‘Frasier’: The Biggest Easter Eggs and References in the Paramount+ Revival

Co-showrunners Joe Cristalli and Chris Harris told TheWrap that they didn’t want to rely on nods to the original NBC sitcom as a crutch

Kelsey Grammer smirks and plays piano in the Frasier reboot key art
(CBS Studios)

Kelsey Grammer has returned to television as the iconic Dr. Frasier Crane, roughly 30 years after the original NBC sitcom first premiered. The Paramount+ revival sees the titular character return to Boston for the next chapter of his life, with new challenges to face, new relationships to forge and an old dream or two to finally fulfill.

In addition to Grammer, the show’s cast includes Jack Cutmore-Scott as Frasier’s son Freddy, Nicholas Lyndhurst as Frasier’s old college buddy turned university professor Alan, Toks Olagundoye as Olivia, Alan’s colleague and head of the university’s psychology department, Jess Salgueiro as Freddy’s roommate Eve and Anders Keith as Frasier’s nephew David.

Co-showrunners Joe Cristalli and Chris Harris told TheWrap that, while there are multiple Easter Eggs and references sprinkled throughout the series, they didn’t want to rely on them as a crutch.

“We’re trying to stand on our own two feet … so I don’t think we can do a ton of them. I think we have to pick our moments very sparingly and very smartly. But when we do do them, we want them to land at least,” Cristalli said. “None of them should ever feel shameless and I don’t think any of them feel shameless. They feel like they’re subtly and elegantly done.” 

“We’re not trying to impress people with our knowledge of minute trivia of the old show,” Harris added. “Ultimately, if you know the character of Frasier Crane, if you’ve watched him over the last few decades, then of course this will be a richer experience. But if you haven’t, the story should still be familiar.”

John Mahoney

Throughout the series, there are several references to John Mahoney, who portrayed Frasier’s father Martin Crane on the original NBC sitcom. Mahoney passed away in February 2018 from throat cancer.

The premiere of Paramount+’s “Frasier” is titled “The Good Father” – a reference to the original series’ premiere episode “The Good Son.” In episode 1, it is revealed that Martin Crane died – and a major point of contention between Freddy and Frasier, as the former missed the funeral.

John Mahoney
John Mahoney (Joey Foley/Getty Images)

The pilot, which picks up after Frasier returns from Martin’s funeral, sees the character reference his late father as “a hell of a guy” and a “tough act to follow.”

The bar that the professors congregate at near Harvard is also named Mahoney’s and the bottles that they drink from are called Mahoney’s ale. Freddy’s roommate Eve also has an infant son named John, a nod to Mahoney.

There’s also a tribute to Mahoney in the end credits of episode 1, where he can be seen smiling at the camera before saying,”It all works out.”

David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves

Also absent in the new “Frasier” series are David Hyde-Pierce’s Niles Crane and Jane Leeves’ Daphne Moon – though the pair are still referenced through interactions between Frasier and his nephew David.

David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves as Niles Crane and Daphne Moon (Getty Images)

At one point in the pilot, Frasier tells David that he is “perpetually optimistic” like his mother before being interrupted by David putting in eye drops.

“Now you remind me of your father,” Frasier laments.

In episode 4, Frasier references a shadow puppet rendition of the Mikado that he did with Niles. Meanwhile, in episode 5, Frasier talks about an “intense sibling rivalry dynamic” between him and Niles while talking with Olivia. David also refers to his father as “such a ladies’ man” when he plans to ask Eve out.

Bulldog, Charlotte Connor and Eddie Crane

In addition to Niles and Daphne, there are references to other characters from the original NBC sitcom.

In episode 1, Frasier reveals that Bob “Bulldog” Briscoe (Dan Butler) sang “Ave Maria” at Martin Crane’s funeral. There’s also a reference to Frasier’s love interest Charlotte Connor (Laura Linney), who is set to marry him and move to Chicago at the end of the original series. In the pilot of the Paramount+ revival, we learn that Charlotte left Frasier – another reason for his return to Boston.

Original “Frasier” Cast. Pictured: (L-R) Actors David Hyde Pierce As Dr. Niles Crane, Jane Leeves As Daphne Moon, John Mahoney As Martin Crane, Kelsey Grammer As Dr. Frasier Crane, Moose (Dog) As Eddie, And Peri Gilpin As Roz Doyle. (Photo By Getty Images)

In episode 4, one of the firefighters is named Mousse – a reference to Moose, the wire-hair Jack Russell Terrier who portrayed Eddie Crane in the original series. Another reference to Martin Crane’s canine companion is also made when Frasier is approached by a Dalmatian in the firehouse.

“You are wasting your time. I’m not a dog person, shoo,” he says. “Think you’re gonna wear me down? Trust me, I’ve had years of experience. I outlasted that little mongrel, I’ll outlast you.”

Bebe Neuwirth as Dr. Lilith Sternin and Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle

While many characters from the original cast are missing, the “Frasier” revival does include guest appearances from Bebe Neuwirth and Peri Gilpin, who reprise their roles as Frasier’s ex-wife and Freddy’s mother, Dr. Lilith Sternin, and Frasier’s producer at KACL, Roz Doyle, respectively.

L-R: Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane and Bebe Neuwirth as Dr. Lilith Sternin in Frasier (2023)
Chris Haston/Paramount+

In episode 7 of the Paramount+ series, Frasier and Lilith compete for Freddy’s affection during his birthday – and spend plenty of time going toe-to-toe zinging each other.

Chris Haston/Paramount+

Meanwhile, Roz returns in the finale after being called in by Freddy to cheer Frasier up when his Christmas party goes awry. The pair reminisce about their children and mourn the loss of Mahoney’s Martin Crane.

Frasier’s Career

At the start of the series, a sign can be seen in the airport that reads “Boston’s calling, are you listening?” – a reference to Frasier’s famous line from the original series when he would take calls on his radio show at KACL.

Meanwhile, in the episode “First Class,” Frasier struggles to teach his students at Harvard without them referencing his career as a radio personality. It also reveals that he had a Dr. Phil-style talk show, which Olivia claims to be a fan of as part of an effort to get Frasier to embrace that part of his life.

Callbacks to Episodes from the Original NBC Sitcom

In the pilot, Frasier says “I’m no stranger to an underperforming dinner party,” a callback to several episodes from the original series, including “To Kill a Talking Bird,” “Daphne Does Dinner,” and “The Seal Who Came to Dinner.” In episode 3, Freddy mentions the restaurant that Frasier and Niles opened and closed in one day – a reference to “The Innkeepers.”

In addition, Martin Crane’s dancing Santa makes a return in the finale, titled “Reindeer Games.” Fans will remember the dancing Santa plot line from the original “Frasier” episodes “The Fight Before Christmas,” in which Frasier throws it out without anyone knowing, and “We Two Kings,” in which Niles brings the issue up during a conflict of where to celebrate Christmas.

References to Cheers

While sitting at Mahoney’s in episode 1 of the Paramount+ revival, Frasier admits that he may have “spent too much time at a certain bar” – a callback to “Cheers,” the NBC sitcom that ran 1982 to 1993 and led to the creation of the original “Frasier.”

Meanwhile, in episode 5, titled “The Founder’s Society,” Frasier and Alan attempt to join an elite group at Harvard. Later in the episode, Frasier talks about how he always wanted to fit in and that he felt out of place despite being a frequent visitor of a bar in Boston – to which Alan responds with the sitcom’s iconic tagline: “Nobody knew your name.”

New episodes of the Frasier revival air every Thursday on Paramount+


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