Perhaps ‘Farewell’ should become a recurring thread thanks to the end of Sex and the City, Friends and now Frasier. Compared with those first two, Frasier’s gone out with more of a whimper than a bang and it’s the hardest to write an obituary for. Perhaps the difficulty comes from it being my favourite by far. As with Sex and the City and Friends, I have to admit that I’d somehow stopped watching around the penultimate series. It’s one of those things that just happens, you suddenly stop caring so much. Yet coming back to the final season it was as funny as ever and thankfully free of Friends over sentimentality.
Of the three endings, I think Sex and the City (which I watched least) actually did it best. While its insights were fairly limited and unsophisticated, it seemed to have the greatest sense of its own place. This is the problem with Frasier, you sort of know its time has passed, but it’s hard to say what that time was. Frasier shared Sex and the City’s interest in the complex challenges faced by a single someone trying to make their way in the world. But it was so much broader (and more grown-up) than that, thanks to its exploration of the extended family and a form of multi-cultural society; Frasier and Niles’ snobbish elitism Vs down-to-Earth working class Martin and Daphne.
Coming from the same line that brought Taxi and then Cheers, Frasier was made of that indefinable something that makes certain US TV comedy great.