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Tragically Underrated and Misunderstood

We've all heard the remarks. "Frasier" is a show for stuffy, elitist snobs. Television for rich liberals.


It is true that the show's protagonists are a pair of effete, well-to-do brothers who talk as if they had walked directly out of a Dickens novel. And it may also be true that many of the jokes are intended for a well-read audience.


But most of the series' detractors fail to grasp the irony of this sitcom. The show is actually poking fun at the fact that Frasier and Niles are so aloof and snobbish. This theme is kept in perspective by the presence of the supporting cast of everyman characters like Martin, Bulldog, Roz, and Daphne, who surround Frasier and Niles and, quite often, put the doctors in their place.


The sad part is that "Frasier" has been stigmatized to such an extent that many people will refuse to ever watch it, based solely on the mistaken reputation the show carries. In so doing, they miss out on some of the best television ever to air. Because, whether it's an elitist show or not, one truth cannot reasonably be denied:


"Frasier" is funny. Very, very funny.


Funnier than "Friends," funnier than "The Office," funnier than "Cheers," funnier than "Seinfeld," funnier than "Family Guy." (All favorites of mine).


In fact, speaking as someone who watches a greater-than-usual amount of television, both on the air and on DVD, I can say with certainty that not only was "Frasier" the funniest sitcom of its time, but I also have yet to find a funnier one that has aired before or since.

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