Frasier (1993-2004): A Moe’s TV Guide Classic TV review


I do not know where or how to start expressing my love for this show. It could be by describing how the acting ensemble is extraordinary and sharp. Or it could be by lavishing praise on the intelligent and witty writing that has made this show unlike any other. Or it could be the total package that Frasier offers. It is a comedy sitcom that only comes once. It has changed how I view comedy on TV and what I expect from shows of that genre. Frasier is without a doubt a classic TV show.

 

Frasier Cast

Frasier is a comedy sitcom produced by the American channel NBC and is a spin-off from another celebrated TV show, Cheers. It lasted for a staggering eleven seasons from 1993 to 2004. As the name suggests, the show follows Doctor Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) as he returns back home to Seattle and ends up living with his father, Martin (John Mahoney). He takes up the job of a radio psychiatrist with a weekly phone-in show at the local station. He also reconnects with his brother Dr. Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce).

 

Frasier and Niles Crane

 

What makes Frasier such a unique show in my opinion is the distinguished writing on hand. With such brilliant writers as Christopher Lloyd, David Lloyd, David Lee, Peter Casey and David Angell, it is no wonder then that Frasier has become a show synonymous with excellence. The writing and jokes in the series are very smart. They respect the viewer's intelligence and do not go after cheap shots.

 

One of the many episodes that highlights this is the “The Ski Lodge” episode (Season 5, Episode 14). Here, the group enjoys a weekend at a ski lodge but confusion takes hold with hilarious results. It is an episode that relies on farce, which is one of the many types of comedies the show excels at. This episode remains one of my favorite episodes mainly due to the superb writing that sets up the events in the episode perfectly.

 

Indeed, Frasier is a show that has made a name for itself thanks to the smart, intellectual, and intelligent writing on display.

 

Frasier Crane and Eddie

 

Of course, all of that great writing would not be as appreciated as it is today without the superlative acting talent. Frasier is a show that has a stellar ensemble cast, one of the best I have seen.

 

Starting with Kelsey Grammer, who plays the lead character Dr. Frasier Crane, the acting is top notch. Frasier returns back home to restart his life after leaving his life at Boston. He is a successful, if insecure, psychiatrist looking for love. That topic, Frasier's eternal search for a soulmate, becomes one of the main storylines of this show. Grammer does an excellent job with this role by being natural and believable. He makes us care for and grow attached to Frasier and the many situations he gets himself into. He is unquestionably this show's anchor.

 

Frasier's brother Dr. Niles Crane is also a psychiatrist and is played to perfection by David Hyde Pierce. Niles is neurotic and obsessive but also loving and caring. David Hyde Pierce transmits all this with his exceptional performance. Not many shows, especially comedies, have such strong supporting actors whose performances sometimes exceed that of the leading actors. There are episodes in Frasier where Pierce steals every scene he is in with Grammer. That only adds to the show's power and makes it even stronger. Pierce's performance is one of the highlights in this television show.

 

Frasier Crane

 

John Mahoney, as Niles and Frasier's father Martin Crane, is another strong acting presence in Frasier. Martin Crane is a police officer who is forced to retire after an on-duty injury makes him unfit to work again. He ends up living with Frasier and both share a unique and often nerve-wracking relationship. Mahoney is very memorable and provides a unique blend of comic relief. Always in the company of his lovable dog Eddie, Martin is the moral compass of his sons, which often leads to both brothers competing for his affection and approval.

 

Playing the role of Daphne Moon, Jane Leeves also gives an excellent performance on the show. She is the professional therapist hired to assist Martin in his everyday activities due to his injury. She lives with Frasier and Martin and soon grows attached to her adoptive family. Niles, in particular, falls instantly in love with her. And this fascination by Niles becomes another storyline that the show develops and helps evolve rather well. It is one of TV's most-cherished love stories.

 

One should not forget to mention the great addition of Peri Gilpin as Frasier's radio producer Roz Doyle. Roz is a confident and self-assured woman who gets into many relationships with men, most often with funny and entertaining consequences. As with the other actors, it is hard to imagine the show without Gilpin as she gives Frasier another layer of great acting that has made this ensemble one of TV's greatest.

 

Frasier Cast 2

With all the great acting, writing, and directing in Frasier, it is not a surprise then that it is the most critically-acclaimed comedy series ever. During its incredible eleven years on air at NBC, Frasier has managed to win 37 Primetime Emmy Awards, breaking the record of 29 awards held by The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The astonishing number of awards also included four Emmys for Grammer and Pierce. Without a doubt, Frasier deserves all the awards it has won.

 

However, it is not only the recognition from the Emmys that makes Frasier a great TV show. To me, it is one of the smartest shows I have had the joy of watching. I revisit Frasier at least twice a year as I cannot stay too far away from the wonderful characters. The fact that it has one of TV's most satisfying series finales does not hurt either. Frasier is absolutely a show everyone should watch.


Creators:

David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee

Genre:

Comedy (Sitcom)

Cast:

  • Kelsey Grammer (as Dr. Frasier Crane)
  • David Hyde Pierce (as Dr. Niles Crane)
  • John Mahoney (as Martin Crane)
  • Jane Leeves (as Daphne Moon)
  • Peri Gilpin (as Roz Doyle)

Favorite Episodes:

  • The Good Son (Season 1, Episode 1)
    • Synopsis: Six months after moving back to Seattle to start his career as a radio psychiatrist, Frasier is forced to take in his father Martin, a disabled former police officer, and his dog Eddie, and to hire Daphne Moon, a housekeeper and physical therapist.
  • The Matchmaker (Season 2, Episode 3)
    • Synopsis: Daphne is depressed with her love life. Frasier has the idea of setting her up with Tom Duran, the new station manager, and invites Tom to his apartment for dinner. What he doesn't know is that Tom is gay, and thinks Frasier is interested in him.
  • The Innkeepers (Season 2, Episode 23)
    • Synopsis: Visiting a venerable old Seattle restaurant before its final closing, Frasier and Niles decide to buy the place. Disasters ensue on their opening night, including a mass walk-out by the staff, the fire sprinklers going off, and a car crashing through the wall.
  • Moon Dance (Season 3, Episode 3)
    • Synopsis: On Martin's advice, Niles asks a woman to a high-society ball, but panics when he realizes he can't dance. Daphne gives him lessons in Frasier's apartment, and the two of them have a great time. When Niles's date cancels, Daphne goes with him to the ball, and they dance a passionate tango. Written by crouchbk
  • Ham Radio (Season 4, Episode 18)
    • Synopsis: Frasier tries to direct an old-time radio drama for KACL, but his over-directing turns the show into a complete disaster – just as Niles predicted.
  • The Ski Lodge (Season 5, Episode 14)
    • Synopsis: Roz wins a weekend at a ski lodge, and trades it to Frasier. Daphne invites along her friend Annie, a swimsuit model. Frasier is taken with her, but she is interested in Niles. Added to the mix is their very handsome French ski instructor, Guy. Daphne is taken with him, but he is interested in Niles. That night, confusion runs rampant.
  • Something Borrowed, Something Blue (Parts 1 & 2) (Season 7, Episodes 23 and 24)
    • Synopsis: Daphne's wedding is approaching and Niles becomes even more apprehensive when he and Mel decide to take a trip together. He feels it is too early in the relationship to go away with her but, after a therapy session with Frasier, decides to take the risk. While the two are away, Daphne finally tells Frasier that she may have feelings for Niles. Upon his return, much to the shock of the rest of the family, Niles announces that he and Mel eloped and are now husband and wife, leaving Daphne devastated.
  • Room Full of Heroes (Season 9, Episode 6)
    • Synopsis: Frasier throws a Halloween party where the guests come dressed as their personal heroes: Frasier of course is Sigmund Freud, Martin is Joe DiMaggio, Daphne is Elton John, and Roz comes as Wonder Woman. However, Niles' choice of Martin as his hero gets under Frasier's skin.
  • The Doctor is Out (Season 11, Episode 3)
    • Synopsis: Suspecting that Roz's new boyfriend is secretly gay, Frasier follows him and inadvertently winds up in a gay bar. Before long, the rest of Seattle considers him “outed.” The news actually improves his friendship with Alistair Burke, the director of the Seattle Opera. Drunk with status, Frasier tries to ignore the obvious implications.
  • Goodnight, Seattle (Parts 1 & 2) (Season 11, Episodes 23 and 24)
    • Synopsis: Frasier and Charlotte have one last dinner together before she leaves Seattle for Chicago. Ronnie informs Martin that they booked the wrong date for their wedding, in eight days' time. Frasier and Niles decide that they'll put it all together in time. However, in typical Crane fashion, it's one disaster after another, not the least of which is Eddie eating the rings.

Emmy Awards:

  • 1994
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Kelsey Grammer for “Dr. Frasier Crane”
    • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: David Angell, Peter Casey & David Lee for “The Good Son”
    • Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: James Burrows for “The Good Son”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series – Multi-Camera Production: Ron Wolk for “The Show Where Lilith Comes Back”
  • 1995
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Kelsey Grammer for “Dr. Frasier Crane”
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: David Hyde Pierce for “Dr. Niles Crane”
    • Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: David Lee for “The Matchmaker”
    • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Chuck Ranberg & Anne Flett-Giordano for “An Affair To Forget”
  • 1996
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Joe Keenan, Christopher Lloyd, Rob Greenberg, Jack Burditt, Linda Morris, Vic Rauseo, Anne Flett-Giordano & Chuck Ranberg for “Moon Dance”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special: Dana Mark McClure, Thomas J. Huth, David M. Weishaar & Robert Douglass for “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series – Multi-Camera Production: Ron Volk for “The Show Where Diane Comes Back”
  • 1997
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: David Lee for “To Kill a Talking Bird”
  • 1998
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Kelsey Grammer as “Dr. Frasier Crane”
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: David Hyde Pierce as “Dr. Niles Crane”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk for “Room Service”
  • 1999
    • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Jay Kogen for “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz”
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: David Hyde Pierce as “Dr. Niles Crane”
  • 2000
    • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Smart as “Lorna Lenley”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk & Scott Maisano for “Something Borrowed, Someone Blue”
  • 2001
    • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Smart as “Lana Gardner”
    • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Derek Jacobi as “Jackson Hedley”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk for “Daphne Returns”
  • 2002
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Sound Mixing for a Series or Special: Dana Mark McClure, Andre Caporaso, Robert Douglass & Thomas J. Huth for “Bla-Z-Boy”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk for “The Proposal”
    • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony LaPaglia as “Simon Moon”
  • 2003
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk for “Rooms with A View”
  • 2004
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Kelsey Grammer as “Dr. Frasier Crane”
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: David Hyde Pierce as “Dr. Niles Crane”
    • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Laura Linney as “Charlotte”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Sound Mixing for a Series or Special: Dana Mark McClure, Andre Caporaso, Robert Douglass & Thomas J. Huth for “The Doctor Is Out”
    • Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series: Ron Wolk for “Goodnight, Seattle”
    • Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series: Roy Christopher, Amy Skjonsby-Winslow & Ron Olsen

 

*All episode synopsis taken from IMDB.com

 


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