As the foremost millennial scholar and fan of the 1982-1993 sitcom Cheers and its spinoff, Frasier (1993-2004), I believe it is my sacred duty to write about them, and to air my many grievances against the shows and their glaring inconsistencies. I should clarify that I love these shows with my entire heart…it is because I care that I must criticize. This is the first installment of what I genuinely plan to turn into an academic/cultural study of Frasier, as outlined in my first ever Library School assignment.
- Frasier is a show about male familial bonding, but Frasier Crane moves 3,000 miles away from his only son to “start over.” You’d think the conceit of Frasier would be that he moved back to Seattle to take care of his father after he’s shot in the line of duty, but Marty moves in with him after he’s well established in Seattle.
- Frasier never mentions being from Seattle on Cheers. Also, though I don’t have the episode, I swear Norm mentions being from the Chicago area in an early episode of Cheers; in the later seasons, in one of the episodes with Kevin McHale, Norm references going to Celtics games with his father as a kid.
- In the pilot of Frasier, Frasier explains that just six months ago, his wife left him, and that at the time, he contemplated suicide by climbing out onto a ledge. However, in the final season of Cheers, after the infamous ledge scene, Lilith goes to live in an eco-pod with her (deranged) lover for roughly six months. When she returns, Frasier rejects her proposal that they reunite, but the show leaves open the possibility of reconciliation. Frasier begins after all of these events, the divorce with Lilith being finalized, Frasier moving to Seattle, setting up a residence, and establishing a new career in radio. The timeline just doesn’t add up, sorry!
- To that point, on Frasier, Frasier often refers to Lilith with contempt, which is unfounded; even during their separation after her infidelity, he always regards her with respect and admiration. In fact, on Cheers, Frasier and Lilith are perhaps one of the all-time best TV couples; the circumstance of their divorce and animosity are creations simply to justify the premise of Frasier.
- We meet Frasier’s mother, Hester, in season three, episode 8 of Cheers, yet Frasier makes several references throughout the series to both his parents being dead. Then the spinoff, Frasier, centers around his relationship with his heretofore dead father, Martin. (The explanation in The Show Where Sam Shows Up is so weak it’s nauseating; later, when Woody resurfaces on Frasier, he casually mentions having heard of Martin. Why would Woody know more about Frasier’s family history than Sam, his closest friend?) Also, Niles is never mentioned in Cheers; the only characters on Cheers with confirmed siblings that we meet are Sam, Carla, and Rebecca.
- Furthermore, on Cheers, Frasier’s mother literally threatens to murder Diane with a gun, but in season five of Frasier, Marty Crane extolls his late wife’s gentle nature. Hester, played in flashbacks by Rita Wilson, is the picture of domesticity, which contradicts her insane behavior on Cheers, as well as the established fact that she was a serious research scientist, much like Lilith.
- In season one of Cheers, it is established that Sam Malone had been married prior to the show beginning. We even meet his ex-wife in season 1, episode 2. But shortly thereafter, any and all mention of this is dropped, and his character is portrayed as a lifelong bachelor.
- Frasier’s first wife, Nanette, is played, in order of appearance, by Emma Thompson, Dina Waters, and Laurie Metcalf. Recasting is normal (I mean, Emma Thompson was busy), but did they think the audience wouldn’t notice her no longer being British?
- Eddie the dog is played by two different dogs: the original, and his actual biological son. Again, this is normal—how long do dogs realistically live? But Eddie looks younger in the later seasons than he does in the earlier seasons, and seems to be utilized less and less as the series progresses. Wasted potential, as Eddie was obviously the glue holding the Cranes together (and this, coming from someone unfriendly to the canine species!)
- And finally: how dare these shows pretend like Bebe Neuwirth isn’t hot? Her mere presence could melt Carbon. Bebe Neuwirth is so attractive that a friend of ours (who shall remain nameless) famously asked my husband “Have you had yourself to Lilith yet?” A fox of the stone cold variety. Please put some respect on Emmy and Tony-winner Bebe Neuwirth.
- Bonus grievance: as a proud (?) Bostonian, NARY a cast member of Cheers had a half-way decent Boston accent, except for my beloved Coach (RIP), a Rhody native.
Next time, we tackle Niles, to whom I feel a potent sexual attraction. What does that say about me as a person? Tune in next week.