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
Lace” us on Flakebike!

S2 E1: Slow Tango in South Seattle

Tuesday1994-1995Airdate: September 20, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writer: Martin Weiss
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
Well, holy crap cakes. It’s autumn 1994. Finally, I can take Driver’s Ed.

Let’s see what we can do now that we have passed the season threshold! Time to get down to the nitty gritty. On the night that this season premier aired,  Frasier switched to Tuesdays (Full House had done the same thing three years earlier, apparently in some coy ploy to never be watched by me again).

YES: I have tidied up the category headings a little and even tinkered with what we’re evaluating. For instance, we now have a “Kind of great Frasier moments” category. Sadly, I can’t add new counters, because we’re a whole season into the show, but I am semi-vigilant in my more-than-vague intention to run over the last 24 reviews and make an official note of what great Frasier moments there are. Hold on. Oh my Maris! Hold on! Guess what? We can put up a new counter, because there is one thing that only happened once last season. Realsies. Give up? It’s Niles smiling. I know, right!? Jumpin’ Jeebus. “Niles!” Of course.

I’m not even going to mention the things that I promised not to do this season. Hopefully, we will steer our way into some brand new deplorable habits.

Book us on Likeface!
You’ll get mid-week links to ostensibly fun Frasier-related nonsense and will be needlessly pestered to come back here on a regular basis (come to think of it, if you actually just stay here, that’s skipping two steps).

Alright! This Frasier isn’t gonna Deny itself.
FD s02e01-05Episode Synopsis:
Frasier says hello to caller Steven (voice-over by James Spader) on the air. Steven asks for advice on whether to let his infant child climb into bed with him and his wife. Frasier interrupts before Steven can even finish his question and assures him that it is good for a child to bond with the parents in this way.

All the while, Roz is engrossed in a book. Frasier signs off for commercial, runs into the control room, and demands to know why Roz is reading while they are on the air. The book is called Slow Tango in South Seattle, and both Frasier and Roz hack up some exposition hairballs about how much of a current smash hit it is with “the women.”
FD s02e01-02
Roz tells Frasier to read the first paragraph. He reads it with a deliberate, deep and poetic tone, then announces his disdain for it. Roz informs us that all men are alike in that they lack a soul, with the exception of the author of the book, Thomas Jay Fallow. Intrigued at the mention of the name, Frasier grabs the book from her again. He explains that Fallow used to be a regular at Cheers. (Cheers was filmed before a live studio audience. Did you hear that too?!) Frasier used to help Fallow get through his writer’s block.FD s02e01-01Roz explains that Fallow will be coming to the station tomorrow to be on the Book Chat show and demands that Frasier introduce her to him. Frasier refuses, since it’s clear to him that he doesn’t like the book, and he would have to lie to his old friend about it, and surely Fallow won’t fall for that. Roz pulls a ‘contrast’ gag by lying to Frasier about how smart and smooth he is, in response to which he immediately changes his mind. Then, she confesses to tricking him so that we can fade to commercial while he makes the “Whyyy I oughtaaa” face.

...that one.

…that’s the one.

Scene 2
(I’m frickin’ not doing scene titles this year. You heard me.)

Daphne is contorting Martin’s legs for his physical therapy. The doorbell rings. It’s Niles. He explains that he recently noticed that in Martin’s bedroom, there are pictures of everyone except for him and Maris (and Roz and Bull Dog). With that, Niles presents a  framed picture of himself and Maris to Martin.

Frasier enters, fuming about a secret that he once told Thomas Jay Fallow being included in the Slow Tango in South Seattle book. That secret is the circumstances of Frasier losing his virginity, and, as Frasier (and Daphne) explain, it’s in fact the plot of the whole book. Martin makes a generic late-virginity joke. Niles smiles for the second time in the series.

While Frasier removes his tie in the bathroom, Martin asks who the lucky lady was. Frasier refuses to answer. Daphne immediately reveals that it was Frasier’s piano teacher.

(OK. Now, by any standards– I don’t care what your walk of life is, where you came from, what you believe in– that is just objectively and entirely hot.)
FD s02e01-04Frasier is pissed. Daphne presses, describing some of the things that the book reveals. Martin mentions that he was the one paying for the $10-a-week piano lessons. Niles stands up, shocked as he asks for confirmation that it was Miss Warner, who also taught him. Martin asks Niles whether he was also carnally familiar with the teacher. As Niles begins his reply in the form of another joke at the young Frasier’s expense, Daphne listens carefully, and when Niles concludes with a response in the negative, she is visibly relieved.

Martin and Niles continue to laugh at Frasier. But why? Man, woman, gay or straight– an affair with one’s piano teacher is something that someone should be congratulated for (if in a dignified, understated way)– not openly mocked. The way that these gents are carrying on, you would think that the book had revealed some kind of public, voyeuristic shaming or being molested by a girl with flipper hands. Clearly, they are lividly jealous.

Frasier demands their attention and announces that it was by no means just a fling. He refers to her by her first name, Clarice, and says that they cared for each other. The audience approves of the serious moment with their silence.

Then, Daphne channels Fallow, describing Frasier’s feelings for Warner, which turns Niles on. (It’s right in there, folks– this isn’t some tabloid.)
FD s02-e01-10Frasier interrupts her with an ad hominem attack against Fallow, referring to his frequent drinking. Niles mentions that Fallow didn’t remember who had told him this autobiographical story, since Frasier was never mentioned in the acknowledgements or otherwise contacted about it. Frasier leaves, announcing his intention to remind Fallow who it was.

Niles and Martin inexplicably wrestle to get a hold of the book.

Scene 3
At the station, Thomas Jay Fallow is reading an excerpt from the book on Amber Edwards’ Book Chat show. Frasier and Roz are standing out in the hall. Frasier seems intent on scalping Fallow; Roz asks him to wait until she gets her book signed. He asks if she has, um, told anyone, so, I guess he told her for some reason, and she assures him that she hasn’t (should I just skip the ‘contrast’ gag featuring Bull Dog? OK. It’s a deal– Oh, wait. We can’t. They follow through with a conversation about it).

So Bull Dog knows too, but he reveals that he had a similar experience with an older woman. He makes a couple of “because I’m Bull Dog” jokes, then Gil comes over and makes fun of Frasier. Bull Dog produces a copy of the book, and he and Gil read aloud from it and laugh (this falls under the “characters mocking each other is always funny” cliché, and it’s sort of bamboo under my nails). They exit.

Roz and Frasier turn their attention back to the booth as Amber Edwards asks Fallow what the inspiration was for the story. He reports that it was given to him… um… by God.

Frasier erupts in impassioned protest, declaring himself to be God (like we didn’t know that already). Amber breaks for commercial. She exits to make a phone call. Frasier enters the booth; addresses Fallow. He is ecstatic to see Frasier, who immediately calls him a thief and emphatically bemoans the absence of his own name in the acknowledgements.

Fallow is silent for a moment, then apologizes. He begins to weep and penitently embraces Frasier, declaring that he owes him everything. Amber, Roz, and two other women enter the booth to console Fallow. Roz chides Frasier.
FD s02e01-06Four more women then enter the booth to tend to Fallow (because only women have read the book, and only people who have read the book would bother to tend to someone in this situation). Frasier exits.

Scene 4
At the apartment, Niles tells Martin that Maris is reading Slow Tango in South Seattle. Martin doesn’t care.

Frasier enters; explains that he made Fallow cry and is feeling rather guilty about it. Martin stands up and points out that Frasier got what he wanted out of the situation and still isn’t happy. He criticizes Frasier’s insistence on analyzing everything so much, extols Eddie’s simple “outlook” on pursuing happiness, and tells Frasier he should learn from it.

Hold on. Martin is saying that it’s no big deal that the author wept when Frasier confronted him– not a little weird; no clarification needed at all– and that Frasier should go by Eddie’s example and be happy about the “simple things” in life, such as this event in which the author cried. Mmkay? Just wanted to take an extra second so you can be sure you’re on board with it.

Martin and Eddie exit.

Niles approaches Frasier with two glasses of red wine; hands him one. Niles disagrees with Martin about the source of Frasier’s uneasiness. He tells Frasier it seems that in this situation, some problem persists even after Frasier got the chance to confront Fallow. Daphne enters swiftly, holding the book in front of her. She chides Frasier; he asks what for. She details from the book how Frasier left Clarice. without saying goodbye.
FD s02e01-07Frasier defends himself, indicating that he had just been accepted to Harvard. Daphne is rather upset; Niles joins her, asking whether Frasier really just left that abruptly after they had shared so much. Frasier waffles unconvincingly as Daphne exits.

Niles abandons his glass of wine, heading for the door. He tells Frasier that the closure he needed obviously didn’t come from his encounter with Fallow because there still is the need to make things right with Clarice.

Scene 5
Late at night, Frasier is reading the book by the window (this is the first time in the series that a character has relayed their thoughts to the audience with a voice-over). It is narrated by the character based on Clarice Warner, lamenting her student’s unkept promise to return. After he finishes the book, as he pensively lays his head back on the chair, Daphne storms through the room and slaps him with her copy of the book. The audience heartily approves, but I’m not really sure what is happening. Was Daphne able to read his mind through a “psychic flash” as he finished the book, hence being reminded of how upset she is over him leaving his piano teacher like he did?

Scene 6
A woman plays a heavy-hearted rendition of The Blue Danube on the piano. Frasier approaches the door and watches her. He knocks. She comes to the door and answers to ‘Ms. Warner.’ He identifies himself. She doesn’t remember him. She invites him in, and he sits on the couch. He describes to her their last evening together, confesses his broken promise, and asks for her forgiveness. She complies, but, due to her uncertainty concerning whether she has ever in fact seen this man before (or heard his name), we still get to wonder whether she is now senile or simply slept with a large number of her students.

Then, she calls to her daughter in the other room, addressing her as, uh, “Clarice.”
FD s02e01-09Clarice comes in. She recognizes Frasier. She can tell that he is there because of the book. The mother exits. Frasier apologizes that their story made it to print. Clarice tells him not to feel bad; says that she enjoyed getting a chance to relive it. Frasier gets around to apologizing for leaving her. He asks if she would like to get coffee. She refuses, and her stunning, young, bronze god of a boyfriend pops his head in, asking if she’s ready to go. She exits, and Frasier is alone.

What happens next is so obvious that even the audience starts laughing while Frasier is just standing there in silence:  The mother comes in with iced tea and is ready for action.

Credits vignette:
Frasier and Mrs. Warner sit at the piano, playing together. She pushes closer to him and he inches away, until they both fall off the piano bench.

Closing thoughts:
The pacing and dialogue have taken a step up in quality. I really get the sense that this episode could be performed as a play. It still has silly coincidences, like Frasier knowing Fallow from Boston and Fallow appearing on a KACL show a day after it’s brought to his attention, but that’s what we’re here for, right?

I don’t see why this writer never took the opportunity for a tender pause. The scene with Thomas Fallow crying in Frasier’s arms is just played off as “Man crying? Absurd!” and there is no payoff for Frasier’s little quest. What did the author decide to do? No idea.

This is the second episode in a row in which Roz mentions that she wants to find someone to marry and have a life with. It also features a standard dose of Niles/Daphne flirtations. I think it’s only the second time that we have seen Daphne help Martin with his physical therapy exercises. There even was (unseen) photographic evidence of Maris’s existence.

You know what have not seen once, though? An episode about the dog. That’s right:  Stay tuned for next week’s Frasier Denied, as we bring you the very first Eddie episode!

Fight bravely, my friends, and live to deny another day.

Unnecessary conflicts:
Frasier initially planning to completely avoid interacting with his old friend simply because he would “have to” lie about liking the book that he hadn’t read.

Also, it’s a cheap-o gag when Frasier says “Ms. Warner?” instead of “Clarice?” to Clarice’s mother.

Continuity errors:
There isn’t anything called “South Seattle.”

# of women Frasier has dated:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [3]   series cumulative: [3]
(He also got shot down in this episode. So, that was nice.)

# of women Frasier has slept with:

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



# of jokes about how Roz sleeps with everyone:

Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [10]   series cumulative: [10]

# 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: [69]   series cumulative: [71]

# 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: [12]   series cumulative: [12]

NEW CATEGORY- # of times Niles has smiled:

[Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [1]   series cumulative: [2]

Kind of great TV moments:
(none)

Kind of great Frasier moments:
(none)

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “After Roz introduces Frasier to a hot new best seller, Frasier is stunned to learn the story was based on his long ago affair with a former teacher.”
FD s02e01-08ALSO AVAILABLE ON CASSETTE AND COMPACT DISC

Season 1: Special Features

I, CraneMore like “Frasier Divine,” am I right? (No. –FD) The pictures in this post are screenshots that weren’t used in the reviews, so they’re our very own deleted scenes! I’m going to be really informal about this. I haven’t made any preparations.
FDs1e22-not used3This is the day that we show up in jeans. This is when we host the show on Christmas day. This is when we pour the champagne down the sink and open a can of Rainier. It’s been quite a year, Frasier! Why don’t we just turn things upside-down and start with the counters? Alright.

Counters as of end of Season 1:
# of women Frasier has dated: 3
# of women Frasier has slept with: 1
# of jokes about how Roz sleeps with everyone: 10
# of actual references to Roz sleeping with someone: 4
# of “Dad’s chair is awful” jokes: 11
# of times Frasier shouts “NILES!”: 13
Mentions of Maris: 69 (Seriously, how comfortable is everyone with the proximity of that name and that number?)
# of times Frasier or Niles (both psychiatrists) exhibit mentally ill tendencies: 16
# of tender pauses: 12

I was a little impressed to find the Frasier crew exercising far more restraint than I’d remembered when it comes to “Dad’s chair is awful” jokes, jokes about how Roz sleeps with everyone, and even the telltale tender pause. That was in fact the reason that I picked all of these categories– I expected to be racking up points like crazy, hence demonstrating how out of control this tan-clad space wagon really is.
FDs1e22-not used2That’s OK. Frasier more than made up for it by scoring a lot more points for mental illness– especially for acting like a sociopath– than I’d remembered. And just think of how many outbursts go unreported: Frasier’s also a neglectful father, he has poor impulse control, he’s rude to absolutely everyone, he’s a hater of animals, and he treats attractive women like shiny objects.
FDs1e21-not usedWhich is all just fine. It’s not as if we started this out determined to unlock the virtue and valor of the great Dr. Crane. Well, certainly not this early in the game anyway.

I started this retrospective year-in-TV typing these during the work day on the 24th floor in downtown Seattle, from which I managed multiple locations for an insurance company, and I’m ending it typing in the evenings on a borrowed Mac with a granite island-counter top as a desk with a view of the planes landing at the Portland (Maine) Jetport. In that time, I also graduated from Droid Eris to McPhone, watched all of Breaking Bad and the Office finale, and saw the Grand Canyon. Hmm. I did a hell of a lot more than Frasier did.
FDs1e22-not usedSpeaking of which, I guess we should discuss what he did, long as we’re here. (*looks through notes; frowns) Well, folks, I don’t know what to tell you. (*rereads the Frasier Denied ‘About’ page) Oh, that’s right! This show is about Niles and Daphne. OK. Heh.
FDs1e14-08unusedNow, obviously, when I say “about,” I don’t mean that they have the majority of screen time. Not at all. However, the story that Frasier has in it is their story. Frasier Crane doesn’t have any story. He has a past and he has a day-to-day. Everything else is personality contorting into slightly different shapes for our endearment, amusement, disdain, etc.

This may in fact be something that I have harped on just a little, so let that be a stated goal: In season 2, we’ll find other things to fix these conflicted, shameful emotions on. We’ll dig deeper! (Don’t hold your breath on me stopping calling you Niles, though.)
FD s01e23-15 not usedThe other thing that I probably mention far too often is how the show operates like a cartoon. You know how some movies “are” comic books– even some that aren’t actually comic book adaptations? It’s that. However, one huge breakthrough (maybe) fell through my sky lights just this week: Are all sitcoms cartoons? Pick one at random. I don’t think I have a clue on how to trace some sort of genealogy of realistic vs. surreal sitcomery, but we can briefly dabble. Your randomly picked sitcom will rate somewhere between Growing Pains and Third Rock from the Sun. These seem to establish some decent, rough goal posts for our analysis (the former being a straightforward, realistic universe; the latter, total fiction. You could also do, say, The Cosby Show and Small Wonder.)

In between them, though, you have hundreds of shows. Hundreds! I’m afraid I’m not sure if all of them could get assigned a spot on some tidy scale measuring their “cartoon pH.” What show would be at the center? What show is exactly 50% realistic and 50% cartoon? The world may never know.

***

Hey. Wait. Wow! That was so cute just then, how we both simultaneously thought that perhaps the Omni-Sitcomical Mid-Point of perfect balance between realism and fantasy in all of Sitcomdom would be Frasier! I could have simply ended with that Tootsie Pop tagline and reposted this picture:

Moi?

Moi?

But…. that would be a matter of taste within a gray area that would most likely encompass 80% or so of all prime time comedy since 1970 (and don’t forget dream sequences, oriental-ish mysticism and trendy tropes like the “amnesia head bump,” or seasonal supernatural injections on Halloween and Christmas).

I mean, as I sit here in Netflix town, in the state of tweet, nestled in the nation of google on web planet under the noon David Hyde Pierce, the phrase “jump the shark” seems to have gone out, in, and out of use again since Fonzy shook off his water skis. It can still mean the moment when a reasonably realistic narrative goes distinctly and utterly to fantasy in a way that completely clashes with the voice of the show, the moment when an intrinsic ongoing condition of the characters’ lives forever changes (births, deaths, weddings, changes of setting, lottery winnings), or just a sea change in the show’s voice itself, undergone in such a way that fails to carry the mojo.
s01 e24 not used‘Jumping the shark’ is a great segue from the ‘realistic-vs.-cartoon’ discussion and some closing remarks on the arc of Frasier (are they still doing the Smithsonian exhibit on the arc of Frasier?) To wrap up our coverage on the former, the cartoon surrealism in our beloved Dr. Crane’s show has almost nothing to do with story. Even when Daphne psychically senses Lilith’s approach to the west coast, it’s not as if the gang has to hide Lilith’s cut from a heist or protect Daphne’s unborn child from Lilith’s… foul plans to… teach him in the ways of Lilith or something– it’s just for a gag. Other than that, Eddie is obviously a professionally trained dog, and Frasier usually gets away with borderline criminal social behavior. As I’ve said before, Perfect Strangers was much more liberal, and completely unapologetic, about wildly unrealistic phenomena coming and going (and I love every bit of it).

To be sure (this statement being adorned with a promise to not harp on it in the second season), Frasier‘s surrealism is in the nutty, unpredictable social relations between Frasier and everybody.
s01 e24 not used2Finally, Niles and Daphne. In this season, we met them both, Niles felt an immediate glow at the sight of her (which, surely, Daphne also felt– she’s merely been more professional about it all along), Niles confessed to Frasier, Martin acknowledged that he’s aware of it, and Frasier yelled at Daphne about it in a fit of rage. This is as far as it has come.

I am honestly unsure whether the creators had Niles and Daphne’s relationship in the outline at the start or that’s just where gravity took the permanent focus. Part of what makes it hard to tell is how straight Jane Leeves plays Daphne. She has a perpetual dignity, sincerity and temperance that allow her to voice passionate emotions or decisive intentions most effectively without raising her voice– importantly, it also affords her a comic subtlety through which she has probably saved more scenes than any other character.
s01-sf 01I mean, can you imagine this show without Daphne? It would just be a couple of nuts arguing about whether white wine is better than a Pepsi at Denny’s (LOL! People think differently! Ha ha!) and coffee shop conversations about how psychiatric patients are such a drain on one’s own sanity (ROFL! Sick people talk funny!)– Do you think Frasier would have made it past this point without her?
fd s01e02 unused

S1 E24: My Coffee with Niles

Airdate: May 19, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writers: David Angell, Peter Casey
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
It is done! A season in the can.
s01 e24-00

It’s a perfect time to Deny us on Facebook.

Please welcome The Blogsby Show to the Blogroll! It looks like they’ve been cranking them out for a while, so there is plenty of good reading to do over there.

It has been so terrific to see that we’re gathering some more readers lately. I hope you are enjoying the nostalgia and earth tones as much as I am. Strictly speaking, I hope you’re enjoying that part of it more than I am. I’m sort of your Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, here to demonstrate that though Dr. Frasier Crane is charming and animated and seemingly beckons from within you at times, his example will only lead your soul to fits of anger and unintended chastity.

Our episode Synopsis:

Act 1:

At Café Nervosa, Niles is on his super futuristic cell phone giving driving directions to Maris. As he finishes the call, Frasier enters. Niles explains that he was in fact giving Maris directions to her own living room from the kitchen. This doubles as a joke about how big the house is and a joke about her intelligence.

I have noticed that Niles regularly delivers jokes about how odd or unlikeable Maris is, while himself not seeing those traits for what they are, but you know that Tom & Jerry brush we’ve been painting over the cast and script a little more liberally than usual lately? Actually, I’d rather compare this to Bugs Bunny speaking into the camera. A joke like this is clearly intended as something that the writer presents directly to us because they like their joke, not as something that one character says to another about their world.

This would not be the case if Niles were someone who regularly makes wisecracks about his wife (or about anything for that matter). I’ll allow more than enough room for an interpretation that a) Niles is a supremely coy comedian who has dedicated his entire social life to the driest humor imaginable without ever “breaking” (that is, laughing or in any way letting on that it’s in fun); or b) He’s an unhappy spouse with a not-so-subtle subconscious defense mechanism of painting his better half in an unfavorable light every time he speaks of her.

To elaborate further on my personal take, though, it seems that Maris, the unseen character, is where the Frasier crew apply the least sticky patches in the fourth wall. OK, OK– we won’t wonk on this all day, but look: Daphne truly being a psychic (which she is– there’s no wink there) is a fantasy flourish that makes the fiction more entertaining. Niles’ descriptions of Maris are that with a little something else added. I know what you’re thinking: Frasier perpetually delivers condescending jokes as if no one were in the room with him– you’re right, but that’s different. Frasier isn’t stepping outside of his identity as a character amid the continuity of his own universe when he does so– he merely enjoys framing insults that way.

There are no free tables at the café. Niles explains that there is a party that has already paid, and he has been giving them stern looks for five minutes. Frasier asks for a demonstration of the look; he isn’t impressed.

They decide to order. The barista tells them that the coffees of the day are Zimbabwe and Kenya. Frasier orders a Zimbabwe latte and Niles orders a Kenya cappuccino. Frasier explains that it’s now a year since he moved from Boston. Their coffees come up. Frasier apologizes to the barista for forgetting to order decaf. Do you remember that episode of Seinfeld when they spent the whole show waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant? (It’s S2 E11.) This begins to feel like that. It’s an approach that reminds me of a play. It also reminds me of a clip show, probably only because it’s the kind of format that tends to be appropriated for the short, usually contrived-sounding conversations that cement the clips together. Anyway, it also has a decidedly Frasier kind of tone to it, in general, so it fits.

Frasier and Niles decide to look for a seat on the patio outside. They exit through the door that is usually used to get in and out of the café (in fact, I am almost sure that it has been shown from the outside as a door to the street. I’ll meet you under the Continuity Errors heading with a final answer.) (Edit: Nope. The street part was in my imagination). A table has just opened up. Niles grabs a napkin and cleans his chair with great care. Frasier calls him out on it, forcing me to ring Niles up for OCD.
s01 e24-01Niles asks Frasier whether he is happy. Frasier is hesitant, and it gets kind of too serious too quickly as he realizes that he most certainly isn’t. Then, the comic relief, according to the audience, is when Niles outright admits that he is not happy.

Since Frasier is evidently so totally unsatisfied with life, it makes you wonder how he even keeps it together. Well, you know how? Do you? Denial. And that is what we are here for.

Frasier asks Niles why he isn’t happy. Niles explains that he saw a poor child from a third world country receiving shoes from the Salvation Army on PBS earlier that week. The child’s face grew bright with true happiness, and Niles describes this as something that he has never felt.

He takes account of his good fortune and begins to talk his way through convincing himself that he really loves Maris (Niles, not the poor child on PBS).

Roz enters. She is meeting a date. She burns Niles with a couple of quips and exits. Niles asks Frasier if he’s ever thought about mating with Roz. The barista brings Frasier’s coffee. He sends her back with it for non-fat milk. It begins to rain; Frasier and Niles rush inside. They notice Roz’s date, and they both admire his looks.

Martin, Daphne, and Eddie enter. The barista tells Martin that dogs aren’t allowed in the café. Martin pretends to be blind, and she apologizes. The entire cast is now at the café (unless you count Bulldog. I guess we have to count Bulldog). Daphne explains that they were out exercising. Martin is really pissed about the rain.

Frasier and Martin strike up an immediate shouting match about toast. The barista comes to the table with Frasier’s third draft of a coffee. He sends her back for another one, requesting that she omit the cinnamon.

Frasier and Martin keep fighting. Frasier says that they have this sort of flare-up once in a while, but Martin decides to move out. He storms out of the café.

Does anyone want me to make some cutesy joke about an intermission? No? Anyone in the back? No? Gah. I love you guys. Here we go!

Act 2:
Frasier exits the bathroom. Niles has explained to Daphne that Frasier and Martin are having a fight. Daphne mentions that Martin has been impatient with her lately too (I guess this means that they aren’t taking Martin’s threat to move out seriously).

Daphne exits. Niles gestures to the barista to remind her about Frasier’s coffee. Niles tells Frasier that Martin is reacting to his own gradual loss of control, especially since he used to be a policeman. Frasier tells of a recent night when he fell asleep on the couch and when he awoke, Martin was regarding him with paternal affection and stroking his hair. Martin covered for it by telling Frasier to get a damn haircut, of course, but it was important to Frasier. Niles is also endeared by hearing of it.

The barista returns for the fourth time and gives Niles a refill. She reports, however, that at this point in the delicate and elaborate operation of providing Frasier’s coffee, she has deferred to a “team of specialists.” You see– this is the sort of joke that Niles tells about Maris.

Niles smiles.

***

I don’t think you heard me.

NILES SMILES.
s01 e24-03On this, the season finale, in response to Frasier’s suffering at the hands of a barista he has abused, Niles finally smiles for the first time. Also, I finally have a picture for that spot over my bed.

On this, the season finale, in response to Frasier’s suffering at the hands of a barista he has abused, Niles finally turns his lips upward.

Frasier suggests that they change the subject. He outright asks whether Niles is in love with Daphne. After some brief and unconvincing waffling, Niles responds in the affirmative. He describes how alive she makes him feel. Frasier asks if he plans to leave Maris. Niles says he doesn’t, but, as we’ve always known, he simply wants to be with Daphne. They turn the conversation back to the question of whether Frasier is happy. Roz interrupts them, bemoaning her failed date. The man she was meeting was trying to win her for his religion. She exits.
fd-s1e24-04ishFrasier laments his lackluster social life. (No kidding. You’ll see from our handy-dandy counter below that he has only slept with one woman this whole year– and she was his ex-wife! (Um. But of course, wait ’til your married, eat your vegetables, and obey all posted speed limits –FD) Frasier then uses “moving in with Frederick” as a sort of ad absurdum illustration of the worst possible outcome. Now, hmm. Clearly he is comparing himself to Martin, but Christ on a toenail, Dr. Crane, your son is still what? Ten? Is there no bottom to the inky well of your narcissism?

Niles asks his question again. Martin interrupts this time, entering the café and looking penitent. He apologizes for acting so mean lately and taking his frustrations out on them. Frasier forgives him. He follows up, asking what’s been on Martin’s mind. Martin reveals that his birthday was the previous Sunday. Holy. Crap.

They offer to take him out to dinner at the restaurant of his choice. He names an especially Martin kind of restaurant, with free motor oil ice cream floats with every corn dog or whatever. They overcompensate pretending that they don’t consider the very thought of it perfectly dreadful, and it’s actually really endearing.

Daphne returns. She had a psychic flash that told her that Martin had returned to the café. Niles gets up to give Martin, Daphne, and Eddie a ride home. They all exit. The barista comes to the table to give Frasier his non-fat decaf Zimbabwe, no cinnamon.

With inflection that refers to the beverage but words that allow us to hear Frasier’s response to the cozy assurance that he and his father are at peace and Niles is being honest with himself about the direction his life is taking and the whole gang has a loving bond (except for Frederick– forget about him), she asks Frasier whether he is happy.

There is a tender pause, and Frasier responds in the affirmative. He sips his coffee and smiles.

Credits vignette:
Frasier drinks his coffee and discovers something in the bottom of the cup. He signals for the barista, who comes and collects his coffee again.

End Theme Closing: (remember those?)
“See you next year! We love ya!”

Closing thoughts:
Following this finale, aired on May 19, 1994, the fall season would bring us the premier of Friends (quadruple robot clap). I wonder if Frasier’s and Niles’ coffee dates at Café Nervosa inspired the permanent hang-out that the six Friends characters would make of Central Perk (I’m going to wrongfully assume that it did). It’s kind of like when you were a young Soundgarden fan and someone introduced you to Black Sabbath. That’s basically what I’m saying: Frasier is the Black Sabbath to Friends’ Soundgarden. (I’m sorry I make everything about Sabbath. I am.)

You know what this show has almost none of? Events without dialogue. I’m sure you can think of a moment from another sitcom (or at least remember it in general, like I do) when someone does something and, say, the audience gives a knowing, “uh-oh” type gasp. That never happens on this show.

You will notice how I will write about it every time there is almost a brief silence for whatever reason– it’s that rare (although, I may simply be perpetually jumping the gun for it. as of now, tender pauses average once every other episode). However, a few seconds with not only silence but an actual deliberate movement by one of the characters to put a story point in place has never once happened. Perhaps it simply doesn’t fit the personality and cadence of Frasier. (What brought this to my attention was the low incidence of screenshots without subtitles in them. I guess now that we’ve gotten our Niles smile, we can make this our next holy Frasier grail.)

It also occurred to me during this episode that perhaps the hyperbole in some of the jokes and character behaviors/thought processes, etc. is in place to emphasize that not only are these not real people, but they aren’t even hypothetical role models. Frasier’s living so far away from his son Frederick and Niles staying in a bad marriage while in love with someone else come to mind. You can’t swing a wet cat without finding more examples, though. (The brothers also forgot their father’s birthday, remember? Martin also pretends to be blind, etc.)

I tend to call this show a cartoon in something of a disdainful, almost smug sort of way (that’s the voice that these sort of projects require, you see. It’s 11 marathons, not a  sprint. You have to either be very stingy with your approval or have an explicitly stated mission that serves some kind of niche wonk (and I mean that in a totally professional, non-sexual way).

But maybe the surreal tone and social minutia are what give Frasier such wide appeal (I’ve probably given that whole speech before. Oh well. If I can’t remember it, you shouldn’t).

When I think about Friends, it’s sheer brain candy. Frasier hasn’t an ounce more substance, but its structure– the look, language, and rhythm– is crafted so carefully to carry the lasting impression of temperance and sophistication. It’s brain candy in a really, really snazzy foil that you flatten out and use as a bookmark.

Conflicts that occur simply because someone behaves in a very unrealistic way—most often by not explaining something mundane:
This episode hardly had any conflicts at all. It was more of a post-season debriefing, a few mission statements, and a short scare about Martin moving out. Hey, wait– maybe it’s right there: Martin threatening to move out because… nah. False alarm. It wasn’t tortured logic, just unusually emotional and overstated.

Continuity errors or anachronism:
Niles remembers who Roz is again.

Roz hates Niles.

Martin, an elderly man who has lived in Seattle his whole life, takes time to be outwardly angry about rain.

Martin and Daphne talk about “Third Street” and “Fourth Street.” They are avenues.

BONUS: In Frasier’s request to hear what the “coffees of the day” are, there is an obvious effort to justify the inconsistency of the coffee orders that Frasier and Niles have been making at Nervosa. Of course that doesn’t warrant a retraction of our specific objections, but my! That is so well-played.

# 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: [3]   previous cumulative: [7]   series cumulative: [10]

# 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: [1]   previous cumulative: [12]   series cumulative: [13]

Mentions of Maris:
Episode: [8]   previous cumulative: [61]   series cumulative: [69]

# of times Frasier or Niles (both psychiatrists) exhibit mentally ill tendencies:
Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [15]   series cumulative: [16]
(Niles, at his meticulous chair-wiping again. I tried to look the other way– you know it to be true!– but Frasier wouldn’t have it.)

# of tender pauses:

[Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [12]

“Kind of a great TV moment” moments:
Eddie and Martin sitting with Frasier and Niles at the café.

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

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “Over coffee at Café Nervosa, Niles poses an interesting question: After a year in Seattle, is Frasier happy?”
s01 e24-02

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

S1 E22: Author, Author

FDs1e22-0Airdate: May 5, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writers: Don Seigel, Jerry Perzigian
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
In this review, I call Frasier and Niles “the doctors” and “the Cranes.” I was going to call them “the boys,” but I’ll leave that to the real fans. If their names were switched, I could never have named this blog “Niles Denied.” However, if I did name individual reviews, that is exactly what this one would be called.

I hope that you, dear readers, are approximately divided down the middle between the straightforward and ironic varieties of fan. Could it be that I am divided down that middle myself? I’m thinking it’s probably 70/30, majority ironic.

Whatever the case, this is the worst episode yet. We will be keeping an eye on these writers, because they chose to bring us a Niles episode, but they don’t know very much about Niles. He’s quite out of character for the premise, much of the dialogue, and the climax, so, regardless of your personal Frasier orthodoxy, this one is likely best enjoyed ironically.

Our episode Synopsis:
Open at Café Nervosa. The barista announces Frasier’s usual and serves him a latté with cinnamon and nutmeg.He tells her that that is actually Niles’ usual, while his own is a double Kona with cream. All this hard work has finally paid off! I have totally busted Frasier for a lack of continuity in the Crane brothers’ coffee preferences. Let’s flash back to my review of the pilot:

“Frasier and Niles’ café latté supremos don’t technically present a retroactive continuity error— certainly, a person can order a different coffee every day of their life without presenting any paradox whatever— but it’s worth mentioning that in this pilot episode Frasier orders the drinks for himself and Niles quite readily, as if it is their usual order, and in the series, they never order them again.”

Niles enters, in a bit of a panic about a meeting with his publisher. Also, Niles has a… publisher. He was contracted to write a book, but the idea had already been done by someone else, and he is due to present a new premise, but he has not been able to come up with one. His publisher, Sam Tanaka, arrives. He recognizes Frasier and is a fan of the show.
FDs1e22-1Niles doesn’t have to admit that he has no ideas, because early in the conversation Tanaka suggests a book about sibling relationships, co-written by Frasier, at which Niles laughs nervously (which doesn’t count as Niles smiling) and claims that the sibling psychology book was just what he had in mind. Sam invites them to go out to celebrate. He exits briefly to cancel his other plans.

Frasier refuses to be involved with writing the book and begins to leave. Whatever alien or specter that has hijacked Niles’ mortal frame for the duration of this episode says that he has never wanted anything more than to be published.
FDs1e22-2Scene 2: It Was Probably Lake Smith
(Incoherent. Also: Ugh. You can’t make a joke about something we haven’t seen yet. This is the kind of over-the-top, confused scene title I’m referring to in contrast to one that typifies the Frasier aesthetic. It’s just overt.)

The doorbell rings: Frasier answers. It’s Niles. Frasier tells Martin they are going to start writing. Martin protests that the Sonics game is about to start. Frasier presents him with the gift of some new wireless headphones.
FDs1e22-4The doctors attempt to get to work on the book. Niles notes that unlike their dissertations and theses– which are their only previous writing experience– the book has to be interesting. This is both claptrap and entirely true.

Martin affectionately jokes that he could contribute stories about Frasier and Niles themselves. It occurs to them that this might in fact be the basis for a good intro, and they ask him what he would include. Martin says that they had fought a lot when they went trout fishing as a family once. Frasier and Niles ask him to continue the story, but instead he keeps trying to remember which lake it was that they had gone to. He rattles off a dozen American gradeschool child’s gibberish versions of Native American sounding names, and Frasier and Niles ever-too-quickly escalate to pleading with him to stop focusing on that and continue the story.

It’s not that Martin isn’t being a weirdo, but the heightened emotions on Frasier and Niles’ part are delivered with a sitcom economy that is just jarring. (Maybe this should have been an hour-long show, so they could have taken a few more seconds to justify, deliver and integrate half of these interactions.)

Frasier suggests that they use his radio show to gather case histories, with Niles as guest and the callers contributing stories on their sibling-related issues.

Niles is both objectively appalled and personally delighted, another example of failed subtlety that we wouldn’t tend to expect from him.
FDs1e22-5Scene 3: The Mother Lode
(You know how the security guards at, say, a Phish show don’t bother to bust anyone for having narcotics? That’s how I’m starting to feel about these scene titles. Anyway: cliché!)

At KACL, Frasier is in the control room with Roz and Niles is in the booth. Frasier announces the Niles-related format, and Roz refuses. Frasier threatens to leave, and she immediately acquiesces. Wouldn’t he just get fired if he did that? Why the hell would that matter to her? Perhaps the eclipse of Niles’ identity by some attention-fixated caricature of himself inspired Frasier to exaggerate his own diva (I was gonna say “inner,” but…)

They go on the air. Niles gives a highly energetic, goofy greeting over the air. Frasier mashes the cough button and tells Niles to act normally. He pushes it again and introduces the topic. Niles interrupts, reading rapidly and monotonously from his own notes. Frasier cuts him off and prompts Roz to put on the first caller.

Scene 4: Untitled
Later, a caller named Laura (voice over by Christine Lahti) tells of when she was younger and she shaved her head and, so she wouldn’t feel out of place, her sisters shaved their own heads. Frasier is astonished and commends the relationship that Laura and her sisters have, as exemplified in that selfless act.

Frasier signs off. Through the whole show, Niles has been taking extensive notes. He is pleased to have gathered so much information. Sam Tanaka calls; Frasier puts him on speaker. Tanaka says he caught the show and loved it. He asks about their writing progress, and Niles, still in fact referring only to raw notes, says they have about 3 chapters. Sam says that Reader’s Digest may be interested in featuring it; he asks if they can send him what they have so far.  He gives them until Friday.

They resolve to lock themselves in a hotel room until they finish that much of the book.
FDs1e22-6Scene 5: George and Ira
(I don’t care if it does reference the authors Frasier mentioned in the last scene as his inspiration for the hotel room method. It’s still officially incoherent.)

Frasier and Niles enter a hotel room. I think it’s the same set that they always use for hotel rooms. I don’t mean that as a criticism– it doesn’t bother me at all.

Did you ever see Louis C.K.’s first show Lucky Louie? They chose to take a minimalist approach on the sets, reminiscent of The Honeymooners, but they got all kinds of shit reviews, criticizing them for “not bothering” to get a more elaborate set. It’s interesting how large a role intent plays in presentation.

Speaking of which, Frasier paces, talking about what of kind of tone they should set at the beginning of the book. Niles types throughout, then interrupts, declaring that he has had a breakthrough: He presents a pretty solid opening line. Frasier specifically calls it “interesting” but “not good.”

Niles invites Frasier to make an attempt. He hesitates. Niles taunts him. They cut right to later, both of them with their coats off, having not made a dot of progress. Frasier finally proposes an opening line, and Niles compliments him on it, then adds to it. This is exactly what they should be doing, but Frasier takes offense. They squabble, then shout.
FDs1e22-7Later still, they’re both down to their t-shirts. Frasier drains a little bottle from the mini-bar. They’re still trying to come up with a second sentence (also, they’ve run up more than a $200 bill just from the mini-bar).

Frasier opens the curtains and discovers that it’s dawn– on Friday. He says they should just give up. Niles gives a drunken speech about how he is always second at everything (this adds another dimension of character violation, but it really doesn’t matter at this point). He describes a handful of his professional successes, then actually culminates by bitching that Frasier is the one with his face on the sides of buses. This is more out of character than Pat Robertson in pasties. These folks didn’t write any Niles.
FDs1e22-09They then shout insults about each other’s appearance and start to physically fight. They end up with Frasier strangling Niles on the bed. Frasier gets up, curses the book, and leaves.

Scene 6: Untitled
At the apartment, Martin is reading the paper. Frasier enters from his bedroom. He gets a muffin and denounces Niles’ existence.

The doorbell rings; Daphne answers it. It’s Niles. He insists on communicating with Frasier through Martin, conveying an expectation that Frasier cover half of the hotel bill. Frasier refuses. Niles then speaks directly to him, insulting him. They go from zero to ninety again, yelling back and forth like second graders, again.

Martin tells them both to sit down. It’s a tense moment– 100% quality Martin. He stands and tells the story of an old partner he had when he was a cop. Martin had been an only child, and this partner was like a brother to him. They’d gotten on each other’s nerves on a stakeout, then stopped speaking, and soon after, the partner was stabbed.

Daphne excuses herself for a hanky, which, honest to God, would have been a tender pause if the damn audience didn’t chuckle it up for no reason (if you carefully mute it, you can enjoy a genuine tender pause– but we can’t count it as a real one, obviously).

Frasier apologizes, still maintaining hope for an actual tender pause that we can score for the season. He compliments Niles’ career and character. Niles responds in kind, and Martin extinguishes all tender pause potential by telling them to stop acting like girls. Mm-hmm.

Martin goes to the kitchen. Daphne is crying over his loss. He confesses that he made up the story about his partner, and Daphne hits him.
FDs1e22-13Credits vignette:
At three in the morning, Eddie jumps up on the counter and eats a muffin, which is the most well thought out detail of this episode.

Closing thoughts:
This one was a particularly excruciating “monster of the week” sort of debacle.

That doesn’t actually fit this situation, strictly speaking, and there’s surely an official TV Trope that would be more appropriate here, but I would rather call this Niles imitator an ephemeral villain and leave him behind.
I’m so thrilled to plug another show review blog! I am especially excited about this one. It’s a daring and detailed review of Star Trek the Original Series! Check out Warp Speed to Nonsense now. Now! Go do it.

Conflicts that occur simply because someone behaves in a very unrealistic way—most often by not explaining something mundane:
Frasier and Niles have no reason to get upset with Martin for spending ten seconds trying to remember the name of the fishing lake. They ought to have been brainstorming and jotting down notes. At that point, it seemed like they were a lot more focused then Martin, didn’t it? It turns out that they may have done well waiting for him to get his atlas, then progressing steadily. Remember, they only wrote one sentence. Ever. At all.

Continuity errors or anachronism:
1.) This whole episode is an error. Niles wanting to use his skill for fame is asinine. In the opening scene, he says that being published will make him feel what Frasier feels– that he’s “somebody.” This isn’t like Niles at all (and for God’s sake, no one would think that about Frasier). It runs entirely contrary to everything he has had to say on the subject until now– he has in fact always ridiculed Frasier for taking the “celebrity route.”

2.) Judging by how badly the wireless headphones that I bought in 2004 worked, I doubt that wireless headphones were anything but prohibitively expensive, if available at all, in 1994, and Martin never uses them again.

# 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: [0]   previous cumulative: [6]   series cumulative: [6]

# 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: [2]   previous cumulative: [10]   series cumulative: [12]

Mentions of Maris:

Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [59]   series cumulative: [60]

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

Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [13]
(They both act completely psychotic the whole time they’re in the hotel.)

# of tender pauses:

[Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [11]
(Not counting the honorary mute tender pause when Daphne weeps after Martin’s story.)

“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): “Niles is discouraged that his ideas for a psychiatric book have already been done.”
FDs1e22-10

S1 E21: Travels with Martin

FDs1e21-00Airdate: April 14, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writers: Linda Morris, Vic Rauseo
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:

Frasier Denied is on Facebook now! I’m not going to use a verb in quotation marks to tell you what to do about it. If you like us, I trust you can decide what to do next.

The transcript for this episode on KACL780.net includes links to transcripts of the cast members introducing their favorite episodes.

This episode’s writing duo– a husband and wife team– will go on to bring us 7 total episodes, through season 4. They received Primetime Emmy Awards for their work in seasons 2, 3, and 4.

While typing this introduction, I watched a season 11 episode, and I was reminded of the shark-jumping soulcrush that ensues beginning with season 8. The entire episode fit under our “conflicts that occur because someone behaves in a very unrealistic way– most often by not explaining something mundane” category. Just like Floyd, Sabbath, and Queen, man. The godliness runs out. But let’s think of better times– let’s think of now.

For this week’s episode, I took the no-pause approach. As you might well imagine from the name, this means that I take all of my notes while watching the episode straight through. I do this sometimes so that there is some variety on my perspective from week to week. Other times, I either type while watching or write longhand, in either case pausing to include greater detail.

I have considered other methods, such as watching the whole thing without taking notes, then writing out the synopsis from memory, or watching two episodes at the same time and writing a double-episode review. The latter will likely not fly for a regularly scheduled episode review, but perhaps we might see it as some bonus material or such (maybe I’ll watch all of season 8 on 24 screens at once).

Cue the xylophone, my friends! They’re denyin’ to do.

Our episode Synopsis:
Open at KACL, off the air. Roz stands over Frasier’s shoulder as he opens his mail, a box of vacation brochures. Frasier is overjoyed, intending to pamper himself as Martin and Eddie “fend for themselves.” Roz mentions that her next vacation will involve taking her mother somewhere. As he has before, Frasier tells Roz he admires her relationship with her mother.

Scene 2: Untitled
FDs1e21-01At the apartment, Daphne is giving Niles a massage. He moans in hapless ecstasy. He explains that he threw his back out lifting Maris’s luggage. Martin nonchalantly reads the paper all the while.

Frasier enters; gives Niles a silent “Niles!” (which we don’t count as an official “Niles!”— not to worry.)

Frasier turns his attention to Martin and shows him the brochures. They’re all for exotic and elaborate vacations, like riding turtles. Martin is pleased and a little incredulous. He asks if they can do whatever he wants (I know that sounds a little weird, but that’s actually how it happens). Frasier, glad that Martin has accepted, agrees.

Martin asks if they can see America in a Winnebago. It’s a big Frasier joke, especially between Frasier and Niles. (Actually, is there any other kind?) Martin and Daphne go to the kitchen to prepare some snacks. The scene intercuts between rooms as Frasier asks Niles to come and Martin asks Daphne to come, since it will be awkward for Frasier and Martin to be alone on a week-long trip, but, as they both in fact express aloud, neither wants to disappoint the other.

Niles puts his foot down, refusing to be associated with anything involving an RV. Martin and Daphne enter from the kitchen, and Martin announces that Daphne will be coming on the trip.

Niles fires all ‘immediate decisive diametric contrast cliche’ cannons at once, joyfully “announcing” that he will also be going.

Geez– care to invite Roz and Bulldog too, while you’re at it? They’re the only recurring characters who won’t be getting into the RV and going on this trip.

Scene 3: The Whoopin’ Cranes
(So that’s why these writers got the Emmy.)
FDs1e21-02(Please allow us to remind you that all of the captions in the pictures are just subtitles straight from the show.)

Everyone’s headed down the highway in the RV. Frasier is driving. He’s actually enjoying himself. Or pretending to. Martin tells him to start slowing down for a turn 5 miles ahead.

Frasier asks Martin why they are going to Mount Rushmore (also, they are going to Mount Rushmore). Martin explains that the time it takes to get to Rapid City is half of the time they’ve set aside for the vacation (1 week). Martin is glad to do nothing but driving for the whole week (they don’t address where they are camping). Frasier suggests that they instead wander. He refuses to take the turn to Mount Rushmore.
FDs1e21-03Martin goes a little nuts.

Scene 4: Untitled
Martin is driving. He expresses some joy at traveling without an agenda. Niles and Frasier both request destinations off the highway, shouting repeatedly as Martin ignores them. Hence, they haven’t really managed to enjoy the trip together at all yet. They’ve really only been happy one at a time in the driver’s seat, taking turns at frantically and helplessly protesting each other’s decisions.

Martin sees a sign for a gift shop where you can get your picture taken with a live grizzly bear. Everyone agrees to stop there.

Scene 5: Untitled
At the gift shop, it turns out the bear is stuffed. They have the grouchy proprietor take their picture– a Polaroid for ten bucks– and Martin reveals that they’re in Canada. At this, Daphne howls in horror just as the flash goes off. They’d crossed the border while she was asleep. She explains that her last green card interview isn’t for another three months, and she’s prohibited from leaving the U.S.
FDs1e21-04Martin hatches a plan: They will simply sneak her back across the border. Frasier is very unhappy about it; Niles is worried.

Scene 6: The Hole in the Head Gang
(Current title-holder for best scene title in the series. That opens a new category for us, folks! I wish that the Morris-Rauseos had been hired to write scene titles for the whole run.)

Frasier is driving. Everyone is getting psyched up to defraud the U.S. government. Martin reminds them to simply “act like Americans” (the cast, not the government). As they pass through the border, they’re waved through. Then, seconds later, they’re pulled over.

Scene 7: Checkpoint Charlie
(And here I was thinking we might go back to recognizing the scene titles as act titles.)

Daphne is nervous. Martin tells her to keep her answers short. An immigration officer enters the RV and asks everyone some standard questions. Niles is too curt, Frasier is too wordy, and Daphne just answers every question with the only thing that she can say in an American accent, “sure.”
FDs1e21-05The officer takes Frasier’s license and the rental registration and goes back to his car. Martin berates everyone for being so nervous. The officer returns. He asks Daphne why she’s so quiet. She simply smiles and sort of shrugs with an unresolving sort of tentativeness. Martin misdirects by “confessing” that Eddie’s rabies certificate isn’t in the vehicle. He shows the officer a picture of Eddie at the Space Needle, which also happens to show Martin with a badge. The officer lets them go.

Scene 8: Untitled
At night, Martin is driving. Frasier sits in front; asks if they might chat. Martin says he doesn’t ever know what to talk about when the two of them are alone. They both admit that is why they invited Niles and Daphne. Frasier qualifies that that’s not why Niles agreed to come, and Martin, by enjoying the humor in that, reveals to the audience that he too is totally aware of Niles and Daphne’s growing love thing.

Frasier suggests that they go to Yellowstone, which will require driving all night. They briefly consider dropping Niles and Daphne off in Seattle first, but just in case we didn’t infer from the two scenes already dedicated to illustrating that they don’t want to be alone together, they both grow immediately tense and squirrelly as they verbally correspond in contemplating traveling that far with just the two of them.

They decide to drive all night to Yellowstone and surprise Niles and Daphne with the destination.

Credits vignette:
A view of Daphne sleeping, through the lens of Niles’ video camera, closes up on her until she awakens and looks into the blinding camera light with horror. The camera then turns to a disapproving Frasier entering the cabin.

I… have to officially state that the antics in the short, mute clips featured during the credits must not be intended as canonical. I mean, sure, they’ve always been comical, and even a little surreal, but Niles is sort of committing a crime here, and it’s not as if it will be addressed again.

Closing thoughts:
I have found that my favorite Frasier episodes all involve the cast taking trips away from Seattle. This episode, the ski lodge episode, the ice fishing episode, and the duck hunting episode are all my favorites. I’m not sure why.

I did a youtube search for “Frasier review” so I could lead into getting my work started as I finished my dinner of nachos, and I found this segment from That Modern Rock Show, aired December 1, 2012 on WFDU 89.1 in Teaneck, New Jersey. Check it out. There are too many highlights to mention. I was endeared and enraged in turn, repeatedly.

Conflicts that occur simply because someone behaves in a very unrealistic way—most often by not explaining something mundane:
Martin would definitely have taken some interest in whether Daphne can legally leave the country, but it was a good scene.

Continuity errors or anachronism:
(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: [0]   previous cumulative: [6]   series cumulative: [6]

# 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: [3]   previous cumulative: [7]   series cumulative: [10]

Mentions of Maris:

Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [57]   series cumulative: [59]

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

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

# of tender pauses:
[Episode: [0]   previous cumulative: [11]   series cumulative: [11]
(I thought for sure they would take the opportunity to have a “we really care about each other” moment, what with father and son driving an RV together on an all-nighter, but I suppose it shows integrity that they instead chose to reinforce the difficult and slightly troubled relationship that Frasier and Martin have.)

“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): “Inspired by Roz to do some father-son bonding, Frasier invites his father on vacation.”
FDs1e21-08