“Frasier” Reboot: Fathers & Sons

A few years ago, I was reading in my room when I heard my dad laughing heartily across the hall. A trivial event for most, this was a rather remarkable moment for the Landro household. Even though my father has the family in stitches on a daily basis, he’s not so easy to crack. I walked over to his room to find him laughing at an episode of Frasier. Marty Crane took Frasier and Niles to a steakhouse, where the boys traded witty remarks about the austere establishment. This was the first time seeing the show (I used to call it the “old people” show back in the day). The high-brow dialogue was a huge turn-off for me and even at that moment I had no personal interest in watching it. But sons are always searching for ways to share and connect with their fathers. For us, Frasier did just that.

To me, that’s always been the foundation of the show: the blue-collar father and his two sophisticated sons searching for ways to connect. At home, Marty was the outcast. He sat on his old, dusty chair (his lone contribution) in the middle of Frasier’s chic apartment, while Frasier and Niles dominated the conversations with verbiage so foreign to him that he would often think it was another language. But outside the posh apartment, it was Frasier who was the outsider. They needed each other to see things in another perspective, like when Frasier found out Marty stored away all the gifts he got him for Christmas because he “always gave people what he thought they wanted,” or the times Frasier forced his father to share his feelings and talk through them, rather than letting them fester into passive-aggressive behavior. Even with the brilliant writing and hilarious moments, it was their relationship that made the show for me. That’s why when I heard there was going to be a reboot, my feelings were, should we say, a tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

I got the news earlier this month, and my initial reaction was pure excitement. I’d been (and still currently) in another run of the show, which made the anticipation that much stronger. But after that first wave, I began thinking about John Mahoney. Sadly, he passed away two years ago, due to complications from throat cancer. It’s very difficult for me to envision Frasier without Marty, with his sharp wit, stringent morality, and of course, that infectious laugh. I’d imagine the death of Marty will be a strong storyline through the season, especially in the beginning. Seeing how Frasier handles his passing certainly intrigues me. We’ve seen him encounter many problems before, both trivial and serious, but nothing of this magnitude.

Reboots, in general, are difficult to get right. Two recent reboots standout in my mind. We had the reboot of Roseanne a few years back, which up until the egregious Twitter debacle, was both critically acclaimed and a ratings success. We also had the Will & Grace reboot, where fans had a mixed-reaction. This one was also short-lived due to some off-the-camera antics, but having been a fan of the original run, I felt that the reboot didn’t capture the same magic the initial run had, regardless of the backstage drama. For me personally, reboots tend to come off a bit contrived no matter the show being revived. As a devout fan of Frasier, I feel like I got exactly what I needed from the ending. I got my closure. But, the selfish part of me wants to see the characters I love so much once again, no matter the risk.

As I’m writing this, there has still been no confirmation on any other cast member returning to the show, although it’s hard to imagine the rest of the gang won’t be on there. Chris Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Joe Cristalli (Life in Pieces) are writing the show, which all due respect to these talented writers, it concerns me a bit. In 2019, Kelsey Grammer teased the potential of a reboot:

We’ll see how people respond to it, because it’s not gonna be the same place, not gonna be Seattle, it’s not gonna be the same Frasier, it’s gonna be the man in his next iteration, and hopefully that’ll be something people like watching. It’s still his search for love, for one thing, I think that will always go on with Frasier, but [also] a connection with his son.

For me, that last thought stood out to me the most. Because, when it comes down to it, location, storyline, and continuity are secondary. It’s about family. It’s the father trying to relate to his son. I can’t say I’m overly optimistic about the reboot, but I know one thing for sure. When the first episode premieres, my father and I will be sitting on the couch, watching our guy during another chapter in his life, dad laughing heartily along the way. What is a boy to do?

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