They are created as a dysfunctional family unit


Martin Crane:

  • Father figure
  • Authority invested in him by virtue of his previous role as police officer retired injured now –
  • Power now curtailed by his injury and loss of job –
  • Vulnerable and dependent on others particularly his son, Frasier and live-in physio-therapist Daphne
  • Working class, quite bluff and dismissive of his sons’ professions and ambitions (coffee…!)
  • Stereotype of masculinity with his love of beer, steak houses, sport and cheap TV!



  • Role of mother, housekeeper and cook
  • Working class, northern British
  • Naïve – e.g. believes in psychic powers
  • Seen as unsophisticated and primitive by the brothers
  • Sexy
  • Not very clever e.g. the piano –playing!!



  • Loyal to father
  • Mother-figure in being responsible for the family’s emotional well-being
  • Father-figure financially keeping family together, keeper and provider for the household
  • Arrogant – always assumes he knows better than his father
  • Competitive with Niles
  • Inadequate at maintaining relationships with females
  • Loves fine cuisine, art, the classical arts and clothes,
  • Hates male sports, beer, eating in steak houses.



  • Feminised male: sensitive.
  • Very particular about details, hygiene, colour schemes etc
  • Also has difficulty maintaining relationships with women, his wife Maris remains unseen most of the time but is a cool and heartless female and seems to have emasculated him.
  • Loves fine cuisine, art, the classical arts and clothes,
  • Hates male sports, beer, eating in steak houses
  • Glad he doesn’t have his dad living with him
  • Fastidious, faddy, fussy



  • Is constructed as a masculinised female,
  • Independent,
  • Assertive,
  • Sexually predatory
  • And successful



The partnership between Frasier and Niles is coded as a kind of marriage:

  • They dress similarly,
  • Share the same profession,
  • Lifestyle,
  • And both find it difficult to maintain relationships thus making their own the most important in their lives.


Mostly this almost deviant relationship exploits the jealousy each feels at times towards the other. There is emotional closeness but since it is familial it does not become too extreme or uncomfortable for the audience. But this is important in view of their professions. But in most buddy comedies bonds of emotional attachment are avoided, but based around typical hetero-sexual activities like attending sports matches, pubs and discussing women.


The closure at the ends of these episodes inevitably ensures that the deviant character has learned the value of family or conformity.


The sit-com creates a sense of shared normality in which groups and value systems outside our cultural hegemony are held at bay; shown to be disruptive, or sanitised or just plain ignored like disabled characters.


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