Cody N. Tackett
Frasier is by far my favorite TV show of all time, and I watch it daily (usually while I’m falling asleep at night). Both the writing and acting is superb, and this can be backed up with its 37 Emmy awards; surpassing the Mary Tyler Moore Show in 2002 for most wins for a scripted series. The show ran for 11 seasons on NBC from September, 1993 to May, 2004. The show was a spinoff of another sitcom; Cheers, which had also ran for 11 seasons on the same network.
It’s hard to explain why Frasier keeps bringing me back time and time again; as I’ve seen each episode dozens of times, and I can almost recite them from memory. The show is brilliant in that it appeals to two different audiences; an educated and scholarly audience who understands the many literary and cultural references made by Frasier and Niles, and also to a “general” audience (like myself) who doesn’t understand all of the references, but still finds it hilarious to hear the characters make those cultural references in everyday conversation. The contrasting character personalities also make for a hilarious show, as Martin, Daphne, and Roz are most often clueless about Frasier and Nile’s interests, which leads to comedic tension which (in my opinion) drives the whole show.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the series. Episdoe: “The Innkeepers” (1995)
Cheers is regarded as one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and was a huge hit for NBC during its run from 1982 to 1993; ending with one of the most-watched TV finales in history, which would lead into one of the most successful TV spinoffs ever created; the aforementioned sitcom, Frasier. I discovered Cheers after I took a keen interest in Frasier, and I quickly learned that Frasier was indeed a spinoff of Cheers. I didn’t watch Cheers until it briefly became available on Netflix in late 2018, and even though it didn’t grow on me as well as Frasier did (with the exception of the last few seasons), I still enjoy watching Cheers very frequently.
Cheers was essentially the “Friends” of the 80’s and early 90’s in popularity. It starred Ted Danson as bar owner and former Boston Red Sox’s relief pitcher, Sam Malone.; and for the five seasons he starred alongside Shelley Long as Diane Chambers; Sam’s love interest. The show is likely most known for its popular theme song by Gary Portnoy, ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” which is played during the opening credits of each episode. Although I enjoy the show in its entirety, I’m not as much of a fan of the Diane Chambers character as I am of Rebecca Howe, which was a character written into the show to replace Diane when Shelley Long decided to depart the series after its first 5 seasons. Kirstie Alley would portray Rebecca Howe for the show’s remaining 6 seasons.
My favorite character in the series is Frasier, as much like in his self-titled spin-off, his intellect often clashes with the “not so bright” intellects of his friends, leading to a lot of comedic situations. One of my favorite aspects of the series is something called “Normisms,” which is attributed to the character of Norm Peterson (George Wendt). Normism’s are essentially greetings used in the show whenever Norm walks into the bar. Usually, they begin with Sam asking Norm something to the effect of “How’s life in the fast lane, Norm?” to which Norm replies, “I don’t know yet; I’m having a little trouble finding the on-ramp.”
Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond premiered on CBS in September of 1996. In a Friday night time slot, the show was a “slow starter,” but saw its ratings boost when it was given a better time slot by the network in its 2nd season. The show would run for 9 seasons, concluding in May of 2005. The show was made possible by the legendary late-night host, David Letterman, who welcomed Ray Romano onto The Late Show to perform a stand-up monologue. Romano at the time was “making it” as a stand-up comedian to moderate success, but he, his wife, and three kids were struggling financially. Letterman was so impressed by Romano’s monologue that he offered him a TV deal a few days after his appearance on his show, and with that Everybody Loves Raymond was born.
The show is based on Romano’s actual family, with his character, Ray Barone having a wife, a daughter, and twin boys just like Romano did in real life (during the show’s run, Romano would have another son that isn’t represented in the show). Patricia Heaton plays his wife, Debra in the series, who is undoubtedly the protagonist of the series; being married into such a crazy family as the Baroness are. Doris Roberts plays Ray’s over-controlling mother Marie Barone, Peter Boyle plays my favorite character of the series; Ray’s dad, Frank Barone, and lastly Brad Garrett would play Ray’s brother, Robert Barone.
The show follows the Barone family through their everyday lives. With Ray and Debra living across the street from their parents as well as Ray’s brother, there’s always unexpected “company” in their home. Ray’s ego as a sports writer and Debra’s “brass” personality leads to marital clashes with each other, as well as with Ray’s parents. There are incidents such as when Frank and Marie accidentally drive their car into Ray and Debra’s living room, and when Frank comes over to “fix” things, only to make matters worse that makes this show hilarious. Surprisingly though, I find Ray to be the most annoying character of the show as well as his mother with her judgemental comments and opinions; but Debra, Robert, and Frank are the characters that “make” the show for me.
“The Office” isn’t really a show I “seek out” to watch, but rather I only watch it when there isn’t any of the first three shows on. The Office is one of the most recognizable TV shows of the modern era. Running on NBC from 2005 to 2013, its popularity has only continued to increase in its nine years “off the air.” I’m more of a fan of the show’s seven seasons with Steve Carrell as the starring character, and I feel that the two seasons without him there was sort of “dull” in comparison to the earlier seasons. My favorite character is Dwight, who has a very “hard-nosed” personality, but deep down I believe he cares for his co-workers and thinks of many of them such as Jim and Pam as friends throughout the series. I also feel that Stanley Hudson is very representative of my own character in that I wish to only put in the work that’s required of me, and I’m already planning for my retirement in the future.
Just like “The Office,” I don’t “go out of my way” to watch Friends, but I do watch it a lot as it’s on (what seems like) every cable network these days. I particularly enjoy the first 4 seasons, but my enjoyment in watching the series begins to fade with season 5. I find the season 5 premiere as being a little too much, with Ross saying the wrong name at his wedding and Chandler and Monica “hooking up.” After that, the show kept getting worse, as a lot of the writers from the earlier seasons moved on to other shows and projects. My favorite character is Chandler, as I like what Matthew Perry brings to the character as he was known to “dubb” in some lines such as his famed “you have to stop with the q-tip when there’s a resistance line.”
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