A Simple Lesson from “Frasier”

It’s amazing how true to life a sitcom can sometimes feel. I was thinking this the other night as I was watching “Frasier,” the show about a loveable, quirky, albeit haughty, psychiatrist who lives in a Seattle loft with his father, Martin.

In the episode “They’re Playing Our Song” (season 7, episode 13), Frasier is asked to compose a theme song for his radio show. Instead of a short simple ditty, Frasier brings in the big guns, everything from a choir to a full orchestra, along with some unusual instruments.

When the song doesn’t quite fall into place, we find Frasier later sitting in his loft with Martin, wondering what to do.


Martin: “And the tune should be something simple . . .”

Frasier: “Truth is, Dad, I’m not sure I can do simple.”

Martin: “I don’t know if you can or if you just don’t want to. But you know, some of the best things in the world are simple. Just like that art gallery you brought me to, you were ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over a painting of a big red dot.”

Such a simple scene, and so much power inside those words.

It seems we often make things harder than need be. I know I do. Like this last Christmas. I over-planned our holiday meal, cooking two main courses, tons of side dishes, and serving two desserts alongside cartons of ice cream and many toppings.

Ironically, the ice cream was the biggest hit. Looking back, that meal could have been a lot simpler than it was. All anybody really wanted was just to be together.

I think life is often like that. We over-plan our schedules, throw ourselves from one activity to the next. We put our children in three different sports, sign them up for everything under the sun. But all we ever want, all our children ever want, is just to do something simple.

It’s often the simple things we love the best. The simple activity. The simple dessert.

Next year, I will know better. I will make less food, and make it easier. And maybe I will forego the three desserts and just serve ice cream.

What can you do to simplify your life?

(Oh, and in case you are wondering, Frasier did finally come up with a short, simple ditty for his show.)

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