Monday, July 1, 2019

A Little Touch of As You Like It in Frasier

“Motor Skills.” By Eric Zicklin. Perf. Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, and John Mahoney. Dir. Pamela Fryman. Frasier. Season 8, episode 11. NBC. 30 January 2001. DVD. Paramount, 2006.

We've seen more extensive Shakespeare in the sitcom Frasier before—in an episode in which Derek Jacobi plays a terrible Shakespearean actor (for which, q.v.).

This, on the other hand, is more incidental, but it pleases me very much because of the material being quoted.

In As You Like It, the ordinary working man (the shepherd) Colin, is being bothered—or bugged . . . or bothered . . . or plagued—by the self-designated court wit Touchstone. Touchstone can be quite funny . . . but he can also be very self-centered and very annoying, impressed by his own cleverness.

In the middle of such a bothering session and as an answer to the scorn that Touchstone is heaping on him, Corin gives what is (to me at least) a beautiful speech about his life, his work, and his identity:
Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm, and the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck. (III.ii.73-77)
The contentment and easy satisfaction of that speech is an excellent antidote to Touchstone's stirring up of trouble and self-satisfaction.

And so we turn to Frasier's version of the speech. The Crane boys have decided to enroll in an automotive repair class. As he calls to register for the course, Frasier quotes part of Corin's speech:

He had to leave out the part about the lambs, but it's still a good speech about the satisfaction of a job done well. 

You'll have to see the rest of the episode for yourselves to see whether Corin's contentment trickles down to the Crane boys in the end or not.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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