S2 E6: The Botched Language of Cranes

fd s02 e06-00Airdate: November 1, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writer: Joe Keenan
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
Let me start with a reminder that the text in the screenshots is from the show’s actual subtitles. In this episode, we finally see some realistic Seattle weather. Also in this episode, everyone in the city hates Frasier Crane. We approve all around! Check out the November 2004 airdate: we are coming very close to publishing each post on the twentieth anniversary of the episode being reviewed (maybe that is what it takes to get me back to posting on the intended weekly schedule.) Frasier Denied is on facebook, so “like” it and lump it. (Did those sound like church announcements?)

fd s02 e06-01

why does this picture make me so certain that Roz is about to kill me?

You wanna catch up with the cast? Yeah, me neither. David Hyde Pierce has a role in season 6 of The Good WifeKelsey Grammer was just in The Expendables 3, John Mahoney has had a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland, Jane Leeves is actually a regular on Hot in Cleveland, Peri Gilpin has been doing character acting on Modern Family, Drop Dead Diva, Men at Work, and CSI, and Dan Butler (who plays Bulldog) is going to be in a new show called The Mysteries of Laura.

Episode Synopsis:
Off-air in the station control room, Roz is reading some notes. Frasier barges violently into the control room. His umbrella has been turned inside-out. He thrashes it up and down a few times, then tosses it out into the hall.
fd s02 e06-02fd s02 e06-03

Roz reviews some requests that Frasier has received in the mail. He agrees to speak at a college and refuses to host a hospital fundraiser. Roz points out that sick people really need the best help they can get. Frasier exposits that he agreed to host the event the previous year, but the hospital cancelled on him.

Frasier proclaims that he must refuse for the sake of his dignity, then agrees to judge the Miss Teen Seattle pageant. Their first caller Edna (voice-over by Alfre Woodard) is an exterminator who is growing tired with her life. Frasier suggests that she move out of Seattle, calling it a “dreary, soggy old city.”
fd s02 e06-04Scene 2
At the apartment, it’s a rainy morning. Martin is cheerfully reading the paper at the table. Frasier enters from his bedroom; complains about the rain. Daphne and Eddie enter, both wearing rain suits. Eddie climbs onto the couch. Frasier is pissed. Martin tells Daphne to take off Eddie’s rain hat. Daphne says that she wants to dress Eddie up, since she probably won’t ever have children.
fd s02 e06-05

Martin reads from Derek Mann’s column (see S1 E4: I Hate Frasier Crane), another round of insults against Frasier and his show. Specifically, he mentions the advice that the caller leave the dreary city, which makes Frasier a “Seattle-hater.” Both Martin and Daphne are sympathetic to Mann’s objections. Martin suggests that if Frasier doesn’t publicly apologize, everyone in Seattle will hate him forever.
fd s02 e06-06Scene 3
At the station, Frasier enters and discards a new, destroyed umbrella in the hallway. He enters the booth; Roz is rudely wrapping up with an angry listener on the phone. She has been taking such calls all day. The phone rings again. Bull Dog enters again; gives Frasier some crap about it.

Later, on the air, a caller chews Frasier out and hangs up on him (one of our favorite things to hear on the show, as you know). Frasier apologizes at length and signs off. He pushes the “terminate transmission” button or whatever it is, and verbally lays into the city, this time specifically calling the listeners weak and the city insane. Roz points out that he failed to take them off the air. He mashes the button again; this time the ‘On Air’ light goes dark.

Scene 4
At the apartment, Niles is hooking up either a VCR or a cable box to the television as Martin and Daphne wait patiently. Frasier enters and discards another battered umbrella. This time it was broken by an indignant listener who saw Frasier on the street. He explains that everyone he’s seen all day has treated him with hostility.

The phone rings. Martin tells Daphne to leave it; explains that the irate citizens of Seattle have been calling all day. Daphne insists on answering it. Someone asks for Frasier and cusses Daphne out. Niles takes the phone and attempts in vain to put the caller in her place.
fd s02 e06-08Someone knocks violently at the front door. It’s Roz. She and Martin laugh at Niles for trying to set up the TV.

Roz explains that the station manager suspects that Frasier will have to be suspended. She suggests that hosting the hospital fundraiser is the only way for Frasier to save his reputation. Martin and Niles concur. Frasier agrees to host the event and donate $800 himself.

Scene 6
At the fundraiser, Frasier is seated next to a nun at the main table. She reminds him not to tell any offensive jokes from the pulpit. Father Mike from the station visits the table. Everyone but Bulldog (and Maris) is there, and they’re all in formal wear. Frasier stops to visit them. Martin makes a Johhny Carson reference that Niles doesn’t get. Frasier excuses himself to throw up in the rest room.

s02 e06-09

Father Mike goes to the microphone and announces that the scheduled speaker, Bishop Cologie, is lost at sea. In a major “what the hell!?” moment, Niles blatantly sniffs a lock of Daphne’s hair. There is a chance that there is some kind of reference in there that somehow makes this less horrifying, but I just can’t think what it might be. Daphne notices and isn’t pleased, but turns her attention back to the podium. Father Mike finishes his announcement and introduces Frasier, who doesn’t appear. After “Dr. Crane?” is repeated a few times, Frasier rushes in, having not heard Father Mike’s announcement about the bishop.

Frasier makes less than 100 (I think) accidental puns about the ocean, death, etc.
Roz actually stands up and tells him in plain English what happened. He doesn’t understand and continues inadvertently dishonoring the possibly-dead Bishop Cologie, and just as you’ll find when I tell a joke, there is utter silence.

s02 e06-10

Credits vignette:
As the nun stands watching, Frasier sits at a table writing a check for more money to give to the hospital.

Closing thoughts:
If you can believe it, I’m typing this in Portland, Maine with a rainstorm raging outside.

A few times during season one, I talked about how Frasier stood out amongst old-timey sitcoms, most of which had sensible and realistic social interactions. How wrong was I? Seriously, why didn’t anyone call me out on that nonsense? I recently watched a couple evenings worth of Who’s the Boss?, Growing Pains, and Family Ties episodes, and that was what it took to jolt me from my slumber.

Good God, people, all sitcoms are cartoonish zoos. I guess it turns out that I merely watched them when I was under age 15, then remembered them incorrectly as an adult and saw fit to inject all my hate into Frasier (when it in fact was just the coincidence that I was actually watching Frasier regularly as an adult). Thank God I didn’t watch any Full House! No and no. I will keep and cherish my legion foolish and false memories of logic and joy deriving from that gem, thank you!

Unnecessary conflicts:
I can’t say whether any given local audience would get so mad about someone calling a city soggy and dreary– except Seattle, in which case they most certainly would not give a crap. Now, if you said something mean about the ‘hawks— that’s inviting hell upon your head.

Continuity errors:
s02 e06-07# 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: [2]   previous cumulative: [15]   series cumulative: [17]

# of actual references to Roz sleeping with someone:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [5]   series cumulative: [5]

# of “Dad’s chair is awful” jokes:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [11]

# of times Frasier shouts “NILES!”:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [15]   series cumulative: [15]

# of mentions of Maris:
Episode: [4]   previous cumulative: [77]   series cumulative: [81]

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

# of tender pauses:
Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [14]   series cumulative: [14]

# of times Niles has smiled:
[Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [8]   series cumulative: [10]

Kind of great TV moments:

Kind of great Frasier moments:
I don’t know why I so enjoy Niles hooking up electronics to a television. Maybe it’s just how out of character it is for him.

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “Another drizzly day in Seattle brings out the worst in Frasier.”

2 thoughts on “S2 E6: The Botched Language of Cranes

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