Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Frasierquest: And These Our Players...

Before I get to the episode reviews, I think I should give you a handy cast of characters. It's not the biggest ensemble in the world, and all these characters will be introduced in the first episode, but they all deserve their own spotlight. One of the reasons I consider this show the apotheosis of the three-camera, studio-audience sitcom form is the care and detail lavished upon its characters, so in the episode reviews I'll be following how they develop. Consider this the base line. Or bassline. Possibly both.

FrasierDr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer)- First appearing in Boston as part of the show CHEERS, Frasier, a noted psychiatrist, showed up to help Sam Malone combat a relapse into alcoholism, triggered by tensions with on-again/off-again love Diane Chambers. At this point Frasier and Diane were dating (he having met her in a mental institution), and would become engaged, only for her to leave him at the altar for Sam. Whom she would also leave at the altar. Frasier later married Dr. Lilith Sternin, and fathered a son, Frederick. Lilith left Frasier and her son briefly, which was unbearable, and then came back, which was excruciating. Now entering middle age, Frasier is headed back to his home town, Seattle.

Niles CraneDr. Niles Crane
(David Hyde Pierce)- Frasier's younger brother, also living in Seattle with a successful private practice. The Jungian yin to Frasier's Freudian yang, Niles is married to Maris Crane, heir to a grand 'timber' fortune. They live in a stately mansion with a large staff and several dogs.

Martin Crane Martin Crane (John Mahoney)- Frasier and Niles' father, by now-deceased wife Hester Crane. Martin worked as a Seattle police officer for
decades, before being shot in the hip during a convenience store robbery. As the series starts, Martin lives in an apartment on his own. Spoilers- this doesn't last.

Daphne Moon
Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves)- A licensed physical therapist and home health care worker, Daphne hails from distant Manchester, England. She grew up in a house with eight brothers. Now out on her own, Daphne lives by her skills, her charm, and her faint psychic ability. She doesn't really sound Mancunian, but we don't particularly care.

Roz DoyleRoz Doyle (Peri Gilpin)- A producer at KACL, Seattle's all-talk radio station. (There's also KPXY, the Mighty Pixie, but they don't matter right now.) Roz hails from Wisconsin, and is a fast-rising professional in the radio scene, with aspirations of having her own show. Her primary hobby is men.

(Roz Doyle is named after a producer on WINGS, which shared FRASIER's creators. Doyle passed away from breast cancer in 1991.)

EddieEddie (Moose, later Enzo- trained by Matilda de Cagny)- Martin's dog. A currently un-neutered Jack Russell terrier (though they're apparently called Parson Russell terriers now, for some reason.)

(Enzo is Moose's son- he gradually took over as Moose got older.)

There are a number of important guest characters, who will be dealt with as they come up. Look for the episode reviews to start within a week.

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