The New ‘Frasier’ Recap, So You Can Skip It: When Did Frasier Forget How Boston Residents Pronounce the Name of Their Local NBA Team?

And other questions sparked by the latest episode of the new ‘Frasier’
The New ‘Frasier’ Recap, So You Can Skip It: When Did Frasier Forget How Boston Residents Pronounce the Name of Their Local NBA Team?

After Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) speaks dismissively about Freddy’s (Jack Cutmore-Scott) career as a firefighter, Eve (Jess Salgueiro) suggests to Freddy that he bring Frasier to the firehouse to give him a direct understanding of what the job is actually like. Does anyone actually learn anything? Kind of. But I have other questions.

When Did Frasier Forget How Boston Residents Pronounce the Name of Their Local NBA Team?

This tortured my friend Alan Sepinwall so badly that he led his series review with it at Rolling Stone. Frasier has formed a pub quiz team with Olivia (Toks Olagundoye) and Alan (Nicholas Lyndhurst), his colleagues from the psychology department, and arrives late because he’s been studying sports. Here’s one thing he hasn’t learned: “WHY does everyone insist on mispronouncing Celtics?” Meaning, with a soft C.

Here’s the joke: Frasier is fancy, so he respects the original pronunciation of English words borrowed from other languages. But, as Sepinwall points out, Frasier hasn’t been fancy every second of his life. Before he fell back into oenophilia and opera appreciation with his brother in Seattle on Frasier Mark I, he spent virtually all his discretionary time at Cheers, where every person talked about sports constantly. Prior to Frasier’s introduction to Cheers, he had lived in Boston as an undergrad at Harvard, a time when he would have definitely heard people talk about the Celtics with a soft C; maybe that’s when he would have asked someone about it. Or, actually, maybe not, since the team was founded in the 1940s and Frasier was born in the 1950s and had probably heard his sports-fan father Martin mentioning the team at some point when Frasier was a little know-it-all who would have relished correcting him.

Take it from a former little know-it-all who has never cared about sports: When you live in North America, some sports facts do still make their way to your knowledge base. That people pronounce “Celtics” “wrong” when they’re talking about the basketball team would definitely be one that stuck in Frasier’s brain. Decades ago. It’s not credible that he’d still be this peeved about it. 


Who Named the Fire Department Team?

The teams are mostly from Harvard and have punny names: Catequizm, from the theology department; the French department team, Les Quizérables; and Frasier’s team, The Jung and The Restless. (Rather than question how likely it is that a man who doesn’t say “Celtics” right is familiar with soap opera titles, I’ll assume that name came from one of his teammates.) Eschewing puns is the Fire Department’s team: First Responders Are the True Heroes. No one is disputing this is true, but it seems uncharacteristically braggy for them to have called themselves that. Plus, why does their team have four members when all the others only have three? Whoops, the little know-it-all’s still here and she’s yelling about integrity in fictional pub quizzes!

What Kind of Monster Returns Cookware Without Washing It?

The day after the pub quiz, Freddy is getting ready to take his chili pot to the firehouse to make his famous chili. “The firehouse kitchen doesn’t have its own chili pot?” is another question I would like to ask at this point, but I guess I can’t nitpick absolutely everything — and the reason it doesn’t is to set up a joke about Eve returning it to Freddy smelling like baby lotion because she dressed her baby, John, in a lobster costume and took a bunch of photos of him in the pot. She didn’t think to wash it afterward? She works in food and beverage service! I guess we should all stand by for the future episode about an e. coli outbreak at Mahoney’s. 

More importantly: Why didn’t we get a montage of the baby lobster photos over the closing credits?!?! 

Instead, we get the firefighters gifting David a bike that he rides out of frame and, we are given to understand, falls off — which only sparks more questions. Niles worked so hard in “Fraternal Schwinns” to learn how to ride a bike as an adult — he wasn’t so proud of the accomplishment that he insisted on teaching his son?

What Do This Show’s Writers Think Goes into Designing a T-Shirt?

A fight about Frasier referring to Freddy as “just a fireman” continues the following day. 

Frasier: I have always wondered why you narrowed your (career) choices to just this one, given that you have so many gifts.
Freddy: I use all my gifts — mental, physical, sartorial. That’s right: I designed this shirt. See the stitching?
Frasier: No.
Freddy: Exactly.

It’s a standard baseball shirt, with a white body and contrasting collar and three-quarter sleeves, that someone at the fire department presumably had made in bulk from a local printer that gave them a True Heroes discount — or, if the department isn’t civic-minded, ordered from an online store like Spreadshirt. Are we supposed to think Freddy bought several bolts of jersey and physically made the T-shirts himself? Because otherwise he wouldn’t have any reason to do any stitching at all, visible or otherwise. Even if he just means he designed the “BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT” graphic, he shouldn’t be that proud of it — a three-word logo doesn’t require three fonts.

Were They Trying to Finish the Mr. July Scene Before Lunch?

Freddy is eager to show Frasier how serious his job actually is, but almost as soon as they’ve arrived at the firehouse, Freddy has urgent business to attend to: getting photographed for the next year’s beefcake calendar. He’s embarrassed to do this in front of his dad and refuses to take his shirt off — not even “for the kids,” as Tiny (Kevin Daniels) exhorts him — never mind strip all the way down and cover his junk with what the photographer terms “a Lincoln hat.” “A fitting tribute to the Great Emancipator,” Frasier drawls sarcastically.

Leaving aside the idea that the same man who wouldn’t shut up about the SSSSSSELTICS the previous night wouldn’t correct this woman that it’s a “stovepipe hat”: That’s it? Comedy writers love Abraham Lincoln, and I simply refuse to believe this was the best punchline a room full of them could come up with for a situation involving a sexy Abe. 

“Drop those Civil DRAWERS.”

“Show them your Lincoln log.”

“Give ’em the full four score and seven inches.”

Okay, fine, these aren’t great, but at least they’re jokes. I shouldn’t be trying harder to make this show good than the people who work there.

How Can These Firefighters Think David Is a Minor?

Admittedly, Anders Keith is older than his character; David is a college freshman, which would make him 18 or 19, whereas Keith is reportedly 26. Yet the whole B-plot, such as it is, revolves around them mistaking him for one of the orphans the firehouse is committed to help with charitable calendar sales, thanks to a misunderstanding of his latest off-screen goof (accidentally locking himself in the basement of a Harvard library for several days, leaving him hungry and unkempt). Does this work as a joke? Keith is baby-faced, but if they want to make him seem like he could be in middle school, they should keep him further away from the character ironically nicknamed Tiny.

Frasier Is a Beloved Celebrity, But… to Absolutely Everyone?

Freddy and his fellow firefighters bring Frasier on an emergency call, which turns out to involve Walt (David Theune) getting himself stuck in his own dog door. Freddy has a saw, and he’s ready to use it to make a dramatic rescue and impress his dad. Instead, after excited fan Walt recognizes him, Frasier gets him to relax enough to free himself. Is Frasier ever going to meet anyone outside the opening credits cast that didn’t love his show?

Furthermore, while I am not a True Hero, I am pretty sure that when you fire up a rescue saw, you’re supposed to look at what the blade is doing.

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