Sy we hardly knew ye
There can be no debate that the human mind is an odd organ. Just how odd was recently brought to my attention in what can only be called the mother of all nonsensical dreams. I will be spending months now unpacking exactly what it is my subconscious was trying to communicate to me.
If anything at all.
It will be helpful if you are familiar with the TV shows Cheers and Frasier as I recount it, but if you are not I’m hopeful you can muddle through and see what my overarching point is (i.e. the whole human mind being an odd organ thing).
The dream started with me having the realization that the actor John Mahoney, who played the father of Frasier Crane in the Cheers spin-off Frasier, had appeared in the 11th season of Cheers as a jingle writer named Sy Flembeck.
A fact my conscious mind had never picked up on. I had seen the episode and I was also a big fan of Frasier, but I had never put two and two together.
So why, almost twenty years after the cancellation of Frasier and four years after John Mahoney passed away, did I suddenly have a dream featuring this information?
I’m asking sincerely. What the fuck is going on in my head that I would suddenly remember Sy Flembeck?
But it didn’t end there.
I dreamt on.
If John Mahoney was Sy Flembeck in the Cheers universe, that means that Frasier Crane’s dad, Martin Crane, was actually living a double life the entire series of Frasier. He couldn’t have been a former Homicide Detective living in Seattle if he was writing songs for an ad agency in Boston the whole time. And the fact that he ‘retired’ from being a police officer after being shot in the hip adds an entirely new level of intrigue to his past.
It also might explain why in the 8th season of Cheers Frasier told everybody his dad was dead.
If I was to go back and rewatch episodes of Frasier I’d be dying for him to slip up and have his fraudulent backstory crumble in front of his two shocked sons. The tension and subtext would make it impossible to follow whatever trivial plot/premise was being hoisted upon the me.
This is what I was dreaming about. I was thinking about the continuity issues of two long-dead sitcoms. How long had this been sloshing around in my head waiting to come out? And to what end?
And still I dreamt on.
I swear this is all true.
By far the most intense episode of Frasier has to be when ‘Martin’ is introduced to Frasier’s co-worker Roz Doyle at the radio station. Roz is the producer of the Dr. Frasier Crane Show on KACL 780AM and is originally from a small town in Wisconsin.
Or is she?
In the Cheers universe Peri Gilpin, who played Roz, is actually a TV reporter who interviewed Woody Boyd in season 11. With all of the actresses for Hollywood to use you really think it’s a coincidence that she got the part of Roz?
From Boston, she must have known Sy Flemeck somehow. Did she follow him out to Seattle and why? There must be something that we don’t know. How else do you explain that Roz is the only one on the show that Martin allows to call him Marty?
I guess it beats calling him by his real name, right Sy?
Frasier ended without ever disclosing the real truth behind their relationship, but I distinctly remembering, deep in the throes of R.E.M., wondering if “Roz” was the one that shot Martin/Marty/Sy, thus causing his ‘retirement.’
And this is how the dream ended; with me raging against the network and their blatant attempts to keep the truth from loyal viewers of both Cheers and Frasier. So enraged that I contacted them and offered to write a script that would, once and for all, answer all the questions that my subconscious had come up with.
Questions that no doubt will spring to mind every time you watch an episode of Frasier from this point forward. Looking for little clues between ‘Marty’ and ‘Roz’ that might throw some light on their interactions back in Beantown. Is that why they made him a detective? To egg us on?
So now all that I can do is sit down and write the two hour Frasier episode, Martin and Sy’s Funeral: Now It Can Be Told, that ties up all the loose ends that John Mahoney took to his grave. It’s going to be amazing.
The human mind is truly an odd organ.