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The Character We Never Get To See In A Single Frasier Episode

The NBC sitcom "Frasier" — one of the prime examples of a successful spin off, as the followup to the popular "Cheers" — ran for 11 seasons between 1993 and 2004, per IMDb. The series was critically acclaimed throughout its entire run, and decades on, it has kept up its popularity and relevance, with it having been kept on streaming services for old fans to revisit and new fans to discover.

At the beginning of "Frasier," psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), who originally showed up on "Cheers" in its third season as a love interest to Diane (Shelley Long), has moved to his hometown of Seattle to take a job hosting a radio show, following his divorce from Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth). In Seattle, we meet Frasier's neurotic brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), a fellow psychiatrist, and their laid-back father Martin (John Mahoney), the latter of whom moves in to Frasier's new apartment. The main cast is rounded out with Martin's in-house healthcare worker Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves) and Frasier's producer Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin).

Each of these characters are distinctly funny and memorable in their own rights, making for countless hilarious moments throughout the show's run. Some of the moments are directly related to the characters' relationships with one another — Frasier's connection to ex-wife Lilith, for one, makes for many laugh-out-loud punchlines. Additionally, there's one character related to the Crane family by marriage that is the basis for some hilarious jokes — without showing up on-screen even once.

Maris is never shown on Frasier

When we meet Niles in the pilot episode, he's instantly attracted to the newly-hired Daphne. There's just one big problem in the way: Niles is married already to a woman named Maris. In that first episode, when Niles asks Frasier if he likes Maris, Frasier responds, "I like her from a distance, you know, the way you like the sun. Maris is like the sun. Except without the warmth."

That line of dialogue gives viewers their first glimpse into the enigma of Maris. Over the course of the series, during which she never appears on-screen, we find out that she is a cold person, insanely rich, and incredibly thin (Niles informs Daphne that Maris wanted to be a ballerina but "the poor thing couldn't get her weight up enough"). Their marriage is soon revealed to be anything but healthy — not only does Maris boss Niles around, but the two even sleep in separate bedrooms.

Despite viewers having a good grasp on who Maris is as a character, she never shows up on-screen. The closest we get to seeing her is in a Season 5 episode, "The Voyage of the Damned," when the shadow of Maris is seen from behind a shower curtain. There are also plenty of teases throughout the series that we may get to see Maris, all to no avail.

However, Maris wasn't originally intended to be kept off screen — but the writers found themselves backed into a corner.

Maris became uncastable

Speaking with Yahoo! News, the show's co-creator David Lee revealed that Maris wasn't originally intended to be absent for the whole series. "When [co-creators] David [Angall], Peter [Casey], and I were writing the pilot, we thought, 'Let's pull a fast one on the audience and make them think that we're going to do a thing like Norm's wife, Vera, in Cheers, where he talk about her but you never see her," Lee explained. "Let's do that for a few episodes, and then surprise — we're actually going to see her, so we weren't ripping off that 'Cheers' thing after all."

It's a brilliant and funny idea, one that likely would've proven genuinely surprising. However, their plan hit a snag when the descriptions of Maris in those first few episodes got out of hand. Lee continued, "Two or three episodes in, she was already so bizarre, she was uncastable. So we just went, 'Well, we're never going to see her.' Although we did see the shadow of her behind a shower curtain once."

From then on, the writers were free to keep going with the outlandish and crazy descriptions of Maris' appearance — later accounts reveal that not only is she incredibly thin, but she's also extremely pale and would "sear like an ahi tuna" in the sun, as Frasier describes. Naturally, these descriptions continue to make for some of the funniest moments of "Frasier."