The other night, I slept, and as I slept, I dreamed, and when I dreamed, I dreamed of Frasier. Frasier is, as you likely know, having more than a bit of a moment online (“Frasier is so popular because he hosts a podcast and is always alone”). I’ve got a friend who’s working on a Frasier board game wherein players try to throw the most successful dinner party, while disrupting the dinner party of their competitors. I myself have long had a theory that – if you carefully watch the entire series run of the show – there is no positive evidence that Frasier has ever had sex, merely removed his shirt to casually express dominance to his latest romantic partner, then claimed the bed and fallen asleep.
There’s a number of reasons for this resurgence in Frasier content: It’s a show about rich people whose problems never include “not having enough money to live,” Niles Crane is a powerful lesbian icon, every single character is either extremely nervous or supremely confident, it’s kind of a show about your father coming to slowly, begrudgingly approve of you because of your inability to successfully perform heterosexuality, it feels “smart” to reference Frasier in a way that, say, referencing Mad About You may not. (Relatedly: as a child, I owned a copy of Paul Reiser’s Parenthood for some inexplicable reason, and read it probably half a dozen times between the ages of 11 and 13. I thought it was the funniest book in the world.) At any rate, as I said, last night I dreamed, and when I dreamed, I dreamed of Frasier.
In the field of behavioral science, wealthy eccentrics are considered especially desirable patients. In Seattle, the dedicated psychiatrists who investigate their lucrative complexes are members of an elite squad known as the Crane Boys. These are their stories.
Take Me Out To The Tall Game
Frasier simultaneously develops a debilitating fear of tall women, as well as a sudden inability to tell how tall anyone is until he gets very, very close to one of them. He spends three days hiding under his desk at the KACL studio. Back at home, Martin sits incorrectly on an Eames chair. Niles, who is playing Maggie in his wine club’s local production of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, finds himself unable to achieve climax with Maris unless he delivers the “Maggie the Cat is alive” speech, complete with Southern accent.
Foes To The Grindstone
After 20 successful years of making sure Niles doesn’t learn what the Internet is, Frasier forgets to close the door to his home office one afternoon. By the time he comes home from the fish market, Niles has already learned the difference between incel and volcel, and is loudly arguing with Martin over which one he is.
The Other Shoe Just Dropped
Bulldog convinces everyone in the station that Frasier has a foot fetish, whose protestations of innocence are met with disbelief, especially after Eddie (disoriented from painkillers after a cataract operation) hides all of his guests’ shoes under Frasier’s bed during brunch. Patrick Stewart guest stars as a talking shoe only Frasier can see.
Niles and Frasier’s Aunt Cecilia pays the boys an unexpected visit, telling them she’s trying to decide which of her nephews deserves to inherit her vast and disreputable fortune upon her death. Martin is unable to speak whenever she enters the room, and Niles takes full advantage of his sudden speechlessness by telling Maris’ society friends that his father is a noted Umbrian literary professor who has taken a vow of silence to better understand the history of the madrigal. Daphne misunderstands a conversation with Frasier about “seizing the moment” and starts a union.
After Aunt Cecilia dies, Martin finds himself unable to stop talking. Every time he opens his mouth, another unwilling secret comes out. Niles learns he has inherited Aunt Cecilia’s entire estate, and uses the money to buy his father a diamond scold’s-bridle. Laura Linney guests, in old-age makeup.
Achilles’ Heel-Face Turn
Niles develops an aggressive “requisite disrespect” approach to his therapy sessions in the hopes it will convince his patients to stop scheduling future appointments and clear his schedule for an upcoming ski weekend. Instead, his antagonistic sessions become the hottest ticket in town, and he finds himself having to come up with excuses not to book his favorite opera singer, who’s only in town for a single night.
FRASIER: I’m sure it will pass.
NILES [increasingly unhinged]: Will it? Will it, Frasier? This morning, if you can believe it, the barista responded to my request for a dry cappuccino with, “Choke me first.” The entire city of Seattle is looking to work out their violent psychosexual father fantasies with me. And I couldn’t even get the cappuccino.
FRASIER: [hesitantly drinks coffee]
NILES: I couldn’t even choke anyone if I wanted to. You know I can’t make a fist all the way; I haven’t had full tensile mobility in my wrists since Maris decided to take up arm wrestling.