Friday, June 06, 2008

One more question...

Hey, I love you guys! Thanks for so many GREAT questions. Will try to get to all of them. But thought I'd sneak in one more.

From John:

Since you had the "get well Kelsey" thread below, I was wondering if Grammer's Frasier Crane character was meant to be ongoing past a single season when he was first conceived, or was the writers ability to find new angles to Kelsey's character -- and his ability to play more than just the clueless yuppie boyfriend he started off as in Season 3 -- the reason why he became a regular on "Cheers"?

Kelsey was originally only supposed to be in the first few episodes of season three. He was conceived as a "Ralph Bellamy" and by that I mean, Ralph Bellamy was always the "other" guy, the poor schmuck eventually getting dumped. See HIS GIRL FRIDAY or just about any other romcom that Ralph Bellamy is in.

The storyline to begin season three had Diane briefly admitted to a sanitarium and Dr. Frasier Crane was her shrink. Then it's learned that they are lovers. Please skip over the horrible breach of ethics. In short, he was just a device to make Sam jealous.

But in the parlance of comedy writing, Kelsey really scored. He proved to be so funny and interesting that the Charles Brothers kept finding new reasons to bring him back. And then when Shelley became pregnant they came up with the ingenious idea to have Diane and Frasier go off to Europe (so they could pre-shoot all those scenes and have something to show once Shelley had something to show).

Shelley Long story short, he became a series regular. And my favorite character in CHEERS to write for.

11 comments:

R.A. Porter said...

TheWife and I picked up the first three seasons of Wings a few weeks back and have been watching a couple an evening. Last night was the episode - "Planes, Trains, and Visiting Cranes" - in which Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth guested.

Without having seen it in at least a decade, and before the writing credit came up, I knew it had to be yours and David Isaacs'. My question is which came first: the idea of Grammer guest-starring or you guys getting that episode?

Did you want to write it because of Frasier, or did you want to bring on Frasier because you were writing it?

Gnasche said...

I often used the phrase, "I've lost the girl more times than Ralph Bellamy". Usually no one gets it. Then I go home and cut myself.

Get well soon, Kelsey.

Anonymous said...

Did you all ever think about adding Diane's pregnancy into the show? What made you decide to bring back Lilith at her guest spot?

Wayne said...

Question. How jealous do regulars get when a weekly player (like Kelsey first was) score big enough to get brought back?

Diogo said...

I always remember the "I'm running with Scisors" run Kelsey did on cheers. He took that mad run up to new heights of comedy. Maybe Ken, you could talk about the process that frasier had to undergo, in order to make him a suitable character to front a show, instead of the supporting part he played in cheers. Let me also say, that it is particularly satisfying when you can move a character and sort of change him over the years, and still manage to make him fun, lovable and watchable for a second run of 11 years(or a second Korean war by MASH standards). I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on the change the character went through when Frasier came along, and how did you make it work, because it doesn't happen often (insert cruel Joey joke here)

Eric L said...

After CHEERS ended was there ever any thought given to spinning off another character besides Frasier? In retrospect Frasier was obviously the perfect choice and besides Rebecca was probably the only character who could have had a life outside of the bar enviornment, but when the time came to discuss a spin off of CHEERS were there any other options?

And on the subject of a less succesful spin off you worked on, was there any way to make a MASH spin off work? Would a spin off based on Hawkeye or Hot Lips or BJ Honetcutt have worked or was the whol;e idea doomed from day 1?

te said...

Well, "Trapper John M.D." did OK for a few seasons.

VP81955 said...

But let's remember that every dog has his day. Ralph Bellamy went from being "the other guy" in "Hands Across The Table" and "The Awful Truth" to playing Franklin D. Roosevelt in "Sunrise At Campobello" (on both stage and screen). You can't get a better promotion than that.

BTW, if you search "Ralph Bellamy" on YouTube, you'll come up with a five-part series of interviews he made not long before his death, where he discusses working in the heyday of the studio system. Fascinating fellow.

Dave said...

Speaking of Ralph Bellamy as The Other Guy, my wife and I watched "The Awful Truth" last night and, boy, was Irene Dunn luscious (and funny) in that.

John said...

Thanks for the response, Ken. I remember one episode with the climactic scene set in Sam's office where the dialogue as written for Kelsey came off almost as an exit speech, with him washing his hands completely of the love triangle, which is why I thought Grammer might have been a short-term player who managed to become a regular (for what it's worth, I thought his reading of the lines explaining to Sam his problems with Diane's allergies -- including "the voice" -- was the moment in the series where Frasier Crane became more than just a one-dimensional character).

Eric L said...

Well, "Trapper John M.D." did OK for a few seasons.

But due to some legal wranglings TRAPPER JOHN MD was technically a spin off of the movie MASH, not the TV show.