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Frasier: What If Martin Hadn't Moved In With Frasier

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 8/18/2022 Niall Gray
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If Martin Crane hadn't moved in with his son, Frasier's story and the dynamic between its characters would have been incredibly different. Frasier took its eponymous psychiatrist out of his regular Cheers haunt in Boston and brought him to Seattle, where he reconnected with his family after many years. Frasier avoided common spin-off problems and soon became one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, and it still maintains a cult following almost two decades after its run ended – in no small part thanks to the dynamic between the titular protagonist and his father.

A significant part of Frasier's success was the brilliant simplicity of its premise. The pilot sees the titular psychiatrist begin to host a radio talk show that makes him a minor local celebrity, and he's forced into moving his injured father into his new home in order to support him with his continued physical therapy. Frasier also hires a live-in physical therapist for Martin, Daphne Moon, with whom Frasier's brother Niles quickly becomes enamored. Supporting characters who flesh out Frasier's cast are Frasier's colleague Roz and numerous other co-workers, as well as the many women in Frasier, Martin, and Niles' respective lives. Over its 11-season run, Frasier saw its core characters develop significantly, all of them changing for the better as a result of Martin moving in with Frasier.

Related: What If Lisa Kudrow Had Played Roz Doyle On Frasier

All the most important developments in Frasier's story can be traced back to the pilot, in which Martin moves in with his oldest son. Had this not happened, the show's story, and the lives of its characters, would have played out incredibly differently. Martin not moving in with Frasier would have done more than just alter their father-son relationship: it would have had a knock-on effect that would touch the lives of Niles, Daphne, Roz, and the countless other characters that play a part in Frasier's larger narrative. Frasier's father-son premise shaped its story in a fundamental way, so removing the co-habitation component from the equation alters the very fabric of Frasier.

Without Martin, Frasier Would Have Been Insufferable

One of the most obvious ways that Martin moving in has an effect on Frasier is in the resulting conflict between father and son. Frasier and Martin have contrasting tastes and ideas, and that essentially contributed to Frasier's odd couple charm. On the one hand, there's the working-class, no-nonsense former cop forced into retirement by an injury sustained in the line of duty, and on the other, there's his snobbish but well-intended high society hopeful son. Martin and Frasier have practically nothing in common, and that was the place that much of Frasier's excellent comedy was derived from. This allowed Frasier's jokes to be progressive while still playing into the idea of the father and the son's different roles in society, and it also prompted a great deal of character development for the show's protagonist.

If Martin had never moved in, Frasier wouldn't have had that contrasting influence forcing him to reflect on his own behavior. As a result, Frasier never would have learned the many difficult lessons that Frasier's run taught him: how to be patient and tolerant, how to live unselfishly, and how to properly respect the wishes of others when they don't match his own. Without Martin, Frasier Crane would have been thoroughly insufferable, and this would have affected his interpersonal relationships in a major way. Initially, Frasier was terrible towards Martin, Niles, Daphne, and countless other people, but through Martin's continued presence, he began to learn to treat others with more respect. Without Martin, Frasier would likely have continued to be self-centered and arrogant, and he would have struggled to maintain a relationship with Roz and several of his other co-workers, as well as with a number of his romantic interests. If Martin hadn't moved in, Frasier's life actually would have turned out much worse.

Frasier And Niles Wouldn't Have Built Their Close Friendship

Another key element of Frasier that stemmed (indirectly, at least) from Martin moving in with Frasier was the close relationship between the two Crane brothers. The first part of the pilot reveals that the brothers don't share a close bond, but thanks to Martin, Frasier and Niles end up becoming practically inseparable. This is mostly because of the physical therapist that Martin chooses (mostly to annoy Frasier, no less), and Niles' subsequent infatuation with her. Had Martin not moved in with Frasier, this wouldn't have happened, and the rift between the brothers would have continued to grow.

Related: Grammer Doesn’t Understand Why Frasier Worked (That’s Bad For The Reboot)

Without Niles constantly appearing unannounced to see Daphne, the relationship between Frasier and his younger brother wouldn't have had the jumping-off point it needed. Niles' initial disinterest in playing a significant part in Martin's physical therapy would have endured were it not for Daphne, therefore he'd have had far less to bond with Frasier over. This would have only contributed to the previously-existing rift between Frasier and Niles Crane, and would mean that the brothers never rediscovered their once-close fraternal relationship.

Niles Never Would Have Married Daphne

One of Frasier's best (and longest) subplots was Niles' love for Daphne. However, as Daphne was only hired to annoy Frasier, it's unlikely that the show's most important romance would have taken place if Martin hadn't moved in with his oldest son. Without Daphne in the Cranes' lives, Niles never would have fallen in love, making his fate in the hypothetical scenario even worse than Frasier's.

Without Daphne, Niles would have had no reason to leave Maris. Instead, the two likely would have remained married, in spite of the fact that Maris made Niles thoroughly miserable. If Martin hadn't moved in with Frasier, the most likely outcome would be that Niles spent the rest of his life trapped in a loveless marriage with a woman so monstrous that Frasier never allowed her to actually appear.

Martin Crane's Life Would Have Been Very Different

The final way in which Martin not moving in with Frasier would have affected the show's characters is perhaps the biggest: it would have made Martin's life much worse. Though Frasier's pilot sees Martin forced to swallow his pride and accept his son's help, the situation eventually softens him and allows him to meaningfully reconnect with his sons. If Martin had never taken that step, his relationship with his sons would likely have never been repaired, and they would have remained as estranged as they were before, because prior to the events of the spin-off, there was very little relationship between the psychiatrist and his father - Frasier even claimed Martin was dead in Cheers.

Related: Why Frasier's Premise Would Never Work Today

If he hadn't moved in with Frasier, Martin would have possibly continued to live alone, risking more serious injury due to his reduced mobility. This would almost certainly have resulted in Martin entering some form of residential care, only furthering the distant relationships of the Crane family. Flashback episodes revealed Martin to be miserable before moving in with Frasier, and this would have most likely continued, with the elder Crane becoming increasingly lonely and resentful due to his injury and the isolation of living away from his family. If Martin had never moved in which his titular son in Frasier, the lives of all of its characters would have been affected, almost certainly for the worse.

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