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Movies & TV

06th Oct 2015

What a character: Why Frasier Crane from Frasier is a TV great

Goodnight Seattle, we love you

Conor Heneghan

Goodnight Seattle, we love you.

I rarely get to watch much of it anyway, but a quick glance at the TV guide tells me I’m not really missing out when it comes to mid-morning television these days.

There is one notable exception.

I’m not sure exactly how long they’ve been doing it for, but Channel 4 have set an hour aside for repeats of Frasier every morning.

I’ve got into the habit of recording the episodes on series link and have been re-living what is, in my humble opinion, probably the greatest sitcom ever made, whenever I just want to sit back and switch off.


Much like the many glasses of sherry that Frasier and Niles have enjoyed over the years, I find it perfect after-dinner material.

Sure, critics will argue that there was a slight decline in quality in the last few seasons and they can probably pinpoint exactly when that decline started.

But overall, it’s hard to think of another programme that was as sharp, as witty, as clever and often heart-warming as the portrayal of the life of a man who was once just another barfly in Cheers.

Spin-offs from successful TV shows have been very hit and miss over the years, but Frasier is the gold standard and the one that illustrated that, if made with the right character, they can be a hit.

NEW YORK - MAY 13: Frasier finale in Times Square on Astrovision video screen May 13, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

The final episode of Frasier being broadcast in Times Square, New York, May 2004

So many wonderful characters made Frasier the brilliant show it was, but one man held it all together and that is why Frasier Crane deserves to be labelled as a TV great.

In three words he’s: Pompous, egotistical, compassionate.

Why he’s a TV great: A handful of characters from Frasier could easily lay claim to being TV greats (I was this close to writing about Niles instead of his older brother, oh how he would have loved that) but go through the entire catalogue of episodes throughout the show’s 11 seasons and you won’t find many of them that don’t feature Frasier himself.

Some would say that’s a statement of the bloody obvious; the show is named after him and as the main character he’s obviously going to be its focal point.

But in those rare episodes in which he doesn’t appear, you realise how much his presence is missed. Yes, there are any amount of great characters in the show but none of them would be able to be great without the man himself.


Although he’s the main man, a number of the prominent plot lines that extend over a number of seasons (Niles and Daphne, Martin’s various relationships, etc.) revolve around the other central characters.

It is then that Frasier shows that despite his giant ego and tendency to put his foot in things, he is a compassionate man whose heart is always in the right place.

Aside from his contribution to the show’s ongoing storylines, it is Frasier’s willingness to play the fall guy that provide the funniest moments.

Personally, when I think of the times I laughed out loud at Frasier, most of them involve Dr. Crane embarrassing himself.

When mayoral candidate Phil Patterson confided in Frasier that he had been abducted by aliens and Frasier subsequently had to make a speech endorsing Patterson on live television…

Clip via bobsacemento1125

When he got pranked into singing ‘I’m in the mood for love’ in his bathtub by Carlos and the Chicken on live radio.

That memorable scene at the ski lodge when Frasier was the only one not desired in a house full of guests acting like horny teenagers.

Martin convincing Frasier to ask to be put through to the Fine Arts Forgery Department when contacting the police station…

Clip via starcry100

His many staring matches with Eddie. The time a steamy chat between ‘Bad Boy’ (Frasier) and ‘Naughty Girl’ (Kate Costas) went out over the airwaves.

And, one of my all-time favourites, when he thought he was reading out a speech in Hebrew at Freddie’s Bat Mitzvah but was actually reading it in Klingon instead as Noel got revenge…

Clip via akshayk26’s channel

I could go on and on, but you’d be far better off finding out by watching it for yourself.

I didn’t even start watching Frasier until about five years after the show ended; if you haven’t seen it yet, try it for yourself on Channel 4 of a weekday morning.

It goes down well with some tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

His best quote: Frasier’s pomposity summed up in one delightful line…


If we could put him in another show: Well, he’s already in Cheers and plays a parody of himself (Sideshow Bob) quite wonderfully in The Simpsons so that’s quite enough for one character don’t you think?

Clip via mrjimmyhush

His best scene: I was tempted to go with the Klingon speech referenced earlier, but there was something really special about his farewell speech in the final ever episode (that’s the cast and crew looking on in the background).

Clip via Chandu83’s channel

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