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'Frasier' Sitcom Review 31-01-12
Member Name: one-superstore
Advantages: well written, funny, well acted, good supporting characters
Disadvantages: went on for too long (quality dropped), too expensive (even after 7 years)
I don't normally find American comedies very funny, as they don't tend to be my kind of humour, I feel, however, that Frasier is the exception to this rule. I remember that as a family we used to watch Frasier as part of a Friday night entertainment package (along with Friends), though I feel that I was perhaps too young to really appreciate it at that stage.
The plot of Frasier is fairly run of the mill (the main protaganist moves to Seattle to settle down and to be amongst his family). Essentially a spin off from Cheers (which centred around characters in a bar, of which Frasier was one), Frasier follows the exploits of a radio psychiatrist (Dr Fraser Crane), his relationship with his brother (Dr Niles Crane), his father (Marty Crane) and his housekeeper (Daphne Moon). I feel that the plot is where Frasier derives its comedic value, due to the opposite nature of the characters and their relationships with each other. For example, the two main characters, Frasier and Niles (highly educated 'wine' conesseurs) are the complete antithesis of their no nonsense beer swelling father (who as it happens lives with Frasier), hilarity ensues (Marty is constantly making remarks of how he wished for an athletic son, whilst Frasier and Niles are always remarking on how Marty has little or no style in choice of clothes, furniture and women). Similarly, amongst the more minor characters, you have the camp Gill and the Macho Bob 'Bulldog' Brisco both working at Frasiers place of work (the radio station KACL), again hilarity ensues. Another way in which the plot is good is that it uses Frasier's character flaws to add to the comedic value. As a psychiatrist Frasier is supposed to help others come to terms with their problems, often though it is Frasier himself that has the problems (due to his inability to tell a lie, his big ego and his ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong moment). In my opinion the plot and characters are very well written and in my opinion make the program very funny.
In my opinion the cast of Frasier is also very good. I feel that the comedic timing of Kelsey Grammar (Frasier) and David Hyde Pierce (Niles) adds weight to what is already a very good script (the way that David Hyde Pierce runs is a joy to behold). Indeed, the way that Kelsey Grammar feigns innocence when he goes too far in his feud with his neighbour (Cam Winston) is, in my opinion, fantastic acting. In the same way, the mannerisms that David Hyde Pierce adopts is so funny (I dare you not to laugh when he burns his trousers on the ironing board and faints after accidently cutting himself). I feel that another strength that 'Frasier' has is in the acting of the actors that play the lesser characters (ex wives, new loves, neighbours etc). Indeed, far from detracting from the overall story I feel that they add strength to it (their own stories are interesting too - I feel that this is often the sign of a good sitcom, when you care about the minor characters).
'Frasier' is fairly run of the mill in terms of the running length of an episode (30 minutes is perfect for a sitcom), so little can be commented on there. However, I feel that because Frasier ran for so long (1993-2004) some of the later episodes were not up to the standard of some of the earlier ones (it didn't seem quite as funny towards the end as they seemed to have ran out of material), so this perhaps could be viewed as a negative. In a sense, however, I feel that Frasier has lasted pretty well, although it is eight years old I think people will still find it relevant and on the whole a funny series. I feel that another negative is the price of 'Frasier' on Dvd which is in my opinion exorbitant (I bought the boxset for £83, whereas Friends cost less than £50 - certainly not a cheap laugh!).
In conclusion, I would definately recommend Frasier to anybody, as I find funny and hugely entertaining. I feel that far from being an 'in your face' type of comedy, Frasier is more subtle and this perhaps makes it funnier (you wonder how Frasier will mess things up!). I feel that Frasier's major strength is in the writing (although ably supported by the acting) which is clever and well thought through. In my opinion the only major negatives that I could find were in the length of the series (drop in quality, perhaps, towards the end) and the price that the series in currently retailing for (ridiculous after 7 years). In conclusion I find Frasier brilliant!
Summary: Quality program, but is the Dvd value for money?