Regular readers know that there’s nothing I love more than a Great Re-Watch. Past ones include Sex and the City, Mad About You, and Cheers. After finishing Cheers eariler this year I thought it only natural to move on to Frasier. This summer, I promised a recap of said re-watch, but never followed up with one.
This is not for lack of trying, people. First of all, I had to narrow it down, because this show is so brilliant, my first list of favorites included more than 40 episodes. Clearly, that’s too many, even for a series of posts. Then, I got writer’s block. The show really speaks for itself, so what else can I say about it? I’m still not sure about that, but I have it narrowed down to a lean (haha) 24 episodes, and will try to give it a go. (Don’t worry – I’m not posting all 24 at once.)
First, a word on Frasier vs. Cheers. I posted my progress on the Cheers watching earlier this year, but never wrote a wrap-up entry. I never finished. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to this show for a second time. The first time was painful enough.
So, for whatever reason, Cheers is super emotional for me. I don’t know why, so don’t try and figure it out. Frasier, on the other hand, is completely different. It was an absolute delight from start to finish. Almost every episode cracked me up, and it just made (makes) me happy. Even the sad episodes are so well done, they still make me smile. (They’re like Sex and the City – it’s a GOOD sad.) So, without further adieu, and in no particular order, I give you part one of my favorites.
A Midwinter Night’s Dream: This is the first in a years-long series of episodes chronicling the Niles/Daphne saga. Niles’ plan to spice up his marriage by dressing up as a pirate backfires when the maid finds him before Maris does. She storms out of the house in a fury, leaving Niles alone. Daphne offers to help Niles cook up a romantic evening in an attempt to win her back. But the evening takes a sharp turn when bad weather keeps Maris from returning – and Daphne from leaving Niles’ house. I love this episode for many reasons, but mostly because it features Niles in a pirate outfit, and because it contains the now-infamous line: “Dr. Crane! Your glockenspiel has sprung to life!”
Travels with Martin: This is one of the episodes I remembered, even though I hadn’t seen it since it first aired, and I was only 12 at the time. Travels With Martin is a master class in writing. It sets up a simple, yet hilarious premise (the family takes a trip together…in a Winnebago), and the climax makes sense in the context of the story (they cross the border, only Daphne doesn’t have her green card yet, so getting back into the country is a little sticky). While the whole episode is one laugh after another, my favorite line comes from Niles. He and Frasier are bemoaning the prospect of taking another car trip with their father, and Niles says, “I was 13 before I realized cows aren’t blurry.” Here’s the set up for this gem of an episode:
My Coffee With Niles:For its season 1 finale, Frasier did nothing flashy; instead, the episode is shot in real time, and center around Niles and Frasier having coffee at Cafe Nervosa. Frasier realizes it’s been one year since he moved to Seattle. The two brothers talk about their lives, culminating in Niles asking if Frasier is happy. And that’s it. There’s a running gag with the waitress never getting Frasier’s coffee right, and of course they are interrupted by Daphne, Roz and Martin, but the premise of the episode remains simple. Because it’s so simple, and doesn’t have the farcical elements the show got known for, this episode is easy to overlook.
Coming up: More favorites, including The Matchmaker, Flour Child and Moondance from seasons 2 and 3. Stay tuned!