Thursday, November 13, 2008

TV, OR NOT TV: THAT IS THE QUESTION (A Blog Bit About Nothing)

The American Boob – about as sharp as a dandruff flake and sadly, far from extinct – will watch just about anything on the boob tube. Think I’m kidding? Then please explain to me the head-scratching popularity of reality television. No, it’s true, Dick American and Jane Boob-American (all married females hyphenate now) will eat up pretty much whatever slop a television station broadcasts into their home. Give Dick his bling earring and a six-pack of Duff beer and he’s ready to plop down on the sofa to watch Lost Survivors On NASCAR Island, where contestants form teams and then walk around and around and around the island - always turning left - while trying to find some way off NASCAR Island. (The show is dizzingly repetitive.)

Meanwhile, his wife, Jane, (they married after living together in sin for 6 years) with her tattooed left breast and her pickup truck parked in the garage, is settled in for a 24 hour marathon of CSI: Dubuque, Iowa, where young pseudo-singers strain their vocal cords trying to imitate Mariah Carey until one of the contestants turns up dead. That’s when the professionals enter and attempt to determine the identity of the killer. Was it the Dark Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or the fey fella with the Queer Eye For The Dead Straight Guy? Because The Butler never does it anymore, he’s not a suspect.

I’m actually proud to say that I watch almost no television; that’s been true for about 13 years now. With the rare exception of a notable sporting event (and no, the Olympics did NOT qualify!), I don’t turn on my television unless I’m also about to turn on the DVD player and put in something of high quality; it might be a documentary like Demographic Winter: The Decline Of The Human Family, Waco: The Rules Of Engagement, The Mena Cover-Up, or In Pursuit Of The Shroud. What! Am I trying to say that I’m better than you? Well, if you gotta ask . . . . . [Be sure to catch my new game show going into production this Spring: “Who Wants To Marry A Hundredaire Better Than You?”]

But I will admit that I too have a couple of simple television entertainments that I enjoy mentally downshifting and bodily relaxing to. All work and no play makes Stephen T. McCarthy a dull boy.

“The Andy Griffith Show” is and always will be my favorite sitcom; it is something I got from my “Pa” and literally grew up with. There is a wholesome purity about the show that you won’t find in others; there’s a simple morality that is the foundation of each episode. For example, how many television shows do you suppose one could find in which to develop a Bible Study course around? Well, that’s just what this fellow Joey Fann did. (Wouldn’t it have been perfect if his parents had named him Andy instead of Joey?)

Joey Fann’s “The Andy Griffith Show” Bible Study course [] is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard of; I’m actually jealous that I didn’t think of it first – and I’m normally not the jealous type at all! Joey’s use of “The Case Of The Punch In The Nose” and “The Pickle Story” in his Bible study – my two favorite episodes – only goes to show how humor can be used to teach eternal, Godly Truths.

But as much as I love T.A.G.S. and as funny as I find the show (that is, The Barney Fife Years: 1-5), I have to admit that it’s not the FUNNIEST show of all time. If polled on that question, I’m guessing that the majority of Americans would answer “Seinfeld.” I disagree. When Kelsey Grammer, star of the sitcom FRASIER was asked by an interviewer at the conclusion of the show’s eleven year run what he thought Frasier’s legacy would be, Grammer replied, “The legacy of the show, in the end, will be the most intelligent, continuingly funny show ever on television.” I heartily agree!

I first saw FRASIER – a sitcom that improved with age - in early 1994; it was one of a few shows being produced at the time that a girlfriend and I regularly watched. However, Frasier wasn’t my favorite of them at that time. At that point, I was especially fond of the cable series Dream On. I haven’t seen Dream On since ’94, so I’m not sure how it would hold up for me (my religious conversion since then would undoubtedly account for a discomfort I’d feel about all the topless female nudity), but it was a real thrill for me when I actually got to work on the show one day: I did what is known in “The Industry” (pshaw!) as a “Hand Insert.” You aren’t going to pay lots of green paper presidents to a star when only a shot of his hands is needed, so you find a schlub like me who will volunteer his hands for one green paper Franklin. There was one episode that year in which the principal character Martin Tupper is playing chess with some guy, and in his mind, he’s seeing an old black and white movie scene of two boxers slugging it out. Well, what viewers thought was actor Brian Benben’s hand moving the chess pieces around the board was really my hand. Anyway, for me, it was one day: big thrill; hundred dollars: long gone. [I would be interested to know the title of that episode if anyone out there can tell me.]

My FRASIER addiction wouldn’t actually manifest until 2001, while I was sharing an apartment with my younger brother, Napoleon, and he and I would regularly watch reruns of Frasier together on this dinky black and white TV he had in his bedroom – it was the only TV in our joint. I’d sit on the side of his bed and we’d laugh our heads off.

Napoleon arrived late on the Frasier scene. For 8 years he refused to watch the show because he was sure that any spin-off developed around the weakest character on Cheers couldn’t be any good. Nappy gets pretty worked up about little things sometimes, and he made it an actual personal crusade to avoid watching Frasier, certain that it had to be dumb, dumb, dumb.

Well, alone one night in 2001, with not much else on TV at the time, Nappy sat through his first 30 minute episode of Frasier and found himself laughing out loud numerous times. Suspecting it must have been a fluke (maybe he had simply seen Frasier’s one good episode), Nappy watched a Frasier rerun the following night on the same channel at the same time. Same result: gales of laughter. Realizing now that the night before had been no fluke and that he had missed 8 years of Frasier-watching due to his wrong, premature judgment and stubbornness, Nappy chastised Nappy, saying to himself: “Oh, you
foolish, foolish man!”

Napoleon and I then began regularly watching Frasier together and that’s how we became addicted to it. For years we’d been saying that we needed to pick up all of the episodes on DVD, but we never even bought a DVD player until late 2006. However, driving home from a day-trip to Prescott on March 2nd of this year, we stopped at a mall where we happened upon some boxed sets of Frasier and bought two seasons. That started the snowball effect, and we spent most of the rest of 2008 buying Frasier seasons and watching them together on Sunday and Monday nights (the two nights in the week that we see each other). True to our screwball natures, we wound up watching our way backwards through the seasons, finally watching the last one, the final episode (#24 – “My Coffee With Niles”) of the inaugural ‘93/’94 season, on October 26th. In other words, for the better part of this year, all Nappy and I have seen on TV is Frasier.

I’m sure that everyone reading this has seen at least an episode or two of Frasier during the years, but one must give the characters time to become firmly established in the mind before he or she can fully appreciate the show. Another prerequisite for maximum enjoyment (no, this is not a condom ad) is a well-rounded education. There are so many sly cultural, literary, historical and scientific references slipped into the show, that the average numbskull will surely miss half of its appeal. There are double entendres galore, but Dick and Jane American (or the ordinary MTV viewer) will frequently be left wondering why some of the audience laughed at that last line of dialogue.

How witty, how clever, how intelligent is the writing on Frasier? Well, this should give you some idea: I have a friend who was reading Ayn Rand’s tome “Atlas Shrugged” when he was just fourteen years old. Bright guy here. (As I told him: When I was fourteen, I was still trying to figure out how Encyclopedia Brown solved the crimes.) I call this friend “MR. Paul” as a sign of respect for that kind of brain power.

In a recent e-mail, I wrote to Mr. Paul:
“When I think of ‘great’ television writing, there is one show that stands out in my mind as the wittiest or most clever. Which show do you suppose I have in mind? Which TV series had, in your opinion, the very best writing? … I strongly believe that you and I will agree on this immediately, or two attempts at the most.”

Well, guess what. The second show mentioned by Mr. Paul was Frasier. So, don’t take my dimwitted word for it; take it from Mr. Paul - this show was brilliant! Frasier has some of the most ingenious situations and witty badinage ever written for television. (*Special thanks to Mr. Paul for learnin’ me the word “badinage.”)

For anyone unfamiliar with the show, it’s about two brothers – FRASIER and NILES CRANE (David Hyde Pierce) – both narcissistic psychiatrists, both neurotic as hell and in serious need of psychiatric help. Frasier has a Seattle, Washington talk radio program in which he gives advice over the air to callers. He and his younger brother Niles are both ultra-refined, overly-cultured, pompous blow-hards, ever in competition with each other. These guys are as unmanly as a man can possibly be and yet still be heterosexual. As teenagers, they played “Air Violins” together. In one episode, their dad, MARTIN CRANE - a genuine man’s man - refers to the brothers as “a couple of delicate doilies.”

Their dad, Martin (John Mahoney), is a former policeman, now retired due to a bullet he took in the hip while intervening in a convenience store robbery. He has come to live with eldest son Frasier as he’s not getting around very well with the bum hip. Other than the personality conflict with his “real man” dad, Frasier can’t stand the old man’s little dog, Eddie, whose staring gives Frasier the creeps, as well as Martin’s dilapidated but treasured succotash-colored La-Z-Boy recliner (the same one he was sitting in “when Armstrong walked on the moon!”) The chair is the ultimate eyesore in Frasier’s fastidiously “curated”, hoity-toity apartment.

And just how fastidious IS Frasier Crane? His home insurance agent once told him, “You know there’s a homosexual couple that lives in my building and their kitchen is like a pigsty compared to yours.”

In one episode, Martin discovers a new rip in his old chair and he says to DAPHNE MOON (Jane Leeves), “Hand me my reupholstery kit, will you?” and Daphne tosses him his roll of duct tape.

Daphne Moon? She’s Martin’s (supposedly psychic) live-in physical therapist from Manchester, England, who is attempting to help him rehabilitate his injured hip. (In a few episodes, Daphne has too much to drink, and Jane Leeves plays it perfectly. I want one! I want a drunken Daphne for my very own.) Daphne Moon is a bit “luney” but Niles is secretly, madly, and hopelessly in love with her. But poor Niles, he’s already married to Maris, an uppity socialite whom we never see, but whose often-referred-to diminutive stature and frailty is legendary. (Maris once sprained her wrist by putting too much dip on a cracker. Her lifelong dream of becoming a ballerina ended because the poor thing couldn’t keep her weight up. She once unknowingly sat on a whoopie cushion, but fortunately for her, she didn’t weigh enough to activate it.)

Niles and Maris will eventually divorce, and in one funny episode, Niles and Daphne will get married in Reno. And then get married again. And yet again! All in a few days.

ROZ DOYLE (Peri Gilpin) has become one of Daphne’s best friends. Roz is the perpetually horny producer of Frasier’s radio show. Although very much a woman, she’s still more manly and down-to-earth than is her boss Frasier, or his brother Niles, whom Roz is frequently at odds with and usually besting in an exchange of verbal barbs. Roz says, “When I die, I want it to be on my hundredth birthday in my beach house on Maui, and I want my husband to be so upset he has to drop out of college.”

Roz once considered hiring Frasier’s utterly ruthless and unprincipled agent BEBE GLAZER (Harriet Harris) to represent her also, but Frasier was opposed to the idea.
Roz protests, “It’s not like she worships the devil.”
To which Frasier counters, “Well, she doesn’t have to – he worships HER!”

Bebe is my very favorite semi-regular character, so wonderfully overplayed in the old-time melodrama fashion by Harris that she dominates every scene she appears in and keeps me rolling. (Just thinking about her as I type this makes me smile!)

Another favorite semi-regular is Daphne’s eternally toasted ‘n’ loafing, ne’er-do-well brother, SIMON (Anthony LaPaglia – Hokey-Smoke, his English accent was fake!) Simon is the man I aspire to be (damn this work ethic my parents instilled in me).

Oh, certainly, not every episode of Frasier hit the target. Every once in awhile they would clank one against the rim by overreaching or trying a little too hard. (Never let me see you sweat.) Some episodes that I felt fell well below the Frasier standard for quality were “I Hate Frasier Crane” and "You Can't Tell A Crook By His Cover" (1st Season); “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “Dark Victory” (2nd Season); “Taps At The Montana” (6th Season); “Radio Wars” and “Everyone’s A Critic” (7th Season); “Cheerful Goodbyes” (9th Season); “Tales From The Crypt” and “Farewell Nervosa” (10th Season); and “High Holidays” (11th Season).

Also on the negative side: To a guy such as myself, it seems as if a show like Frasier was just made for the term “guilty pleasure.” If only by no more than tacit approval, the show could be construed as an acceptance of, if not outright promotion of, several politically correct themes such as Feminism, single motherhood, and premarital and promiscuous sexual encounters. I’ll confess, I often found myself laughing but almost ashamed of myself for doing so. A guilty pleasure indeed, but in “this world” a man’s gotta laugh, damn it! A man’s gotta laugh!

Some of the episode titles alone clue the viewer into the imaginative writing that formed the foundation of the show: “Miracle On Third Or Fourth Street”; “You Scratch My Book…”; “A Word To The Wiseguy”; “Chess Pains”; “Dad Loves Sherry, The Boys Just Whine”; “The Maris Counselor”; “Roz And The Schnoz”; “When A Man Loves Two Women”; “A Tsar Is Born”; “The Fight Before Christmas”; “Morning Becomes Entertainment” (probably my favorite Bebe Glazer episode); “Dark Side Of The Moon”; “Something Borrowed, Someone Blue”; “The Wizard And Roz”; “Fraternal Schwinns”; “The Devil And Dr. Phil” (if you guessed that “the devil” is Bebe, you were correct); and “Guns ‘N’ Neuroses.”

The following snippets of dialogue will give you some insight into the relational dynamic of the characters and the clever brains that put the words in their mouths:

In one episode, Frasier discovers a limerick written on a wall in the men’s room at the radio station implying that he is a stuck-up snob. Downcast and concerned about the condition of his reputation at work, he asks his brother while at their local coffee shop, Café Nervosa, “Niles, do you think I’m elitist?”
To which Niles replies, “Of course I do; you needn’t worry about that!”

In another episode, a woman rejected by Frasier tells him that he is “just another, selfish, dishonest creep.”
Frasier sadly agrees, “You’re right; I don’t know what to say.”
Later, Niles attempts to bolster his brother’s spirits: “Well, don’t beat yourself up over it, Frasier. At least you’re deep enough to realize you’re shallow.”
“Yes,” Frasier concurs.

As I often said, we aren’t laughing WITH Frasier, we’re laughing AT him. But as the show’s creator, Peter Casey, says, Kelsey Grammer gave Frasier “a pomposity but a vulnerability, a loveableness; and the core of that character is a person who’s trying to do the right thing.” This is true. Frasier is a schmuck, but deep down inside him is a decent person who usually can’t seem to get past all the conceit, ineptitude, and self-centeredness and make it to the surface. In the 4th season’s episode “Three Dates And A Breakup”, however, Frasier manages to sacrifice his own self-interest on behalf of someone else; his true heart actually makes an appearance and it’s good to see.

In “Sleeping With The Enemy”, Frasier squares off with the new female station manager, and while heatedly arguing during contract negotiations, the two of them erupt into what Frasier later describes as “spontaneous sexual combustion.” This brings the contract dispute to a temporary halt. Later in his apartment, Frasier begins to wonder if the “combustion” was just an act on her part to distract him and derail the negotiations. Frasier says, “I’ll just have to go down there and confront her myself; find out if what she was feeling was actually genuine, or if she was just being a conniving femme fatale.”
Daphne says, “Come on now, Doctor Crane, it’s not like men have never used sex to get what they want.”
But Frasier bellows from the door, “How can WEPOSSIBLYUSE sex to get what we want? Sex IS what we want!”

Envy overcomes Niles when he sees Daphne starting to fall for a guy who works behind the counter at Café Nervosa. He complains to Frasier incredulously, “How could she like him? The man has ‘community college’ written all over him!”

Later, in an attempt to impress Daphne, Niles casually mentions that he was recently “pumping iron.” Frasier blurts out, “Pump iron? You don’t even pump your own gas!”

Years later, after Maris and Niles have divorced and he and Daphne are now romantically involved, Niles returns from the gym where he plays squash and Daphne says to him, “You always smell so masculine after you’ve finished exercising.”
Niles proudly proclaims, “It’s the mango-kiwi shower gel.”

When Frasier temporarily goes back into private practice, he and Niles attempt to share an office with each other, but soon, Niles has become so irritated by Frasier that it nearly goes to blows. He raises his fist and says threateningly, “Frasier, I’ve just made a fist and I’m thinking of using it!”
Frasier replies, “You are not scaring me… and the thumb goes on the outside, Niles, on the OUTSIDE!”

Often, the tension between the brothers and their dad is almost equally palpable.
Niles to Frasier: “Is he our REAL father?”
Frasier: “Now don’t start THAT again; we’ve been having this discussion since we were children … You know, Niles, maybe it’s time we… expose him to some of the finer things so that he’d stop lumbering through life like some great polyester dinosaur.”

Nevertheless, the affection they all have for one another is real. When Martin decides to pick up some extra cash by conducting a stakeout as a private investigator, Niles is concerned that his dad will be sitting in his car all night long in a “sketchy neighborhood.” Real man Martin dismisses his son’s concern, “Oh, Niles, to you a sketchy neighborhood is when the cheese shop doesn’t have valet parking.”

Martin is definitely Old School, but although Frasier may see him as an anachronistic polyester dinosaur who would inexplicably prefer to sit around at Duke’s bar telling old war stories with his buddies rather than attend the opera, Martin has undeniably picked up some wisdom in the course of his life. For example, he says that all of his years around the police morgue taught him a few things. One of them being “If you’re going to kill yourself with an axe, get it right the first time.”

He’s not real comfortable with all of today’s open discussion about sexuality. Martin insists that “Sex is between you and who you’re doing it to.”

In the episode “Travels With Martin” (a nod to Steinbeck’s book "Travels With Charley" - see? Ya gotta catch this stuffs), Martin and the boys decide to take a road trip in a rented Winnebago. Martin is very concerned about staying on time, getting to the destination (Mount Rushmore), getting a couple of quick pictures and rushing home. Frasier has other ideas.
Frasier: “Why should we be so beholden to maps and schedules? We should roam! America has always been enchanted with the romance of the open highway. Jack Kerouac went 'On The Road'; Bud and Todd got their kicks on Route 66. The adventure is in the journey! We should just ramble.”
Niles catches Frasier’s spirit and says: “Doggone it, I’m inspired; I’m going to put on a baseball cap!”

If Nappy and I were asked to compile our personal lists of the Top Ten “Frasier” episodes, we would both be submitting lists containing about 30 entries. Honestly, there were so many truly GREAT episodes that narrowing it down to a mere ten best would be almost an impossibility. We do know, however, that there are a few episodes we would both be including on that list:

In “Roe To Perdition”, Frasier and Niles begin buying black market caviar from some Russians operating from a boat anchored in the harbor, and then the brothers begin dealing it like cocaine to their high society acquaintances in order to buy friends and influence the powerful. Too funny!

“Door Jam” finds them obsessed with gaining membership in some new exclusive spa offering all sorts of fancy lotions, potions, and seaweed body wraps - all that unmanly froufrou fruityness that the Crane brothers gravitate to. But once in, they discover that there is yet an even more exclusive membership within the spa and their dissatisfaction and obsession is renewed.

In “Enemy At The Gate”, Frasier takes a stand for all of society when he refuses to pay $2. to a parking lot attendant and blocks the exit of the lot with his BMW. Meanwhile, Roz has had to go on the air for the absent Frasier and accidentally informs his entire radio audience that she and Frasier have slept together. The final minute of this episode when Frasier dashes into the station and takes over his microphone - unaware of what the discussion has been about in his absence - is sidesplittingly funny.

In the 7th season, there was an episode titled “Rivals.” Here, each brother mistakenly believes that the other brother is out to steal his girl from him. Aside from the fact that the episode is freaking hilarious, it contains some of the most remarkable writing of all. The way in which the writer keeps the dialogue flowing and yet all parties unknowingly confused is jaw-droppingly clever. I like to think that (solely by the Grace of God) I’m a not too terribly unimaginative guy, but I was left feeling severely humbled by the creativity exhibited in this teleplay. Naturally, in the end, both brothers – being the idiots they are – do lose their girls, but they lose them to… no one.

An episode that Nappy and I would both have to name as one of the two or three best is “Hooping Cranes.” The boys wind up attending a Seattle Sonics basketball game with their dad, Martin. To his horror, Niles finds he is sitting in the worst place because his seat number is selected and he’s called down to attempt to sink a basket from the middle of the court during the halftime entertainment segment. In a moment of insanely ridiculous luck, Niles shoots… and… “Swish!” The next thing we know, he’s the toast of Seattle’s sports bars, he’s acquired the nickname “Half-court Crane”, and he’s strutting around in a letterman’s jacket and boasting about how he’s “got game” and Frasier doesn’t. If this episode doesn’t crack you up, George Romero is looking for you because you’re walking around dead.

Believe it or not, although I would find it a near impossible task to create a list of a mere ten favorite episodes, I believe I can actually tell you my single favorite installment of Frasier: Season 6 included an episode called “Dial M For Martin.” One thing I especially like about this episode is that it seems to encapsulate the personality traits of the various characters as well as the relationships between them. And it’s howlingly humorous!

In “Dial M For Martin”, Frasier and his dad find themselves butting heads more than usual and so Roz “helpfully” suggests that Martin move in with Niles who is no longer with Maris. Niles, of course, rejects the idea until he realizes that Daphne, his dad’s live-in physical therapist, would be moving in also. Even the inclusion of the old man’s dog, Eddie, and the old succotash-colored recliner as part of the bargain can’t dissuade Niles now.

The day Martin, his dog, and his chair are moved into Niles’ place, we find Frasier ebullient. About to return to his own succotash recliner-free apartment, Frasier says, “I think I’ll be off now – off to my bachelor pad. I have a date tonight with a lingerie model. Ha!-Ha!-Ha! Bachelor pad, lingerie model: the sweetest words in the English language.”
His dad says, “I’m sorry I won’t be there.”
“Wait!” Frasier replies, “We have a tie.”

Unfortunately for Niles, seeing how well Martin makes it up the stairs of his new living quarters, Daphne realizes that her services are no longer required and so she begins casting about for a new assignment. And when Martin narrowly escapes a series of potential accidents involving Niles, Frasier is convinced that Niles is subconsciously trying to harm their dad in order to retain Daphne as Martin’s physical therapist.

Well, I won’t tell you how the episode concludes; suffice to say that (true to form) Frasier’s plans for that evening with the statuesque lingerie model go awfully awry, and the end of the show quite literally leaves me with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. This is unquestionably some of the funniest stuffs ever recorded on tape or film.

In fact, if someone were to ask me which season’s boxed-set of Frasier they ought to purchase first, I believe I could make a good case for season 6. As I said, the show aged like fine wine, and by the sixth season, it was deliciously intoxicating. Aside from including my all-time favorite episode of Frasier, this season offers the viewer “Frasier’s Curse” and “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz.” In the former, an out-of-work Frasier Crane interviews for a job at another radio station and he blows the interview so badly that it will make your own worst job interview seem like a teatime chat between Cary Grant and Fred Astaire by comparison. In the latter episode, Frasier attempts to pass himself off as Jewish to appease his new girlfriend whose visiting mother would not approve of her dating a gentile. Extremely funny stuffs here, people!

If ya dig season 6 like I do, then ya ought to just start at the beginning, collecting each season in order.

For all of my enthusiasm about FRASIER, oddly enough, my old, red-headed friend, Pooh, who’s always had a good sense of humor, once described the sitcom as just “OK.” That’s hard to believe seeing as how - in at least one respect - Pooh reminds me of Frasier Crane. Ah, but maybe there’s the rub:

Back in the Summer of 2006, I stayed for a few days with Pooh in his L.A. apartment, and I couldn’t believe all the fruity hygiene products he had in his bathroom – everything from Peach/Pomegranate shampoo to granola and dairy-free yogurt hair conditioner; moisturizing aloe facial lotions; Tangerine/Passionfruit body washes; and pH-balanced, protein enriched, organic sassafras and cucumber peel hair gel (with Tetrahydrozoline to get the red out).
I wasn’t sure if I was staying with my old friend Pooh, or Barney Frank, or some girl named Trixie. I’ll tell you one thing, however, I wasn’t taking any chances: I was sleeping on Pooh’s couch with one eye open, and the first time I got a whiff of Vicks VapoRub or WD-40 and duct tape glue in the middle of the night, I was going to jump up with the blond Louisville Slugger I was sleeping with and knock the nearest cabeza for a home run! Don’t get me wrong, I love Pooh dearly (uh… strictly in a John Wayne kinda way, ya un’erstan’), but what the hell happened to the good ol’ days of Lava soap and Brut cologne? “And you knew who you were then: girls were girls and men were men.”

I swear, I half expected to find a sign in Pooh’s bathroom stating: “This lavatory sponsored by GQ magazine, a browbeaten, manhandled subsidiary of Ms. Magazine. A free one-year subscription to Cosmo with every waxing.”

I’m happy to report that my friend Pooh got married this November 1st (No! Not in San Francisco. And yes! To a female), not that I really ever had any doubts about him. Still, I’m sure the first thing his new wife said to him on their wedding night was, “Honey, throw out two-thirds of your
girlie crap in MY bathroom!”

The television show FRASIER is one of those rare confluences of truly brilliant writing, stellar casting, and fabulous acting, resulting in perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime production of pure creative genius. Trust me, it’s way better than Lost Survivors On NASCAR Island.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering to yourself if my brother and I developed this addiction to the sitcom “Frasier” because at some deep-seated subconscious level, we actually identify with the Crane brothers. Well, my unqualified answer to that is: “NO!” And Niles says, “No,” too. Er… I meant, Nappy. (Oh, come on, give me a break! They both start with N.)

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

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