|Cheers and Frasier|
Type: Spin Off
When the hit series Cheers came to an end, it was a natural that there would be an attempt to try and spin off one of the characters into their own show. An earlier attempt to spin off barmaid Carla's scummy husband Nick Tortelli into his own show had failed badly. This time they tried class instead of scum and spun off the pompous bar regular Dr. Frasier Crane. It bacame almost as big a hit as Cheers itself.
Cheers, for the uninformed, was a sitcom about a bar of the same name, the people who worked there and the regulars (like Norm) who seemed to live there. The spin off had Frasier Crane leaving Boston and moving back to his family's home town of Seattle to host a radio talk therapy show. Working with him at the station was his producer Roz Doyle. A running gag was that most of the callers to the radio show were voiced by uncredited big time celebrities.
Frasier also came back to Seattle to attempt to strengthen his family ties. He and his brother Niles were the best of friends. Frasier's dad was an ex-cop though who had little in common with his pompous sons. In an attempt to get closer to his father Martin, Frasier had his dad move in with him. Also living with Frasier was his father's home-care worker Daphne (Martin had been shot in the line of duty and needed some help). In just as Norm from Cheers had a much talked about but never seen wife named Vera, Frasier's brother Niles had an often mentioned but never seen wife named Merris who he eventually divorced. Even while he was married though, Niles was secretly in love with Daphne.
In addition to being a spin off, Frasier also featured several guest appearances by Frasier's former Cheers cohorts.
While on Cheers, Frasier had been married to a Doctor Lillith Crane. They had divorced when the actress playing the role, Bebe Neuwirth, left the show. She made regular appearances on Frasier as his ex-wife all of which were hysterical. From Lilith and Frasier sleeping together again to them trying to get their son (who stayed mostly with Lilith) into a good school, these episodes were always very funny. Breaking these two up was a great idea. Lillith made for twice as funny an ex as she did a wife.
One of the first guest appearances, Lillith not withstanding, came when Ted Danson reprised his role as Sam Malone, owner of Cheers. He stopped by to introduce Frasier to his new fiancée. Much to Frasier's horror, it was a woman he had had an incredible one night stand with only a few days earlier. Should he tell Sam, a huge womanizer himself, and ruin Sam's chance for wedded bliss or keep his yap shut and risk them both cheating on each other and having a disastrous marriage?
This episode also kicks ass for having the guts to address and correct a rather large continuity error between the two shows. On Cheers Frasier had ofter said that his father was 1.) a renown scientist and 2.) dead! Upon meeting Frasier's dad Sam is immediately surprised saying, "I thought you said your dad was dead." Martin goes into shock and Frasier confesses that he and his father had been fighting at the time and not talking and he had been very bitter about it. It then comes up that Martin is a cop. Sam says, "I thought you said your dad was a scientist." Again Martin is shocked. Frasier shouts out, "I figured what the hell. You were already dead!"
Shelly Long also appeared reviving her character of Diane Chambers, Frasier's former girlfriend. She first appeared in a very quick cameo in a dream. Later Diane, a would-be writer appeared promoting a new original play she had written and that was being put on. Frasier went to see the play and was aghast to find that it was based on the gang from Cheers and was not really fair or accurate. Then in a later episode in which Frasier frets over his relationships with women, Diane appeared again as Frasier imagined himself talking with all the important women from his past.
Woody Harrelson also stopped by in his old role of dim bartender Woody Boyd for an episode. Woody and Frasier have a nice visit but Woody stays in town for awhile and Frasier soon finds out that apart from having hung out together at Cheers they have very little else in common and that Woody is a huge bore. By the episode's end the tables get turned when it turns out Woody feels the same way about Frasier and that he has only been continually hanging around due to a combination of Frasier's requests to see Woody again, which he only meant as a courtesy, and Woody's not wanting to be rude by turning him down. In the end they are happy to remain friends who see each other about once a blue moon.
The biggest crossover in terms of the sheer volume of characters happened in 2002 when Frasier and his family headed to Boston for Frasier to receive an award and ran into five characters from Cheers. Arriving at the airport they ran into Cheer's resident know-it-all Cliff Clavin waiting for his mother to fly in. It seems Cliff was finally retiring from his job at the Post Office and moving to Florida. Cliff believed Frasier had flown in just for his going away party. Not wanting to disappoint Cliff, Frasier and his family headed off to Cliff's shin dig. Unfortunately Cheers was booked so the party was held at another location. Also at the party was Cliff's best friend Norm. Frasier's dad and Norm immediately bonded over a common love: beer! Martin having being a cop he even bonded with Cliff seeing as he was a fellow civil servant. The only one who did not have fun was Niles who felt his evening was being ruined. He had expected to eat at the finest restaurant in Boston not hang with this crowd. Of course he changed his tune once the Cheers gang began telling him humiliating stories about Frasier.
But soon Cliff was feeling that his friends didn't seem to be sad enough about his leaving. Frasier let everyone else know and suggested they all lay on the sentiment really thick. Cheers barmaid Carla - who loathed Cliff - insisted they all play along to insure he did mov eto Florida. But when her time came to toast Cliff, she couldn't help herself. Carla spewed out a bile filled diatribe about how she hated Cliff and couldn't wait for him to go. Everyone was shocked. They were more shocked when Cliff declared that, based on Carla's speech, he wasn't going to leave. As Carla grew furious Cliff explained only a very dear friend could make such a joke and he couldn't leave such true friends. Then Carla tried to kill him... a couple times.
Cliff, Norm and Carla. But I did say FIVE Cheers characters didn't I? The final two characters while more minor than the listed big three cast members were even cooler to see in the crossover precisely because they were more minor. They were background barflies who were always on Cheers. First was Paul, the heavy set guy who usually was two seats down from Norm and who was probably the Cheers bit players who always had the most lines. But the guy who stole the whole show even from the big names was Phil - an older balding man who also was a regular at Cheers. He toasted Cliff sweetly only to have Cliff say,"You were always there for me Al." To which Phil sourly replied,"I'm Phil. Al's been dead for fourteen years ya dumb son of a bitch!" Al had been another bit player who disappeared when the actor playing him died. For the rest of the episode Al just kept addressing Cliff as a dumb son of a bitch. He upstage everybody. Here's to the first true bit player crossover I've ever seen and to them walking away with the funniest bits!
The oddest thing about the character of Frasier Crane is that he was not initially created with the thought of his becoming popular. He was brought on to Cheers to serve as an obstacle in the romantic relationship between Sam and Diane. You know, one of those characters who shows up for a couple of episodes to mix things up and then disappears. Only he was so good they kept him on the show. The writers would purposely give Kelsey Grammer who played Frasier bad lines they didn't think could get a laugh and he would turn around and make them work. So a character that was supposed to be on for a handful of episodes has now been around for 15 years and has appeared on at least four different TV shows. Go figure.Other Cheers Crossover Links
Cheers and St. Elsewhere
Cheers and The Simpsons
Cheers and The Tortellis
Cheers and Wings
Other Frasier Crossover Links
Frasier and Caroline In The City
Frasier and The John Larroquette Show
Frasier and Wings
Click here to return to main Crossover List
Buy these shows on Amazon.com and support this site at the same time! Check out Cheers and Frasier on DVD! Diane Chambers pops up on Frasier in two episodes in Season 2, once in Season 3 and in two episodes in Season 9. Sam Malone shows up on Frasier in an episode in Season 2. Woody Boyd shows up in Season 6 of Frasier. Cliff, Norm, Carla and company appear in Frasier Season 9.