A Cultural History

By (author) Joseph J. Darowski, Kate Darowski

Hardback - £32.00

Publication date:

07 August 2017

Length of book:

252 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442277960

After America’s most pompous barhound left the Cheer’s gang in Boston, he returned to Seattle and found himself surrounded by an equally colorful cast of friends and family alike. For eleven seasons, radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane contended with his blue-collar ex-cop father Martin, English caretaker Daphne, coworker Roz, and his younger brother Niles. Looking at the world through Frasier’s aristocratic, witty lens, the show explored themes of love, loss, friendship, and what it might mean to live a full life. Both fans and critics loved Frasier, and the show’s 37 primetime Emmy wins are the most ever for a comedy series.

In Frasier: A Cultural History, Joseph J. Darowski and Kate Darowski offer an engaging analysis of the long-running, award-winning show, offering insights into both the onscreen stories as well as the efforts behind the scenes to shape this modern classic. This volume examines the series as a whole, but also focuses on the show’s key characters, including Eddie, the canine. Close looks at set design, class issues, and gender roles are also provided, along with opinionated reviews of all 264 episodes, highlighting the peaks and dips in quality across more than a decade of television.

Despite the show’s focus on an elitist intellectual—and his equally snooty brother—Frasier often embraced farce on a level previously unseen in American sitcoms, a mix of comedic elements that endeared it to viewers around the world. Frasier: A Cultural History will appeal to the show’s many fans as well as to scholar of media, television, and popular culture.
He was originally called Frasier Nye, and, way back when he was conceived as a supporting player on the hit sitcom Cheers, the people who created the character imagined John Lithgow in the part. But eventually the he was renamed Frasier Crane, and Kelsey Grammer played him for 20 years, in Cheers and then in its spinoff, Frasier. The authors’ focus in this 'cultural history' of a fictional character is on Frasier, but they can hardly ignore Cheers, since the differences between the two shows, and, indeed, the differences between Frasier as he appeared in both shows, which range from the obvious to the subtle, are central to the character and his development. Obvious: Cheers and Frasier had vastly different comic and dramatic tones. Subtle: in Cheers, Frasier once said his father, a research scientist, was dead, while in Frasier his father, Martin, a former cop, was very much alive. The authors explore various elements of Frasier— the show’s production design, its use of intertitle cards, its casting (Niles, Frasier’s brother, was in the show only because somebody noticed how much David Hyde Pierce resembled a younger Kelsey Grammer)—to show how the producers were determined to make a spinoff that was markedly different from the original show and to make a comedy unlike anything else on television. For fans of Frasier, and for anyone who enjoy solidly researched, entertainingly written books about the making of a television show, the book is absolutely a must-read.