Why ‘Frasier’ Was Once the Most Hated Character on Television
Fans of the Emmy-winning sitcom Frasier are still waiting for the show’s much-rumored reboot. With the cast members on board for the reunion, loyal followers of the show are ready to see where the Seattle residents are in 2020.
Kelsey Grammer began his iconic role of Frasier Crane on the NBC hit Cheers. The character on the sitcom was created to cause trouble in a storied relationship.
‘Cheers’ brings Sam and Diane together
When Cheers hit the airwaves in 1982, the focal point of the show became the on-again, off-again romance between bar owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and waitress Diane Chambers (Shelley Long). After finally giving into their mutual attraction at the end of the first season, Sam and Diane continued to have conflict in season 2.
“Once they consummated the relationship that was only the beginning of their problems,” writer-producer Cheri Steinkellner told the Hollywood Reporter. “They were still who they were, they didn’t suddenly complete each other and meet in the middle. They met where oil meets water, and the tension only grew stronger because those two can’t mix.”
To keep viewers engaged, storylines continued to highlight the differences between couple. Where Sam was the blue-collar ex-baseball player, Diane relished all things intellectual.
“We were already thinking of a love triangle and those screwball comedies from the 1930 and ’40s that we loved like My Favorite Wife and Preston Sturges films,” show creator Les Charles explained. “In those cases, the relationship consummates and they’re still fascinating and fun.”
‘Cheers’ gets a doctor in the house
When the couple had a breakup at the end of season 2, Diane had a bit of a breakdown. She entered a mental health facility, where she met Dr. Frasier Crane. The psychiatrist became the perfect new love interest for the Cheers waitress.
“Les and Glen [Charles] told us there was going to be a new character, a psychiatrist who’d treated Diane and they’re going to have a relationship,” writer-producer Peter Casey revealed. “They gave us a description of what he was going to be like and said his name was going to be Frasier, but they didn’t have a last name for him.”
Frasier possessed all the qualities to which Diane aspired: intelligence, status, and culture. While the show creators expected the character to last for just one season, he soon became a staple at Cheers.
“Kelsey could do anything,” Long raved of her former co-star. “He found new things about that character to play in every episode. That’s lightning in a bottle. A brilliant performer building a character as much as any writer. You just can’t create that.”
Fans of ‘Cheers’ weren’t fans of Frasier with Diane
With the audience invested in the romance of Sam and Diane, the introduction of a love triangle created some waves for the Cheers newcomer. Frasier became the fans’ object of wrath.
“Frasier was the most hated character on TV,” Les Charles recalled. “No one wanted to see someone come between Sam and Diane.”
The show creator revealed that Grammer was sometimes subjected to in-person contempt by Cheers loyalists.
“After that season, [Grammer] took a cross-country car trip by himself,” Les Charles recalled. “He stopped in a bar filled with rough characters to get a beer. A big guy comes up behind him with long stringy hair and sleeves cut off, showing his tattoos. He taps Kelsey on the shoulder and Kelsey turns around and the guy says, ‘You’re that pencil-necked son of a b*tch trying to break up Sam and Diane!'”
Viewers soon saw Sam and Diane reunite again, only later to split up when Long left the show in 1987. After marrying and divorcing fellow psychiatrist Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth), Frasier went Northwest to Seattle to headline his very successful spinoff show.