After my shattered arm injury, I became fearful and depressed. Nine months later I had a second surgery on the arm. It was supposed to be a 1-hour surgery to remove some scar tissue (called a capsulectomy) from the first surgery that would improve range of motion. Unfortunately, during the second surgery the doctor broke my distal humerus while manipulating the arm. Yes, the doctor broke my arm in surgery. Read that story here.
After the second surgery, I laid on the couch watching television depressed and angry for two months. I couldn’t cook for myself, plus we were all in the middle of the pandemic and everyone was panicked about going out, so I wasn’t eating much. I lost 5 pounds and consider that the highlight of those months. Otherwise, I cursed at the doctor and my situation ― a permanently and badly damaged arm full of metal with almost no range of motion.
I found myself afraid of everything like falling out of bed ― and I have a big bed that I wasn’t sharing with anyone. I had to sleep with a light on in the bedroom, and I’ve never done that before in my life. The only thing that would calm me so I could fall asleep was watching Frasier. And I did, over and over. I’ve always liked the show but now it was the only thing that always made me laugh even though I was not in a funny mood. I knew every joke and every episode and I would still laugh. I am still watching it, still laughing and apparently, I’m not the only one. There’s even a Reddit about watching Frasier to cope with depression.
I’ve often wondered why that show in particular ― why not Seinfeld or Arrested Development or Schitt’s Creek or The Simpsons? I loved all those shows, and I tried them all, even the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, particularly the episode with Paul Sand as the IRS auditor (an endearing must-see which I watched quite a few times).
The Frasier show has a fundamental authenticity even though it focuses on two middle age pompous and well-off psychiatrists. But that’s the point. They are the punchline. Frasier drinks sherry and constantly reminds us he went to Harvard and truly believes he’s smarter than everyone. We recognize the shallowness and applaud Martin and all the others for constantly pointing it out. He offers mediocre advice on his radio show and, despite his mental health background, is constantly on an emotional rollercoaster while sabotaging every female relationship. That sounds like the rest of us.
Kelsey Grammer as Frasier was brilliant, but David Hyde Pierce as Niles was priceless. I’ve actually dreamt of the day I would have the opportunity to say to a group of friends, “I need to get going. I have my therapy group, and last time I was late the, er, compulsive gamblers were betting the passive-aggressives that they couldn’t make the over-eaters cry.”
If I were Frasier or Niles I would be trying to analyze why the show brings me such comfort. But then that’s a major point of the show. We don’t need to overanalyze everything. Sometimes, like my re-broken arm, bad things happen and others are disasters with no repercussions. I can laugh and fall asleep to that.