Here’s the second installment of The Great Frasier Rewatch. If you’re totally lost, scroll down, or go here for part one. Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are some more of my favorites.
The Matchmaker: One of Frasier’s most famous episodes, this is the first farce they ever did, and the first episode written by the show’s farce master, Joe Keenan. The plot gets a wee complex, so I’ll do my best to whittle it down. Daphne is depressed about her lack of a love life, and she and Frasier have a heart-to-heart. The next day, Frasier tells Roz about Daphne’s woes, and she offers to set Daphne up with one of her former boyfriends. He declines, insulting (hah, I first wrote “insluting”) her in the process. Later on at work, the new station manager, Tom, comes by during Frasier’s show. Frasier decides to invite Tom over for dinner, after finding out he used to live in London and is recently single. When Tom talks to Roz, he tells her Frasier asked him out – and since she is still angry from their earlier conversation, she doesn’t bother to correct his assumption that Frasier is gay. Got it so far? Ok. We cut to the night of the dinner – and – well, here, I’ll let you watch what happens next. Fun fact: Tom is played by Eric Lutes, who turned this gig into a starring role on Caroline in the City. According to the audio commentary (yes I listen to audio commentary, shut it), the day after this episode aired, the producer’s phones were ablaze – everyone wanted to know who the new guy was.
Niles’ reaction to finding out Tom is gay is absolutely priceless, and cracks me up every time. Ditto Daphne’s reaction.
Flour Child: So, this show makes me laugh. A lot. Pretty much every episode has me laughing at something. But during the rewatch, this is the first episode that made me laugh till I cried. Ironic, too, because when the episode started, I thought it was going to turn into a huge cliche. Why? Because the three Crane men are in a cab when the driver goes into labor. It actually ends up being quite funny, and afterwards, Niles starts thinking about having a child of his own. Frasier jokingly says he should do the old high school experiment of carrying around a sack of flour, and Niles takes his suggestion to heart, since Maris is once again out of town. Much hilarity ensues, and in the end, Niles decides he’s not ready. Here’s just a sample of said hilarity, but you really just ought to watch the whole episode.
Breaking the Ice: So, my favorite relationship on the show is, surprisingly, NOT Niles and Daphne, but rather the relationship between the three Crane men. Frasier and Niles have little in common with their father, but beneath the surface is a deep father/son bond. This is one of the few episodes in which their relationship is explored. In an attempt to bond with their father, Frasier and Niles agree to go ice fishing with Martin after his friend backs out. They both have their reasons: Niles just wants to get closer to Martin, while Frasier wants to Martin to finally say “I love you.” Once they get to the cabin, the bickering starts, and culminates with Niles dropping their car keys in the fishing hole. Forced to be with each other, and aided by Jim Beam, they begin to confide in each other (or, “break the ice”, if you will). Just before being rescued, Martin shyly tells his sons he loves them. It’s really Frasier (or any sitcom) at its best – perfectly combining the funny (such as Niles learning a bunch of inane facts about ice fishing to impress Martin) with the serious.
An Affair to Forget: Y’all remember this episode, right? It’s the one where Niles has an old fashioned duel. (Sort of.) It also won the 1995 Emmy for best writing in a comedy series. I have no idea what else it was up against, but for my money, the award was totally deserved. Niles tells Frasier how much more relaxed and pleasant Maris has been since she took up fencing on the same day Frasier gets a call from a German woman who suspects her fencing instructor husband (Gunnar) is cheating on her. Frasier puts two and two together, goes to confront Maris, but accidentally tells Niles instead. On Martin’s advice, Niles decides to confront Gunnar. The only problem is, Gunnar doesn’t speak a word of English. Luckily, Niles’ maid Marta speaks German. So, in an odd game of telephone, Niles tells Frasier in English, who tells Marta in Spanish, who tells Gunnar in German. Here’s how the scene plays out:
Next: More farce and a big heartbreak, with seasons three and four. Stay tuned!