Why millennials should watch Frasier
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Upon first glance, Frasier is the kind of show that millennials ought to hate. The Cheers spinoff stars Kelsey Grammer as radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, a pompous and self-absorbed snob whose upper-class lifestyle is well out of reach to the average young adult. Beyond the presence of an adorable Jack Russell named Eddie, it’s initially hard to see what the show could offer millennials twenty-five years after it first aired. Yet when you look closer, Frasier has a number of qualities that resonate with young adult audiences. The show’s whole premise hinges on what it’s like to be an adult living with a parent, a situation that many millennials can empathise with. A significant number of millennials leave home and then return, often as a way of avoiding debt in an increasingly competitive job market. With this return comes the renewal of old family dynamics, with frequently negative and restrictive consequences. Although it approaches the issue from a different angle, Frasier understands the difficulties of being thrown back into cohabitation with your parents after years of relative independence. Moving in with his father Martin, a retired police officer whose hip injury means he can no longer live alone, puts serious limitations on Frasier’s lifestyle and sense of freedom. He reluctantly welcomes Martin, his battered recliner, and his dog into his sophisticated world despite their rocky relationship. The move is an act of guilt and convenience rather than love alone. Likewise, Martin finds his new dependency on Frasier humiliating; “I had plans too, you know,” he tells Frasier in the pilot, ones that clearly didn’t involve relying on his son for physical aid. For the young adults who relinquish the independence of life at university for familial support, Frasier and Martin’s struggle to adjust to this new situation is all too familiar. Whether or not they still live with their parents, economic uncertainty is a universal experience for all but the most privileged millennials. Despite the obvious wealth of Frasier and his brother Niles, they both experience financial precarity at certain moments in the series. Frasier loses his job at the radio station for a period in season six, and his stint of unemployment coincides with his brother’s messy divorce. Drained dry by his ex-wife’s lawyers, Niles moves out of his lavish apartment to a dingy flat in the Shangri-La complex.
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