Television, pop culture, what to watch on TV, 90s nostalgia
5 Ways Watching This Television Show Made Me Smarter
1. French vocabulary
Sacre bleu, enchante, le mot juste, demi-monde… these are just a few of the french phrases that are sprinkled throughout the show. Every time I heard a phrase I didn’t understand I looked it up. Now I can drop a soupçon of french into my every day milieu. It adds to the joie de vivre, darling.
2. Appreciation for opera and classical music
There’s a constant theme of opera going, concert attendance and orchestral arrangements in the show. If you pay attention to these even briefly you’ll quickly be able to distinguish your Shostakovich from your Prokofiev. Really though, Frasier made me appreciate classical music in a new way. Try it.
3. A list of books to read
Paying attention to the literary and psychology references provides a pretty handy reference guide to books which well-read people have read. In my early-twenties, Frasier provided a list of books that were culturally relevant. I got into Carl Jung and some introductions to Freud and was suddenly able to get a handle on my what the collective unconsciousness is. (I am a Jungian, so they’ll be no blaming mother today!)
3. Understanding class difference
All 11 seasons of Frasier, and particularly the first five dwell on the idea of what it is to be middle-class or working-class in America. From their clothes, music, and food Frasier and Niles are bourgeois professionals looking for the kind of societal connections which they think their education should bring them. The comedic foil is their father Martin, an ex-cop, whose grounded masculinity is a foil to his sons’ penchant for sophistication and refinement. All the fine lines between middle and upper class, between elite and aristocratic are spelled out with delightful detail and a light touch. It gets the American version of class in a way that Europeans could never quite do. Pierre Bourdieu would be impressed.
4. Knowing the important of a good suit
It would be impossible to watch Frasier and not admire the wardrobe. That late-nineties signature trench coat and shiny loafers are having a moment. Moreover, it reminds the viewer that wearing a suit makes even a simple coffee on a Saturday morning an occasion. I took a letter out of Frasier’s book and upped my wardrobe game after watching. Leather? Gucci? Why not.
5. Getting up early on a Saturday
Where I live, Frasier is aired on Saturday morning at 8am. During my university days my sole reason for early rising was to get a cup of coffee and watch two episodes to start my weekend relax session properly.
6. Started me on my coffee habit
I dare anyone to watch the characters coff their creamy cappuccinos in Cafe Nervosa (based on the real-life Seattle Elliott Bay Cafe) and not get a taste for the roasted bean. I defy anyone to watch the show and not immediately want a frothy coffee.
In conclusion, Frasier was an expertly written sophisticated comedy that assumed its audience was intelligent and smart. To get the jokes and references in Frasier is an education of its own.