Frasier (NBC, 1993-2004)
Following on from Friends, this is another American sitcom that played a big part in Channel 4’s primetime schedule for many years. And again, I have barely seen a full episode of this, but I might as well share what I do know. Frasier was a spin-off from the sitcom Cheers, which was set in a bar in Boston. Dr Frasier Crane joined in 1984, and when this came to an end in 1993, it was decided to explore this character and his life further.
Kelsey Grammer had also found fame by this point for providing the voice of Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons. Frasier had now moved to Seattle and works as a psychologist, hosting a radio phone-in, where he listens to the callers, but many of them aren’t so keen on his advice (they were often voiced by special celebrity guests, and viewers liked to guess who they were).
Other main characters include Frasier’s younger brother Niles, and their dad Martin, who has retired because he has a gammy leg (you never hear any other parts of the body referred to as “gammy” though, why is that). And there is also the English-born Daphne, played by Jane Leeves, who had previously appeared in sitcom Throb (that I reviewed recently), where she had some rather spectacular 80s hair (and a London accent), but in this, she had some 90s hair… mostly because it was now the 90s.
I am sure that I read that Lisa Maxwell off top sitcom Once In A Lifetime auditioned for the role of Daphne, but she didn’t get it. There is also Frasier’s radio producer Roz, and plenty of other people come and go too, but many considered Eddie the dog to be the real star. There were various other quirks, including the opening sequence of every episode being slightly different, and phrases appearing between scenes.
As the episodes progress, Niles and Daphne indulge in more “will they-won’t they?” than most couples do, but not too much else changed over the years. It wasn’t long before critics insisted that this was the smartest show on TV, and the quality was kept up over 11 series. After the end, Grammer went on to appear in other shows, but the trouble was that they would all be seen as inferior to this one (who remembers the sitcom Back To You now?).
There have been rumours of a revival for a while, but it still seems unclear if that will actually happen. All of the episodes have been released on DVD, and there have been a lot of repeats on Paramount Comedy Channel, and they continue on Channel 4 right to this day (as do the Cheers repeats). Maybe this is a sitcom that I should explore further, because few have as good a reputation as this one.