The Problem with the Frasier Reboot
So, as you may have heard by now, a Frasier reboot/sequel appears to be in the work; the show’s one-time star, Kelsey Grammer, is apparently shopping it around several studios in the hopes of getting it picked up, and I have some…thoughts on this matter.
As many of you may know, I have a deep, long-running love affair with Frasier: when I moved into my apartment with my partner, the first thing he did was get me a Frasier boxset, which we proceeded to binge from start to finish. For me, it’s hard to think of a sitcom with the heart, ambition, lyrical deftness, and emotional range that Frasier offered – the spot-on casting, pitch-perfect scripts, and deeply developed characters meant that, in eleven seasons, I could count the number of episodes I’m “meh” about on one hand. It’s a magical, alchemic kind of show, a specific bringing together of certain factors that fell into place to create something I love so much and have shared with everyone around me. I can’t count the number of times me and my dear friend Robin have danced around a coffee table, singing this, can’t count the number of times I have left a room yelling “And I’m KEEPING the JEWELLRY”. Frasier is my favourite comedy of all time. I don’t even have to think about that.
But I don’t want this reboot. Bluntly. After the death of John Mahoney earlier this year (honestly, don’t get me thinking about it again, I’m still gutted), it felt obvious to me that any chance of a sequel was off the table. Without that main cast, without that specific setting of time and place, Frasier isn’t itself any longer. Bringing it to the modern setting means the show has to acknowledge that time passing and what the world has become in it’s absence, and the thought of that makes me cringe. A reboot won’t take away from what already exists of the show, but I just can’t imagine that bringing it back will add anything of real value. In a world where reboots, sequels, and remakes are such an enormous part of our pop culture currency, this is just another one that I wish they could leave alone. How many times have you heard professed die-hard fans lamenting the thought of someone bringing their favourite show back? It seems ridiculous, really, but yet these reboots always seem to do fair shakes in the ratings.
Because I know if this reboot takes off, I’ll be there with front row La-Z-boys and brandy and crudites to watch it. And that’s how these reboots function: any fanbase will come back for a show they’ve loved, even if they know it’s going to be shit, even if they hate the very notion of it returning to our screens. If the show’s bad (what’s up, The X-Files), then we’ve got to crane (hah) our necks to see the car wreck; if it’s good, then they get to pat themselves on the back for a job well done and bask in praise they really earned over the original run of the show, praise that wouldn’t have existed without a shameless appeal to our collective nostalgia: if these were new shows, would anyone give a fuck?
Whatever comes of it, a reboot or a sequel always feels cheap, no matter the quality or heart that’s been poured into it. But we always come back, because nostalgia is the lifeblood of popular culture right now – whether it’s original shows that lean heavily on throwbacks or straight remakes, TV and cinema has noticed that we seem to respond when they pander to what we used to love, and so we keep getting this as a result. Whether it’s good or bad, a Frasier returning to our screens will never feel right. But as long as we keep watching the car crash, they’re going to keep happening. And, having said all that, I’ll still be watching this reboot, and I know you will, too.
(header image courtesy of Mental Floss)