Frasier: Season 1
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Season One of FRASIER finds the recently divorced Boston psychiatrist, Dr. Frasier Crane (Grammer), at a new place in his life. Last seen gracing the bars of Cheers, Frasier has a new life in his home town of Seattle as a popular radio psychiatrist, which has given him the chance to spread his words of wit and wisdom to the masses. Sharing an apartment with his ex-policeman father, Marty (Mahoney), and his fathers English physical care assistant Daphne (Leeves), Frasier must also cope with his psychiatrist brother Niles (Pierce) and Eddie the dog.
Thanks to sharp writing and a pitch-perfect ensemble cast, Frasier became one of the smartest and funniest television shows of the 1990s. Following the 1993 demise of Cheers, Diane's fussy psychiatrist boyfriend, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), seemed an unlikely candidate for a spin-off series, yet the show earned smash ratings and dozens of Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor (Grammer) in the very first season. In an inspired bit of casting, Grammer was matched with David Hyde Pierce as his brother and fellow psychiatrist Niles, and the rest of the players included his radio-program manager, Roz (Peri Gilpin), his father, Marty (John Mahoney), his father's physical therapist, Daphne (Jane Leeves), and the dog Eddie (Moose).
In the first season, Frasier and Marty try to learn how to coexist in the same apartment; Niles and Daphne spend a stormy evening in Niles's house; Frasier acquires pushy agent Bebe (Harriet Sansom Harris) and searches for love with Amanda Donohoe among others; his ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) makes a guest appearance; the family takes a cross-country trip in a Winnebago; and the two brothers collaborate on a book.
Bonus features aren't spectacular, but are a cut above many similar DVD sets. Executive producers Peter Casey and David Lee provide a commentary track on the pilot episode. In a 20-minute making-of segment, they and the principal cast members discuss the creation of the show, casting (Lisa Kudrow was the other finalist for the character of Roz), and the mystery of the omni-absent Maris. "Frasier Crane's Apartment" looks at the set and props, and each disc spotlights a few of the celebrity voices that appeared as the radio show's callers. --David Horiuchi
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David Angell, a creator and executive producer of the NBC series ''Frasier,'' died on Tuesday on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston. He was 54 and lived in Pasadena, Calif. Mr. Angell was returning with his wife, Lynn, 52, to California from their summer home in Chatham, Mass., NBC reported. Flight 11 was hijacked and flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan at about 8:45 a.m. - yup even Frasier was touched by the atrocity of 9/11 ... sigh ... ;(
I can't add much "substantive" content than what others have already written, but I'll just pitch in a few of my own comments, for whatever they may be worth. "Frasier" is simply hilarious, so hilarious (a word frequently overused, but I assure you, correctly used in this case) that you will find yourself having to stop the disk because you're doubled over with laughter. It's an example of that rare combination of a unique set of actors, superb script writing, and a great story concept. I've seen a lot of shows in my life, and I was completely convinced that no one would ever "top" "The Dick van Dyke Show" because it set the bar so high), but I would have to say that this one is right up there with some of the very best ever made. As I write this, I'm thinking of some of the lines from Season One that simply had my CRYING with laughter, and I so wish I could share them here, but that would just spoil the experience of watching them yourself. Also, the humour does not come across in writing as powerfully as the production itself provides it.
Frasier is a psychologist in Seattle who has a call-in talk show for helping listeners with problems. His brother, also a psychologist, but with a more traditional practice, also lives in the city. Their father, a retired policeman, lives with Frasier in his somewhat upper-middle class ("The Elliot Bay Towers, on the Counterbalance") high rise apartment. They have a live-in physical therapist, Daphne Moon, who is there to help Frasier's dad with his hip problem (who was injured by a gunshot wound while on duty and retired as a result). Frazier has a producer, Roz, a young woman who is always trying to find "Mr. Right," but doesn't seem to be very successful in doing so.
Sound boring? Trivial? Of no interest? Unoriginal? Yes, that little description above might sound that way, but I can assure you, once you waded into the very first episode (one of those rare exceptions where the pilot is actually as good as the rest of the show: this thing starts right on Episode One), you'll see the reason why over 100 people rate Frazier with essentially a perfect five-star score. The fun starts on the first episode and doesn't let up from that point.
Frasier is one of those shows that requires you to think a little as you watch in order to catch all the jokes (it's a tad like "The Simpsons" in that aspect, although the two shows bear no similarity). And you have to listen "quick": the witty interjections that make up so much of the comedy can come at a blisteringly fast rate. Sometimes the interjections will catch you completely off guard, and it is some of these lines that will just knock you over with laughter.
"Frasier" is a show that indeed requires you to think, but it pays off in spades. The show does not "reach down" to a low common denominator, as we see in so many comedies. If you like witty dialog, strange situations, and enjoy seeing how humanity intersects with humor, this is the show for you. The show assumes an educated audience, and that is that.
An easy five stars, but you already know that.
After re-watching all 11 seasons of this show with my wife numerous times, I can still say it. This show is hysterically funny. When you are new to it, you get "caught" by the verbal gags and you'll have to stop the disk or you'll miss then next three jokes. Witticisms abound. Obscure references are not uncommon. And the fact that they could hold this up for 11 years is remarkable. It is said that the only reason that it did not keep going is because of the cost involved due to the very, very high salaries of the cast, and Kelsey Grammer may or may not have been the longest playing single character in TV history (spanning three shows), but none of that matters. We may be sad that we missed out on what unquestionably would have been another hilarious Season, but I guess we'll have to be content with 263 episodes. And do you know what is even more miraculous? As incredibly good as this show is--and it truly is--the show does not even showcase Grammer's greatest acting achievement. That achievement doubtless lays in "Boss," a two-season show on Starz that anyone who grew up in Chicago will cleave to, and everyone else will be mesmerized by the performances (Boss - Season One and Boss - Season 2 [DVD]).
Some more than others obviously, but the good doctor and his great supporting cast always bring a good time. Here's to Season 2 and a whole lot more...