My Favorite TV Show - Ed Schrader of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat on “Frasier”

"Like anything I fixate on, after a while, it begins to concern my friends."

Jul 06, 2018 By Ed Schrader Web Exclusive
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In this edition of My Favorite TV Show, Ed Schrader, one half of Ed Schrader's Music Beat, writes about one of the all time greatest sitcoms, Frasier. The show was a spinoff of 1980s sitcom classic Cheers, ran from 1993 to 2004, and won a then record 37 Emmy Awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for five years in a row. It stared Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane, a radio psychiatrist who moves from Boston back to his hometown of Seattle, where his retired police officer father Martin Crane (John Mahoney) and his British physiotherapist Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves) move in with him. Frasier and his equally upper crust brother Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) often clash with their blue-collar father and Frasier's radio producer Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin). Hilarity more often than not ensued.

The Baltimore based Ed Schrader's Music Beat released their third album, Riddles, back in March via Carpark. Fellow Baltimore resident Dan Deacon produced the album. Previously the album's title track, "Riddles," was one of our Songs of the Week, and then "Seagull" was also one of our Songs of the Week. Read on as Schrader discusses his favorite TV show.


Without a second thought I can tell you that my favorite show is Frasier! I have seen each episode at least twice over the past decade or so since my somewhat minor obsession began. Like anything I fixate on, after a while, it begins to concern my friends.

I like to dive in head first to these things, ha ha. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball for SNES and Bowie are in that same wheelhouse for me. 

I like the idea of getting lost in something and Frasier has many cozy mahogany corners lined with the hunter green of the aptly named Cafe Nervosa or the old faithful ruggedness of dad's battered pea green '60s-kitch national treasure of a chair or the muted tans and faux marble of the spare bathroom, where for some strange reason many scenes take place! Because of the groundbreaking sophistication of the camera grid they were really able to capture a certain type of intimacy only rivaled by George and Jerry's diner booth in Seinfeld. It really draws you into another place, and that place is quintessentially '90s for better (Niles on a Segway) or worst (Bull Dog and other male characters acting like sexist tools in a way that is implied to be "hyperbolic" but as you know from watching most prime time '90s hit sitcoms feels anything but, especially through a contemporary lens. What is ironic about all of this is that Frasier and Niles are, at least to themselves, "P.C" by some antiquated Sam Malone metric. What is actually funny about this show is watching Frasier draped in that same irony, attempting to etch himself as the Anne Landers of pop radio psychology while being simultaneously more inept at dating than an 18-year-old noise-kid! His antics are hilariously exalted by the slapstick gymnastics and witty repartee of David Hyde Pierce that would make Oscar Wilde blush! 

Though as good as the Crane brothers are they are carried to even further comedic heights with the awesomeness that are their father Martin, her live in physical therapist Daphne, and Roz Doyle (Frasier's producer). Even a lesser-seen character like Gil Chesterton, the on air food critic and host of Restaurant Beat, steals the show in most scenes he's in with just the right zinger. Daphne and Nile's taboo relationship is the initial anchor that lures you in, as it was for most viewers in the '90s, but to me the cabin episodes are king. Stick four people in a cabin with a touch of miscommunication, a dash of romance, and some tragically out of wack expectations and you got magic every time!

Also read our The End interview with Devlin Rice of Ed Schrader's Music Beat.

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