 2007 May 3, 2007
The Complete 7th Season 24 November 15, 2005 July 9, 2007 July 12, 2007
The Complete 8th Season 24 June 13, 2006 February 4, 2008 February 14, 2008
The Complete 9th Season 24 May 15, 2007 April 28, 2008 July 31, 2008
The Complete 10th Season 24 December 11, 2007 July 28, 2008 November 6, 2008
The Complete 11th & Final Season 24 November 16, 2004 September 15, 2008 January 15, 2009
The Complete Series 264 December 11, 2007 October 6, 2008 July 30, 2009


The first four seasons were also released on VHS along with a series of 'Best Of' tapes. These tapes consisted of four episodes taken from seasons 1-4. No more video releases have been announced.

Video Name Release date
The Best Of Frasier 1 - From Boston To Seattle TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier 2 - Crane Vs. Crane TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier 3 - Serial Dater TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier 4 - Like Father Like Sons TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier 5 - Brotherly Love TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier 6 - Love Is In The Air TBC 1999
The Best Of Frasier Box Set TBC 1999
The Complete 1st Season July 16, 2001
The Complete 2nd Season December 3, 2001
Season 3 - Part 1 May 6, 2002
Season 3 - Part 2 July 1, 2002
Season 4 - Part 1 October 14, 2002
Season 4 - Part 2 November 18, 2002


One Frasier CD has been released featuring a number of songs taken from the show.

CD Name Release date
Tossed Salads & Scrambled Eggs October 24, 2000


Books

Several books about Frasier have been released, including the following:

Title Publisher ISBN
The Best Of Frasier Channel 4 Books ISBN 0-7522-1394-6
Cafe Nervosa: The Connoisseur's Cookbook Oxmoor House ISBN 0-8487-1550-0
Frasier Pocket Books ISBN 0-671-00368-2
The Frasier Scripts Newmarket Press ISBN 1-55704-403-1
Goodnight Seattle Virgin Books ISBN 0-7535-0286-0
Goodnight Seattle II Virgin Books ISBN 0-75350-717X
What's Your "Frasier" IQ: 501 Questions and Answers for Fans Carol Publishing ISBN 0806517328
The Very Best Of Frasier Channel 4 Books ISBN 0-7522-6179-7


References

Notes

Bibliography



External links




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