The sitcom’s brotherly-rivalry character dynamic helped inspire the biggest movie of the year
Until Game Of Thrones came along, Frasier was the most award-winning scripted TV show in history, winning an impressive 37 Emmys over its 11 seasons (and, in Frasier’s defence, a lot of GOT’s 38 statuettes are for things like visual effects, categories the Seattle psychiatry sitcom never really competed in - there was no Frasier equivalent of a dragon spewing fire over an army of thousands, sadly).
Kelsey Grammer was, amazingly, nominated for Emmys for playing Frasier Crane on three shows - Cheers (from which Frasier was a spinoff), Frasier and Wings (another sitcom on the same channel that he made a crossover guest appearance as the character on).
The early-morning Channel 4 staple now has another claim to fame: it helped inspire the writers of Avengers: Infinity War. It seems unlikely at first - here’s what Frasier looks like:
While here is a scene from Avengers: Infinity War. Different, huh?
OK, bad example, they look weirdly similar there. They’re very, very different things. One is largely based around the farcical misadventures of five people and a dog, set mainly in an apartment, a coffee shop and a radio station, where a typical episode will involve a little white lie snowballing into a series of hilarious embarrassments. The other is a universe-straddling, world-sized adventure with a cast of thousands where the existence of humanity as we know it is at stake.
But Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have cited the sitcom as a massive influence on the film, particularly on the dynamic between Iron Man and Doctor Strange.
See, one of the key sources of comedy in Frasier is the relationship between Frasier Crane and his younger brother Niles. They’re both psychiatrists, both hella neurotic, and generally have a lot more in common than not - going against the typical sitcom model of putting very different characters together. Markus describes Niles as “even more like Frasier than Frasier, and that gives Frasier the opportunity to go, ‘Wow, I must be really annoying.’”
In Infinity War there’s a not dissimilar dynamic at play: Iron Man and Doctor Strange are both powerful, handsome, middle-aged, intelligent men with silly little beards who dress like twats.
Markus told Yahoo:
“To take Tony and Dr. Strange, who are quite similar — they both have goatees, they’re both arrogant — the impulse might be, ‘Well, let’s keep them separate because they occupy the same space, and everyone will get their own Arrogant Goatee Man. But to put them together, one, is funny, and their powers are totally different.
“But also it helps Tony go, ‘Wow, arrogant people are really annoying … I’m arrogant, huh.’ This is how we become better people in life.”
Just think, if they’d been watching different sitcoms before writing the film, Infinity War could have turned out so differently. Say it with us: “Could this war BE any more infinite?”