You can’t say “cheers” to this nonsense.
Once upon a time, there was a bar in Boston with a group of regulars, including the smug, flamboyant Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), who starred in NBC’s popular 1982-93 sitcom A unique brand of arrogant comedy is performed in “Cheers”. Grammer and creator David Angel then moved the character to Seattle and created his own series, The Family, which is arguably the most commercially and creatively successful spinoff of all time, starting in 1993. It aired on NBC for 11 seasons from 2004 to 2004 and won 37 Emmy Awards.
Nineteen years after “Filmore” went on hiatus from broadcast television, “Dr. Klan” returns in a semi-revival/spinoff on Paramount+ (airing Thursdays for four shows), with Grammer as the only returning regular cast. This is a risky revival with no rewards.
This new “happy hour” is not the old “happy hour.” This is just as bad and embarrassing as you can imagine.
Boring, stilted, and bland, the new Family is a weak rehash of the original, desperately trying to recreate the quips, characterizations, and interior design jokes that made the ’90s series so influential. The film was created by Chris Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Joe Cristali (“Life in Pieces”), neither of whom had any involvement in the original production, and Grammer serves as executive producer , which is filled with a supporting cast of new characters that echo hollowly from the original. Without his brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), sister-in-law Daphne (Jane Leavis), producer Roz (Perry Gilpin) and father Martin (John Mahoney, in died in 2018), “Happy Family” is drifting in the sea. Bad jokes and unbearably embarrassing.
The one-time broadcast psychiatrist who worked as a television psychiatrist in Chicago in between series bears a not-so-subtle resemblance to Dr. Phil. But after his father’s death, Fraser travels to Boston to give a guest lecture at Harvard University and decides to visit his son Freddie (Jack Catmull-Scott), an Ivy League graduate. Firefighter who dropped out of school. To ease their strained relationship, Fraser decided to move to Boston and take a teaching position at Harvard University.
He then bought his apartment building and manipulated his son into moving in with him. See, it’s just like the original, with a mismatched father and son living in an apartment! Only now, the working class first responders are young braggadocios and the old asses are obnoxious amateurs.
Surrounding the father and son are Freddy’s friend Eve (Jesse Salguero), the ex-girlfriend of Freddy’s late colleague who is raising a child alone; ‘s ex-girlfriend. Olivia (Toks Olagundoye), the ambitious chair of Harvard’s psychology department; Niles and Daphne’s possibly neurodivergent son David (Anders Kiss); and Fraser’s bumbling Oxford pal Alan (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Like a checklist, the show offers a Daphne-like motherhood, a Rhodes-like sarcastic co-worker, a Niles-like clone and a hilarious British man who achieves the physical comedy Eddie the Dog once provided, albeit less grace.
Grammer played Frasier for 20 years, but the character has since lost relevance. In the prosperous and optimistic 1990s, the uber-rich and uber-out-of-touch Crane brothers were an entertaining double clown act, a harmless and goofy version of the rich and arrogant who could easily be laughed at and ridiculed. In the tough, inflation-plagued year of 2023, Fraser and his expensive furniture and wine won’t go away easily.
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The original Family Fun was fast-paced, full of jokes, and mostly light-hearted. It profoundly creates characters that are easy to root for and love. Its dialogue is sharp and thoughtful, but its physical comedy threatens to escalate into a full-on French farce. It fundamentally knows what it is and there’s nothing else like it. The new series is slow, dull and entirely humorless. Even after five 30-minute-long episodes were available for preview, its characters still weren’t well-defined or likeable. Even Fraser seemed like a stranger.
Everyone probably knows his name, but we’d be better off if he didn’t come back to the bar.