Call Me Crazy (But Call Me)
Kate West (Writer)
Summer is vacation time for most (including TV stars) and this year I'm spending (well, some of) it on reruns (remember those?) These days you can be in charge of your own reruns, thanks to Netflix and Hulu. Me? I'm revisiting Frasier, the Cheers spin-off, where everyone knew your name.
I found that it still compels me and that I still care about the characters. And the writing. Good writing is essential to what I watch, on the small or big screen. If you've never seen it, Psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) leaves Boston and Cheers to move back home to Seattle. A great choice of location (though it was actually filmed on a Los Angeles studio lot), often featuring rainy scenes, making it as cozy as the little jazz number Grammer sings in the end credits, which always showcased an amusing little tying-it-all-up scene.
Frasier had eleven seasons of wit and charm, though inevitably, like many other good programs before, the show had a bit of a decline toward the end, when character conflicts got resolved and comedic tension became harder to find. Granted it had maybe a few too many misunderstanding moments (but so does Modern Family). Still, the majority of the situations were hilarious and sometimes even poignant.
What I admire most is that the main character so often deferred to others. Grammer let his co-stars find love and redemption on screen, even when his character did not. And there were always lessons to be learned and actions to be analyzed and pretention to be made fun of. But again, the writing was awfully good and the characterization impressive. So many of the scenes read like plays - I could absolutely picture a lot of it on a minimalist stage (the theater geek in me, of course). Oh and there's the cutest little dog too ....
Well maybe it's kind of L.A. to be into therapy. Frasier did seem to give some good advice to his listeners (always a celebrity voice, by the way), or at least it seemed to make me feel better. If you've run out of things to watch (yeah, right), I'm recommending this little jaunt down Hollywood's memory lane.
Kate West Kate West has an extensive theatrical background and has been reviewing plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, comedy sketch and much more since 2003. www.katewestreviews.com
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