Tag Archives: television

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 Problem With N.C.I.S. Season 18…

Before I nag and complain about this long running television series, I want to state a few things first. The first is that ultimately, this is not a hate post about the show. Far from it. I grew up with the likes of J.A.G. and other such series. When I’d come home from school at least someone in my family had it playing, and therefore I grew to enjoy the crime drama myself.

My parents and I still make the habit of watching N.C.I.S. together every Tuesday night. In the era of Covid-19 when so many routines have been upended and obliterated, this one unspoken tradition was something of a boon. Something that I personally clung to, because let’s face it. The world will be upside down for everyone until the virus gets under control.

However last night, this long running television series made a choice to do something. If you haven’t seen the episode, warning MASSIVE spoiler ahead…

I mean it, don’t scroll down if you care about spoilers…

This is your last chance…

On February 9th, 2021, the series took a turn. It decided to kill off Jimmy Palmer’s wife to Covid-19 so offhandedly that fans took to twitter and fan wiki pages to see if we somehow missed something. That’s how offhanded it was!

As fans of the show, we received a few sections of dialogue coming from a man in grief. Mourning a loss that apparently had taken place a few months back. His nearly unbeatable sunny spirits at war with how he really feels, trapped in his own denial.

I haven’t been a huge fan of season 18. It’s been a bit of a muddy one to be sure, but the true issue showed its face in spades. Season 18 is a season when hope is lost to desperation, and sacrifices come in forms so unsavory that they’re just too dark to swallow.

I don’t like most crime dramas because they’re just too gritty. The reason I enjoy N.C.I.S. is because no matter how dark it chooses to dive into the depths of cynicism, a small light of hope usually lingers upon its surface. Last night’s episode, and the episodes of most of this season lack that all too important thing.

In this season I’ve witnessed Gibbs shooting Mcgee several times to keep him down. To protect him against an explosion that would have otherwise killed him. The show’s ace sniper turning to bullets to protect a comrade… by shooting the comrade. If you’ve watched this season at all, you likely know what I’m getting at by now.

Instead of our heroes coming out on top of their struggles, and carefully laid plot lines to address their problems head on, what we’ve received is a poor attempt at best. At worst, we have character related baggage that won’t ever be healed. It’s too soon to tell if the writers can get themselves out of this mess.

I won’t sit here and complain about Breena’s apparent off-screen death. Or the fact that it has left Jimmy as a single father and deeply grieving man.

Instead, I’m just going to say this.

The virus is real. The loss of life isn’t a story or fabrication. That’s real too. I have been profoundly lucky that I have not yet personally suffered a loss at the hands of Covid 19, but my family and I have also been as sheltered in place as much as possible since the pandemic began. Taking every precaution we can in order to stay safe. While the world loses thousands by the day, I know there are others like myself out there. Families who have gotten incredibly lucky.

Not everyone was so fortunate, and a little care taken to character progression is paramount in situations like this.

You don’t just write off a character’s death to a pandemic virus this way,..a few pen strokes of dialogue unwittingly toying with the confines of reality, in a way that just doesn’t do the real truth of the matter justice.

Jimmy as a character will be a changed man by this, and sure it further’s his story line. It makes him more interesting. At what cost, though? Are the writers just that damn cynical? This choice of theirs was thought out, but it wasn’t in any way meticulous.

Like so many episodes this season, it gazes down into the abyss, but it doesn’t provide any sense of true closure. The true light of hope just wasn’t there… And you know what? We could all use a little hope right about now.

Is that really so much to ask?

This has been Kernook of the Demented Ferrets…. I’m not going to fill the bottom of this post with the usual links… instead, I’ll just say this. Keep your loved ones in your heart, and always look for that little light of hope.

Until next time everyone.

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Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

Fandom: Little Moments Matter Most

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.


Minako and Rei from Sailor Moon are without a doubt a solid character pairing, even if they aren’t exactly cannon across all of the Sailor Moon media. Why do they stand the test of time? Simple, because their romance comes natural to those who see it within the subtext.

In popular media, when I think of reasons to sail any ship, it’s not the large cannon elements that come to mind. It’s the tiny things. Moments when characters might brush their fingers together when exchanging an object. Times when short quips and witty dialogue carrying a greater subtext within a scene.

Know what other ships sails really well because of this? Pretty much any ship containing at least two of the main four girls of RWBY. I ship nearly every combination because of how versatile they are.

Small moments make a ship, that’s a fact. It is particularly important if a series isn’t centrally focused on romance. Then the smaller moments matter even more. Long running series with advancing story arcs might not spend a whole lot of time focusing on romantic overtures. Instead, they tend to spread large romantic elements few and far between. Sometimes, the best ships don’t have any big moments at all. Sometimes they only have a series of small elements to craft a greater narrative. In this instance, subtext quickly becomes fan fodder.

I look no further than NCIS as an example. Tony and Ziva, or “Tiva” as the ship is named by the fans. These two are strong contenders in shipping because the slow burn is as hilarious as it is dramatic.

Romance between these two is the show in spades, but, it walks a fine line. The pairing never consumes the show. Instead, the fans consume the romance, looking for the little details hidden between the subtle character interactions. These two aren’t obviously a cannon couple until much later in the series. However, this didn’t stop fans from sailing that ship early on. It was only through implication and subtext that the relationship held any ground, at least, at first.

I think that personally this is sometimes the better approach. Fans have a gift for running away with subtext. Collective fans like making stories of their own. When moments are rare,it’s no surprise that fan-fiction itself becomes a selfish endeavor.

Fans meet their own desire to see character romance carried further than a series could have taken it. This is true for almost all media that has an active fan following.

Depending on the character pairing, strange ships sail fast. I think of the romantic pairing of Elsa and Anna from Frozen being a prime example of fandom running amok. Seriously, fans ship these two hard. I don’t see the draw in it personally, but it’s in the fandom for sure.

There is no conceivable way that Disney would have imagined their older fan base deciding to turn the sisters into lesbians…

Or that, even if they were on the GRSM spectrum, that they would ever be seen as romantically in love with each other. Then again, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Pairings revolving around sibling romance can be common in fandom, particularly of the animated variety.

Even without sibling romance, some stories become downright filthy as fans of a medium carefully craft and contort romantic relationships between characters. Ultimately, for better and for worse, fans have always been able to fill gaps that cannon material fails to provide. If little else, fan communities keep character romances thriving when long stretches of time pass without cannon material.

This is particularly important when large series take an extended break or the series eventually ends. At that point it’s up to fans to find a new source of entertainment. Some find this solace within the media that they already care for, writing or reading stories that reflect on certain plot elements within the series as a whole.

Deceased or retired characters in media find new life, and new stories because fan fiction and far art too. I think of characters like Pyrrha Nikos from RWBY, or Kate Todd and Ziva David from NCIS, as prime examples of characters that continue to live on in fandom because of the stories people write.

Without these stories, these characters, and their ships, they might have been left stagnant and forgotten. Within fandom, these characters will always live on. They will always be shipped, and the fandom will always triumhp.

That’s what little moments do. They’re powerful, and they can’t be disregarded.

This has been Kernook from the Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


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Fandom: Nostalgia In Fandom

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.


Is there such a thing as being blinded by nostalgia? Even if there is, is that necessarily a bad thing? Those are two questions I often ask myself as I re-visit older series that I take such great joy in. I have to wonder, is the creative medium that I’m consuming actually good? Or is it simply my fond memories that bring me back to older media time and time again?

I’m honestly not sure if I have the answer to any of those questions. I also don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer to any of them. When I re-visit a series or play a game, I try to reflect on my past experiences. Sometimes they’re good, and other times they’re not. Either way, I believe that nostalgia is part of the reason I’m always drawn back to older media.

Does that mean I’m blinded by my nostalgia?

No, I don’t think so. I don’t actually think there is such a thing as “nostalgia blindness”. I think the phrase is a knee-jerk reaction to a greater problem. Times change, and so does media along with it.

I think all media should be viewed through two equally important lenses. There are two factors at play, and they both deserve a discussion.

The First Lens: Time

The first lens is that media is a product of its time. As times change, so does everything around us. Media that was at one point the cultural norm,may one day be seen as obsolete or problematic. Therefore, the questions we should ask are actually quite simple.

Why was that piece of media made in the first place? What were the social, cultural, and economic norms at the time? Does the media hold up to those norms, or, does it subvert them? Lastly, does that media uphold any value at all in the current day and age?

If we look at media through that lens, we get to experience it on a very fundamental level. These questions give a looking glass into history. The most imperfect and morally grey pieces of media might still hold that value under that context.

Even if it is just to say that we have grown, evolved, and learned better from our past mistakes that has value. Also, older media serves as a teaching aid of just how we’ve moved forward, and in what ways we still need to do so.

The Second Lens: Personal Experience

The second lens is something far more personal. Each piece of media can raise more nuanced questions. Ones that don’t hold simple answers beneath all of the subtext.

Whether we consume media, or reject it, it’s important that we don’t to it mindlessly. Instead, we should be asking ourselves why we enjoy the media we consume.

What does that media mean to the viewer? What value does it hold for the people who consume it? Why does that particular piece of media speak to them, when another similar piece might not? These are questions of introspection and discovery.

Through this second lens, viewers become empowered. Even the most trite piece of commentary, slap-stick humor, or questionable message might breed a greater discussion.

An Example

Let’s dive down the rabbit hole, shall we?

Books like “The Catcher in the Rye” come to mind. It contains elements that I would certainly deem problematic, but to cast aside the work would cast aside greater history.

Anime like “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” for example, comes to mind specifically because it draws so heavily from “The Catcher in the Rye“. As an anime fan, I can only respect that it draws so much inspiration and introspection from the classic book.

What about “The Matrix” movie franchise? Did you know that universe was inspired by “Ghost in the Shell” and the anime medium?

There are examples of this in almost every ounce of media you come across. Media being the touch-stone that it is, will always have problematic content. It is only through careful discourse and consideration that media can evolve and change with the times.

In Conclusion

Respectful commentary, and a healthy dose of nostalgia will always play a role in changing the future. Media will always be made by people who are inspired by the past to make a better future. Choosing to forget our past simply because it becomes dated will only bury our previous failings along with it.

We should never risk burying our collective history. Once that happens, we are doomed to repeat lessons that should have already been learned.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as being blinded by nostalgia. However, there is such a thing as denial. Either casting aside the many failings in old media itself, or the greater implications that such media had on society.

We should acknowledge all media for what it is; a looking glass. Once we do that, we escape the confines that bind media down to society and we can use it as a tool. Media is powerful, it is influential, and it does have the power to change the world for a greater good. Media’s problematic history becomes part of that. It reject old media entirely risks a repeat our mistakes.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeAnime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

There are plenty of ways to support us. To find out more, click the button below.