Friday, February 18, 2022

TJ's Top 5 Frasier Episodes

(Guest post by TJ)

Today’s “top” list relates to a show that’s been somewhat in the news lately for a reboot. (Note: since the title and the main character are the same, I’m writing the TV show as FRASIER and Kelsey Grammer’s role as Frasier.)

If you don’t know, FRASIER is a direct spin off from CHEERS as it follows the bar’s pompous psychologist, Frasier Crane, from the famous Boston bar to his hometown of Seattle. It’s impressive that this spinoff lasted just as long as its predecessor, garnering various awards, including 37 Emmy awards, a record held until Game of Thrones took over in 2016. 

When I started FRASIER, one of the first things I recognized was how I saw similarities between Frasier Crane and myself. I’m sure I can be pompous and arrogant, but ignoring the negativity of Dr. Crane, what I really felt connected to were Frasier’s desires for calm, peace, and having just a finer life. I saw a man who was part-childish in his attitude toward others and part-adult in his need for his own consistency. And now, I present my top 5 episodes. 

Honorable Mentions:

Daphne Returns – S08 E19; Taking Liberties – S08 E05; Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz – S06 E10; Three Valentines – S06 E14; Mixed Doubles – S04 

5 – My Coffee with Niles – S01 E24 – “Are you happy?” What a question! No, you don’t have to answer it. But what leads to Frasier answering the question in the end—even though the final time it’s asked is by the barista and not Niles—is what makes the show so great. Even though he’s having a deep, meaningful conversation with Niles, you get all five main characters at different points being exactly who they are.

The depth at which Niles’ question is reviewed is what really makes this episode help the viewer really recognize what FRASIER is about. The whole show is about Frasier pointing out that even though he is happy in a moment, he is never truly satisfied with his life. 

4 – Ham Radio – S04 E18
– Randomly, the first episode I ever watched (and only episode I saw upon its initial airing.) And…I really didn’t get it. In 2016 when I watched this episode, I was hit with nostalgia because I completely recognized it. I knew what was going to happen. But with the context of who Roz, Niles, and Bulldog were—especially in contrast to Frasier—this episode was far better. 

Frasier’s embarrassing antics of proving that he’ll never learn made a lot more sense. But now that I have a better appreciation of an old-time radio mystery, I can understand what he was trying to do—and why his behavior ruined it. Plus, Roz trying to say “multiple murderers” and Niles overruling Frasier to kill all the characters in the radio play was pretty funny. 

3 – The Two Mrs. Cranes – S04 E01
 – Speaking of embarrassing themselves—this is an episode where everyone does that all on their own, not just Frasier. Even this episode is somewhat Daphne-centric, it showcases everyone’s ability to make a fool of themselves just to maintain the most absurd lie—a lie that spirals out of control.

First, Daphne wants to let her ex-boyfriend down gently, so she pretends to be married to Niles—who plays along to live a dream he’s been wishing for since meeting Daphne. Martin is told he can’t partake of the lie and gets his revenge by pretending to be a retired astronaut—and makes Roz pretend to be Maris, who is married to Frasier. But when Daphne realizes that her ex has made a life for himself and Roz…well…she just had to look at the Brit and knew she wanted him…it becomes a war between the two “married” women to get Clive’s attention.

2 – Moon Dance – S03 E13 –
The first glimpse of the Niles/Daphne pairing. This is one of the best episodes for fans of those two. At Martin’s insistence, Niles asks a doctor out to a charity ball. The goal is to make his separated wife, Maris, jealous when she hears about him attending with someone else. But since Niles has no clue how to dance, Daphne teaches him. Of course, Niles’ date has to cancel and Daphne tells the lovestruck Niles to take her, still clueless of Dr. Crane’s feelings toward her. Of course, Martin thinks Niles should say no, but he can’t pass up a dream come true. 

What transpires on the dance floor, though, is some great acting on Daphne’s part professing her love for Dr. Crane. Niles, on the other hand, confesses his real love, but plays it off when Daphne says she was just making all his friends have something to talk about to get back to Maris. FRASIER took a long time playing will they/won’t they with Niles and Daphne. This episode is one of the strongest points where the audience has to wait again to see their favorite couple get together. 

1 – Something Borrowed, Something Blue – S07 E23/E24 –
Speaking of will they/won’t they, the season 7 finale is pretty much the end of that question. We spend two episodes preparing for a wedding that’s been doomed for a while now. Niles believes he’s happy, knowing that he’ll never have Daphne since she’ll never feel the same way about him, right? But the night before the wedding is a string of conversations that lead to an extremely tense situation between Niles and Daphne—again, thanks to Frasier’s big bazoo (his mouth if you don’t know).

Niles is extremely distraught having learned that the girl of his dreams has feelings for him too, but neither of them are able to do something about it. That moment, though of Daphne in her. Wedding dress finding Niles in the Winnebago is such a moment of relief for fans (and Niles) despite being somewhat of a cliffhanger. Still, that moment is worth the whole episode. 

So, there you have it, my favorite ten episodes of the classic 90’s comedy FRASIER. Was it a show you got and liked? Do you have a favorite moment?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled. 

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