“I'm running with scissors!”
Frasier is a vile, low-brow, crude, immature television sitcom whose humor derives from the star of the show, Frasier "Fat Bastard" Crane (Kelsey Grammer), wreaking havoc on Seattle. Typical misadventures include exploiting people's trust to get money out of them and deliberately giving out poor advice on his radio show.
Crane's rebellious antics made Frasier popular with young viewers, although it received much criticism from television regulators and the Christian right, who repeatedly attempted to get the program banned throughout its original run.
“I'm eating pancakes at a Seattle IHOP at 7:00 PM!”
Almost as shocking as Frasier is the character of Niles (David Hyde Pierce), Frasier's brother. Niles, whilst putting on the persona of an emotionally repressed homosexual, is in fact a sexual predator and much of the program focused on his ploys to ensnare the innocent maid Daphne into his twisted web of sexual deviance. This finally occurred when Niles left his wife-to-be on their wedding day and drove off with Daphne. The later series focused on his abusive relationship with Daphne, culminating in the birth of their child which Niles promptly sold into sexual slavery to buy more expensive suits. David Hyde Pierce was blasted by Feminist groups for his portrayal of the misognistic and abusive Niles and has been refused many high profile roles as a result. He stands by his decision to play the character, however, stating 'There's a Niles in all of us waiting to come out. Those who can't accept that don't deserve to watch television let alone criticise it.'
The show also regularly features witty one-liners and smug references that appear on a black background, referring to the events of the following scene. Over time, however, these became more and more overtly racist in tone and soon bore little relation to the actual content of the program. The now infamous phrase "Rights for Whites" recurred more and more frequently until by the Eighth Season it was the only message displayed during the show. When asked for comment, Grammer said "The show was so shit by that time very few people noticed."
Connection to Cheers
The character of Frasier Crane can be traced back to the lovable '80s sitcom Cheers, in which Crane was a regular at the Boston bar. Here, he would engage in banter with the rest of the barflies and even give free pschyciatric advice to those who requested it. However, as the series progressed, Crane became more and more frustrated with his pedestrian role in society and became lured into the mysterious arts of pretentiousness, a "dark side" if you will. By the eleventh and final season, Crane was almost beyond salvation, opting for a Martini or a Creme de Menthe over the usual beer, wearing a monocle at every opportunity, and meeting Cliff's dubious trivia with a curt "Hmph!" before continuing to read the Wall Street Journal.
In the series finale, Sam Malone attempts to change Frasier back into who he used to be with a zany Oktoberfest grill-off that blends the high culture of aristocratic Germany with the tastes of the Common Man. Competition between the two spins out of control however, and a fire breaks out in the Cheers bar, trapping the two inside. Crane refuses to call the fire brigade, stating that "to stay in the bar and immolate would be the gentlemanly thing to do". Sam is unable to turn Frasier and narrowly escapes, shouting "You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the higher classes, not join them!".
Frasier is eventually rescued, badly burned, and is put in the hands of Niles, who fixes him up with a face mask complete with breathing apparatus, which gives him his trademark smooth, baritone voice, perfect for radio. Crane becomes Darth Frasier.
|1||"Insolent Immigrants"||September 11, 1993|
|After hearing about an Indian immigrant's negative opinion about his radio show, Frasier plots his revenge. He manages to trace the man's location down to a news-stand, where the gentleman worked for a living, and after threatening the owner, Frasier scares him off and razes the news-stand to the ground. Frasier then dances around the fire singing "Burn Baby Burn" before giving his trademark maniacal laugh.|
|2||"Frasier Grinch"||December 19, 1994|
|Crane hatches a mischievous plan to take money off some homeless people. On Christmas Day, he goes to a homeless shelter, eats a meal there and pretends that he can't afford to pay. In an act of kindness, the tramps gather what little money they have to pay for the meal, including an entire day's donations for playing the guitar on a street corner. Frasier then takes out his wallet, burns a 50 dollar bill in front of all in the shelter and drives off in his expensive car, while laughing like a maniac.|
|3||"Beware the Greeks"||March 25, 1995|
|The Cranes visit the wedding rehearsal of their half-Greek cousin Nikos, a young man that Frasier tricked in being a juggler to have no competition for his keen "more impressive" medical degree. Before doing so he was first to mind-rape his Aunt Zora, head chef of a four-star Greek establishment and Nazi killer. Immediately arriving to the rehearsal the drank all the Champagne(with the inclusion of the French wine they brought). Drunk off their ties, Niles breaks the heart of his porn-star distant cousin Yvonne and having Daphne stab her with the nearest knife and dumping her in the garbage truck. Frasier then contacts Nikos's former lover and having them reconcile while he gives a speech, thus ruining the wedding. Frasier sings his theme song while Martin and Daphne destroy every tape Martin's cousin Eddie recorded during the family reunion. Frasier then says, "What is a boy to do"|
|4||"Crash Course"||February 21, 1996|
|Frasier and Niles join a car-repair course in order to psychologically torment the teacher. After writing a litany of insults in French concerning the teacher's terminally ill sister, the pair are kicked off the course. As the credits roll, Frasier and Niles are seen accosting the teacher behind Cafe Nervosa before assaulting him and forcing him to perform oral sex on the pair. Niles and Frasier laugh maniacally throughout the abuse (although it later became apparent that this scene was unscripted and was a practical joke played by Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce on the actor that was shockingly caught on camera).|
|5||"Roz in the Doghouse"||January 16, 1997|
|Frasier savagely beating Roz and forcing her temporarily out of a job. He then hires an poor inner-city black woman as her replacement. Mary tries to speak her mind during Frasier's shows but this just enrages Frasier, causing him to send a tirade of racist comments towards her. This deeply scars Mary and turns her into a nervous wreck, until one day she finally breaks out and tells one of Frasier's callers something that contradicts Frasier, causing him to beat her to a bloody pulp. She is near death when Kenny, the station manager, enters to offer Mary her own show. At this point the scene fades out with Frasier turning to Kenny with a menacing glare in his eyes. This episode drew heat for it's constant use of racial epithets by Frasier. He uses words like "nigger" and "monkey fucker" ad nauseum and the graphically violent beating scenes (these were later revealed to be real, and the actress who played Mary was reportedly on life support for 4 days after shooting wrapped up).|
|5||"Smoking Gun"||May 31, 1998|
|Frasier's new station manager asks him to help his girlfriend with her smoking problem. However when Frasier sees that the woman is very attractive he plans to seduce her and have sex with her. He hides her cigarettes in his bedroom and when she goes in looking for them, he brutally beats and rapes her. The episode climaxes with the woman attempting to escape Frasier's apartment and meeting Niles at the door, brandishing a gun. He laughs maniacally while he watches Frasier rape her yet again before he himself rapes her. The woman then encounters the family patriarch, Martin, who has no interest in sexual relations, but beats her to death with his cane. The scene fades out with the three men laughing maniacally and discussing what to do with the body. This episode drew much attention from the FCC due to it's graphic depiction of sexual and physical abuse against women, including two graphic rape scenes. However the Frasier producers allegedly gave the FCC officials oral sex in order to keep the show on the air.|
|6||"Sweeney Doc (Part 1)"||December 16, 1999|
|Frasier's most disastrous dinner soirée yet, this time held at Niles' apartment, take a turn for the worse with Frasier savagely beating a snooty wine club member over a trivial remark made at the expense of his signature chanterelle sauce. Panicking, and left without an entrée due the damage caused by the fight, Crane juliennes the man and hides the remains in a vat of gourmet seasonal chili Niles had been stewing for months. As the rest of the guests arrive, Daphne unknowingly serves the macabre meal while Frasier and Niles are forced to juggle an increasingly complex web of lies and misdirection to keep guests from entering the blood-streaked kitchen, wondering about the missing wine club member, or discovering that Roz is not actually reclusive fashion designer Minola DeFranc (in an unrelated subplot).|
|7||"Sweeney Doc (Part 2)"||January 8, 2000|
|The dish proves a huge hit in the dining room, but when an obese, despised heiress (whose seat on the Seattle Opera Board Frasier has long-coveted) discovers the grisly scene one room over, Frasier hatches a plan to systematically do in a number of his bitter rivals while simultaneously gaining popularity among well-connected socialites by continuing to host upscale dinners centered around the popular recipe. He silences the heiress with a poison dart from an ornamental tribal blowgun while Niles ushers out the rest of the guests, and the two begin making preparations for future dinners featuring more of their newly-dubbed "Chili Con Crane".|
|8||"Sweeney Doc (Part 3)"||January 15, 2001|
|The massive network of lies eventually comes crashing down in the third act when the entire Seattle Epicurean Society, drawn by Eddie's barking, witnesses a psychiatric rival of the Cranes' stagger from Frasier's kitchen impaled by an antique shrimp skewer. As the victim collapses before he can name his attacker, a quick-thinking Frasier's passionate, three-minute long speech (filled with showy but false deductive reasoning) is able to direct all suspicion toward his nemesis Cam Winston. The episode ends with Winston being carted away by police, screaming revenge in front of the terrified dinner guests as Frasier devilishly savors the last bite of his meal.|
|9||"No Sex Please, We're Skittish"||June 28, 2002|
|A very uncomfortable tale creates controversy when Frasier immediately suspects Roz's (following her coming from the hospital) new boyfriend of being more homosexual than his real father. This leads Roz to try to accuse Frasier of being intolerant and a stereotype, so he declares revenge by not inviting her to a party his gay friend Alistair, played by Patrick Stewart (whom Frasier pretended to be gay for so he could be friends) later Frasier tells him he is not gay, this causes him to commit suicide.|
|10||"Frasier vs. Martin and the 8th Commandment"||September 8, 2003|
|Frasier and Martin are at odds over whether or not to buy digital cable. Frasier hatches a plot to get his father to agree with him. Frasier proceeds to seduce Martin's new girlfriend, whilst his father remains ignorant at a low-quality play, the tickets to which Frasier stole from a poor man who spent his life's savings to buy, in order to make a gift for his family. Frasier then has sex with his father's girlfriend, video-tapes it, uses software to super-impose his brother's face over his own, and then mails the tape to his father. His father proceeds to disown Niles, and Frasier takes all his worldly possessions, blaming it on the foreign men that drove the moving truck. He then sits down on his couch, his father screaming hysterically at his girlfriend from the other room. We see a fade out shot of his father brutally beating his girlfriend, and his maid when she enters the room, and we hear Frasier laughing maniacally.|
|11||"Goodnight, Seattle"||April 20, 2004|
|Martin and Frasier bicker over their 11-year "anniversary". Frasier decides to drive sweet-natured Martin out of the house by hurling his favorite chair over the balcony (this scene was filmed on-location in a Seattle hotel; a mother of three was killed by the falling recliner). When this fails, Frasier drowns Martin's dog Eddie in his own en-suite toilet, and leaves the canine corpse in Martin's bed. When Martin still remains committed to sticking by his troubled son, Frasier dresses as a murderous clown with the intention of giving his father a fatal heart attack. This backfired when Martin's actor John Mahoney, who had not been informed, had a genuine heart attack on-set. The producers wished to rush Mahoney to hospital but Grammer refused, insisting that it was for the integrity of the show that the cameras keep rolling. He then used this extra screen time to read from his upcoming autobiography/political manifesto, My Struggle. Mahoney dragged himself to a phone booth where he rang for an ambulance, and narrowly avoided death.|
David Hyde Pierce was blasted by feminist groups for his portrayal of the misogynistic and abusive Niles, and has since been refused many high-profile roles as a result. Though in interviews he blames his drixobenzometapetramine addiction on his character's horrific behavior, he stands by his decision to play Niles, stating "There's a little Niles in all of us just waiting to come out. Those who can't accept that don't deserve to watch television, let alone criticize it."
John Mahoney, who played Frasier's dad Martin, was so appalled by the racist message of the series that he tried to leave several times. He was contractually obliged to complete all eleven seasons, however, and remained on the series after the producers threatened his loved ones. As a result, he rarely speaks in interviews about his time on Frasier.
John Mahoney, who played Frasier's father Martin, often defended the shows racist undertones, and frequently ad-libbed lines to make the ethnic extras and guest stars more uncomfortable. Mahoney also managed to work his own sexually deviant behaviour into the show on a regular basis, preying on young extras, getting them recurring parts on the show, and proceeding to sexually and psychologically abuse them on camera. Jane Leeves, who played Daphne, one of Mahoney's most frequent victims, was a constant defender of Mahoney in interviews, though this was generally accepted to be a case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Jane Leeves, who played Daphne, was often the victim of cruel on-set pranks from Grammer, such as putting starved rats in her costume and setting fire to her hair, which forced her to cut her hair unattractively short. She came down with a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome, however, and remains a close friend of Grammer's to this day.
Peri Gilpin, who played Roz Doyle, is today a feminist activist because of the abuse she received on the show, such as constant tirades of sexist remarks in nearly every episode, the aforementioned beating which put her in hospital, and the occasional unsimulated rape scenes. She often sexually serviced Grammer and Hyde Pierce for payment, before her 1999 arrest for protitution. After that she attempted to clean up her act, only offering oral sex.
Rather than being played by one single dog, hundreds of thousands of Eddies were bred in a specially-adapted warehouse for the show. The cruel conditions in which this was done were famously exposed by Fox News in its piece "Frasier Dog Factory". Series producer David Angell defiantly said on Fox, "These things don't mean anything to us. We don't even see them as animals. We call them units, and I'm afraid we need to get through at least fifty units a day to keep Frasier fresh and funny." This incident led to PETA boycotting the show for many years, and Grammer had many attempts on his life by animal rights activists.
Frasier and Niles' mother died before the show's events began. This was added to the show when the actress supposed to play their mother died mysteriously weeks before shooting began on season one. Grammer has denied any involvement in interviews, attributing her death to a "tragic dance accident".
Despite union regulations, Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce insisted that all alcohol the characters drink be real instead of a prop. This proved trying for sherry-swilling or wine-tasting scenes, as the actors would begin to slur their lines or forget them completely after multiple retakes. Grammer in particular was an unpredictable drunk, occasionally improvising hilarious moments that made it to air, but often becoming belligerent and setting production behind schedule by days.
Grammer and Hyde Pierce insisted that all the alcohol drunk on the show was real, resulting in the two lead actors stumbling through most takes in a perpetual state of inebriation. Much of the show ended up being unscripted, with Grammer and Hyde Pierce unable to read their lines, opting instead to commit various unorthodox and frequently violent acts.
Each mention of an obscure wine, literary work, or piece of classical music contains a hidden reference to racial topics. For example, while dining at a fancy restaurant, Frasier is often seen ordering a bottle of 1982 Château Élire Le Pen, before discussing the delights of Heydrich's enchanting opera, Der herrliche Völkermord, While sipping his afternoon latte, Niles often reads The Turner Diaries by William Luther Pierce.
Hurdles and scandals
The episode "Fraternal Schwinns", which involves the brothers participating in a KACL charity bike-a-thon, was ruined by the actors being so plastered during filming that neither could ride for more than a few feet, and had to be re-written at the last minute to include a subplot about them never having learned to ride. The most infamous moment occurred during the Valentine's Day episode when what would've been a classic scene of Niles ironing a pair of slacks for a date spun completely out of control, with the inebriated Hyde-Pierce cutting himself, accidentally setting the couch ablaze and eventually passing out on-camera. In a later episode where Frasier hosted a Halloween party that Niles attended dressed as the boys' father Martin, Hyde Pierce imbibed so much beer that he eventually launched into a tirade of unscripted abuse directed at John Mahoney himself.
After disgust at an episode of Frasier when David Hyde Pierce smashes the window of an art gallery, Hyde Pierce and Grammar were both arrested and put on trial, when Grammar said a rude word at the supreme court, Hyde Pierce was released and Grammar was taken to prison for three years. From seasons 3-6 Frasier was played by Grammar look-alike Jay Leno. This story was hidden from the press for 19 years.
One of the creators, David Angell, was killed in 9/11. It was later revealed that David Hyde Pierce and Kelsey Grammer were involved in his death, in ways such as paying David $1000 to get on that particular plane. Grammer used his immeasurable wealth to stop this getting out.
During the last seasons of the show, Niles and Daphne finally became a couple. This was planned as a storybook romance, but David Hyde Pierce's on-set drunkenness and violent behavior forced hasty rewrites. Niles was soon regularly beating his beloved Daphne while Frasier distracted their father by dangling his dog over the balcony. An ongoing storyline in the final season was Daphne's unplanned pregnancy, occurring after Niles drunkenly raped her. This story arc ended when Niles pushed her down the stairs, and Frasier ran in to kick her in the stomach for good measure.