S2 E5: Duke’s, We Hardly Knew Ye

fd s02 e05 00Airdate: October 18, 1994
Director: James Burrows
Writer: Linda Morris, Vic Rauseo
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
More than one of my discerning and generous facebook (click that to “like” Frasier Denied) friends sent me this link of Frasier bloopers. I now give it to you.

Now, here’s a Martin episode.

Episode Synopsis:
The Frasier Crane Show is on the air. Frasier says that Roz has an important announcement. He turns to introduce her for it, but she is not there. He reads the announcement from her notes; goes to commercial break.

Out in the hall, Roz is beating on the vending machine, trying to get some chocolate. She explains that she has just completed a “7-day magazine diet” to make herself calmer and healthier.
fd s02 e05 01I don’t suppose Frasier relies too often on generic contrast gags (this one being between Roz’s psychotic breakdown and the “calm” in the description of the diet), otherwise this would get under my skin more.
fd s02 e05 02Niles enters. He asks Frasier if he wants in on a real estate flip with a 12% return. Roz does a quick Freudian analysis of Niles– she asserts that he is trying to make up for being emasculated by Maris by demonstrating some financial competence.

fd s02 e05 04(I want to note that two previous jokes about the Cranes’ chosen schools of psychology have contradicted each other, leaving us uncertain as to whether Frasier is of the Freudian school. I mention it because if he were, it would make this funnier. In fact, Frasier Denied is going to officially recognize that he is, because Niles’ joke about there being “no blaming it on mother today” was more recent—and 100 times funnier—than Frasier self-identifying as “Jung at heart.”)
fd s02 e05 03Niles doesn’t care. He asks again. Frasier agrees.

Scene 2
At home, Martin is cutting coupons. As one might. Daphne emerges in a very nice dress, part-way through preparations for her third date with the never-seen Derek.
fd s02 e05 05The doorbell rings. Daphne answers. Niles identifies her fragrance by name. It’s interesting to me that this is painted as a way for Niles to show his affection for Daphne. I don’t mean that in a Denis Leary, “I’d punch a man if he said I had nice jeans” kind of way—quite the opposite.
fd s02 e05 06I completely get it in the context of real life. With our twenty-two minute dosages of this reality, though, does that hold up? I suppose it does—Niles probably only knows this because he’s studied Daphne’s perfumes specifically, not because of a seasoned knowledge of fragrance in general.

Daphne exits to wash off her perfume.

Niles tells Frasier the good news that their real estate scheme is now expected to return 15%. They decide to celebrate with dinner. Martin invites them to Duke’s. He exits.
fd s02 e05 08Frasier and Niles are dumbfounded. Martin has never once betrayed the slightest inkling to be seen with either of his sons at his favorite bar—nor their mother when she was alive. They discuss it with Daphne. She tells them they should just go.

Scene 3
At Duke’s, it’s packed. Frasier and Niles enter. They notice Martin and remark at how happy he is. Martin’s friends know Frasier from his radio show.

The bartender pours Frasier and Niles some boilermakers.
fd s02 e05 09Martin silences the entire bar to make a toast (have you ever done that? I’ve never done that). Martin explains in his speech that Duke’s is being torn down and replaced with a mini-mall.

Scene 4
At Café Nervosa, Frasier and Niles are discussing how there is no way for them to convince the developers to move the project to a new site. Roz returns to the table; gives Frasier a cappuccino and Niles a latte. She says the coffees are on her.

The brothers continue to discuss their dilemma. Roz’s advice is to keep it quiet. They agree.
fd s02 e05 10

Scene 6
It’s the middle of the night at the apartment, Eddie is asleep on Martin’s chair. Frasier enters from his bedroom. He switches on the “Duke’s” bar sign, which is on top of the piano, and begins to tell Eddie of his troubles. Eddie hurriedly runs out of the room. Martin enters. He admires the bar sign as it blinks. Frasier follows him into the kitchen and confesses that the real estate deal is the reason that Duke’s is getting demolished. He explains that he and Niles didn’t know when they signed up for it and that they tried to change it but couldn’t.
fd s02 e05 11

Martin is mad that they didn’t speak up at the bar—or at least tell him. He says he might have gone to Duke’s too often when Frasier and Niles were kids. Frasier says it meant a lot to have that drink with his father. There is a tender pause.

Martin suggests that they go to the shelled-out Duke’s with their own open container, since the wrecking ball won’t be hitting until the next morning.

Daphne enters. It’s obvious that she had some special sexy time fun on her date.

Scene 7
At the place formerly known as Duke’s, Martin and Frasier are sitting on crates, singing songs.
fd s02 e05 13Martin tells stories of good times that he has had at the bar. Frasier talks about Cheers. He never says the name on this show. I guess it’s for the sake of mystique. After all, they never said “The Cosby Show” on A Different World, am I right?
fd s02 e05 14It’s dawn. Niles runs in. He intends to stop the demolition. He gives a short, impassioned speech about how bars like Duke’s are important to good people.

The wrecking ball actually comes through the window.

Frasier and Martin run away. Niles hesitates, then runs away.
fd s02 e05 15

Credits vignette:
Nine of Martin’s buddies are drinking at the apartment. Frasier sprays air freshener, puts down coasters, etc. It’s just like the end of the Flintstones when the cat puts Fred outside.

Closing thoughts:
It’s good to see actual changes happen. Taking down Duke’s forces the Frasier crew to stop falling back on the same narrative nooks and crannies—now Martin will have to change his behavior, either by finding a new place to go or beginning to participate in other activities (such as dating, one would hope).

Unnecessary conflicts:
(none)

Continuity errors:
Roz could scarcely have exited the control room without Frasier noticing.

# 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: [14]   series cumulative: [15]

# of actual references to Roz sleeping with someone:
Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [4]   series cumulative: [5]

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

# of times Frasier shouts “NILES!”:
Episode: [2]   previous cumulative: [13]   series cumulative: [15]

# of mentions of Maris:
Episode: [3]   previous cumulative: [74]   series cumulative: [77]

# 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: [13]   series cumulative: [14]

# of times Niles has smiled:
[Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [7]   series cumulative: [8]

Kind of great TV moments:
(none)

Kind of great Frasier moments:
Martin and Frasier sitting in an abandoned building drinking beers is nothing short of fabulous.

TV Guide version (© Netflix): For years, Martin has been a regular at Duke’s, a local watering hole that Frasier and Niles have never seen.”
fd s02 e05 1666

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S2 E4: Flour Child

fd s02-04-04  Director: James Burrows    ||    Writer: Christopher Lloyd
Airdate: October 11, 1994    ||    
(episode transcript)

Opening thoughts:
The last episode written by (not that) Christopher Lloyd was I Hate Frasier Crane, exactly one season ago. He is one of the very best writers the show had– I laughed, for real, 11 times (and to give you some perspective on how little I laugh when I watch this show, I made note of it after I had only laughed twice). Lloyd will go on to write 14 more Frasier episodes. In 2009, he will also write the pilot for Modern Family. fd s02-04-00 Episode Synopsis:
Open on the air. Caller Maggie (Amy Madigan) is dating someone who is giving her roses every day. Roz keeps shaking her head, and Frasier gets upset about it, so he asks Roz what she would do. Roz suggests that Maggie break up with the needy guy, and Maggie is grateful to have her instincts validated. She hangs up, and there is a sweet, beautiful dial tone on the air—I love it not only because it’s a direct Frasier-denial, but because dial tones kick ass.

If you’re presenting a comedic or dramatic scene and you really want to button it up, a dial tone will suit your needs. Not a blue tooth. No. Not a smart phone, Skype, texting, retweeting, “favoriting,” “ ‘ Liking, ‘ “ slamming a microwave oven door, tying someone’s shoes together, tearing up a telegram, cooking a carrier pigeon for dinner, having Scottie beam you up—No. NO! The dial tone is the peak, you see. Nothing before or after it ever has or ever will do the trick. fd s02-04-01

Frasier signs off angrily before commercial (at this moment I notice that I best relate to Frasier when he’s pissed. Maybe this is because writing “angry” is easier to write well; on the other hand, maybe Frasier just aggravates a latent misanthropy in me that only Frasier can awaken). Roz enters the booth. She reviews Frasier’s dinner reservations with Martin at Chez Shrimp and puts some letters and a greeting card in front of him to sign, then exits.

Just like Kevin on Home Alone, Frasier speaks aloud about how he hates office parties and, as he opens an enormous, musical, cardboard pink bunny head, reminds us of the importance of writing something witty for birthday cards. He’s also disgusted by the chip tune noise of its little song, which is so Frasier!
Did you know that a musical birthday card has more computing power in it than all of the computers at the president’s fingertips just 50 years ago? (Also, you should probably tune out whenever someone says “Did you know”—but I’m serious!)

Scene 2
Frasier, Niles and Martin are riding in a cab through gridlock traffic. Martin exposits that Frasier’s car broke down and tells him that he should have bought American.

Martin starts conversing with Arleen, the cab driver. She starts having labor pains. Yeah. You know, so we can do a sitcom episode. (Maybe it’s not always a matter of jumping a shark—maybe sometimes it’s just jumping a few minnows every week).
fd s02-04-02Niles gets in the front seat; tries to talk Arleen through breathing. Martin calls dispatch. Niles is freaking out more than Arleen, so Frasier takes over. Frasier’s hapless rambling is more disturbing to her than her labor pains, so Martin pulls Frasier out. Martin knows what he’s doing, and he explains that for some reason being a cop made it necessary to deliver lots of babies. Two minnow-jumps in one scene.

Scene 3
Daphne runs into the living room in a towel to get her robe from the laundry basket. Frasier, Martin and Niles enter. She tells them to turn around. They do. Daphne puts a robe on. Martin is awed about the “miracle” (#blorch) of birth.

Say. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the “miracle of death”? They’re the same thing—bookends to the simultaneously intuitive and seemingly impossible boundary to an infinite void of consciousness, like the inner wall of a sphere.
fd s02-04-03Anywho, Frasier talks about Frederick’s birth. Martin talks about Niles’ birth as well.

Daphne reminisces about her mother. Then, she starts talking to her mother, playing both parts herself. She exits while continuing the “conversation.” I guess channeling is filed under the ‘psychic’ heading. Frasier makes a good joke about it, and I notice that jokes about Daphne’s psychic abilities don’t roll out very often.

Martin exits. Frasier gets some sherry. Niles says he wants to be a father.

Frasier describes the high school home economics class project where you care for a sack of flour for one week to get some perspective on what it’s like to be responsible for a baby. Niles misses no time at all:  He runs into the kitchen and starts just such a week with a bag of Frasier and Martin’s flour.
fd s02-04-00b

Scene 4
At Café Nervosa, Frasier discovers that the flour bag, Niles’ “child,” has been injured a couple of times. (See the end of the post for the complete list of deadly injuries the poor thing suffers at his hands). Niles gets up to go order his coffee.

Roz enters. Frasier puts the flour on the floor. Roz reveals that the greeting card that Frasier signed earlier was a ‘get well’ card for Clarence the KACL security guard’s kidney transplant, not a birthday card.

Niles returns, upset about the child being left on the floor, but it isn’t really addressed. Actually, I suppose it wouldn’t be, since it’s just flour. Frasier is, however, bent on somehow recovering the ‘get well’ card before it’s read, since he preceded his signature with what he considered a birthday-worthy death joke.
fd s02*04 08Scene 5
At the apartment, Frasier and Daphne are working on transcribing all of the greetings and signatures onto a fresh, new giant pink bunny head ‘get well’ card with assorted colors of ink. Now that’s some 80s/90s sitcom jive for you. Thank goodness Frasier is getting tangled up in useful dilemmas that might contribute some awe and knowledge to the human race.

Martin chides Frasier for not caring about the little people; points out that that is why he didn’t know what kind of card it was. Notice how Martin’s approach works just as well as mine? Check that shit out.
fd s02-04-05

The doorbell rings. Daphne answers; it’s Niles. Hey, you know what? Niles always rings the doorbell. He’s the Anti-Joey.

But right now, Niles has a baby-jogging-carrier-thing on, and it’s holding the sack of flour to his chest. Even Daphne rolls her eyes. Niles speaks at length about the experience so far. It has been difficult and eye-opening for him. More injuries are revealed to have occurred in the flour’s life since they met for coffee. An electronic timer goes off, indicating the “child’s” nap time. Niles puts it down; goes to get some wine. Frasier inquires whether Niles feels he is ready to be a father. Niles says now he is torn.

Speaking of tearing, Eddie destroys the bag of flour and completely covers the couch. It’s, uh…

***

It’s delightful, okay?

Niles is upset. Martin tells him to calm down; gives him actual advice about knowing in your gut what to do about certain decisions. Martin exits. There is a tender pause. Niles says he is not ready; feels that not wanting to have a child yet is selfish. Frasier explains that it’s actually selfish to instead do things for the wrong reasons. There is another tender pause! Frasier admonishes Niles to just wait a few years.

Scene 6
At the hospital, Niles and Frasier find Clarence’s room. Frasier tip-toes in. He opens the card to hang it with the others on a string precariously drooping above a man sleeping in a hospital bed.

fd s02-04-07

When Frasier opens the card, its music startles him. He freaks, breaking the string loose and dropping all of the cards on the man and the floor.

A man in the hall recognizes Frasier and reveals himself to actually be Clarence; exposits that his room was switched.

Frasier begins to admit to the simple fact that he put the card in the room that was supposed to be Clarence’s, which would hence tie up the episode in every way. However, when he opens the door to go in and get the card, the man in the room is saying “make the music stop!” and in response to this, Frasier slams the door.

Clarence mentions that no one else from the station sent their regards. Frasier shrugs, says that they must not care like he does, and dismisses himself. In that span of 10 seconds, Frasier has decided to make everything involved in the situation exactly, 180° wrong. Let’s examine how:

1) The music will not in fact stop, and the man in the bed (who is Frasier’s victim) will continue to be tormented by it indefinitely—no doubt exacerbating his injuries as he attempts to untangle himself from the paperboard and string.

2) Clarence, for whom Frasier has no affection or concern, will now think he is the best friend he has at the station, and Frasier will in no way even pretend to reciprocate his benevolence.

3) The efforts of the rest of the staff to send Clarence their well wishes are wasted.

4) Clarence will now think of the rest of the staff as cold, uncaring souls, no doubt resulting in broken friendships, his early retirement and untimely suicide, etc.

5) The hours that Frasier (and Daphne) spent obtaining, doctoring, and delivering the new card are completely wasted.

Frasier finds Niles at the maternity ward. Niles again changes his mind about being a father. Arleen emerges with sitcom efficiency, holding her newborn. Niles asks to hold him; inadvertently bends the baby’s arm, making him cry. Arleen patiently takes the baby back; says goodbye.

Niles stares at the babies some more.

Credits vignette:
Daphne takes a break from preparing some baking to cradle a bag of flour. Martin enters; laughs at her. They get into a powder fight, culminating with Daphne pouring the entire bowl over Martin’s head.

BONUS!- Injuries that Niles’ pretend infant child endured during the episode:
i. Puncture wound
(being poked by a chopstick)
ii. Multiple abrasions
(falling from the roof of Niles’ car onto the pavement)
iii. Bruises/possible concussion
(knocking head on coffee table)
iv. Broken ribs; water in lungs
(being kicked into the reflecting pool
v. 2nd and 3rd degree burns
(being set next to the fireplace to dry)
vi. Massive fatal hemorrhage
(getting torn to pieces by Eddie)

Closing thoughts:
The array of comic figurative acts of violence alone makes this episode a winner. Christopher Lloyd is a world-class writer. He gives to Frasier Crane jokes that rely on timing—you know, like actual comedy.

Lloyd also can’t hide his sitcom sweet tooth. The bulls of oddness and unnecessariness have plans for this China shop. In Lloyd’s case, it serves the format well, though. It reminds us that this is an art form. It’s like Green Day: of course they just write pop songs, but those pop songs know that they’re pop songs, and they still carry a valid and unique artistic voice. There’s the trick, see. Read that list of things that Frasier causes to go diametrically wrong at the episode’s climax again. That’s all unpacked from Frasier slamming a hospital room door. It’s too egregious (hence too wonderful) to happen by accident.

At the beginning of the episode, Roz is very decisive about ending a relationship with someone on account of clinginess. At the end, Niles longs for nothing else. Hmm.

I’m pretty sure that Full House, Saved by the Bell, The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life, Who’s the Boss, etc. all had flour sack episodes by this time.

Unnecessary conflicts:
Frasier doesn’t just tape some pink paper or a flowery sticker over his death joke on the bunny card.

Continuity errors:
Frasier does not mention that Frederick was also born in a taxi cab.

I’m only just noticing that there are far, far too few episodes with rain. How many have there been? Two? Three? For a suitable representation of Seattle, it should be raining in just under half of them.

# 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: [14]   series cumulative: [14]

# 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: [13]   series cumulative: [15]

# of mentions of Maris:
Episode: [5]   previous cumulative: [74]   series cumulative: [79]

# of times Frasier or Niles (both psychiatrists) exhibit mentally ill tendencies:
Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [16]   series cumulative: [17]
Frasier is definitely being a sociopath when he shuts the hospital room door.

# of tender pauses:
Episode: [2!]   previous cumulative: [13]   series cumulative: [15]

# of times Niles has smiled:

[Episode: [1]   previous cumulative: [7]   series cumulative: [8]

Kind of great TV moments:
(none)

Kind of great Frasier moments:
A caller hanging up on Frasier.

TV Guide version (© Netflix): When Frasier’s car breaks down, the entire Crane crew hitches a ride with a pregnant taxi driver, Arleen, who suddenly gives birth.”
fd s02-04 Eddie-Flour

S2 E3: The Matchmaker

fd s02e02-00aAirdate: October 4, 1994
Director: David Lee
Writer: Joe Keenan
(episode transcript)
fd s02e02-00b

Opening thoughts:
Frasier is in the news! The scoop: “Frasier Not in the News!” I simply could not love it more. (What’s this blog called again?)

Certainly, this is a Daphne episode. It’s refreshing to see her and Niles having some genuine difficulty in their long journey toward each other.

Have I raved about Perfect Strangers Online yet? It is so detailed; I just can’t take it. Fantastic work. Show them some click love. Speaking of clicking, we are on FlaceBlook, so click ever-clickingly for updates on new posts, a mid-week alternate timeline of our posts, and whatever else the Frasier Denying soul may be determined to need.

I tried a new method on this post—I have a few to choose from now. This time, I watched it on mute with subtitles and grabbed all the screenshots on that first run-through. Then, what I was going to do was write the whole thing from memory, but I figured I’d just miss 400 self-parodying details that way, so I breezed through a standard viewing (audio included) to actually type the synopsis.

But why am I talking about me? Denied, thy name is Frasier.

fd s02e02-01

Episode Synopsis:
It’s the middle of the night at the apartment, and the smoke alarm is going off. Frasier is calling out to Martin, and Martin is calling out to Eddie—a total ruckus.

Daphne emerges from her bedroom, assuring them that the smoke alarm went off for no reason and Eddie was hanging out with her. Eddie runs out of Daphne’s room with a pack of Marlboro reds in his mouth. Daphne confesses and apologizes that she’s smoking to cope with stress.

Frasier sits and talks with her. She explains that her dating life has been nonexistent. She lights a cigarette. Frasier talks about Diane leaving him at the altar, what a bad idea it was to marry Lilith, and the fact that he’s now divorced and living with his father. He takes her cigarette and starts smoking. Hey, it’s the ‘90s. (We actually used to say that—Ed.)
fd s02e02-02

Scene 2
Frasier is sitting alone at Café Nervosa. Roz enters; exposits that Frasier missed the early-morning meeting with the new station manager. Frasier in turn exposits—although we already know—that he stayed up late commiserating with Daphne.

Roz pulls out her little black book (it’s actually a little, black book), offering to give Daphne a phone number or two. Frasier refuses. Niles arrives with his and Frasier’s coffees—a mocha latte for himself and a double espresso for Frasier.

Roz and Frasier continue their conversation, Roz naming men whom she thinks Daphne might like and Frasier denying them all without a thought. Niles squirms and plays his usual, entirely unconvincing role of a “close friend concerned about Daphne’s general well-being,” while in fact merely acting out of jealousy.

Frasier racks up a few points in our “# of jokes about how Roz sleeps with everyone” category, and Roz, entirely reasonably pissed about it, stands and exits. The audience finds it totally hilarious, though.
fd s02e02-03Scene 3
On the air at the radio station, Frasier and Roz are wrapping up a test of the emergency broadcast system. When Frasier says “this concludes our test of the emergency broadcast system,” per FCC regulation, the audience just… laughs. Again. Then, Frasier makes a great joke, and when the audience laughs at that, it’s not nearly as satisfying as it should be. The Frasier in-studio audience often seems to be contriving a laughter-like noise on some kind of timer rather than in response to the content offered by the script and actors, but the last five minutes have been worse than usual, AND Frasier’s joke is much better than usual, so it just ends up like a honeymoon plane crash, or a Christmas morning house fire, in comedy terms.

Mmkay? So, since watching the show is only going to force that experience upon you, let’s just say I’m anti-spoiling that joke by giving it to you here (You’re welcome.): “Had this been an actual emergency…”
fd s02e02-04

Roz is still really pissed at Frasier. As usual, I agree with her. Frasier does apologize now, though. He says he’s looking for the right man for Daphne. The new station manager, Tom, enters the booth. He and Frasier discuss clothing, theatre and travel, and in an odiously unrealistic orgy of ambiguity, they arrange for Tom to have dinner at Frasier’s place that Saturday.
fd s02e02-05

Scene 4
Frasier and Daphne are tidying up the apartment for Tom’s visit. Daphne is upset about being set up. Frasier encourages her to change into something more attractive. The doorbell rings. Frasier gets it; Tom has brought a bottle of chardonnay.  Daphne emerges in a pretty red dress.fd s02e02-06

Frasier introduces Daphne and Tom. She takes his coat. Daphne has a psychic flash and knows about Tom’s recent break-up. Martin emerges and acts like Martin. Frasier runs to the kitchen for wine. Daphne tells him that she is into Tom.
fd s02e02-07Martin chats with Tom and tells him about Seattle. During their conversation, there are only 4 jokes about Martin seeming to Tom to be gay. The doorbell rings. It’s Niles. He insists on joining for dinner, which is of course so that he can guard Daphne from a new dating prospect.

Scene 5
Everyone is just about finished eating dinner. Tom is telling a story about when he was in England. Daphne enjoys it, but Niles poo-poos. He also volunteers to clear the table, and Tom joins him in the kitchen. Tom asks if he has in some way offended Niles; tells him it seems that he was trying to get in the way of Tom dating Frasier. Niles smiles.
fd s02e02-09 You see, not only is there no longer seeming a threat to his beloved’s singlehood in the house, but there now also is a man trying to date his brother. I’m beginning to wonder whether David Hyde Pierce was given specific consideration on this smiling issue when the Frasier crew set about writing the second season. Anywho, you have to keep in mind that at this point, Daphne is still irritated that Niles has butted in on the dinner. He is still quite lost when it comes to winning Daphne over. Perhaps having Frasier pursued by a handsome man has provided some comic respite (I’m pretty sure that’s why he grinned two entirely separate times after Tom left the room).

Martin enters the kitchen. Niles appears to be having mischievous thoughts.
fd s02e02-10

At this point, Tom appears to be having second thoughts about everything. After all, Daphne is hitting on him, Niles is sending all kinds of mixed messages, and Frasier must exhibit some vestige of heterosexuality if you’re in his presence for more than an hour.

Frasier asks Daphne to go inside and put on some music. Tom asks if he can get alone with Frasier before the night is through; Frasier thinks he means Daphne and responds in the coy, slinky affirmative as he saunters back into the apartment.

Martin goes to bed; Niles leaves. First, he has a word with Frasier and spills the truth about Tom. I was certain that Niles and Martin’s amusement came from the opportunity to watch things play out so they could laugh more at Frasier’s pain, but I guess it was good enough to just find out how foolish he was, and three people’s feelings were in the balance, after all (though with the way it plays out, it almost seems like a late rewrite. Niles– and certainly Martin– were clearly very amused at their intent to just bail and find out later how it blew up).

So Frasier is baffled. Until he recalls talking to Tom about the theatre, wine, men’s fashion, whether he’s single, etc. Niles is still amused, but plays it cool so he can enjoy Frasier’s confusion and suffering for the short time that he has left and swiftly exits.
fd s02e02-11Frasier explains that he is straight. Tom doesn’t believe him. Frasier explains the whole Daphne situation. Hey—where did Daphne go? Martin must have told her on his way to bed—yet another scene premise down in my Frasier fan-fiction notebook.

Oh wait—OK. Daphne emerges from her room, hears Tom say the word “gay,” turns around, and throws her bra up in the air over her head, which is kind of a great Frasier moment.

Frasier apologizes to Tom for the misunderstanding; Tom asks him to likewise apologize to Daphne and exits.

Credits vignette:
Frasier and Daphne are both smoking cigarettes in the living room. Frasier discovers the Surgeon General’s warning; shows it to Daphne. They both decisively put out their cigarettes.

Closing thoughts:
This post took a long, long time to get out there to you because my computer died. I am using a Mac right now, and it is… impossible. I hope to be back on my first world Microsoft problems feet again real soon, and I will try to get the next Frasier-denial cranked out on something that better resembles our prescribed schedule. I’m going to go back to long-hand draft, like the good old days; see if that helps.
fd s02e03-13I don’t usually push social justice issues here at Frasier Denied. It’s not that kind of blog, and it’s not that kind of show. But the ‘90s was a time when it was still a pretty common so-called punch line to merely have a character be gay. Or fat. Or even a woman, if you look in the right (wrong?) places. In fact, we still have a good way to go before we can expect a sensible and reasonable equality of opportunity in casting and scripting, without bias against arbitrary traits not of one’s own choosing.

I bring that up because it was and is relevant even to televised fiction, since it’s part of our lives and it does carry ideas and atmospheres that affect our way of thinking. To the Frasier crew’s credit, the “joke” is not that Tom is gay. The joke is merely that Tom and Frasier have a misunderstanding. It isn’t morally problematic for me— let’s make that clear. However, it isn’t scripted very realistically. Or, I suppose, as Seinfeld put it on one of those episodes where Walter White was a dentist: “It offends me as a comedian.”

Because of this, I am required to file it under:

Unnecessary conflicts:
The stepping-around the use of any language that would clearly state what either Frasier or Tom were really talking about when they set up the dinner date belongs in this category. It used to be a lazy-writing standard on sitcoms, so it isn’t a capital offense or anything, but Frasier says nothing about Daphne, and Tom doesn’t ask him what “the British” have to do with his dinner invitation.

They could have kept the conflict just the way it is while giving it a little nuance. Frasier could have at least mentioned Daphne when they were talking about England, and misunderstood because of the timing of the conversation, and Tom could have said something more specific, which Frasier legitimately misinterpreted because of the context.

In short, we should have been as surprised as Frasier was when he actually found out.

Continuity errors:
Tom’s gaydar incorrectly found all 3 male cast members to be gay. Like, confidently.

# 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: [4]   previous cumulative: [10]   series cumulative: [14]

# 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: [1]   previous cumulative: [73]   series cumulative: [74]

# 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: [13]   series cumulative: [13]

# of times Niles has smiled:
[Episode: [5]   previous cumulative: [2]   series cumulative: [7]

Kind of great TV moments:
(none)

Kind of great Frasier moments:
Daphne tossing her bra over her head.

TV Guide version (© Netflix): “After Daphne reveals her yearning for a new man in her life, Frasier vows to find the perfect match for her.”
fd s02e03-12