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An Inordinate Fondness for Lilith Sternin-Crane

There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just come out with it. I appear to have developed a (hopefully passing) infatuation with a fictional character from a TV show that ended 20 years ago.

OK, it's good to get that off my chest. But perhaps some elucidation is in order.

I am a serial binge-watcher, and have been for a while now. A couple of years ago, I watched the entire series of M*A*S*H, back-to-back-to-back, night after night. I probably averaged about three episodes a night when I was at home. Add in travel time, other temporary departures from my viewing schedule, and so on, the whole exercise probably took me about six months.

More recently, it was "Everybody Loves Raymond." More recently still, it's been the turn of "Cheers."

I'd never really watched Cheers during its initial run. I was fairly young when it began, and for its final six years, I was living in Amsterdam - and if there was a TV channel there that showed it (and, truth be told, there probably was), I didn't know it. But, of course, I'd seen a fair few episodes at random intervals over the years, and when I decided to sit down and watch the whole thing, I already was familiar with Sam and Diane, Coach and Woody, Norm and Cliff, Frasier and Lilith ...

Oh, Lilith.

See, here's one of the things I hadn't previously appreciated. Lilith Sternin - uptight, repressed, occasionally ghoulish-looking psychiatrist - was in fact insanely hot.

Even though she was rarely front-and-center in any of the episodes, I found myself especially looking forward to the Lilith cameos. Not just because she was hot, although it didn't hurt. Those cameos became more frequent, then she became a featured character, and then suddenly, in the eleventh and final season, she disappeared again.

She re-emerged for a two-episode arc, but in that arc, she left Frasier. This made me unfathomably sad. But then she returned, which made me irrationally happy. But, after her reunion with Frasier, she disappeared again. Recourse to the Googles revealed that actress Bebe Neuwirth left the show, returning only to film that pair of episodes and give her character some closure.

I have eight episodes left to watch, having watched 10 and two-thirds seasons. But Lilith won't be in any of them. Knowing this leaves me with an emptiness inside. I'm not entirely sure I want to watch those episodes. I find myself strangely lifted by the realization that the character lived on through guest spots on "Frazier" and I wonder if I now need to binge-watch that show, too - except I realize that once I've seen her final appearance on that series, I'll feel sad and empty again.

I'm not normal.
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