Pardon The Grammer
A friend of mine once reckoned that Frasier was the funniest thing since Molière, the French playwright and rip-snorter who expired in 1673. Certainly both parties delivered a multitude of punch lines, ridiculed modern manners and gave us characters who were resplendently daft in every way.
Frasier had reached his best long before brother Niles had his love requited, but even in the final series, there was reason to guffaw. The story may have been wilting, but there was always reason to admire the plaid shirts and workwear of father Martin, a robust style icon to men of a certain age.
When Kelsey Grammer returned with a new series, Back To You, we hoped that mirth would follow. And indeed there were moments in the pilot show when the man's self-regard was pure comedy.
This time he's a TV anchorman, Chuck Darling, returning home to Pittsburgh after the glory days out west, wearing his disgrace like a foul-smelling albatross. Problem is, it's not quite funny enough and the situations are cheaply contrived.
Fans of Ron Burgundy will not be overly swayed. And neither, it seems were the TV bosses, who axed the first series before it was done. While we're on the subject, does anyone else see the physical resemblance between Radio Ulster's glowering hottie Ralph McLean and the mighty Kelsey, beaming to bust?