S2 E2: The Unkindest Cut of All

 

FD s2e2-08Opening thoughts:
I cracked a beer before watching this episode. Under the cap, it said “Seattle born.” I interpret this to mean that I am drinking a beer meant for Frasier. Or Eddie, I suppose. It could be Eddie’s beer. Maybe that’s more likely.

I doubt whether there will be very many Eddie episodes, so we’ve got to recognize how special this is. This episode also forces me to renew my promise not to refer to the show as “a cartoon” this season.

Episode Synopsis:
Open at the apartment. Daphne is ironing Frasier’s socks, just to make sure that we understand how Frasier he is. Martin enters with a beer (this means that I am officially drinking with Mr. Crane. It’s a proud day). They have a provocative and life-changing conversation about what Daphne is doing. She mentions that it’s really crazy of Frasier to want her to iron his socks and stuff. The audience approves. Martin verbally disowns both of his sons.
FD s2e2-01Frasier enters from his bedroom, dressed in his suit. The doorbell rings. It’s Dorathea Greenway, a neighbor making her first and last appearance on the show. She doesn’t greet Frasier at all. Instead, she points at Eddie and pushes her way into the room, confidently accusing him of impregnating her dog, Phoebe.

I have to say, this plot sounds like something that you would make up on the spot if you were making a joke about old sitcoms and their simplistic yet unrealistic, two-dimensional problems. Just imagine if your neighbor pointed at your dog and said, “He’s the one! He put puppies in my little poodle!” (Wouldn’t that be amazing?)

Mrs. Greenway continues to address Eddie directly, painting him as a biblical villain of sorts. Frasier politely denies it. What’s the only thing more surprising than a more-or-less humanoid grin appearing on Niles’ face? Yes: Frasier defending Eddie. Mrs. Greenway says “Oh yeah?” and disappears for half a second, then re-enters with a box full of tiny, unmistakable Eddie spawns.
FD s2e2-03Frasier declares that it’s a box full of “miniature Eddies” as Daphne coddles them. Mrs. Greenway announces that the Crane household owns the puppies and disappears forever.

Frasier compliantly closes the door and carries the box into the living room. He asks Martin for an explanation, since Eddie was supposed to have been fixed. Frasier tells Daphne not to love the puppies (those are his exact words). Martin quasi-penitently concedes that he lets Eddie off the leash in the park to exercise.

Martin promises to have Eddie neutered the next day. Frasier gathers the box from Daphne so he can bring the pups to the station and try to give them away to some co-workers. Frasier looks down and reports, incorrectly, that the puppies are staring at him, which is such an oddly under-developed little corner of the Frasier universe– Eddie has really only stared at Frasier like four times before. Frasier exits, yelling at the puppies to stop staring at him.

(I would really have expected a description of Frasier loudly verbally abusing some puppies to appear on this blog as part of some sort of metaphor, but no. Fortunately, there was no need.)
FD s2e2-06Scene 2
At the station, Frasier enters the control room and starts right into pandering to Roz, whose back is turned to him. She interrupts him, refusing to adopt any of the puppies. Frasier refers to them as “Eddie’s mongrel seed,” which has just such a wonderful sing-songy quality to it. He also delivers it in his Darth Frasier voice, which I love to hate to hate to love. No, really– it sounds great. Picture him saying: “These are Eddie’s mongrel seed.”

At this point, there are still six puppies– not one has been taken off Frasier’s hands. He attempts to win Roz over, having her hold one. She remains unfazed and tells Frasier they are about to go on the air (Frasier and Roz, not the puppies).

Frasier leaves them in the box at his feet and begins the show. Caller Rita (v.o. by Lily Tomlin) explains that she is overwhelmed with having to take care of her four children. Frasier suggests that she get a puppy.

Scene 3
At the apartment, Daphne is overseeing a meeting between a family of four and what turns out to be the last puppy (which tells us that some exposition will be along shortly to tidy up the exits of the others). Daphne kicks the family out, just before Frasier emerges with wine and snacks. Daphne tells Frasier that the family struck her as inept caregivers for a puppy. Frasier exclaims that the family consists of a zookeeper, a nurse, an altar boy, and a campfire girl, and they have a ten-acre farm. Daphne stands firm; pulls the “psychic” card, claiming that they had a “dark aura.”

(It’s just too much that this show has established so firmly that Daphne is in fact psychic that we are capable of saying to ourselves, “Oh, she’s not using her actual, real psychic powers right now– she’s just pretending.)

The doorbell rings. It’s Niles. He delivers a standard joke about how wretched Maris is. Frasier spares us the exposition about where the other dogs went. Daphne explains that she has only ever trusted a man if her dog liked him. If you used to watch the show, I’m sure you remember what Niles does next.
FD s2e2-07In order to get the pup to show him some apparent affection for Daphne’s benefit, he rubs pate behind his own ears. He sits beside Daphne, and the puppy follows through, licking Niles’ ear, which he pretends surprises him. Frasier orders Daphne to take the dog away. She does. Martin enters with Eddie. Frasier asks Martin whether Eddie had his vet appointment; Martin waffles.

Eddie jumps on the couch and licks Niles behind the ear. Then, Frasier and Niles actually have a conversation about it, with Niles lying and– yeah, we’re gonna just move on. Frasier asks Martin again about Eddie’s neutering.
FD s2e2-09Martin is pissed about it. He exits, announcing on his way out that he’ll be at Duke’s. Frasier decides to take Eddie to the vet himself. Eddie skitters away when Frasier calls him.

Niles and Frasier conspire to catch Eddie. Frasier suggests that they don’t talk about the operation, since Eddie has undoubtedly picked up an untold amount of English (uh, folks, here I feel compelled to remind you once again that I do not make up any of the things that I describe happening on the show– unless I say that Frasier pushes an elevator button 1,120 times or something– and you’ll of course know that when you see it). Niles agrees.

As Niles and Frasier methodically flank Eddie, they speak French (which is, of course, Frasier’s way of reminding us that canine genital mutilation is not a joke).

Scene 4
Frasier and Eddie are sitting in the waiting room at the vet. Eddie is staring at Frasier. He gives Eddie a compassionate speech about all the other joys of life that a dog can still look forward to. Martin enters, rightfully offended and indignant that Frasier would forcibly take this serious, permanent decision into his own hands like this. Eddie runs out.

Scene 5
At the apartment, Martin is finishing a phone conversation with the police about searching for Eddie. He hangs up. He and Daphne sit down for some food. Frasier enters, tired and frustrated. He has had no luck looking at the pound. Martin abruptly stands up; announces that he is going to search in the park again. Frasier agrees to join him.
FD s2e2-10Scene 6
Frasier and Martin are sitting in the car at the park after dark, bickering. Frasier’s fancy car phone rings. It’s Niles. Frasier puts him on speaker. Niles is lost in the middle of the park. Martin sounds the horn to guide Niles back to the car. Then, again. And again. Niles keeps talking as he finds his way back, then gets in the back seat.

So… Plot: Eddie escapes from his neutering appointment. Sub-plot: Niles frantically follows Frasier’s horn.

Niles exits. Martin offers Frasier to go home if he’s tired. He refuses. Martin apologizes and works in some reminiscences about his days as a cop. There’s also a tender pause as Martin admits that he has felt excessively constrained by Frasier’s rules.

FD s2e2-12Eddie jumps onto the trunk. Frasier sees him in the mirror and pretends not to, suggesting that they get home. Martin sees Eddie and cries out with relief; Frasier is clearly disappointed.
FD s2e2-11This does mean that Frasier had intended to drive off, leaving Eddie to die in the cold of the night, right? I don’t think I can post this and go to sleep after ending like that. I mean, Frasier once shared cookie dough with this dog.

Ah! I got it: Frasier was immediately resigned to Eddie’s return, though he reacted quite candidly by trying– which he knew was in vain– to delay or otherwise protest the already emerging reunion.

OK, well, if I didn’t just suck all the fun out of that.

Credits vignette:
Frasier, Niles, and Martin sit in the waiting room as the nurse brings Eddie in to see the vet. After she closes the door behind her, all three men simultaneously cross their legs.

Closing thoughts:
An Eddie episode. Good plan. No, seriously. I don’t know about the execution, though. As we briefly mentioned earlier, the plot is pretty retro, goofy sitcom standard in terms of complexity, originality, and realism. I did give it some thought, and I suppose it fits the class of shapes that a Frasier plot tends to take. I’m less convinced that Frasier is a starting point for earnestly assessing television history than when I started this. Season 2 is, however, giving us new things to yap about.

Oh, hell. We’re in the right place as ever; perhaps this episode was inherently less nerdy on purpose– it was, after all, about Eddie’s testicles.

Unnecessary conflicts:
Damn if Frasier didn’t have an easy time getting rid of 5 puppies. And holy cripes, do not ever, EVER attempt to take someone else’s dog in to get fixed without that person’s permission.

Continuity errors:
(none)

# 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: [10]   series cumulative: [11]

# 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: [13]   series cumulative: [13]

# of mentions of Maris:

Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [71]   series cumulative: [73]

# of times Frasier or Niles (both psychiatrists) exhibit mentally ill tendencies:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [16]   series cumulative: [16]

# of tender pauses:
Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [12]   series cumulative: [13]

# of times Niles has smiled:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [2]   series cumulative: [2]

Kind of great TV moments:
(none)

Kind of great Frasier moments:
Frasier yelling at puppies.

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “Frasier’s next-door neighbor, Mrs. Greenway, accuses Eddie of impregnating her precious Phoebe.”
FD s2e2-05
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2 thoughts on “S2 E2: The Unkindest Cut of All

  1. I’ve gone back and forth on this, but I have to say, it feels really out of character for Martin to have not had his dog fixed. The guy was a cop. Seems like he would know better. Though the story would have been a totally different one, I feel like a better candidate for a storyline of “didn’t fix my dog, now I have mutt puppies” is Niles. There at least we could say that the dog belongs to Maris, and that she didn’t fix him because she had hoped to breed him and gain fortune and fame through the dog show circuits.
    Frankly, I don’t know what Mrs Greenway was bitching about – she didn’t fix her dog either, making the situation at least 50% her fault.

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