Judge Patrick Naugle is above making tossed salad jokes, thankyouverymuch.
Our reviews of Fan Favorites: The Best of Frasier (published March 18th, 2012), Frasier: The Complete First Season (published June 2nd, 2003), Frasier: The Complete Second Season (published January 20th, 2004), Frasier: The Complete Third Season (published November 24th, 2004), Frasier: The Complete Fourth Season (published February 16th, 2005), Frasier: The Complete Fifth Season (published August 10th, 2005), Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season (published February 8th, 2006), Frasier: The Complete Eighth Season (published June 28th, 2006), Frasier: The Complete Ninth Season (published May 15th, 2007), Frasier: The Complete Final Season (published January 12th, 2005), and Frasier: The Complete Tenth Season (published January 9th, 2008) are also available.
"I don't know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs / They're callin' again."—The Frasier Theme Song
A recap of this series seems redundant. By now if you're reading a review of the seventh season of a particular television show you're immediately familiar with its story and characters. However, for the record: The seventh season of Frasier sees the Crane brothers, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles (David Hyde Pierce), wading through their disastrous love lives. Niles begins a relationship with a new woman, Mel (Jane Adams), who bears a striking resemblance to his freakish ex-wife, Maris (and was, indeed, her plastic surgeon). Frasier continues to look for love while negotiating a new contract at his radio station. Roz (Peri Gilpen), Frasier's sexually excitable radio show producer, struggles with motherhood while trying to sleep with every man on the planet. Daphne (Jane Leeves), the Crane's housekeeper, is preparing for her wedding to Donny (Saul Rubinek). Finally, Frasier's father Martin Crane (John Mahoney) splits with his girlfriend Sheri and continues to be a thorn in Frasier's side. My advice to everyone: take two aspirin and call me in the morning!
By this point I can safely steer you in the direction of my previous reviews of four seasons of Frasier. In each one I gush about how good the show was—though it concluded in 2004, I can't think of another current sitcom I'd rather watch than reruns of Frasier (which shows you how in decline the sitcom is). The show still holds up well; Dr. Crane and his loony family and friends were a true TV treasure.
Thus, in this review of Frasier: The Complete Seventh Season, I'm going to countdown the top ten reasons why I think Frasier is such a wonderfully classic show. Drum roll, please…
10.) It's a spin-off of another great show: Yes, you should grade every show on its own merits. However, in Frasier's case it's pertinent that you know Dr. Crane's origins were in a show just as good as Frasier. Cheers—a show that seems almost ancient to me—featured an equally good cast, including Ted Danson as bar owner Sam Malone, Kirstie Alley (during her lighter days) as Sam's love interest, as well as Norm, Cliff, Woody, Carla, and a host of other wacky folks you'd love to have a beer with. Like looking in the past to see how your parents were as kids, watching Cheers is like seeing what Frasier would soon become.
9.) Eddie: Oh, come on—he's cute! Eddie, Martin Crane's faithful, talented canine companion, is one of televisions most recognized and famous dogs. There's Lassie, there's Benji, and there's Eddie. While Eddie may not be the centerpiece of the show, there were enough funny bits involving Frasier's disdain of him with him to keep viewers tuning in each week.
8.) Roz Doyle: An almost unsung hero on Frasier was Roz, Frasier's promiscuous radio show producer. New to motherhood, it was nice to see that having a baby didn't slow down Roz's acerbic wit or desire to bed every man she met. Though she's a grade-A slut, Roz is still one of Frasier's most lovable characters (due to Peri Gilpin's great comedic timing).
7.) The Humor Can Be Dumb, But It's Never A Dumb Show: Case in point: at one point during a season seven episode Frasier becomes handcuffed to an attractive stripper and then attempts to hide her (shoving her halfway into a washroom, etc.) from the women in his life. Silly? Yes, but the show never panders to the audience. Even in Frasier's most goofy moments you still feel as if you're watching a sophisticated (but never pretentious) comedy.
6.) Warmth: One thing sorely lacking in many comedies is warmth. I'm not talking icky, gooey Full House warmth. I'm talking about a genuine, good-natured feeling that the characters are cared for and loved even when they behave in the most bizarre ways. Frasier and his family do things that are sometimes questionable—like gossip about Niles's girlfriend, Mel, behind his back—but in the end it's never overly cruel. Even when the characters are mean to each other, it's never at the risk of making them monsters (unlike the Married With Children clan).
5.) Dr. Frasier Crane's Apartment: I just really like that the apartment looks like millions was spent decorating it and Frasier's dad's unsightly duct taped la-z-boy is still sitting in the middle of the room. That's just funny.
4.) The Periphery Characters: I always liked that Frasier included characters that weren't necessarily week-to-week staples, but floated in and out of the scene just when they're needed, no more, no less. Dan Butler's Bulldog Briscoe is funny in small doses, which is exactly how we get him. Edward Hibbert's Gil Chesterton, the radio's resident snobby food critic, is a true upper-crust hoot. And Patrick Kerr's Noel Shempsky (what an accursed last name) is hysterical as the nerdy guy lusting after Roz. It's nice to see a small but well utilized cornucopia of characters pop up from time to time.
3.) John Mahoney: One of the things I really love about Frasier is the dichotomy between Martin Crane and his sons. He's a crusty old police salt who could care less about fine wine and opera houses. Mahoney shines brightly during the seventh season as he traverses the Crane brother's rocky love life—his eye-rolling cracks about their prissy nature are truly priceless.
2.) High Brow Humor: I gotta say that sometimes I like that I don't know what Frasier and Niles are talking about when it comes fifteenth century sonatas or 1954 merlot. It sometimes makes it all the more funny since they come off as even more pompous and full of hot air.
1.) Kelsey Grammer: I won't go on and on about Grammer; I've praised him plenty in previous reviews. I will reiterate that I think he's will go down in history as one of the funniest actors on television. Frasier Crane is a perfection of wit, delivery and classic blundering. Credit goes to Grammer for making him a complex and wholly likable entity.
Each episode of Frasier: The Complete Seventh Season is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers for each episode is excellent—the colors and black levels are in great shape and the image is sharp and bright. Seeing as this particular season is only a few years old, it's not surprising to see it in such great shape.
The soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. Nothing too exciting to report here: the sound mixes are all well done and clearly heard. There aren't any surround sounds or directional effects to speak of, though that catchy theme song certainly is loud! No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this set.
This time around Frasier fans will be disappointed—there are no extra features included on this set.
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