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Essay on How Frasier is Science Fiction


Frasier, the beloved sitcom of the 90s, is returning with a revival soon. Episodes are already being filmed. Kelsey Grammar, who portrays the lovable snob, has described this as being Frasier’s third act, after his nine-year stint on Cheers and his eleven years on his own sitcom. In the event you’re unaware of the sitcom with more Emmy wins than any other, it follows Frasier Crane (who provides advice to people calling in over the radio) his fastidious brother Niles, who is also a psychiatrist, and their initially strained relationship with their father Martin, a former cop who was shot in the hip and can no longer live on his own. Rounding out the cast are Frasier’s producer at the radio station, Roz, and Martin’s live-in physical therapist Daphne. But why mention Frasier here, on Before We Go, a blog largely devoted to science fiction and fantasy? Because Frasier is surreptitiously science fiction. Picture One of Those Frasier Cue Cards That Says The Theory of Alienation Aliens come up more frequently than one would imagine in a show about upper-class snobs. In the season 2 episode The Candidate, Martin gets filmed for an advertisement for a tough-on-crime politician for an upcoming election. Martin, a policeman injured in the line of duty, is tailor-made for this sort of thing, and Frasier knows how sympathetic his father’s story can be. He prefers the other candidate, Phil Patterson, and signs up to promote him using his own status as a local celebrity. In a break during the shoot, Frasier speaks with Phil.

Frasier: Listen, Phil, as a psychiatrist, anything you tell me will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Phil: Well, I’ve never told anybody this before, but… okay, here goes.  Six years ago… I was abducted by aliens.

Frasier: Aliens?

Phil: They transported me up to their spaceship for a kind of conference.  They’re very concerned about what we’re doing to our planet. His fervent belief that this happened costs him the election but at the end of the episode he’s still as convinced as ever.

Frasier: Phil?  I’ve gotta ask you… do you really believe it happened?

Phil: I honestly wish I could say it didn’t, but it did.  I guess you’ll never believe it unless it happens to you.

Aliens return in season 8’s DocuDrama. Roz has gotten backing to make a radio documentary about space exploration, and has convinced astronaut John Glenn to read the script. While Roz and Frasier, who is trying to micromanage her, argue in the background, Glenn discusses what he really saw out there in space:

John Glenn: Some people ask, you know, “were you alone out there?”  And we never gave the real answer, and yet we’ve seen things out there, strange things…But we know what we saw out there, and we couldn’t really say anything, and the bosses were scared of this, they were afraid of “War of the Worlds” type-stuff, and about panic in the streets, and so we had to keep quiet, and now we only see these things in our – well, in our nightmares, or maybe in-in the movies, and some of them are pretty close to being the truth…As an aside, I watched that scene once off youtube and the algorithm decided my next video was a conspiracy video explaining that that scene was how John Glenn got his message out to the masses, that it was entirely unscripted and Glenn was telling us about real aliens. Thanks, youtube dot com.

So we have a politician and an astronaut both vouching for the existence of extraterrestrials. The last piece of this particular puzzle is the over-the-top reaction the mayor has to Daphne in The 1000th Show (the only episode filmed in Seattle!)

Daphne is upset that she won’t be able to go to Mazatlan with her friend. Her friend’s mother will be arriving on a cruise ship there. She complains to the mayor, who mishears her illegal alien status as that of an actual alien, and mishears mother’s ship as mothership. This sort of inference is most likely if someone has already been primed to hear it, suggesting that like Phil Patterson and John Glenn, Mayor Rice is also aware of the existence of extraterrestrials.

And Daphne brings us to the other main science fictional portion of the show.

We’ve Decided to Find it Charming

In her first scene on the show, Daphne lets Frasier and Martin know she’s ‘a bit psychic.’

Are we meant to take her at face value? Is this just intuition? There are times it certainly could be, but there are enough times when intuition simply couldn’t factor into it.

From The Show Where Lilith Comes Back, Daphne gets a splitting headache because of what she claims is ‘one of my psychic headaches.  There’s some kind of negative force out there. I only get these when there’s a clawing at the cosmic continuum.’ This is before she has met Frasier’s ex-wife Lilith, and she has no reason to have negative feelings towards Lilith.

“Ah, but maybe she’s intuiting Frasier’s negative feelings towards her!” That’s possible, certainly, but that wouldn’t explain why it continues to happen every time Lilith comes to town, even when she drops by unannounced.

Her psychic powers were also on display during the season 6 episode Visions of Daphne. Daphne has a vision that the man she’s meant to be with isn’t her current love interest, but someone with a bow tie. Through the episode we’re inclined to side with Frasier’s theory that it’s simply a way of her dealing with a fear of commitment. Even Daphne agrees by the end, after she has a second vision of a man with a dragon. She decides she’s not going to wait around for a man with a dragon to show up.

But as the audience we see a man—the man she will (spoilers) ultimately marry–get a dragon statue as a gift. She never becomes aware of the dragon, and he is never aware that she had that particular vision. But she had, beyond any doubt, a psychic vision.

Also Frasier Speaks an Alien Language

And if that’s not proof, you’ll never be satisfied:


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