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Thursday, May 13, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Readers respond: Did 'Frasier' get Seattle?

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NBC's "Frasier," set here in Seattle, ends its 11-year run tonight. As the much-loved sitcom comes to a close, we wondered: Did Frasier Crane and company capture the essence of Seattle?

We asked you to tell us about your favorite Seattle moments from "Frasier" — times when the show really nailed it — or moments when it completely missed the mark. Here is a sample of your responses.

•   •   •   

I recall an episode where Frasier and Niles were discussing their plans to attend opera performances in Seattle. One or the other claimed to have tickets for a performance of "La Traviata" on that night and for "Aida" the following week. This poorly researched filler dialogue was no doubt intended to cast the Crane Brothers as urbane sophisticates in the local arts scene. Anyone familiar with Seattle Opera knows it's not like New York's. Their five-opera season is spread throughout the year and the performances are uninterrupted runs of the same opera (except when Wagner's "Ring" is presented). I wonder if Seattle Opera's General Director Speight Jenkins would be cringing at this obvious lack of local knowledge while at the same time wistfully dreaming of having the resources to present a 20-opera season.
— John Danaher, Union City, Calif.

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Nothing about Frazier ever came even close to "nailing" Seattle. Neither Frazier, nor his father, nor his brother are believable Seattle residents.
— Jeanette Zimmerman, Redmond

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It seems the only city name the cast of could pronounce correctly was "Seattle." In one episode, Martin's doctor was late returning from a weekend at Lake Chelan. The nurse pronounced it "Lake Shalawn" (rhyming with "salon"). I had a friend who worked in the Westin building where the Washington State Film & Video Office was located, and word has it the "Frasier" production company called frequently asking how to pronounce regional names. Apparently they never asked about "Chelan."
— Daniel Morseburg, Kirkland

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Having grown up in Seattle until I left in the late 90's, I watched "Frasier" because at times the show reminded me of home in small ways. It was always evident that much effort was taken to incorporate authentic "Seattlecana" into the show, such as the place names, streets, or events, espresso, theater, etc. True, I don't know anyone who resembles "Frasier" in real life, but certain aspects of Seattle culture that the writers tried to enfold within the story certainly hit close to home and it's that familiarity that I most enjoyed.
— Rachel Kreissl, Washington, D.C.

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As a former Seattle resident, Frasier was a way to visit my old hometown on a weekly basis. The show was very Seattle-thentic, down to having real editions of the Seattle Times at the breakfast table. I recall one very funny episode where the cast actually taped outdoor scenes downtown and at the Seattle Center. How many sitcoms would go that far? I give Frasier an "A" for "getting" Seattle.
— Paul Walker, Eugene, Ore.

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The perfect Seattle episode to me was Frasier Crane day — the episode was actually shot in Seattle, with scenes of the monorail, downtown and the market as Frasier was trying to make it to his celebration at Seattle Center. Other notables: Daphne mentions her bumbershoot in one episode. Martin takes a ferry ride which was fairly real-looking. And the gourmet dog-food store was pretty Seattlish.
— Andrea M., Tulsa, Okla.

•   •   •   

I don't think it nailed it or missed it at all; it could've been any city. I rarely think of it as taking place in Seattle after it starts. It's simply a funny program that I enjoyed. It wasn't completely realistic of course, but more so than any reality show.
— Adam Schmidt, Kirkland

•   •   •   

In an early episode, they totally mispronounced Lake Chelan by calling it "Che-lahn."
— Kris Wehmeyer, Marysville

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I don't think Frasier ever captured the essence of Seattle. Quite frankly I thought it was more the essence of an East Coast city than Seattle. For example, most in Seattle are not so one dimensional that they can't enjoy both a ball game and the ballet. Pitting Martin's "lack" of culture against Niles' and Frasier's abundance of it just didn't wash with me. Seattle doesn't have such a strict social structure as the show alluded to — especially in the first few seasons.
— Gina Alexander, Seattle

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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