S1 E23: Frasier Crane’s Day Off

FD s01e23-00Airdate: May 12, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writers: Chuck Ranberg, Anne Flett-Giordano
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:

Well, folks, welcome to the penultimate Denial of the first season. We know we’re in good hands with these writers, and I like how the title is oddly similar to our name.

This is a pretty strong episode. It’s not as high on my list as the “outing” -themed episodes, but the novelty of Frasier having to stay out of work (and getting hopped up on goof pills) definitely does its rating some good.

Say, if you want to, do facebook things to us! We’re on it and such, Niles!

Our episode Synopsis:
Open at KACL, with an overt cartoon moment: The caller on the line (voice-over by Steve Young) has just crashed his car because Frasier has told him to close his eyes and picture himself on a tropical island. That is straight up Tom & Jerry. I am glad that the Frasier crew continues to shovel forth evidence in favor of my steadfast claim that the show is live action disguised as a cartoon. While Frasier is still on the air, Gil Chesterton, host of the station’s food show, enters the booth. Frasier sneezes on the air, then signs off.
FD s01e23-01Gil mentions that Frasier was coughing earlier in the broadcast; gives Frasier some chicken soup in hopes that he’ll feel better. Frasier keeps coughing and sniffling. Gil offers to fill in on Frasier’s time slot if he needs to take some time off.

Frasier is suspicious of Gil’s generosity and resolves to avoid taking any sick time so that Gil doesn’t end up stealing the Frasier Crane Show time slot. Roz reminds Frasier that in order to influence the schedule, one usually sucks up to the station manager.

Scene 2: Spring Is in the Air
In the morning at the apartment, Daphne and Martin are reading the newspaper. Frasier emerges from his bedroom, clearly still suffering his flu symptoms. He starts to head off to work.
FD s01e23-02Daphne suggests he stay home and recover; Martin agrees. Frasier exits anyway. Three seconds later, he rings the doorbell. Daphne answers it. Frasier whines loudly that he is sick. Ladies and gentleman, Frasier will be staying in the building.

Scene 3: Frasier Crane’s Day Off
(It really would have been something if all of the scene titles were made to sound like titles in old British books. I don’t know why the show’s voice is so jarringly inconsistent in this area. Anyway, this title is certainly no Hole in the Head Gang, but I really do like it. It’s simple and somehow kind of grand sounding.)

At KACL, Gil is filling in for Frasier. He has scored a caller (v.o. by Garry Trudeau) a table at an exclusive restaurant to make up for forgetting his ten year anniversary.

Cut to Frasier listening at home. He is laid up in bed, surrounded by pillows, tissues, and newspapers. Martin is seated, reading the paper. Daphne takes Frasier’s temperature. It’s 101°. She suggests Frasier try some homeopathic tea; he refuses. Martin keeps telling stories about his worst bouts of sickness throughout his life. He exits.
FD s01e23-03 not usedAs Daphne goes to get Frasier some ginger ale, Niles enters. He puts his handkerchief over his mouth when he speaks to Frasier. The phone rings; Niles answers it. He has forgotten again who Roz is. Frasier takes the phone. Roz tells him that Gil is indeed trying for their time slot– he’s been telling the station manager that the slot is perfect for the food show, since listeners are making dinner plans. Frasier promises to come into work the next day.

Niles dabs his hands with rubbing alcohol after touching Frasier’s forehead. Frasier yells at him; asks whether he would do the show. Niles refuses. Frasier baits him with reverse psychology. Niles calls him out on that, but he agrees anyway.

(transcription pilfered from kacl780.net)

(transcription pilfered from kacl780.net)

Scene 4: Untitled
At the station, Roz is finishing up showing Niles how to operate things in the booth.
FD s01e23-07Niles’ first caller, Marcia (the internet doesn’t know who did her voice-over), is in love with her brother in law. Niles approaches the issue by making detailed references to the history of psychology, comparing different schools of thought.
FD s01e23-08Frasier, listening at home, responds with child-like amusement, saying that Niles is terrible at it. Daphne reads the thermometer; reports that Frasier’s temperature has gone up to 103°. He makes many dainty requests of Daphne. At this point, he has asked for:

chipped ice for the ginger ale, a bendy straw, low-sodium saltines, toast with the crust cut off, tissues with a drop of moisturizer between the two-ply sheets, rose petals for the humidifier, and a second round of fresh rose petals for the humidifier.

Daphne is compliant, but her patience is obviously wearing thin. She exits.

Scene 5: Untitled
Niles is closing the show. He has counseled callers Lois and Howard (v.o.’s by Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence) into saying that they love each other over the air. Given whatever the content of the call was, it’s apparently a big moment– Roz, Niles, and (listening at home) Martin and Daphne all cheer. Frasier is crestfallen, though, which is ridiculous, because the reason Niles is filling in on his show is to keep its good name in the eyes of the station higher-ups, which is better accomplished the better the job Niles does hosting the show.

Martin actually makes that call, telling Frasier that the fever is keeping him from thinking straight. Frasier insists that he’s actually more lucid than usual and gets out of bed, intending to go the station and “reclaim”– I don’t know what. Martin easily pushes Frasier back into bed.

Scene 6: I Go to Pieces
(I thought we’d found our scene title heroes, you know? I won’t make that mistake again.)

(Edit: OK, OK. Given the content of this scene, the title now makes me laugh every time I see it.)

Frasier, feeling better and back on the air, thanks Niles and Gil for their help while he was gone. Standing right outside the booth in the hall, they both wave. Frasier then explodes like a hand grenade. Holy cripes– talk about Tom & Jerry!

A sick, bedraggled Frasier wakes from his dream; repeatedly yells Daphne’s name. She runs to his bedside; assures him that it’s just the fever spooking his brain.
FD s01e23-10He writes a couple of highly habit-forming prescriptions for her to fetch at the drug store for him. He gets up again, preparing to go down to the station so he can stop everyone from plotting against him and such.
FD s01e23-11Daphne finally loses her patience and tells Frasier off at length. He lets her finish, then, unfazed, tells her to get the pills.

Scene 7: Radio Daze
(This title rates exactly average– a C-grade. Strictly speaking, it’s a pun, so I’m not doing my job if I don’t call it cutesy. I’m sorry, but that’s the law. You folks drive carefully, and enjoy your evening.)

Frasier stumbles down the hall at KACL. He looks like he’s high. Gil says hello. He’s surprised that Frasier is on his feet. Frasier discloses that he is high. He has in fact ingested some of his illegally obtained pills. (That’s actually committing two crimes, isn’t it? As the one writing the prescription and as the one filling it?)
FD s01e23-12Niles is closing another successful call as Frasier walks into the booth. Roz reacts with surprise and distaste at the sight of him. Niles turns to see Frasier. Roz cuts to commercial.

Roz and Niles attempt to reason with Frasier, who is more than a little buzzed. He pretends to acquiesce, and as they leave the booth to find someone to drive him home, he hurriedly pushes them out, then locks both the booth and control room doors.

So. Just to review, Frasier is going to sabotage his show at a time when he actually needs it to perform as well as it possibly can.
FD s01e23-14not usedRoz calls security. Frasier runs to the microphone; goes live on the air. He hangs up on two callers right away, then begins trying to advise a third, when two security guards come into the booth and wheel him away. Niles goes to the microphone; tries to cover by telling the audience that Frasier’s stupefied stint on the air was actually a scripted PSA about overmedication.
FD s01e23-13Scene 7: Untitled
Frasier awakens in a terror. He yells Daphne’s name. She enters; he tells her that he dreamt about going to the station. She agrees that it was a dream and tells him to go back to sleep. Martin asks Daphne why she lied. She tells him she would rather explain the hard truth to Frasier when the effects of the drugs have worn off, so that it will hurt more.

Credits vignette:
Frasier speaks for a while on the air. The camera pans over to the control room, and Eddie is sitting in the producer’s chair with headphones on. It’s Roz’s dream, we find out as she wakes up.

Closing thoughts:
Frasier Crane’s Day Off is a tremendous episode, I must say. There’s so much novelty here: Frasier spending time in his bedroom, Frasier meekly demanding care from Daphne like a 6-year-old Liberace, Niles hosting the show, Frasier getting unabashedly bombed out of his mind. I would really be surprised if this episode gets bumped out of the top ten, ever.

One broader point about the show that I was delighted to discover is that Niles and Roz are both filling in vast amounts of sense and texture in the “person” of their characters. In Roz’s case, there are a few times that she takes a split second to emote in a very real way (usually in reaction to something unspeakable that Frasier is doing)– this increases our favor and empathy for her and deepens our general experience of this crazy cartoon.

As for Niles, when this season started (and with it the series), he seemed to me a pent-up, almost weaselly kind of snob of a two-dimensional man– far from likable in any real sense. His contributions onscreen have always been enjoyable, but only as those of a character. Over time, he has revealed things like his love for Daphne and vulnerabilities about various things– more than just an aloof demeanor and a snooty taste for fine wine and wares– and that has improved things. Here, though, we’re getting further still. Some real humanity is showing through. He regards his sick brother with conflicted compassion; he humbly tries his hand at the nuances of radio broadcasting (Niles’ fill-in for Frasier’s familiar “I’m listening” is “Let’s get better,” and after he improvises it, when he is delighted with surprising himself, it’s my favorite Niles moment yet). Until now, even his helpless surrender to the fleeting, tacit intimacies building with Daphne have fallen short of filling in the “human” gaps that usually puncture a mere character. For the first time, I genuinely like this guy.

***

In real life, I’m watching House of Cards, and that’s about it for TV shows. I set aside 6 hours a week for this and my other strictly social media/comedy stuff (which always turns into about 10), and– actually, you know what? I was going to say something like “I hardly ever watch or read fiction anyway, so..” but that’s B.S.: we just finished the latest (latest streaming, that is) ..Always Sunny.. and New Girl seasons, and Mad Men and Orange Is the New Black haven’t started yet.

In rerunsville, when I’m writing and I want to put something flashy on ‘mute,’ my go-to choices are Mythbusters and anything IMAX. Oh– and I’ve also discovered train videos on YouTube. Yes. God. Thank you. My favorite thing ever!!!

Not that you asked.

Conflicts that occur simply because someone behaves in a very unrealistic way—most often by not explaining something mundane:
Frasier’s mindset about what is happening on his show is obviously totally backwards, but they repeatedly address the fact that it’s because his fever is making him delirious.

Continuity errors or anachronism:
1. Instead of Bulldog’s Gonzo Sports Show, Gil Chesterson’s food show is on after Frasier and Roz’s show.

2. Niles identifies himself as a Jungian and Frasier as a Freudian. In Episode 20, Frasier calls himself a Jungian.
FDs1e20-083. The only distinction between a continuity error and a running joke is the application of the laugh track, as in Niles forgetting who Roz is for the third time.

# of women Frasier has dated:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [3]   series cumulative: [3]

# of women Frasier has slept with:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [1]   series cumulative: [1]



# of jokes about how Roz sleeps with everyone:
Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [6]   series cumulative: [7]

# of actual references to Roz sleeping with someone:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [4]   series cumulative: [4]

# of “Dad’s chair is awful” jokes:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [11]

# of times Frasier shouts “NILES!”:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [12]   series cumulative: [12]

Mentions of Maris:

Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [60]   series cumulative: [61]

# of times Frasier or Niles (both psychiatrists) exhibit mentally ill tendencies:

Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [13]   series cumulative: [15]
(Frasier is paranoid delusional, and Niles goes a little OCD with the rubbing alcohol.)

# of tender pauses:
[Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [11]

“Kind of a great TV moment” moments:
(none)

Current best scene title of the series: “The Hole in the Head Gang”: S01 E21

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “A bad bout with the flu lands Frasier in bed. Meanwhile, Roz becomes convinced that Gil is gunning for Frasier’s premium time slot.”
FD s01e23-06FD s01e23-09

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3 thoughts on “S1 E23: Frasier Crane’s Day Off

  1. “You’re all pasty and clammy and pale.”
    It’s Frasier, Daphne. How can you tell the difference?
    “Frasier discloses that he is high. He has in fact ingested some of his illegally obtained pills. (That’s actually committing two crimes, isn’t it? As the one writing the prescription and as the one filling it?)”
    Depending on what he took, if he got pulled over while driving to the station, he could easily get a DUI. Batting a thousand there, buddy.
    “Captain Kirk’s got control of the bridge.”
    Ohhhh, Roz. Have my TOS-mocking babies.

  2. Pingback: S2 E5: Duke’s, We Hardly Knew Ye | Frasier Denied

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