Niles Crane was married to Maris in the early seasons of Frasier, but despite their considerably long marriage, she never physically appeared, why?
Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) was married to Maris at the beginning of Frasierbut how come it never showed up? Following the breakdown of his marriage to Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) and the hunger for a new adventure, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) moved back to Seattle to start a new life after his stint in Boston as seen in Health. When he returned to his hometown, the rest of the Crane were finally introduced, including his father, Martin Crane (John Mahoney), and his younger brother and fellow psychiatrist, Niles.
Frasier ran for 11 brilliant seasons and is one of the rare spin-offs that is as successful as its main series, that’s no small thing since Health is known as one of the best sitcoms. While it mostly revolved around the title character, Frasier was simply the starting point for his story. In reality, it is an ensemble show, in which each character is an integral part of their story. Niles, in particular, was a preview of what his older brother would have looked like had he not learned to mingle with Cheers sponsors in Boston. Hyde-Pierce was amazing in the role and was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards for his performance, winning four times. Some might even argue that he is the true leader of the show, as he had a clear overall arc from start to finish.
There is a particular interest in Niles’ romantic relationships. Unlike Frasier, who had no clear love interest at all times, it quickly became clear that his younger brother had a crush on Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), Marty’s caretaker. The problem was, Niles was still married to Maris. She had been regularly mentioned on the show and had the opportunity to appear countless times, but never did. Off screen, the role was never cast from the start. Given that Niles settled down as a married man right away, it’s funny why the producers never cast the role. However, as executive producers Peter Casey and David Lee revealed, they had every intention of properly introducing Maris. This was mainly because they didn’t want viewers to think that Frasier I was just playing with what Health did with Vera, Norm’s (George Wendt) wife, who was mentioned often but never appeared on screen. They planned to debut Maris in episode 3, but the joke got too hilarious and they stuck with her.
In terms of narrative, it worked in the best way. Had Frasier properly introduced to Maris, she would have been at least a semi-regular character on the show. This would have resulted in people becoming attached to her and her relationship with Niles. But in the long run, young Crane was always destined to be with Daphne. From the moment Niles saw the British household keeper, he immediately went insane. Interestingly, only Frasier noticed this early on, and when confronted about it towards the end of Season 1, Niles admitted to having some attraction to Daphne. That said, it would take a little longer before he went through with the divorce with Maris so that he could start a relationship with Daphne. Regardless, even though Maris never appeared on the series, her mere existence spawned several episodic stories, not to mention a lot of laughs, so it didn’t really matter that she wasn’t physically in the comedy.
With the Paramount + reboot, it’s curious if the comedy will finally seize the opportunity to reveal Maris. Of course, it’s safe to assume that Niles and Daphne are still together considering how in love they were with each other. But what would it be Frasier be without at least one mention of Maris?
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