Updated: Sep 29
Yesterday I talked about what I saw in the character of Frasier. I think Frasier is an autistic or neurodivergent character, but slightly hidden by his perceived character. Niles is different, in that he can be seen more clearly.
His OCD is linked in with a heightened awareness of viruses and germs. He has several sensitivities to textures, and intolerances/allergies. Unlike Frasier there isn’t really a vail to see through. His reactions often played out by dusting off his chair, or backing away from a door handle because he doesn’t want to touch it. Plus he can mimic the reactions of others through statements like “My fear of intimacy group is getting too close.”
He is a fantastic character that was played beautifully by David Hyde Pierce. My favourite scene will always be when he is getting ready for a valentine’s date at Frasier’s apartment. It’s roughly 14 minutes long and has barely any dialogue, it’s perfectly done in my opinion. His character is seen so clearly, especially in that scenario, but compassionate in the way it’s being portrayed.
He has panic attacks, but works through them. Anxiety and OCD but finds an adaptive routine so that its impact is minimalistic, compared to what it would be without it. As is seen when Maris tears up the divorce papers and he ends up hiding under the piano (as he did as a child). He, like Frasier, often questions other people’s reactions and viewpoint of them. Not always because they want to be liked or popular, but understood for the person each of them saw in themselves and each other. They are different from each other, however they do share many commonalities too. It’s interesting if you consider that all autistic and neurodivergent people are individuals. I’d say that Frasier and Niles characters embodies that, and that they both could be autistic in my personal opinion.
Tomorrow I will finish with a post talking about the new series of Frasier, and the potential for a late diagnosed autistic character on TV.
All our best and love
Ross Fraser and Jeni Dern
Words – Ross A Fraser
Design App – Canva