If you’ve seen even just one episode of this sitcom, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve seen Eddie. Eddie is a Jack Russell Terrier who belongs to Martin, Frasier and Niles’s father. The premise of the show is that Frasier, a rather pompous yet kind of person who might use Kitchener limo rentals for his travels, a posh radio psychiatrist with a good heart shares his apartment with his much-less-sophisticated father, Martin. Along with a number of other accommodations Frasier must make when his father moves into his swanky, modern apartment, Frasier has to accept Eddie the dog into his home.
Of course with Martin and his oversized armchair and his unwanted terrier all staying in Frasier’s apartment with Martin’s carer Daphne and the frequent visits by Frasier’s brother, Niles, much hilarity ensues. It is, after all, a situational comedy, and quite a situation we’ve got going here. Eddie adds an extra, fun dynamic to the household. The writers made really good use of him, basically as a representation of Frasier’s annoyance with Martin-y things imposing upon his ordered, modern life. Eddie, for example, always obeys Martin. He follows Martin to bed when Martin calls, he obeys Daphne, Martin’s carer, when she asks him to do anything, but it’s quite a different story with Frasier.
Eddie just stares at Frasier. Frasier will be doing something in the apartment, going about his business, and Eddie the dog will be sitting on the couch, watching his every move. My favourite, though, is when Frasier is trying to relax on the couch, or sitting and reading something, and the Eddie will hop up beside him and fixate his eyes on him. This, of course, drives Frasier mad. He feels like he can’t just relax in his own home anymore, that he’s always being watched and judged and irritated. And this, of course, is kind of true.
It’s the point of the show, as I see it. As I said above, Eddie, for me, represents everything about Frasier’s life that he feels he’s lost control over since his baseball-enthusiast, fishing-trip-loving, ex.cop father moved into his apartment. The audience, of course, loves Martin and all his quirks. Martin, you see, if most of us. Martin sees the absurdity of the way Frasier and Niles carry themselves, and the unfairness of the elitism they feel when they encounter anyone who can’t immediately differentiate between Mozart and Beethoven.
And that’s not to say that those members of the audience who appreciate Martin aren’t allowed to enjoy the finer things, or that they don’t sometimes look down on others for this reason or that. But Martin is such a good, down to Earth man, that we can all relate to him when he’s looking at Frasier and Niles incredulously when just can’t believe the cheapness of the chardonnay that was served at the last party they attended. We love Martin and, in turn, we love Eddie. We love that Eddie represents the chaos that Martin has brought into Frasier’s life, because we know that Frasier needs that grounding force in his life so badly, even though he’d rarely admit it.