When I was growing up, like many people my age, I watched TV before I set off for school. Like a lot of people I watched Channel 4 and sprinted down to make it in time for my first lesson. Channel 4 played all the best cheesy, feel good sitcom re-runs, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Gilmore Girls and my personal favourite – Frasier.
Frasier is a snappy, high brow show about a radio psychiatrist, his friends and family, and the jaw droppingly awkward situations that he manages to get into, in spite of all that you might yell at the screen. As a self-confessed psychology nerd, I watched the show religiously and was introduced not only to a cultural vocabulary far beyond anything I could actually understand, but also to one of my lifelong personal TV heroes: Roz Doyle, Frasier’s long suffering radio producer.
Roz begins the show as a sassy, intelligent and driven woman who doesn’t let Frasier get away with his classist bullshit. She dates a lot, a fact that doesn’t escape the notice of the other characters, but she doesn’t apologise for it. She asks men out if she wants to, but she calls men out when they behave inappropriately toward her. She is independent, but has healthy relationships with her friends.
Around halfway through the show she gets pregnant but raises the child single handedly. She loves playing softball just as much as she loves getting her hair done. She can be vulnerable and strong.
As a show, Frasier not only has Roz, but a wide range of other complex and loveable female characters. From Lillth Sternum, Frasier’s intelligent and sarcastic no-nonsense badass of an ex-wife, to Daphne Moon, his father’s live-in physiotherapist who also happens to be a quirky British psychic that plays a mean game of pool, to Bebe Glazer, his power hungry and hilariously shallow press agent, there’s always a woman in this show cutting the oblivious and low key misogynists down to size.
This show taught me that women are capable of succeeding in whatever arena they choose, be that raising a family, cultivating a rich social life or climbing the career ladder in a traditionally male dominated field. Or, if you’re Roz Doyle, doing all three.