Great-Sit Com Moment: Frasier Again

In "Caught in the Act," Frasier's ex-wife Nanny G, played by the hilarious Laurie Metcalf (who plays Sheldon's mom on Big Bang Theory) shows up to complicate Frasier's life. Frasier and she are nearly caught in flagrante delicto right before her children's show (the episode is very Italian opera--yup, even the silly bits!). They improvise (Frasier plays a baby), but the husband catches on.

What I find absolutely hilarious about this episode is not just the baby improvisation (though that moment proves that all great actors are capable of playing utter fools) but the moment during the end credits. Frasier is hiding from the husband in the area beneath the stage. The actors from the children's show are hanging out there playing cards. They protect Frasier and shake hands with him as he leaves.

The reason I find this so funny/insightful is the ordinary reality of it all. Despite the glamor imposed on the business, acting--even as a panda, kangaroo, and bunny--involves ordinary human beings.

I'm not referring to intentionally salacious and SHOCKING rumors about childhood icons (Mr. Rogers was a Green Beret! Barney deals drugs!). Such rumors don't interest me as much as the normal, day-to-day reality of any group of people working on any show. They might love their jobs. They might be pure and endlessly sweet-tempered. They may also be ordinary individuals who work hard and behave like people usually do from the good to the silly and mundane. 

I'm reminded of a commentary in which an actor complains about directors who show up and more or less "phone in" their time on the set. The myth of the passionate, edgy director is so prevalent, it's easy to forget that directing is, in fact, a gig. I'm being paid to . . . Not only are some directors better than others, some can actually be slackers.

Along the same lines, it's easy to forget that actors don't automatically have the same relationships off-screen as the ones we see on-screen every episode. That doesn't make the actors bad people. It simply means that to them, the script and lines and such are a job. It's a bonus if everyone likes each other. It's not the end of the world if they don't.

In fact, it's a bigger end if they lose the job. Even when an actor is fairly bad at acting, I'm still sad when he or she gets killed off (let go). I always worry, Will they find another job? Soon? 

Thanks to Frasier for reminding us, Actors are people too.

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