Saturday, November 18, 2023

Frasier may have left the building, but at least he’s back for a short visit

In the summer of 2016 when I made the ill-fated decision to move out of the city, I also decided to do some serious downsizing and gave away half of what I owned.  I donated over 300 hardcover books and half of my DVD collection to the Bellevue Library.

This was actually the very first thing I gave them, my complete set of Frasier, which aired on NBC from 1993 to 2004.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I did; I dearly loved this show.  Everything about it was brilliant—from the writing to it’s inspired casting (Frasier wasn’t even supposed to have a brother, one of the producers saw David Hyde Pierce and remarked his uncanny resemblance to Kelsey Grammer). 

As great as it was though, my second favorite thing about the show was his luxury apartment in the fictional Elliot Bay Towers in Seattle.  I used to record the show on my vcr, then pause it during replay just to study the artwork or the titles of the books on his bookshelves!

My favorite thing about the show though was the calls to my mom after every new episode.  She knew to expect my call the moment Kelsey began singing “tossed salad and scrambled eggs”, and we’d rehash that night’s story and laugh all over again. 

Sadly, Mom passed about 6 months after the final episode.

The reason I share all this now is because last night I laughed again at Frasier for the first time in a LONG time, and afterwards felt both relief and some heartache too.  The show was recently revived on Paramount Plus with much fanfare (they announced it was returning 3 years ago) but after 4 episodes I was greatly disappointed.  

USA Today wrote a pretty scathing piece about its revival and got raked over the coals by Frasier’s adoring fans; the paper was right though, the show was a turd.

And then last night (after putting it off for over a week) I watched the fifth episode and it was nothing short of awesome—they got it, they got that magic back!  Well, for this episode at least.  Frasier and his adult son Freddy are in Frasier’s Boston apartment, waiting on blind dates; when the first woman arrives, they’re both attracted to her but don’t know which Crane she’s there for, and instead of just asking…. I was howling.

Later when the second woman shows up, and Frasier confesses to Freddy he wants her too, his disgusted son remarks “Why don’t I just pretend to be your personal chef?  We’ll set up another table on the balcony, and try to fool both women into having dinner with you!”  Frasier pauses, stares into space like he’s mulling it over and says “You know, there was a time when I would’ve considered such a thing…”  My God I laughed so hard! 

I know it sounds silly, but if you were a fan of playwrights like Preston Sturges or Noel Coward, you’d enjoy this too. 

Okay, I thought I’d wrap this little lovefest up with 3 takes on Frasier’s apartment.  The first is from the original Frasier, complete with his dad’s ratty 1970’s recliner. 

The second is how designers imagine it would look today—pretty fancy stuff. 

The third is his apartment on the revived show, set in Boston.  I am digging that Rorschach wallpaper!

29 comments:

  1. I never watched the show so I guess I'll skip the new one, too.

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  2. I loved Frasier. Brother Niles and the dad (retired police officer) were a hoot. I loved the way they all played off of each other. The dad's old recliner among all the high end beautiful furnishings always made me laugh. I will look for the fifth episode.

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    1. Thanks Susan, love hearing from another Frasier fan! Yes if you see that fifth episode please let me know what you think :^)

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  3. We watched some Frasier because it came on right after the evening news for a few years. Of course, that was all rerun stuff as the original show had long gone into syndicate. I'm not interested in watching the redo. And that third apartment? Too much stuff. I like the middle pic, though. I actually have some of the furniture.

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    1. Thanks dkzody, I am giving the redo a second chance, but yep it's not the same. I'm surprised you didnt like the third apartment, but youre right it's busy!

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    2. That third apartment has too much stuff that would need to be picked up to be dusted. I like clean straight lines and empty surfaces.

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  4. Yes, I used to like Frasier. They reminded me of The Odd Couple, starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. I like the third set, too. It's colorful, and there are many cool things to look at.

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    1. Thanks Gigi, I figured you would've appreciated Frasier at least--and yep, he and his dad were like the Odd Couple! I like all 3 apts to be honest :^)

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  5. Big Frasier fan here, Doug. Loved all the characters! Have not seen the revived show but I like it's set design. The Rorschach paper really works! I guess my favourite piece, though, is the piano! In the original set, I liked the fireplace. Lovely that you and your Mom could share episode viewpoints.

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    1. Florence will you marry me? Sorry but you sure struck all the right keys! Thank you, and I agreed with everything you said here. And you're not missing anything with the new show, I'm sorry to say--but I do like his so-called taste :^)

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  6. I enjoyed Frasier a lot too even though I doubt it was actually filmed in Seattle. (probably in B.C.) Still, they talked about local places and I like that tongue-in-cheek humor. I can't stand Kelsey Grammer though and have read the awful reviews of the new show. Perhaps it will find its feet?

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    1. Thanks Margaret--you're right about it not being filmed in Seattle, I believe they only did one episode there (an all-outdoors episode). I'm sorry about the no love for Kelsey Grammer, I know he can be a bit on the egocentric haha... as for the new show, I just finished Episode 6 (the return of Lillith) and it wasn't half bad :^)

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  7. Hi Doug, I was a Frasier fan too. We have the series on DVD but just haven’t got around to watching it yet. To be honest none of the apartments are my taste. Like other commenters have mentioned I enjoyed the scenes with Frasier and his Dad. Hope the new show gets better!
    Robin

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    1. Hi Robin, thanks for sharing-- that's awesome you have them on DVD too, this was one of the few shows from the modern era I had on dvd. I'm surprised you didn't like either of his apartments (that middle one isn’t real), I do like the third one even if it is a little dark. But you know I like your house too. πŸ™‚

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    2. To me there is too much stuff in the third one. I don’t like a lot of things on tables. Your apartment is great Doug, not stuff everywhere.❤️
      Robin

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    3. Thank you Robin! You're right, I don't like a lot of "doo-dads" either. But I do like interesting pieces like Chuck's standalone radio. :^) Hey--Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I just remembered yours is a month before ours haha

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  8. OK, we liked Frasier too in his original show... as well as Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette in their original show (if you remember that). As for the sets, I remember the first and like it, really dislike the second (so cold and uncomfortable looking) and am OK with the third (except I'd do away with that wallpaper and the floor under the piano - makes it too busy for me). But I will check out Paramount Plus and give it a go.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Rian! As for Bob & Emily Hartley, that was one of my favorite shows in the 1970s and I used to tell everyone I was going to live in an apt like that someday, haha-- I just didn't want a needy neighbor like Howard Borden. Well, the apts above--the second one isnt real and I admit the wallpaper in the third is a bit over-the-top :^)

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  9. Channel 10 shows a couple of episodes each day here, at about the time I’m preparing or eating dinner. It’s a good show to accompany those things. I can quote considerable swathes of dialogue.
    When the series ends, they just start all over again – they’re on the seventh or eighth time around at the moment.
    I’ve always found Niles much funnier than Frasier, he’s certainly my favorite character. I also like the Bebe Glazer character, Frasier’s manager, she’s a real hoot.
    The reboot of the show is on here, but it costs money to watch, so I haven’t bothered.

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    1. Hmm! Thank you for sharing Peter, you're obviously a fan. I've always liked Niles very much too, and while he's not on the new Frasier, I just saw him this morning on the Season 2 premiere of Julia (as Julia Child's husband) on HBO Max, hes great. Sadly you're not missing anything when it comes to Frasier. PS I loved Bebe! πŸ˜†

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  10. I dislike all three of those pictures. I liked Frasier, but not so much that I watched religiously and probably missed more episodes than I watched, so I had no interest in watching the new ones. It was funny, but I found the Crane men to be arrogant and a little selfish, except for Martin of course. I remember thinking "if that's what wealth and elite schooling does, then I'm glad to be poor".
    I have never yet given away a complete series of anything I collected. Books yes, but never dvds.

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    1. Thanks River.. well, Frasier and his brother were pompous and such, but it was fun seeing them get put in their place by more down to earth people like their dad. Plus I was a fan of Native American and primitive art in the 90s, so I enjoyed Frasiers apt that was filled with it.

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  11. Well, there's no accounting for taste. I watched one episode, didn't appeal to me. But (I'm afraid to admit) I watched something even worse (2 1/2 Men).

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    1. Haha! Thanks Tom! Well as long as we're being honest I hated that show! πŸ˜‚ I miss you, hope you're well πŸ‘

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  12. I enjoyed the old Frasier but have been reluctant to dip into the new one. I'm from Seattle and no, the old one certainly was not filmed there and his misprounciations of local names made me grit my teeth. Calling Lake Chelan (shh-lan) as she-lawn for instance. No one but us locals really cared. I'm knee deep into "Shameless" with Wiliam Macy for now, not sure what that says about me. However, hope Frasier continues to be enjoyable for you.

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    1. Thanks Celia, it's interesting to get real Seattle people's take on Frasier. I'd be curious to see a show that takes place in Pittsburgh! As for Shameless, I do like William Macy. You have my curiosity piqued, I need to check that out! πŸ™‚

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  13. I watched some Frazier. I remember it as funny. I am going to guess that it aired at the same time as something else because I don't remember seeing a lot of it. But I can certainly see the look you are going for in your place!

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    1. Thanks Debby but I can't afford any of these looks! πŸ˜„

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