Tag Archives: sitcoms

The Comfort of Sitcoms: Fraser

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Hey all, it’s Kern here. I’m back to writing proper blog posts, yes it’s taken me a while to get back into the swing of things, and I apologize for that profusely. In any case, let’s just dive into the topic at hand, shall we?

Today I want to talk a little bit about sitcoms. The draw they have and the appeal they carry to a wider audience shouldn’t be overlooked. For anyone that knows me and also the situation going on around the house right about now, you’ll know that sitcoms are a family affair. We’re known to crowd around the television together to watch an episode or two of our favorite ones.

Now back in the days of cable, we generally had shows we habitually flocked to. Shows like “The Nanny”, “Golden Girls” and “I Love Lucy” commonly filled the warm glow of our television screen. However, in this household only one sitcom stands out as king among the rest.

The show we watch most of all just so happens to be a show that hasn’t had any new episodes produced since May 13, 2004. This show is known as Frasier, and when it comes to sitcoms this show lasts the test of time.

Insofar as my household is concerned, we still watch the show nightly. With the advent of streaming services, we can now do so at length. Even before then, we had all of the box sets for the series, some of them we even have doubles of. Seasons one and two particularly. This is because when we first bought the box sets, it was in the early 90’s. Therefore we had them on VHS tape. When DVD’s became the foremost way to watch media, we switched over to those, and that’s why we have multiple sets of season one and season two.

Nowadays, streaming is the way of the world, and smart televisions are where it’s at. We were slow on this uptake in this house, only picking one up in early 2020, but Paramount+ was the wisest subscription we ever made because now my mother can watch Frasier to the point that she can drive me insane with it… and she often does. That was a fact I even mentioned in a previous blog post, which was very fitting at that exact moment.

As I stated at the time, even while I was writing a post about idle gaming, my mother was watching Frasier. She watches the show daily, we call it a hobby. So, when I said that we watch all eleven seasons of that sitcom over and over every week, I wasn’t joking then, and I’m not joking now. She is once again watching the show, and I am too.

For those of you that know of the show, and the sort of episodes you can find within the series, we are currently in the middle of the one where Frasier Crane (played expertly by Kelsey Grammer) looses his job as a radio talk show host and has a mid-life crisis of sorts. That particular plot line goes on for a few episodes. This episode isn’t exactly the best one in the series by far, but it is the one that happens to be playing.

All in all, it does illustrate my point.

The show stands the test of time, and even the test of my sanity. Eleven seasons isn’t very many when you watch them endlessly, much like we do around here. A reboot series in in the works apparently, spearheaded by Kelsey Grammer himself. It’s anyone’s guess if it will actually hold up to the old material, but I do remain hopeful.

The series won’t be the same without
John Mahoney, who played Martin Crane in the series. He passed away in 2018. May he be resting in peace.

The character of Martin was my absolute favorite as a child, and even now, I enjoy his time on the screen. He’s a breath of fresh air in the series. Martin Crane is the typical “every-man” that enjoys sports and fishing just as much as a good beer and time with his family. His beloved dog named Eddie is also a key focal point for him.

As former police officer, Martin Crane was a simple guy with a worldly aware attitude. His desires and vices are also simple as a result. He wasn’t too complicated and offered a staunch juxtaposition for the pomp and circumstance that other characters, like Niles and Frasier so commonly find themselves embroiled in.

When I think of sitcoms, a great many of them come to mind, but so few qualify to stand in my list of cream of the crop “comfort shows”. Some are funny, sure enough, and many of the older ones bring with them a hefty dose of nostalgia, but those are few and far between for me.

So then, why Frasier? Why not Cheers, which was where the character of Frasier Crane first originated? Why not literally any other sitcom? That’s a good question. I’ve been thinking a lot about that too, actually. It’s the heart and soul of the series that truly makes it special for me.

Surely the series has plenty of distilled witty humor, dry retorts mingling with overly long diatribes. To be honest, most of them sound much more sophisticated than they really are, as that is the punchline of those gags. However, it comes jam packed with slapstick comedy too.

Tongue-in-cheek humor tends to creep into visual hilarity at it’s finest. The image above highlights this, I believe. You don’t need to know the character of Niles too deeply to find find his absolutely disgusted look amusing, all while his pet bird uses his head as a perch.

It really is simple little visual jokes and sideways comments thrown about offhandedly, that truly makes the series sticks out for a good laugh or two. Even after you’ve seen all the gags, they’re still funny. It doesn’t lose the charm in re-watching the scenes. Honestly, the show is best enjoyed in it’s layers of symbolism and deeper discoveries. You should watch it a second time at least.

As a series, Frasier is both full of heart and goofy psychobabble related nonsense. It unflinchingly pokes fun at the psychiatric field, but it also softens that humor with stories that are truly steeped in the flaws that make us human. The series is just as much about the family unit as it is about hair-brained schemes and mindless posturing. There are times when it questions personal identity and moments when it refuses to fit the mold at all.

One of my favorite episodes includes Sir Patrick Stewart portraying man by the name of Alistair Burke. The character only appears in one episode, and in season eleven no less. However, the character is in a successful position in the theater, and his attempts to woo Fraiser Crane are the highlight of the episode. Fraiser has no idea the man is attracted to him until the matter is far too late to correct.

It is an iconic episode for me, and one that sticks out as a noteworthy piece of media because back in 2004 my inclusion in the GRSM (Gender, Romantic, and Sexual Minorites) community was lacking to say the least. I was still a teenager in high school, so characters in media were all that I had. Seeing an openly gay or trans character in the sitcoms my own mother watched was of great comfort to me. She did it without complaint, and without thinking twice about the matter, and it truly solidified my own comfort with my own identity.

Now, in a perfect world characters would be portrayed by a properly identifying individual more often than not, no matter the identity we’re discussing. Representation in media is very important, and therefore, we shouldn’t overlook that angle either. When we discuss what actor gets what role, identity should be a consideration (though not the deciding factor). However, this isn’t a perfect world, and it certainly wasn’t perfect back in 2004.

I don’t hold it against the media of the time… in fact, if anything, I think Sir Patrick Stewart did a wonderful job in the role for the single episode that he got to portray Alistair Burke.

Honestly, I’m thankful I just had the opportunity to have some level of wider exposure to the concepts that high schools refused to talk about, such as being gay. However, that’s why I believe I love this sitcom so much.

Frasier wasn’t just topical for its time, it was also down to earth and close to home. It didn’t chase down trends in a vain hope to appeal to the masses blindly… or at least it didn’t “feel” like that’s what the show was trying to do. I think that makes all the difference. It never felt like it tried to be more than it was, and what it was could often come off as pretentious and snobby to say the least. Particularly if someone wasn’t on screen to knock the Crane brothers back down a few pegs and rip off their masks of frivolity.

Someone always came along to do it too, usually Martin Crane or the character of Roz Doyle (played by Peri Gilpin).

Frasier was an intelligent series. It made statements that invited the viewer to come to their own conclusions. It was as funny as it was thoughtful, and it has aged decently well. Occasionally, it could even manage to be sad and soulful too.

That’s why I’m so drawn to it, and why my mother is too. It is rarely ever bombastic, yet it is far from mindless. The themes and the lessons are simple, and Martin Crane often tends to be the wisest character of all. If you’re looking for a decent sitcom and you haven’t seen it, give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

This has been Kernook, of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

If you liked this content, please be sure to follow the blog so that you can see more like it. I’ll be talking about sitcoms from time to time along with other media.

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The Value of a Good Idle Game

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. As much as I like to sit at my computer and immerse myself into heavier forms of gaming, every now and then I just pick up my phone or tablet and play something simple.

Recently, very recently in fact, I’ve been getting into idle games. Now, you may be wondering why that is. Before that, though, I should probably explain what an idle game is for those who don’t know. In short, an idle game is one that requires you to do very little. Basically, you click a few things every now and then. When you do, you get to watch as your in game currencies tick upward. In some cases these can also be known as “incremental games” or “clicker games”.

Literally all you do in this type of game is merely click upon a few slowly growing and refreshing bars every now and then. You may have a few choices for character equipment screens, and you may have times missions to complete, but more times than not, there’s no skill involved.

Time is your only factor. You may start out buying yourself a few more lemonade stands, newspaper stalls or other revenue building items. Then watch the cash count tick up further only to buy more later. That’s about the long and short of it.

In general, it’s a simple, uncomplicated style of game. It will only get complicated if you make it that way. Either by by micromanaging every tiny detail or attempt stare at the game for hours on end. Really, that’s just a good way to get frustrated when you make little in the way of progress. Idle games are best enjoyed at a turtle’s pace, slowly drawing out each and every level.

A great example of this would be the game AdVenture Capitalist.

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that idle games are a total waste of time. I wouldn’t even disagree that typically, idle games are fairly dull due to their core mechanics. It’s a lazy type of game to play for sure. That isn’t their only downside, either. It’s no question that games in mobile markets thrive on cash shops, which can be just as insidious as loot boxes. Sometimes, games like these even have both.

Those are plenty of very good reasons to dislike idle games by their nature. That’s also why I don’t typically play them myself.

Since most idle games are free to play, they will have a lot of cash shop items, pay-to-win mechanics. and other nonsense that I really don’t like to see in games. I certainly don’t encourage them in game design… but see, here’s the thing; you’re not supposed to play idle games hard core, either.

They’re not meant for you to binge the unholy hell out of them, so you don’t have to use those “advantages” (I call them that loosely), and I certainly don’t use them at all.

For me, idle games are the sort of thing I pick up for a few moments here and there, and then put the game away. At this moment in time, there’s a lot of value in that. I’ve recently found a decent use for them. Something that, quite frankly, hits close to home.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know my mother isn’t very healthy right now. She’s been in and out of the hospital so much in these past few months. That means as a gamer, I just need a different way to play games. right now.

I can’t just fire up my laptop and start playing MMORPG’s or shooters, because those aren’t relaxing things. Idle games, though, that’s a different story entirely. They can just run without me paying a whole lot of attention to them. I can be as invested or as disinterested as I want to be at the time, and that small freedom means the world right now.

I can play them while we’re watching whatever crappy television show happens to be on. Whenever we’re watching the baseball games (Go Detroit Tigers!), I can have my phone in my lap and toy around between commercials. I don’t ever find myself in the middle of something I can’t just close and ignore when my attention is needed elsewhere. That’s the luxury of this type of game, and why I’ve been playing them so much recently.

I’ve been playing a lot of “Idle Space Farmer – Waifu Management Simulator” Which is a lot less perverse than it sounds. It’s just another incremental idle game, like so many others, but there’s more to do and to keep track of. It’s a better fit for me.

Idle Miner Tycoon” is another game of similar style, just, you know, without the pretty women of all shapes and sizes… this is also a solid title I’ve been playing a lot of.

Those are the two games that really have been keeping me occupied recently. Maybe I’ll do proper reviews of them when I get further into the content. I’m still in world one of both of these games due to my slow progress in them. Either way, I thank them for the distraction.

Honestly, there’s only so many sitcoms I can reasonably sit through on repeat (a blog post for later), and having these two games on my phone has saved me many hours of total and complete boredom. As an aside, that’s the thing about having older parents in their 70’s. Occasionally, they get set in their ways. They like what they like, and are not prone to drift from those old comforts. For my mother, those old re-runs are playing more often than not.

Even right now as I sit here writing this, my mother and I are watching Fraser for the countless time. When I say we watch all eleven seasons of that sitcom over and over every week, I’m not joking.

Nope, I am not kidding even in the slightest. It’s her “go to bed” show, she plays it every single night before bed, and it’s become neat ritualistic at this point. She tends to watch it in the morning to

So really, right now, I thank idle games for my sanity. Otherwise I would have lost my mind months ago.

All in all, I’ve really got to say, idle games have been a saving grace for me in moments when I just need some levity too. There’s been more than a little stress around here, and they’re a good way to just zone out for a bit. You could say they’ve become my own bedtime ritual, not unlike my mother’s binge watching of Fraser.

I’d never thought I’d say that… and it surprises me. It’s true though, every last word. Gaming this way is by far one of the best coping skills I’ve picked up to ward away stress.

Now, I don’t think this negates the downsides of idle games, and I don’t believe that mobile gaming will ever be a main source of entertainment for me, ever.

There’s just so much you can do with a basic smartphone, and I have no intention of buying the top of the line device just to make phone calls and check discord.

Still though, there’s a charm in watching watching numbers scroll upward across the screen with little strategic effort, a near mindless comfort, if you care to think about it that way. Maybe it’s because I don’t take idle games seriously, and that’s why I can enjoy them in this turbulent time in my life. I don’t give into all the marketing and pay-to-win mechanics that go into them… as that goes against my ethos as a gamer and so I’m just not inclined to use them. Or maybe it is just the mindlessness itself that so attracts me right now…

I can’t say for sure, but what I can tell you is that they’ve been a small saving grace when I just need a little something to do that isn’t complicated. I think that’s reason enough. I guess this goes to show me that even games genres I’d typically write off as uninteresting really do occasionally have their uses.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time… Meanwhile check out so other great content below.

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