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YMMV: Frasier

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some fans suspect that Daphne might have been secretly in love with Niles as long he was secretly in love with her, but repressed and concealed her own attraction better than he did. Certain moments, such as the time she ill-conceivedly sort-of-tried to seduce him in "Daphne Hates Sherry", her behavior towards him in several episodes such as "First Date" and "A Midwinter's Night Dream", and her suspiciously sincere words and actions in "Moon Dance" make it difficult to be sure that her feelings for him were really as innocent as everyone assumed.
    • Martin Crane: Long-suffering but loving down-to-earth father, or emotionally abusive and utterly ungrateful Jerk Ass?
  • Better on DVD: This show is very self-referential, but in a subtle way that is much more easily picked up on if you watch several episodes in a row. This mostly applies to the later seasons that succumbed to Seasonal Rot, and, oddly enough, Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In one first season episode, Daphne admits that she was a star in the popular British television comedy, Mind Your Knickers, for four years; this is never mentioned again.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Freudian Sleep", the "unusual dreams" episode.
  • Broken Base: Having Niles and Daphne get together is a source of debate for the fans. Some think it didn't work; not because it was a bad idea, merely because the plots written for them were not as entertaining or amusing as the earlier Unresolved Sexual Tension ones.
    • Others think them finally getting together marked a sharp upturn in quality and dimensionality in the already-great series.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Frasier can't tell his new producer-in-training Mary Thomas that he doesn't like how she works, because she's black and he's afraid of looking racist. When he and Niles roleplay a confrontation, Frasier's portrayal of Mary as a Sassy Black Woman is so ridiculously offensive it's hilarious.
    Niles: (playing Frasier) Now, I want you to contribute, but only up to a point.
    Frasier: (playing Mary) So you want me to stay in my place, Massa?!
    Niles: She's not going to say "massa".
    Frasier: What, am I gettin' too uppity for you? You sherry swillin', opera lovin', Armani wearin' elitist? You have no idea how difficult it is for a black woman in a white man's world!
    Niles: Frasier—
    Frasier: (practically snapping his fingers) I DON'T THINK SO!
    • Fraiser at one point has the bad idea of hosting his show on Christmas, treating himself to sad Christmas stories. One caller tells him about telling his father that the puppy Santa got him won't wake up - Frasier congratulates him for the saddest story.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: An in-universe example. Martin and the boys talk about Hester as if she were a saint, but from what we know about her: She cheated on Martin at least once, she egged on the rivalry between Frasier and Niles that continues to affect them in adulthood and that's not even counting her manipulative, shrewish behaviour on Cheers. On the other hand, they wouldn't exactly be the first grieving sons/husbands to ever decide to Never Speak Ill of the Dead when it comes to a deceased and clearly much-loved-and-loving-despite-her-flaws mother/wife, so this is perhaps understandable.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • It's usually played for Black Comedy, but the descriptions of the severe and vicious bullying Frasier and Niles suffered in elementary and high school can be uncomfortable to those who went through similar experiences in their childhood, especially when Martin displays No Sympathy and the experiences have clearly made the two very neurotic.
    • One episode has someone steals Frasier's briefcase, then pick up his dry-cleaning using a stub from it. When Frasier reaches out on his show for the thief to return it with no consequences, the thief calls to set up a meeting, really using it as a pretense to know where Frasier will be, because the briefcase had Frasier's spare set of car keys and the thief drives off in his BMW. Frasier is then called by a woman who claims they went on a date, and surmises that the thief is now impersonating Frasier to seduce women. The entire situation is Played for Laughs and even in-universe people think it's funny, seemingly apathetic that Frasier is being hit with a very serious case of identity theft.
  • Earworm: The closing theme
    • "Oh some boys go to college, but we think they're all wussies. Cuz they get all the knowledge, and we get all the—doom dodoom dududdoom dudoom dudoom."
  • Genius Bonus: The show is as much a master of this trope as Ada Lovelace was a master of mathematics.
    • That's Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace to you!
    • According to the producers, sitcoms generally run on "the 70% joke", where 70% of the TV-watching audience will get the joke and laugh, while Frasier often had "the 20% joke". It didn't seem to hurt them, though.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Maris is an Acceptable Target for her bad personality and the way she treats Niles, but all the cracks about her approach to food (a fear of buffets, terror of gaining weight, crying when people joke about her eating a lot) still become a little bit less funny when it's revealed that she was obese when she was young and dedicated a part of her life to never being that fat ever again.
    • In a later episode, when Roz starts dating garbage man Roger she, as a parting joke, says "Don't worry, I won't get 'dumped'." Fast forward to a few episodes later and not only does she get dumped but it was one of the most emotionally devastating breakups she's ever gone through on the show.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The plot where Frasier and Niles become convinced they're descended from the Romanovs is much funnier given another of Kelsey Grammar's roles.
    • This exchange from "My Coffee with Niles", considering David Hyde Pierce finally came out in 2007:
      Niles: I've never said 'Wow' when describing another man before. I wonder what that means.
      Frasier: It means you're a gay man!
      [Niles gives Frasier a disapproving look]
      • Similarly, "The Doctor is Out" has Niles make several snarky comments that Roz's Camp Straight boyfriend in heavily in the closet.
      • And then there's "Out with Dad", where he is obviously uncomfortable in, and very much eager to get out of, being forced by Martin to pretend to be his boyfriend so that Martin himself could get out of a gay man's advances.
    • The episode with Patrick Stewart wouldn't be the last time Kelsey Grammar and Patrick Stewart would work together.
      • It wasn't the first time, either.
      • Frasier's derisive comments toward X-Men comics and the negative effect he thought they'd have on his son's intellect in "The Show Must Go Off" also became much funnier when Kelsey Grammar himself became an X-Man.
    • The episode where Sam Malone shows up, Sam and Roz do a bit of flirting. Almost 2 decades later, Ted Danson and Peri Gilpin play husband and wife on CSI.
    • Late in the series it's revealed that what Frasier thought was the cough button was actually the echo button. It's possible that it was a mistake isolated to the episode, but it's fun to keep that in mind and look at everything Frasier has said on the air when he thought he was muting himself. With an echo.
    • In the Season 11 episode The Placeholder Frasier gets made fun of for having a grocery tote and organic groceries. Less than a decade later, Organic Groceries are popular in Seattle and residents are encourage to have totes as plastic grocery bags are illegal and paper ones cost you money. Not so funny now, eh, Roz?
  • Ho Yay: Charlotte's boyfriend towards Frasier. He falls asleep leaning on him, he asks him for a neck rub, he gives him a longer goodbye hug than his ex-girlfriend...
  • Informed Attractiveness: Madeline. Frasier picks her out of Seattle Magazine article full of eligible, attractive women, describing her appearance as a fresh angel before going on to read her qualifications. Even Roz and Bulldog agree she's beautiful. When the audience gets to see her, while she certainly isn't unattractive, she's not nearly as striking as over half the women Frasier has dated in the show.
    • Dr. Clint Webber. Roz is reduced to laughter at the sight of him, all the women in the station (and the show) think he's gorgeous, Martin says he could be a movie star, and it's implied his looks stopped traffic. All things considered though he's really fairly plain looking.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • Niles in "Room Full of Heroes." While he was drunk and pretty passive-aggressive in his diatribe, it should be noted that nobody even thought to feel sorry for Niles feeling the way he did. After all, he was near tears giving that speech, and it isn't like Martin had never done anything to validate those feelings Niles had expressed.
    • Mel. Throughout the whole story arc, Mel was made to be a horrible bitch for putting Niles through what she did, while it was barely acknowledged that Niles left her for another woman ON THEIR WEDDING DAY!! However badly Mel may have treated Niles before that happened, it is hard to find a lack of justification for anything she may have done to back at Niles. The series seemed to take the view that Niles and Daphne we're destined to be together, and whoever would have to be hurt for the sake of it should just deal with it.
      • This is somewhat lampshaded in "The First Temptation of Daphne," when Niles asks Daphne how she could possibly not trust that he loves her. Daphne reminds him that he fell in love with HER when he was supposedly "happily married."
  • The Scrappy:
    • When Daphne's brother Simon and her mother Gertrude started appearing quite frequently, the terms 'annoying', 'obnoxious' and, most critically, 'not very funny' began to be heard applied to them very quickly.
      • For some reason, the show writers insisted on keeping Gertrude long after Simon had left—and she was made into a near-regular in Season 10! (Fortunately, she was Put on a Bus in the season finale.)
    • Also, Lana's son Kirby was introduced as a young, everyman character and totally upset the show's character dynamic—even when he wasn't just being a stereotypical Lazy Bum "slob" teen.
    • Julia Wilcox, for not only having a highly unpleasant personality, but because the show seemingly went out of its way to constantly confirm that she really was just a complete bitch with next to no redeeming aspects. (Any Pet the Dog moments were rare and were at any rate basically forgotten by her next appearance, where she'd basically go back to just being a jerk....) The fact that she actually got into a relationship with Frasier at the end of Season 10 only added insult to injury, and was quickly undone by the new writing staff in Season 11.
      • The best part: the show had already seen Fraiser facing romantic foils that were "cynical gals with attitude"—with story arcs oriented around them—a lot! There was nothing new about Julia except her attitude made all the others look like sweethearts.
    • In short—lesson for Sitcom writers: Never, ever, EVER introduce a "new" recurring character into the show where their obvious sole purpose would be "making the main characters' lives miserable"—unless the point is clearly to have an antagonist for the audience to Love to Hate.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons 9 and especially 10, due to an overall drop in the quality of writing, and many new annoying characters being introduced.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In "Room Full of Heroes", Niles begins to say, in-character as Martin, that he and Frasier were disappointments to him. Martin sharply cuts him off and says he's portraying him as a "drunken judgmental jackass." While Niles was certainly over the line and had indeed had a few beers, considering how Martin treats the two of them and routinely expresses exasperation about their behavior, it's hard not to see why Niles would think this way.
    • This could be why Martin reacts so poorly, at least partly; Niles's performance was clearly beginning to hit a bit close to home in other ways (such as his drinking habits) as well...
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The climax of the episode with Frasier's ex-wife Nanny G. Yes...the stage show. Good grief, the stage show!!!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: A mild example, but the Frasier in Boston was nowhere near as elitist and snobby as the Frasier in Seattle. He's still basically good, but his shell of superiority is a bit thicker.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Season 7 episode 'They're Playing Our Song' involves the station manager asking Frasier to create a short little jingle for his show; and of course Frasier being Frasier, goes completely over the top and creates a grand extensive crescendo that of course is ultimately turned down for something simpler. This all leads of Frasier learning a lesson about embracing the simplicity, and a monologue of him doubting his ability of even being capable of simple. Martin then helps him create a song that conveys the basics of his show down to 'people calling in when they're feeling blue'. All of this seems to be the perfect set up for an in-universe origin of 'Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs' but the opportunity is sadly tossed aside.
  • The Woobie: Niles. Although he's in love with another woman, he stays faithful to his cold and unloving wife for years, only to discover that she's cheating on him with their therapist. After the brutal divorce is over, the woman he truly loves is dating his divorce lawyer. And the list goes on, and on...
    • On occasion, Frasier can also become this; particularly when his loneliness and romantic despair is stressed.
      • Or when his advice would go horribly wrong for reasons he could not possibly have foreseen or had any control over, or when he gets blamed for advice other people gave. (For a combination of both of these, see the Leap Year episode. Martin has been urging Daphne to get a new haircut for months to the point of saying he'd pay for it, while Frasier merely says that it's a good day to take chances. Daphne's hairdresser proceeds to give her an absolutely hideous hairstyle for no explained reason, and rather than blaming the hairdresser or Martin, Daphne blames Frasier... and ends the episode laughing at his humiliation on television.)
    • Even Daphne's fiancÚ, Donny, can fit; yes, we're rooting for Niles and Daphne to end up together, but he still gets it rough, and he's a fairly decent guy. His counterpart, Mel, never gets the same sympathy, as she's portrayed as a much crueler individual.
      • The first scene of Donny after Daphne and Niles get together, Frasier finds him sitting in the dark in his office, despondant and talking to the groom from his wedding cake, who he's named "Mr. Chump". He furthermore tells Frasier he doesn't hate Daphne for what happened, but he weakly jokes that as a lawyer, suing people is just his knee-jerk reaction to handling problems. While Frasier's confession of his hand in the events gets his riled up, the scene makes it clear that he was thrown into a Heroic BSOD by what happened and just doesn't know how to handle it.
      • The group runs into him a few more times after that. The first time, he's getting married to another woman, claiming that it's true love and he's happy. The next time we see him, he's with a different women, with the implication that he and the first one are already divorced. When he witnesses (what he thinks) is Niles and Daphne breaking up, he goes on a long, angry speech about how Niles knows how it feels to be dumped by the love of your life and "good luck trying to find someone just as good because she just ain't out there." He then turns around and realizes that he's said this right in front of his new girlfriend.

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