This year has seen a crisis in the world of American Television: the ending of three popular long-running series’. First was Sex and the City, followed closely by Friends. Now it’s the turn of Frasier, which hasn’t resulted in quite as much fuss as the previous two, but is probably my favourite of the three. The next-to-last series flagged a bit, but the impending end has perked things up considerably. (Nothing like impending doom to concentrate a writer’s mind wonderfully.)
So far, Daphne has just given birth on a veterinary surgeon’s table, after Eddie swallowed the ring for Martin Crane’s wedding, which was ruined by Daphne’s drunken brothers firing guns, causing a truck driver to crash and unload his cattle cargo into the hotel gardens. We’re meeting two of the brothers for the first time, an opportunity for some more British guest stars – Robbie Coltrane and Richard E Grant – to bolster the American impression of Englishmen as lager louts who can’t speak… English.
Now we have Roz as the new station manager, whose first duty is to accept Frasier’s resignation, to go to San Francisco… and the end, with just the right amount of sentimentality for Frasier: very little. He does manage to squeeze a little Tennyson in to his final radio address:
Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Ulysses, 1842