Within the last year, I've watched every season of Cheers, followed by every season of Frasier. When it comes to Cheers vs Frasier, I am fully on Team Frasier. Maybe I like it better because I remember watching it in real time when it was on in the '90s (I was too young when Cheers aired). Maybe I like it better because I've been to Seattle three times and I've never been to Boston. Maybe I like it better because I would rather visit a coffeeshop than a bar. But honestly, I think I just like it better because it's just the more superior show. I told my parents that I laughed more during the first season of Frasier than I did during the entire 11-year run of Cheers! When it comes to favorite comedies, Frasier is up there for me along with Seinfeld and Arrested Development.
I don't want to say that it was a slog watching the entire series of Cheers, but it was kind of a slog watching the entire series of Cheers. I don't think it's a bad series or anything, but it was just hard for me to pick 10 of my favorite episodes, so that's why I'm just going to do that for Frasier. I would probably have an easier time picking my ten favorite moments from Cheers rather than episodes.
And without further ado, here are my ten favorite episodes of Frasier. Oh, I'm just going to go into this assuming you're familiar with the show. If you don't know that Eddie isn't human or Maris is barely human or who's related to or who works with who or who's in love with who, then I can't help you. If you have no idea what Le Cigare Volant or Cafe Nervosa or KACL is, you will have no idea what I'm talking about. Now put your brother on the phone! (If you get that reference, you are at the right place!)
Niles places a bid, but when he comes back to it a few moments later, he sees someone named Alistair Mowbray has doubled his bid to $500. Frasier says he recognizes the name as someone who works in software and Niles probably won't be able to compete with him, financially. Niles instantly recognizes it as the name Frasier used in prep school for his society column. (Yep, that sounds like Frasier). Frasier admits if Niles thought he was bidding against a stranger, he would only bid a certain amount, but if it was against him, his "childish competitiveness would kick in."
When it's announced they're at the closing minute, Niles writes down his final bid telling Frasier he will never top it. Frasier tells him he will double it, then Niles says he's going to double that bid, but he just added $50 it. He wins the luncheon by bidding $4,050. Thank God he did not double the $4,000! The auctioneer says since the luncheon was such a popular bid, they are willing to add another seat to the second bidder as long as Frasier can match Niles' "generous bid."
Frasier has to give in because everyone is looking at him expectantly. He tells Niles he can't believe they just spent eight grand for a lunch and Niles tells him to remember it's for a good cause. They soon learn where their eight grand will be going when the auctioneer announces, "Thanks to the doctors Crane, there will be a lot fewer homeless cats on the streets of Seattle next year." OMG, I was eating when he said that line and I was laughing so hard, I almost choked. True story. And the expression on Frasier's face was hilarious. You know, Frasier, the animal lover! He looked horrified, but he's also trying to act like he's pleased with helping the homeless cats of Seattle because everyone is looking at him, beaming and clapping.
Back at Frasier's apartment, Niles ponders when all this competitiveness between them started. They both agree it started with their mom and who was her favorite. Each thinks the other was her favorite. Frasier asks Niles if he remembers the IQ tests they took when they were kids. They never found out their score because their mom refused to tell them anything, only that they were two points apart. Both of them thought the other had the higher score. They both agree that their mom did the right thing not to tell them because she knew back then they "were too childish and competitive to handle it."
Frasier says it would "be a sign of growth" to find out their scores and show they are okay with whoever has the higher score. Niles asks Martin if he knows what their IQs are. He replies, "No, but I have a pretty good idea at that auction tonight." Oh, Martin. Always bringing the zingers.
Martin is able to get the IQ tests they took as kids. Niles reads the scores outloud. He tells Frasier his score is 129 and tells him that his score is higher. Frasier congratulates him on his score of 131, but Niles tells him his score is higher than that and, "Apparently Mom was being tactful." Frasier snatches the paper and reads Niles' score is 156. Martin says he should have never shown them the box, but Frasier assures him the point of this exercise was to prove that and he and Niles have moved on from being competition and he adds that he is proud of Niles. It doesn't surprise me that Niles has the higher score; that would have been my guess, but I am surprised that it is so much higher than Frasier's. I would say that maybe Frasier killed a few brain cells when he was drinking those beers at Cheers, but I can't blame it on the alcohol since they took their IQ tests as kids. Speaking of Frasier at Cheers, I read a Reddit where someone said that the Frasier from Frasier would never be caught dead at Cheers and I kind of have to agree! My God, the Frasier from Cheers tells his bar chums, "Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight." The Frasier from Frasier would have no idea what that song was!
Frasier says they should call it a night so they're refreshed for meeting the three geniuses tomorrow. He adds, "Or in my case, four geniuses!" As soon as Niles leaves, Frasier goes to the university library to study all night. He knows he can't study everything in one night, but he wants to learn "just enough to ask some informed questions" and touts himself as "a quick study."
When they meet at restaurant the next day, Niles tells Frasier that he knows he was at the library all last night. He sensed something was up when Frasier rushed him out of his apartment, so he waited in his car and followed his brother to the library. When Niles starts sneezing and scratching his ear, Frasier knows this is a sign he was also at the library: "The only thing that makes you sneeze and scratch you ear is your parchment-mite allergy." (How specific!) Niles had taken some medication before, but they weren't strong enough, so he takes some more.
He starts saying things that don't make sense and Frasier tells him he should go home to bed, that he's going to make a fool out of himself and Niles accuses him of trying to get rid of him. Niles is so out of it, he puts his elbow in the butter dish and spills water on Frasier's lap. The three guests come and Frasier gets up to greet them, but the tablecloth comes off with him (as well as all the silverware and water glasses) and Niles just falls onto the floor. Frasier introduces his brother who sneezes and holds up his hand while still on the floor. Luckily, nobody shook it! Yep, they certainly made a good impression.
In the ending scene, we learn they had to pay nine grand because Niles knocked over the aquarium on the way out.
After the commercial break, Niles helps bring Frasier home after visiting the doctor. There is a funny bit where Frasier is trying to find somewhere comfortable to sit and when Niles is in the kitchen getting a glass of water so Frasier can take another pill, he ends up finding his way into Martin's recliner. When Niles sees this, he looks like he's about to faint and exclaims, "Oh my God! Did you fall?" Frasier says he didn't and that he's "quite comfortable" and it's helping his back. He states, "When you sit in it, you don't have to look at it." Niles has to leave soon because he has a lunch date with Mel, but tells Frasier he should consider the advice Roz gave him and that it's possible that his injury is "connected to some submerged anxiety."
After Niles leaves, Eddie comes and jumps onto Frasier's lap which was hilarious. Hey, you can't blame Eddie since Martin always lets him sit in his lap when he's in that chair! Frasier makes him get off, so he jumps on the couch and stares at Frasier as he usually does. Frasier uses Eddie as a stand-in therapist and starts listing the things that are bothering him like being another year older and being single. The topic turns to Daphne and about how it will be difficult when she moves out once she's married to Donny. He realizes the reason he's been a little short with her lately is because he realizes how much he's going to miss her. (He snapped at her a little that morning, but it wasn't really that big of deal). Now all of this is important to the plot as we'll see later on, but it is a little contrived. It's not that Frasier and Daphne don't have a good relationship, but are they really that close that he's going to be that upset when she moves out? She'll still be around to be Martin's physical therapist. But Frasier needs to be talking about Daphne so she can come out of her bedroom (unbeknownst to him) in her terrycloth robe from after taking shower and so she can hear him say (to Eddie): "It's quite a realization isn't it? I really do love Daphne. And now, I'm about to lose her. I've got to show her how I feel about her while I still have a chance." Daphne looks absolutely horrified and she quietly backs up and races to her room so he won't know she overheard him. A moment later, she comes back out again, making sure he knows she's in the room and exclaims rather loudly, "Oh! Dr. Crane! I didn't know you were here! Can't hear anything in that shower of mine. It's like a soundproof vault." This is hilarious, but to me, she's being a tad obvious that she did overhear something. But whether it's because of the pain or he's too distracted with trying to make things better with Daphne, Frasier doesn't seem to notice her odd behavior. He apologizes for being brusque with her that morning and asks her to come over for a hug. Poor Daphne looks so awkward as she's bending down to give him a hug so she's barely touching him. It's pretty obvious she's not wanting any of this.
Martin comes home and sees Daphne sitting at the table looking shocked. (Frasier is in his room at this time). He asks her if she's alright and she tells him she overheard Dr. Crane say he's in love with her and he wants to show her how much he loves her while he still has the chance. The fact that both Frasier and Niles are "Dr. Crane" works very well for the writers of this episode and we get this fun little mix up. Sometime it does get confusing when Daphne is talking to or about both of them and you're not really sure who she's referring to. Of course, Daphne assumes Frasier is in love with her, but Martin knows about Niles' feelings for her and assumes she overheard him. He even tells her, "Oh, geez, not this" and when Daphne asks him, "You know about this?", Martin pretty much confirms that "Dr. Crane" is in love with her by saying he's not getting into the middle of this and that he's "kept his mouth shut for six years." Needless to say, Daphne is shocked that Frasier's felt this way for six years. She's probably even more horrified that she's been living under the same roof as him! This whole scene with Martin is necessary to the episode, but it also gives us a HUGE plot hole.
Frasier comes into the room and tells Daphne he'll take her up on that massage she offered earlier that day. When he suggests they do it in his bedroom, she looks so freaked out. Frasier isn't helping matters by asking her to take off his robe so he's just in his boxers. When he lies down on his bed, ready for his massage, Daphne is cringing, not wanting to touch him. It's so funny, but you do feel bad for her. When she finally places her hands on his back, barely touching him, he groans and she quickly recoils. She says she's catching a draft (she's still wearing her robe) and thinks she should change.
While she's gone, Martin comes in and tells him what Daphne found out about Niles' feelings for her. When Frasier asks how that's possible, Martin tells him she told him she overheard him earlier and that he confirmed it was true. Frasier realizes she was talking about him and it was just a big mix-up and knows he needs to clear things up with her.
Daphne comes back wearing sweats with a huge zip-up jacket to cover herself up. Frasier clears the air with her and tells her he just loves her as a friend. Daphne is so relieved and says,"Oh, thank god!" and gives him a genuine hug. Now that she feels comfortable around him, she takes off her oversized jacket and cheerfully offers him that massage. The pain meds are starting to kick in and Frasier is starting to get a bit loopy, but he isn't all the way gone yet. He confides to Daphne that he sat in his dad's chair and found it comfortable. Daphne comments, "You took quite a few of those pills, didn't you?" She brings up the fact that Martin said he's known about Dr. Crane being in love with her for six years and wants to know what he meant by that. Frasier, who is barely conscious by now, replies, "Oh, that. He meant Niles. He's crazy about you." The audience reaction is huge. They are literally gasping at Frasier's faux pas. Daphne's expression is pure shock. She tries to get Frasier to talk some more, but he's passed out.
Later that evening, after Frasier wakes up from his nap, he tells Daphne, "I'm afraid I might have said something I wish I hadn't." Daphne thinks he's talking about Niles, but he's actually talking about the chair. It's hilarious that he remembers mentioning the chair, but doesn't remember giving away his brother's feelings for her.
When Daphne goes to answer the door, Martin asks Frasier if he straightened everything out with her and Frasier says he did. Martin is relieved and says that he "almost blew Niles' secret." But, uh, he did! Obviously, the big plot hole here is that Martin already confirmed to Daphne that "Dr. Crane" was in love with her. Even if he hadn't mentioned the six years part, which is what Daphne had latched onto, she still would have figured it out. Once Frasier set things right with her, wouldn't she remember the conversation she had with Martin and figure out that Niles had feelings for her? More importantly, Martin told Frasier that he told Daphne he knew about "Dr. Crane's" feelings for her, so you would think that they would also assume she would figure it out. Especially Martin, who mentioned the six years part which is a huge detail. It's not like Martin has dementia and would forget something like this. Look, I get it's a TV show and they don't want Frasier and Martin knowing they gave anything away, but they should have known the jig is up.
Niles is at the door and this is the first interaction between him and Daphne with her knowing he likes her. It's also the only interaction they have in this episode. He tells her she looks different, so he senses something, which is very interesting, but just thinks she did something different with her hair. The fact that Niles picks up something is different right away while she has been blissfully aware of his (pretty obvious) feelings for her for seven years just shows how much more perceptive he is than Daphne....but he is a psychiatrist, so it would make sense.
This is an episode that takes place in one night entirely in Frasier's apartment and only uses one title card (which is the same as the title of the episode) and I believe it's the only episode to do so. To be honest, I didn't even notice that until after I rewatched it.
When Martin comes home, Frasier tells him they're having a dinner party. Martin tells them that sounds great as long as it's "any night but the 19th". Ha, of course! That's the night he's hosting his poker game and he doesn't want to reschedule because it would be too much of a hassle. He does agree to change the day when Frasier tells him if he moves his poker game, he'll cover his losses for that night.
Frasier and Niles want to try to book Cornell Evans to cater the event. Unfortunately, he is not free on the 19th, the only day he seems to be free is the 11th. Niles suggests Tyler Wilkins, someone who used to work with Cornell, but they are now "mortal enemies". Apparently, "they were catering a seafood banquet when Cornell flew into a rage because Tyler had ordered mahi mahi instead of ahi. Tyler blamed is on Cornell's stutter and they haven't spoken since." Tyler is available for the 19th so they book him.
Now it's time to make the guest list. They agree to invite eight guests and of course the Ashbys will be invited, so that leaves them with six people to invite, or more specifically, three couples. Niles tells Frasier, "We have to have Joan and Ted Berkin. That's a no-brainer." Frasier replies, "Technically, that's two no-brainers. Forget the Berkins." They argue about the Berkins and Frasier decides they "will each have the right to blackball three guests." He brings a bowl of walnuts (I think that's what it was) over to the table and gives himself and Niles three each and immediately nixes the Berkins.
Niles suggests Jon and Carol Petersen; Frasier blackballs them. (OMG, Frasier would be terrible on Survivor! He has no strategy at all!) Niles next suggests the Duncans which Frasier refers to as "the Drunken Duncans." He's about to blackball them when he realizes that Niles is trying to make him waste his last walnut. Niles insists that he loves them, so Frasier puts them on the invite list. Niles gives in and blackballs them himself because of course he can't stand them either. (Not sure why they're friends with people they don't even like! Guess it's all part of being in the in-crowd).
Finally, they have made their invite list (even though Frasier tries to cheat by blackballing a couple after he's used all his walnuts, but Niles is quick to catch this out). They start calling everyone, starting with their guests of honor, the Ashbys. They can't make it on the 19th, but they're free the 11th. You think this would have been the first priority to see which date would work best for their guests of honor before deciding anything else.
Since the whole point of the party is to get to know the Ashbys, they decide to move the party to the 11th. Frasier will just forgo his date and concert tickets. Unfortunately, there's a little hitch (well let's be honest - there will be a lot of little hitches to follow!) because now they have to invite the Duncans because they had plans with the Ashbys on the 11th.
Niles, who blackballed the Duncans wants his walnut back, but Frasier says no. I think Niles should have gotten it back. That seems fair to me. Now that they're having the party on the 11th, Frasier says they can get Cornell to cater. He gets on his phone to reserve Cornell and Niles gets on his to cancel Tyler. They're walking as they're talking and bump into each other (yeah, who didn't see this coming!), dropping their phones which both look exactly alike. They pick up the wrong phone (of course!) and quickly realize they're talking to the wrong person and try to switch back, but it's too late. Now neither will cater for them and they go with a caterer "whose charges were dropped". I want to know what that's all about! We never get that back story.
Frasier calls the Duncans next to invite them and we learn that "Joaquim is coming in from Argentina". The Cranes think this means Joaqium Juarez, the conductor of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic. They are ecstatic by this news. The Duncans are named Arch and Nina and Frasier goes, "Don't cry for me, Arch and Nina!"
Because of the Duncans and Joaquim now on the guest list, they have to cut two couples and find a single female. Not sure why the extra seat has to be a woman, but we get a joke when Roz and Daphne, who had been in Daphne's room getting for a party, walk out of the room and Niles tells Roz they need a single, interesting woman to join their party and does she know anybody? Roz looks honored at first as he's talking, but then she gets (rightfully!) pissed off. Frasier tells her this isn't her crowd and she gets even more offended.
Then Martin comes out of his room and tells them he changed his poker night to the 11th and mentions how one of the guys had to reschedule his surgery. Niles tells him that they rescheduled the dinner party for the 11th. Martin says she's not going to reschedule the game again and Frasier tells him they can hold both parties simultaneously. When he starts describing how the party is going to be, Martin can't stand it and says he'll change it.
While Frasier and Niles are in the kitchen, they come back in the living room and see that a message has been left by Allison Wolpert, one half of another couple they had invited. She tells them that she and her husband will be there and after she thinks she's hung up we can hear her talking to her husband, saying they got invited to a dinner party at Dr. Crane's. The husband wants to know which one and she replies, "Does it matter? You get the one, you get the other one. Personally, I think the whole arrangement is a little..." Her husband realizes she hasn't quite hung up and then we hear a dial tone.
Frasier thinks the end to that sentence was "odd", but Niles points out she never said "odd" and they're getting upset over nothing. Frasier asks, "Is there a good end to the sentence?" Dot, dot, dot indeed! They start to argue who is "the one" and who is "that other one".
They start to question if they spend too much time together and even ask their dad if they think they're odd. He tells them that they're "just special."
Nina Duncan calls back to tell Frasier that Joaquim can only eat certain foods. Frasier thinks this is "exotic", but is confused when he starts listing out the foods aloud: rice, beans, jerked beef. After he hangs up, he tells Niles that Joaquim is the Duncans' nine-year old foster child who "gets nauseated when he eats American food." I'm sorry, but why are these people inviting a NINE-YEAR-OLD to some fancy schmancy dinner party? Was Joaquim involved in the original plans with the Ashbys? And what were there original plans that day anyway? Why did the Ashbys even tell Frasier they were free on the 11th when they had plans? I know, I already asked this question. I do love this episode, but there are a few plot holes!
Frasier decides to invite Roz to basically watch this kid. Frasier tells her he would love for her to join them and she's touched by this seemingly sincere gesture. He says he "has an interesting dinner companion" for her. He is in for a world of hurt when Roz finds out. She wants to make sure it's "not some stuffy old coot", but the Cranes assure her he's "very young". Roz agrees and they have all the guests invited.
Then the Ashbys call only to tell them they can't make it. If you ask me, the Ashbys seem super shady. Niles says he has one walnut left band blackballs himself. Frasier says he can't do that, but then realizes they just need to cancel the whole thing. That's probably for the best because Roz would have kicked his ass for setting her up to be the baby-sitter of a nine-year-old.
So we see the three of them have a nice bonding experience as they watch the show. They even make it into a drinking game whenever the word "veneer" is uttered. At one point, you hear someone on the show say "veneer" about five times in one sentence and they're all trying to keep up with their drinking. When they find out the show is coming to Seattle next Saturday, they decide to attend.
Martin brings a pewter bear clock which Frasier and Niles are embarrassed by. They don't think it will be worth anything. Martin finds an appraiser and calls his sons over because the show wants to get him on TV. Frasier tells Niles they can't appear on TV with "that hideous thing." Niles adds, "Everyone we know watches this program."
Martin is excited and Frasier warns him just because they want to haver him on TV doesn't mean the clock is worth anything and it could go either way. Martin assures him he knows that and tells him, "Doesn't matter if it's worth $2 or $2000. I'm just going to say, 'That's pretty much what I figured'."When the filming is about to start, Niles and Frasier stand out of frame, telling Martin, "This is your moment" after he tries to get them to join him.
The appraiser tells Martin about the clock: "It's Russian, made in the mid-19th century." Martin says, "That's pretty much what I figured." The appraiser continues, calling it "a stunning piece" and that "It was made by Andrei Kuragin who worked for Tsar Alexander II." Martin repeats his line of "That's pretty much what I figured." Now when he said he was going to say that, I just thought that meant in reference to whatever the clock would be worth! By the way, I Googled Andrei Kuragin; doesn't appear to be a real person!
When the appraiser says, "I don't know if you're descended from there Romanoffs, Martin, but all of Kuragin's known bear clocks were done exclusively for the Romanoff family are are now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg." When he says this, Frasier look like he's about to faint and he grabs Nile's hand. They inch closer and closer until they're in the frame. This is one of the funniest moments of the show. In the subtitles, they have it as "Romanoff", but I always thought it was "Romanov", but I guess you can spell it either way.
The appraiser tells them the clock is worth at least $25,000 and Martin lights up and exclaims, "Ka-ching!" This is a call back to when they were watching the show and when a piece on that episode is valued at $8,000, Martin says the same thing. If he thought eight grand warranted a "ka-ching!", then he must have been thrilled by the value of his own object! Frasier puts his arm around Martin and says, "What he means is, that's pretty much what we figured."
At home, Frasier asks Martin about the bear being from Russia, Martin tells his sons, "It probably got passed down through your great-great grandmother. She was from Russia." Frasier casually says the appraiser "said something about the Romanoff family" (he says "Romanoff" as though he can't quite remember the name which is super hilarious). Martin asks them, "Sure you want to hear about this? I guess you would've found out anyway after I died." He pauses with a serious look on his face, then continues, "We're royalty." Frasier and Niles looks positively giddy. After Martin continues with, "But I didn't want you to grow up spoiled so I abdicated and took a job in Seattle on the police force," they realize he's joking with them. I just love it when Martin messes with them.
Frasier and Niles still want to pursue why they have the clock and think maybe their grandmother could be a descendant of the Romanoffs. Frasier thinks they should research their family tree. With the help of the Internet and some research at the library, they find out their great great grandmother emigrated from Russia in 1879 and the bear clock was last seen in Moscow in 1879. They think this can't be a coincidence. Frasier has gotten in touch with an attaché at the Russian embassy named Dr. Myshkin who is an expert on the Romanoff family and he calls Frasier to tell him he would like to meet with him that night because he "has some important information" for him. Frasier and Niles thinks for sure this means he's going to tell them that they're descendants of the Romanoffs.
Martin tells them the phone has been ringing off the hook and everybody wants to buy the clock. He was even offered $26,000 by someone and says he's going buy a "big honkin' fishing boat." Of course, Frasier and Niles are horrified by this, so Frasier tells him that he and Niles could sell the clock for him and get more money - at least $30,000. Martin agrees.
That evening, Dr. Myshkin tells them the clock is authentic. He has a copy of the diary of Princess Sonya Romanoff (again, I Googled this name, and again, not a real person), daughter to Tsar Alexander II. He tells them at the age of eighteen, she fell in love with an American and that "such a union would be forbidden." So she "decided to give everything up for love and enlisted the aid of a scullery maid who smuggled money, clothing and this bear clock out of the palace." Her plan was to elope to America, but when she found her way to the train station, "The scullery maid had absconded with everything including the clock."
Now I remembered this episode and knew the scullery maid was the one related to the Cranes. I don't think it's supposed to come as a surprise when he reveals this to the brothers, but Frasier and Niles don't realize what's going on, or more likely, they're too arrogant and narcissistic to think they could ever be related to a lowly scullery maid. Frasier asks the Romaoff expert, "But tell us, how did we get our clock back?" and this is when he reveals to them their ancestor is the scullery maid. Holding the clock, he tells them its rightful place is in the Hermitage Museum. Frasier and Niles aren't thrilled by this and Dr. Myshkin tells them they could "settle this in the courts, but [they] wouldn't win". Frasier still claims it's a "precious family heirloom". When Myshkin tells them their ancestor also "worked as a prostitute in New York," Frasier tells him, "Enjoy your bear."
And if that isn't bad enough, Martin comes home just as Dr. Myshkin is leaving with the clock. He thinks Frasier and Niles sold it and tells them he hopes they got $30,000 for it because that's what he paid for the new Winnebago he bought (guess he changed his mind about the fishing boat!) So not only are Frasier and Niles NOT descended from royalty, they are also both out fifteen grand.
In the opening scene, it is established that Frasier will be taking Frederick to Williamsburg, so aside from this scene and another quick scene he's in, he's barely in this episode. This is really all Niles' and Daphne's episode.
Niles is upset because Maris is in the Society Page of the newspaper, on the arm of a new beau. It appears she has had many men vying for her attention (because she's rich, right? It can't be because of her looks or personality! The way they describe her on this show, she sounds like the most horrendous person ever). Martin tells Niles he should get out there and start dating too. Oh, I should point out this episode takes place when Niles and Maris are separated, but you probably already knew that.
The next evening, Niles announces he has a date next Saturday night with Marjorie Nash, "the 'fruit on the bottom' yogurt heiress". He says she's "terribly haughty" and rumors are still swirling around about her husband's death, "but a date's a date!" Daphne aside, I do question Niles' taste in women. Clearly, he just wants to date high society, hoity-toity women, which makes his feelings for Daphne all the more interesting. She is beautiful and charming, but she does not come from money and she is very down to earth and quirky. There is not a pretentious bone in her body.
Niles and Marjorie will be attending their club's annual winter dance, The Snow Ball. Martin tells him, "I didn't know you could dance." This surprised me because I would have thought the Crane brothers would have taken dance lessons when they were young. Apparently not. Niles mentions that whenever he went to these dances with Maris, she never wanted to dance because she doesn't like "public displays of rhythm". He starts to panic when he realizes he might actually have to dance, so Daphne offers to give him dance lessons. She learned many ballroom dances from her brother, Billy. Of course, she doesn't have to twist Niles' arm; he's quickly moving the coffee table out of the way so they have room to dance.
Martin tells him it's all a matter of coordination: "Hell, if you can ride a bike or skip rope or kick a ball, you can certainly..."He stops talking when he realizes who he's talking about, ha!
Through the magic of TV, we see time has elapsed as Daphne teaches Niles difference dances. When she goes to her room to get a tape (remember, we are still in the 20th century), Niles receives a phone call from Marjorie who has to cancel. Now, we never get a reason why she cancelled, so I wonder if whatever excuse she gave Niles was legit, if she even gave him a reason. Not that it really matters. Clearly Marjorie was a plot device, we were never meant to meet her. Also, I think Niles would have had a terrible time with her because she doesn't sound very pleasant!
Niles doesn't tell Daphne his date has been cancelled because he's enjoying his time with her a little too much. Martin knows his date has been cancelled and when the three of them are at Cafe Nervosa the next day, he finds out that Daphne still think his date is on. While she's ordering their coffees, he asks Niles why he didn't tell her his date was cancelled. He tells him, "I wanted to, but she's just having so much fun." Martin doesn't buy this at all and knows about Nile's intentions. He tells him he "in dangerous territory", that they'll be in a romantic situation and he'll say something he can't take back and it will be awkward for them. Niles says he has "no intention of saying anything." This episode aside, he is right about that. He actually never reveals his feelings for Daphne until much, much later. He's had moments where he's come close, but chickened out and there is that scene in "The Ski Lodge" where he's drunk and thinks she's in the bathroom when he bursts into her room and tells her how he feels, but it was actually her friend who thought he was talking to her.
However, he does agree with his dad, so when Daphne comes back with their coffees, Niles fesses up and tells her his date has been cancelled. Daphne think it's a shame to waste all their hard work and invites herself to the ball which Niles gleefully accepts.
When Frasier comes home, it's the evening of the ball. Martin is about to tell him what's been going on with Niles and Daphne, but Frasier cuts him off and tells him he's "technically still on vacation until 10 am tomorrow." Martin tries to tell him again, but Frasier doesn't care: "I do not care to know how hard Daphne made you exercise or about the boring foreign film Niles made you sit through or about the progress of Eddie's on-again, off again romance with the ottoman." As far as Frasier is concerned, he is not there! This is when the doorbell rings and he sees Daphne in this stunning red dress answer the door to Niles in his tux and they leave together. He wants to know what that was all about, but Martin pretends he didn't hear anything and says, "Eddie, did you hear anything? Can't be Frasier. He's still on vacation." Haha, I wonder if he eventually did tell Frasier the whole story? He probably did, but I'm sure it came with a price.
At the ball, when Daphne refers to Niles as "Dr. Crane", he asks her if she can call him Niles "just for tonight." I believe this is the first time we hear her call him just "Niles".
Niles runs into a couple who say how sorry they are about him and Maris and it's clear they're not being sincere and looking down their noses at him. He tells Daphne that his high society friends think that while "Maris is out living the high life, he's sitting at home, crushed and lonely." Daphne tells him not to worry, they'll show them their wrong. Again, through the magic of TV, we see time as clasped as they waltz around the ballroom to several dances and both are very happy. They're taking a break when the tango starts and Daphne wants to dance, but Niles wants to sit it out. It doesn't take much to convince him after she tell him "their bodies must be in constant contact without a sliver of daylight. Niles claims, "I can do that!"
While they're dancing, encouraged by Daphne, Niles blurts out that he adores her and when they're back to back, he covers his mouth, but then she says it back. By the end of the dance, they've stolen the floor and everyone is watching them. They even share a kiss, which I believe is the first time they kiss.
When they sit at their table, Niles is "looking down at cloud nine", as he previously states. He looks positively happy and asks Daphne if she has any idea what he's feeling. Daphne says she does and that his friends look "dumbstruck". As she turns her head to survey the room, she tells him, "I knew you were a good dancer, but I had no idea you were such a good actor. We fooled everyone, we didn't?" Niles looks so crestfallen and it's so sad! He is able to compose himself when Daphne looks back at him. The "we fooled everyone" will come back in reference to N/D much, much later and it's clearly a callback to this episode. Very clever and very good continuity. Of course, I have seen some not so good continuity on this show as well. Ahem, Frasier's birthday, for instance.
While Daphne is in the restroom, an attractive women named Claire who is an associate at Niles' attorney's offices offers Niles her number to call her anytime for dancing. We never do see her again, but I guess this scene is just to show us Niles won't have a problem trying to find a date in the future.
This popular and fan favorite episode revolves around Frasier taking on a special project for KACL's 50th anniversary. They used to air live radio dramas, so he's going to "recreate the very first mystery [they] ever aired, Nightmare Inn." The plot is about a Scotland Yard detective investigating a double murder at an inn. He has 30 minutes of air time and it will be airing Saturday night.
He gets Roz, Gil, and Bulldog to play parts in the film. He's also scored with getting a professional actor; a man who is the husband of someone who works in accounting. He will be taking on the role of seven smaller parts. Frasier even agrees to let Bulldog's flavor of the month girlfriend, Maxine, play the part of the maid (but probably because she only has one simple line - "Look out! He's got a gun!").
His play is pretty much cast except for the lead, the Scotland Yard inspector. He hasn't found anyone talented enough to play him, so takes on the role. He acts like it's an imposition, but of course, we know he wanted to be the lead all along.
The night before the show is to air, they all meet at Frasier's apartment to rehearse (not sure why they waited til the night before to rehearse and why they only rehearsed one night, but that's neither here nor there). Everyone is there except for Maxine who, according to Bulldog, has food poisoning as a result of wrestling in bad Jell-o. Daphne is there to time them so Frasier asks her to read the part of the maid.
They start their read-through and it doesn't take long for Frasier to criticize the professional actor. He critiques his German accent as sounding more Austrian. The actor claims, "I've done that accent both on Broadway and the London stage" to which Frasier replies, "Perhaps they have different standards than I have." Well, knowing Frasier, he certainly does have high standards. It doesn't get any better: during other read-throughs, he tells the actor his "gamekeeper sounded too cultured, his Irishman sounded more Protestant than Catholic, and [his] dwarf was too tall." Unsurprisingly, the actor gets fed up and quits.
If that weren't bad enough, they still can't get the play to 30 minutes. It's over by two minutes and twenty seconds, so Frasier has some editing to do. (Again, why did they wait until the last minute to rehearse? That seems very un-Frasier like).
Roz asks Frasier, "Where are you going to find an idiot willing to take six dialect parts unrehearsed?" and we see Frasier is on the phone and talking to Niles. When Niles comes to the studio the next day, he's worried because he didn't get the script. Of course, this is because Frasier doesn't want him to know he's playing the part of six characters, so he tells Niles that he had to work on editing it (which was technically true) and that he'll cue him as they go along.
Maxine is over her food poisoning and Frasier is surprised when Bulldog tells him she needs to study her line because she has dyslexia. Yeah, I think we know where this is going.
Roz comes in and her mouth is full of novocaine, having just spent the last two hours in the dentist's chair because of an emergency. She said the dentist said the novocaine would wear off by now, but the way she's talking, it definitely hasn't. Let's just say her line, "I can't believe any of my guests could be a multiple murderer" sounds like a garbled mess.
We see Daphne and Martin getting ready to listen at home. Daphne tells Martin even though she already knows the plot, she'll try not to blurt out the name of the murderer. Martin says, "Great, as a cop, I hated it when people did that."
The show starts and it does not go to plan at all. Roz is barely understandable; by his third character, Niles is looking alarmed; Bulldog gets stage fright and doesn't speak his lines (instead, Noel, who's operating the sound board rings a bell to signify Bulldog's character); the phone rings after Frasier's Inspector says the phone lines have been cut and they are "totally stranded and completely isolated from any contact from the outside moment"; Maxine predictably says, "Look out! He's got a nug!" and Gil is upset that Frasier had to cut his character's speech "about his boyhood in Surrey."
During the commercial break, Frasier tells Gil to just say "I'm dying" after he's shot. When the show resumes, Gil does say that, but also continues with his big speech. Frasier pops a balloon, signifying a gun shot and says Nigel (Gil's character) was shot again. Gil says it only grazed him and continues on with his speech. Irritated, Frasier pops another balloon and says, "The final bullet blew his head clean off his shoulders!" Gil STILL tries to continue his speech by knocking on the prop door and saying he's Nigel's twin brother. Frasier pops another balloon (good thing they had a good supply of balloons!) and says, "And so died the last surviving member of the Fairservice family."
Back at the apartment, we see Martin say, "I sure didn't see that one coming." Daphne agrees and says, "This is turning into a bloodbath." I'm surprised they didn't have her say the play was nothing at all like the one she heard last night.
The murderer, Hans, is one of the many characters Niles plays. He is surprised as he reads the line, "I'm not a butler, I'm not even German." He speaks in his regular voice and as he's trying to tell the Inspector what's really going on, he gets very annoyed as Frasier is directing him. In the beginning scene of the show, it was established that Niles thought Frasier had a tendency to over direct. He gets so irritated that he stops the speech and says, "I'm just going to take this gun off the table." With the remaining balloons, he starts popping them one by one, killing off all his characters (I loved when he asks the McCallister sisters to stand back to back because he's short on bullets; at this point he only has three balloons left), as well as the characters of Roz (who looks super relieved) and Bulldog. He uses the last balloon to kill off Hans telling everyone, "the mystery will die with me."
Frasier ends with, "Well, then. That pretty much wrapped things up. Hans was a mass murderer." He's about to end the show, but the producer is signaling they have nine minutes left. I bet he wished he let Gil have his speech now!
4. The Seal Who Came to Dinner (Season 6, Episode 8)
There's a few episodes that dabble in the crime genre and this is one of them. Death Trap, where Frasier and Niles finds a skull in their old childhood home and think the landlord killed his wife and an early episode where Frasier tries to "help" Martin solve a murder from his years of working as a cop are also good crime-related episodes.
Niles' gourmet club is holding elections to see who will win this year's Golden Apron. He is a finalist and each finalist will host a dinner party at their home. Since this is during the time he's living at the Shangrai-La, he asks Frasier if he can have it at his place. Frasier only agrees because one of the guests, Claudia Kynock, who owns six newspapers and nine radio stations, will be there. This is during the time when Frasier doesn't have a job.
Niles has gotten the famous sculptor turned chef Marcel Dubouef to cater. He will making his all truffle menu: "For the appetizer, he sculpts tiny mushroom trees. Then he carves radishes to look like truffle pigs snuffling around the roots." Oh my God, that is so extra. Also, if you're trying to win something called the Golden Apron, that kind of implies that YOU should cook the meal yourself. Though, I'm sure none of the other people in this gourmet club made their own meals for their dinner parties.
Meteor showers are predicted for that evening and Niles says they'll have a perfect dinner in the perfect setting with an excellent view. He gasps when he sees a piece of tape on the balcony window. Frasier says it's a small crack, a bird flew into it and he's replacing the pane next week. He says no one will notice. Honestly, I am shocked that he says that because it is pretty noticeable and this is the same person who freaked out when Martin's chair made a nick in the floor when he and Niles were trying to move it when they were holding a wine-tasting party. I would say the tape on the glass was way more noticeable than the scuff on the floor! Niles say his rivals are "cutthroat" and "will leap on the tiniest imperfection."
Lucky for him, Maris is in Antwerp "having her elbows done" (seriously, WTF?). She has a beach house that will give a beautiful view of the meteor shower and he is confident he can get past the alarm. Martin asks, "Isn't that breaking and entering?" Niles replies, "It can't be a crime if it's catered!" Oh, God, I can just see him on the stand now.
When Niles and Frasier get to the beach house (they never say where it's located), they hear Maris's neighbor and friend, an old woman named Gretchen, call Maris's name. Niles tells Frasier to go hide in the kitchen and when Gretchen comes over, she tells Niles that Maris told her their marriage ended. Niles says they patched everything up and they're back together and Maris is in the kitchen.
After she leaves, Niles turns on a lamp by clapping his hands. He tells Frasier Maris got it after the power went out during a storm once. It's battery-operated and works on a clapper, but, as Niles tells his brother, "The poor thing could never clap hard enough to activate it." I swear every time they describe Maris, I wonder how is it even physically possible she could be alive? But her physical descriptions are so outrageous, that's what makes it so funny (and why they never cast anyone to play her because it is physically impossible to look like that and still be alive!)
They go outside on the deck to admire the view, then immediately start gagging because they smell something foul. It's a dead seal laying on the beach next to a dinghy, but as Frasier points out, "On the bright side there's not a single crack in these windows!" Niles calls animal control to ask them to remove the seal. He tells them it's deceased, but when he finds out they only handle live animals, he changes his story and says, "Oh wait, I was mistaken, It's not dead after all. It's sitting up. It looks very disoriented. Come quickly!" Frasier takes the phone from him and asks how they can dispose of a dead seal. When he hangs up, he tells Niles they have two options: they can bury it or haul it out to sea. If they do the latter, animal control suggested they stab holes on it so it doesn't float. Niles is repulsed by the idea of stabbing it, so he thinks they should bury it. (Okay, I've never had to deal with this situation in my life, but I think hauling it out to sea would be easier...says the girl who lives in the Midwest).
They go inside to find shovels. Chef Marcel arrives and they need to make sure he doesn't see the seal or he'll leave. As Niles tells Frasier, "He won't let anything upstage his food." As Marcel and his sous chefs go into the kitchen, Niles finds two plastic shovels and a bucket, something a little kid would play with on the beach. Frasier asks him, "What's the matter, Niles? You couldn't find any demitasse spoons?"
He suggests they stick the seal in the dingy and haul it out to sea. Niles agrees, but refuses to touch it with his bare hands. Frasier tells him to get a sheet to wrap it in, but since all the beds are stripped and the linen cabinets are locked, the best he can come up with is Maris's peach peignoir to wrap it in. He also gets some perfume to cover the smell. After he sprays the seal with the perfume he asks Frasier if he thinks that helped. Frasier replies,"Oh, yes, Niles. It smells so lovely now, it's almost a shame to bury it."
A moment later, we see them come back with the boat, soaking wet. They look like they jumped into the water with their clothes on. Niles makes a comment that that stench is still quite strong and when they turn back to look at the shore, they see the tide has washed the seal back. All that hard work (and getting soaked!) for nothing. Niles thinks they should row it back out and weigh it down with something and Frasier suggest they use the clap on/clap off lamp. The guests will be arriving in fifteen minutes so Niles asks Frasier if he can go alone because he needs to get ready. Frasier agrees, but he's not happy about it.
The fact that they both managed to get cleaned, dried off, and dressed in fifteen minutes is absolutely ridiculous, but welcome to TV world. The title card after the commercial break is very clever: "Their fête is sealed." Give the writer who came up with that a raise. I have to admit, there are times when I have no idea what the title card is referring to, or I just forget what it was, but this is one of those times when it works very well.
The party seems to be going quite smoothly. Niles tells everyone to claim a spot on the deck for the meteor shower and opens the curtains to the doors. They all go outside and one guy complains about a lot of gnats and claps his hand against his neck. What do we have here? Oh, it's Chekov's lamp! Niles immediately claps to turn it off. Soon, many people are swatting gnats away and every time they inadvertently turn on the lamp, Frasier or Niles clap back to turn off the light. Claudia wants to know what's on the beach and Frasier tells her, "It's just a rock with some seaweed on it." Niles tells everyone to go back inside because dinner should be served soon. When he and Frasier are alone on the deck, he tells him to stab it, but Frasier refuses. Niles finally gives in and tells Frasier to get him a knife, close the curtains, and not to let anyone outside until he comes back.
While Frasier is standing guard, a woman says she saw a meteor and Frasier says, "Everyone, please stand back and witness the spectacular view through this transom." Of course, it's just these small triangle-shaped panes above the doors and they provide absolutely no good view of anything. Someone wants to know why they can't go outside to see them and Frasier says it's much safer if they stay in here because you never know where they might land. Even so, wouldn't you at least want to open the curtain? Before anyone can point out that logic to him, the doorbell rings and it's the police asking for a Niles Crane. He's "investigating a possible homicide" and a neighbor (we all know who!) "saw Dr. Crane and another man row out to sea with a third party dressed in a nightie. The men returned alone. We suspect they dumped the body overboard." Whoa, this just became an episode of the many true crime podcasts I listen to!
Frasier tries to clear things up by telling them he was the other man in the boat. I laughed so hard when Claudia exclaims, "You dumped a body overboard?" Gretchen shows up at that moment to tell the police what she saw: "Dr. Crane was on the beach with his wife, Maris. I recognized her peignoir. I could even smell her perfume. He was stabbing her again and again!" This got really dark!
Frasier tells the cops they can search the house: "I defy you to find one scrap of evidence that there's been foul play here."Of course, after he says that, Cher Marcel comes out from the kitchen and says his butcher knife is gone.
A second cop opens the curtains and we see Niles right outside the window wiping blood off the knife. When he notices the cop, he quickly tosses the knife away. It is the funniest thing (funny because we know nobody was murdered!) because everyone is staring at him and saw him cleaning blood off a knife. He comes inside to tell them the meteor show has started. He notices he's still wearing black gloves and quickly removes them. I don't know if this is supposed to be a wink at the OJ Simpson murder trial as this did air three years after that, so by that time it may have been old news? IDK.
Frasier tells him they should explain to everyone about the dead seal, but Niles just looks at him in disbelief and says, "Dead seal? At my Golden Apron dinner? That's enough bubbly for you." Frasier tells him they all think he murdered Maris, so they both tell what happened with the seal. Everyone is having trouble understanding why they would dress the seal in a nightgown and spray it with perfume. When one of the cops come back with the bloody robe, Niles says, "If that doesn't prove my innocent, I don't know what does." Hmm, I think it might be a good thing Niles is not a lawyer!
The cops don't believe their outlandish story and Frasier and Niles are handcuffed as they are led to the cop cars to be taken to the police station. Niles tells them his wife is in Antwerp having her elbows done. Frasier tells him even he didn't believe that one. Guess Niles didn't win that Golden Apron!
Even though this is technically two episodes (titled as Part 1 and Part 2), I'm counting it as one hour-long episode. If you even add the episode previous to this, Dark Side of the Moon, it works well as a trilogy. I refer to these episodes as the wedding episode even though no wedding actually takes place. I call it that because the episode is set around Daphne and Donny's upcoming wedding (especially the second part).
Daphne and Donny join Frasier and Martin at the bar. Daphne mentions she wished they had gotten a toast from Martin, but he says he would have felt awkward. Daphne says it's okay, that she should be toasting him. The bartender gives Martin a Ballentine, his favorite beer. He says, "You know, I just found out they're going to quit making this stuff. It's going to her one sad day when I get down to my last one. You get used to having something in your life. It's part of your day. Just take it for granted. Then suddenly, it's gone and you realize how much it meant to you." It's really sweet and Daphne thinks so too and squeezes his hand.
Niles and Mel join them. The music is playing and Donny asks Mel to dance since it's his last night as a "carefree bachelor". Daphne and Niles make small talk and after Daphne says she loves the song that's playing, Niles asks if she wants to dance. Daphne says it will give them "a chance to keep an eye on those two." Yeah, I don't think those two are the ones that need to be watched! But to be fair to her, she has no intention of saying anything to Niles and isn't about to do anything rash. Niles comments, "It's been awhile since we've danced together" which is a nice little call back to "Moon Dance". Frasier is sitting at a table, watching them dance and notices the way they look at each other when they're dancing with their respective partners.
Frasier brings Niles to his room at the inn to tell him that Daphne knows he has feelings for her and she's known for a long time. When Niles asks how, Frasier replies, "Well, it's a long story. I think Roz said something. Anyway, she knows." Poor Roz! Just getting flung under that bus left and right here. Niles thinks he's just dropping this bombshell on him because Frasier doesn't approve of his marriage. Perhaps Frasier should have started with Daphne also having feelings for him. He does tell Niles that she did deny it once she found out he was married.
There's a knock on the door and it's Mel saying that Niles had their only roomkey (okay, what kind of place is this where they only give out ONE key to a room that has two people?) and he apologies and lets her in through Frasier's room. Now I need to pause for a minute and explain the set up of these rooms. It's so odd. I understand it's for the sake of the TV show, but it is so odd. Not only is Frasier's room connected to Niles' and Mel's room, but it's also connected to Daphne's and Donny's room. I can kinda understand his room connecting to the one with Niles, but it's super weird that his room is adjourned to the couple getting married. But like I said, it's all for the sake of the episode, but it would make absolutely no sense in the real world.
Mel tells Niles it's okay and that he has "a whole lifetime to make it up to [her]." The audience laughs nervously at that. I don't know about that! Once Mel is in their room, Niles (predictably) starts hyperventilating and tells Frasier he needs to talk to Daphne.
He gets Daphne to come in and talk to him and I have to wonder if she knows what's up. She looks pretty nervous and she just saw Frasier leave so she knows they were alone in the room before she was there so I think she knows that Frasier spilled her little secret to Niles. And what other reason would Niles want to talk to her the day before her wedding? Also, when he offers her a drink, she just starts rambling like she doesn't want him to say anything, so she totally knows why he wants to talk to her.
Finally, after all this time, Niles tells Daphne that he loves her and the audience gasps. I just love how invested the audience is in this relationship. I mean, it only took Jim and Pam three seasons before they got together and they were married by season five. (I should probably fact check this - I've only seen The Office once Okay, so it looks like they get together by season four and married by season six, well whatever. The point I'm trying to make here is that it took a long time for Niles and Daphne to get together).
After Niles professes his love for her, they are interrupted when Martin barges into the room, looking for Frasier. Once he sees them, he knows what's going on and excuses himself. This is the first of many interruptions these two will have and this is also when out adjourning rooms come into play. The next time they are interrupted is when Donny comes in to ask Niles for some advice on what he should do about a blister on his foot. He says, "What luck, huh? Can you imagine a worse thing could happen to me the night before my wedding?" Yes, yes, I can, Donny.
Once they're alone again and Daphne tells Niles, "I'm twelve hours from the altar and you're on your honeymoon" (technically, he wasn't on his honeymoon, but I get what she means), he tells her that he never would have gotten married if he knew she shared his feelings that that he will "leave Mel in a heartbeat." Right after he says that, Mel walks in (yikes, that was close!) and he exclaims, "Darling!" She wants to show him brochures for where they can go on their (actual, but non-existent) honeymoon. He tells her to pick one and "a woman with her exquisite taste can handle this decision." Mel tells Daphne, "He says that now. Wait until the honeymoon is over." We get more nervous laughter from the audience. Cuz we know that honeymoon is gonna be over real soon! In fact, there won't even be one.
Niles says it's not too late for them and wants to know if she feels the same way about him. Even though she kisses him (to which he tells her, "I think you can call me Niles now") and tells him she does love him, she says she can't do this. She calls Donny a "dear and wonderful man" and says she made a promise to him. Daphne feels very guilty about what this would do to Donny and it's clear that she loves Donny way more than Niles love Mel. She also points out that Niles made a promise to Mel and adds, "We have no idea how we'd be together. For heaven's sake, we've never even been on a date." Uh, I beg to differ! Okay, they weren't an official couple, but I would call their attendance to the Snow Ball together as a date. It is surprising that she's turning him down when she was literally crying over him not that long ago. I didn't remember this part at all.
Poor Niles looks so sad. It's funny that in the first part I'm all "Poor Daphne" and in this part, I'm all "Poor Niles." Of course, we all know they get together the next day when Daphne pulls a runaway bride and meets Niles in the Winnebago that was used to pick up Daphne's family (the same one that Martin bought with the money he thought he got from the Russian bear clock, but it was actually Frasier and Niles paying for it). The night before, when they said good-night, Daphne had called him "Dr. Crane." Now, when she's about to drive off with him, she calls him "Niles".
Niles and Daphne shippers can rejoice because they're finally together and it only took seven years. Although, it is too bad their happiness had to come at the expense of two other people. But who cares! Our favorite Frasier ship is finally sailing!
When I think of absolute classic Frasier episodes, this one comes to mind. It's when Frasier and Niles decide to buy a restaurant that is dear to them and holds many fond memories for them. Orsini's is closing because the owner is ready to retire.
When Frasier tells Niles the news, Niles reminisces about their grandfather (I'm assuming their mother's father!) taking him there for his 8th birthday. He remembers the party hats, people singing "Happy Birthday" to him, and "sending back the Veal Prince Orloff." Yes, I did look that up, and yes, it is a real dish. Frasier suggests they make reservations for "one glorious farewell dinner" and Martin and Daphne join them.
Besides the KACL studio at the very beginning, this entire episode takes place at the restaurant. Frasier and Niles haven't been to Orsini's in quite some time and when they arrive, they are the only customers there and the place is clearly shabby and run down. Niles compares it to meeting the movie star you worshipped as a child only to discover that "time has left her hair brittle, her eyes sunken and dull, her skin waxy and sallow." The look of disgust Martin gives him is HILARIOUS and he sarcastically comments about what an appetite he has now.
They see Otto, an elderly waiter who has been at Orsini's since its inception. Frasier tells Daphne that Otto is "legendary", how he never writes anything down; he can remember all the orders in his head. Unfortunately, Otto is old now and seems to forget things easily. When Frasier calls him over once they've been seated, he gives him the check and Frasier has to correct him.
Frasier and Niles start discussing how the restaurant would be better if the pillars were knocked down, the curtains were gone, the walls got a fresh coat of paint, etc. Frasier tells Niles, "You know, I've always dreamed of owning a four star restaurant" to which Niles replies, "What growing boy hasn't?" He points out that they could get the chef at Emilio's because he's not happy there.
Not everyone is as enthusiastic as they are. Martin think it's "a dumb-ass idiotic idea" for them to own a restaurant (spoiler alert: he's not wrong!) Frasier tells him, "We know food. We know wine. We have style, taste, and refinement." Martin points out they're not thinking about the hard work or the long hours. He tells his sons, "To you, owning a restaurant is just wearing fancy clothes, hobnobbing with your friends, and turning your enemies away at the door." That last bit excites Frasier and Niles, especially Niles who giddily replies, "I hadn't even though about that!" Martin continues and tells them about a restaurant he knew that changed owners about twenty times in ten years. Niles takes this to mean they need to come up with the perfect name. Frasier agrees and says he was thinking about that while Martin was talking. He suggests they call the restaurant Les Frères Heureux which is "The Happy Brothers" in French. Ha, I can't help but think of Los Pollos Hermanos. (Something tells me the Crane brothers would not last long in the Breaking Bad universe; Martin on the other hand, I could see him getting along with Mike Ehrmantraut. This is a fanfic crossover I never knew I needed until now). Niles loves the name and says it is "homey and just hard enough to pronounce to intimidate the riffraff."
Frasier (being Frasier) wants to make the restaurant exclusive: "no sign on the outside, no advertisements, and an unlisted phone number." Martin sarcastically says they could put guards on the roof who can shoot people if they try to get in.
After the commercial break, we see they have already bought the restaurant and it has been redecorated and refurbished. Obviously, some time has passed, but since this is a 23-minute sitcom we don't need to go into the semantics of how they were able to (so easily) acquire the restaurant.
Everything seems to be running smoothly on their opening night. Daphne and Martin are dining together along with a roomful of diners. There is a running joke where whenever either Frasier or Niles pass by a big bowl of cherries to be used for the cherries jubilee (which is right outside the kitchen doors), they keep adding more brandy, not knowing the other one is also adding more brandy. Yep, you probably already guessed they're setting this up for a big payoff later in the show.
Chef Maurice is making individual soufflés, but Niles tells him to make one large soufflé and "dish the portions out at the table." He starts doing that, only for Frasier to come back in the kitchen to tell him to make them in individual cups. I'm with Frasier on this one; I think you need to make them individually. That just seems like the easiest and more convenient way to serve them. The brothers start arguing about the soufflés and Maurice gets so fed up with them, he just walks out and leaves. The sous chef is made the new head chef. Niles tells him to make them proud because at the governor's table, they have "two state senators and the head of the immigration bureau." This scares the man (who has a strong Eastern European accent) and all the other cooks and they run off. If that isn't bad enough, in an earlier scene, Niles had pushed the "in" door from the kitchen and knocked out one of the waiters. Frasier had pushed the "out" door from the dining room and ended up breaking another waiter's nose. The bartender offers to take them to the ER, so now they are out two waiters, a bartender, and all cooks.
Frasier tells Niles he is the new head chef. He gets Martin to bartend and Daphne to help Niles in the kitchen. He tells Martin, who has a smug look on his face, "You can gloat later." Martin replies that he'll "pencil it in." Just as Daphne asks him who's going to wait all the tables, here comes Roz with a date and of course Frasier takes advantage of this. She tries to explain to her date that she needs to help Frasier and hopes that he'll understand. Her date asks her if he can get a menu and some bread and butter. What a douche!
Frasier tells Martin that Niles is panicking in the kitchen and Martin suggest that he just tell everyone the truth, that they'll understand. Frasier agrees that "honesty is the best policy" and is about to tell everyone the truth, but before he does, Gil Chesterton, the food critic for KACL walks in with a bunch of other food critics and Frasier can't (or, more likely, won't) admit defeat. Gil and the others order the special, the anguilla. Chef Maurice liked his food super fresh, so the eels are kept in a tank. When Frasier tells Niles he needs to kill five eels, Niles is just flinging a knife in the tank, too scared to touch them. (I don't blame him; eels are scary!) Daphne just marches over, takes one out and slams it onto the table. The title card for this scene was along the lines of "No eels were harmed during this scene".
Oh, remember that bowl of of cherries soaking in brandy? Yep, well, that's about to pay off. When Roz tells Frasier a couple tables are ready for their dessert, he tells her to flame the cherries jubilee and he'll serve them. From behind the doors, we see a huge flame, then Roz walks into the kitchen with her hair sticking up and smooshed cherries all over her face and (white) outfit. In a state of shock, she says, "Big blue flash. Cherries everywhere." Frasier replies, "Lucky it didn't set off the sprinkler system." And on cue, the sprinkler system goes off.
At that moment, Otto, who Frasier didn't have the heart to let go, so he made him the parking attendant; drives a car right into the restaurant as everyone is evacuating the restaurant. Just a disastrous evening all around!
It all starts when Daphne's ex-fiance, Clive, calls. Everyone (especially Niles!) is surprised to find out she was once engaged. She tells them they didn't get married because she couldn't see a future with him. He didn't have any ambition, couldn't hold a job, and just tinkered with his car. She wanted to break it to him easily, so she told him she wasn't ready and if they "were still free in five years, [they] could try again," And now it's been five years. So Daphne agrees to invite him over for a drink.
Now my question is: how did Clive get Frasier's number? Did he even know she was in another country? To be honest, I don't know when exactly Daphne moved to America. They may have mentioned it somewhere in the series, but I can't remember. Did he call her parents and they gave him Frasier's number? That seems a little invasive. You think they would have called Daphne first and asked if it was okay to give Clive the number where she can be reached. Of course, Daphne's parents (especially her mom) aren't the greatest.
Before the arrival of Clive, there are two plot points that will help set up the story. The first is that Martin has been invited to go to Rattlesnake Ridge for a reunion with his army buddies. He needs someone to drive him since it's five hours away and because Niles and Daphne are both busy that day, Frasier is the one who has to do it. The second plot point is that Roz had borrowed Frasier's opera glasses (to "ogle the bodybuilder that moved in across the street") and he tells her he needs them back because he's going to the opera the next evening.
The evening Clive is supposed to arrive, Daphne is wearing a bulky housecoat over a long dress to make sure there are "no romantic signals, whatsoever." Frasier tells her maybe he just wants to say hello. When the doorbell rings, it's Nile who claims he forgot Clive was coming over. He's brought over a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle of which he's "already assembled one kitten and two yarn balls." Frasier knows what he's up to and snatches the box out of his hand and tells him they're going out to dinner so they don't interfere with Daphne's reunion.
When Clive arrives, Frasier in in bedroom getting his jacket (and it takes him a very long time to put on a jacket!) and Niles is in the kitchen to give them privacy (per Frasier's request). But let's be honest: anyone in that kitchen can hear what is going on in the living room! There's no door and the back wall of the kitchen is just open shelves! Daphne asks him what brings him to Seattle and Clive (not so subtly) replies, "My undying love for you." He apologizes and says he meant to lead up to that and that his feelings haven't changed for her in five years.
Niles comes in to offer cheese nips. I'm guessing he heard the whole thing and went in to intervene. Daphne introduces Niles to Clive as her husband. I don't know who's more shocked when she says that - Niles or Clive. She tells him they're been married for six month and they're "still at the honeymoon stage" and "It's sickening, really" as she kisses Nile's cheek. Of course, Niles is loving this and with a big grin on his face, replies, "Revolting" and kisses her cheek back. He adds, "Positively stomach turning" and tries to kiss her again, but she recoils from him. Daphne probably didn't realize it, but she probably chose the best person to pretend to be her husband. If she had tried this with Frasier, I don't think he would have gone along.
But on the other hand, Daphne may have chosen the worst person to pretend to be her husband. Clive is about to leave, but Niles tells him no, that they're enjoying having him there. Daphne says she did promise him a drink and he replies he could stay for a beer. Niles will also ask him to stay for dinner a little later, so he's just milking this whole thing
While Daphne and Niles are in the kitchen getting Clive a beer, Frasier (finally) comes out from his bedroom and says hello to Clive. After he introduces himself, they have this conversation:
Frasier: "Yes. You've met Niles?"
Clive: "Just now. I used to know his wife quite well."
Frasier: "Isn't she?"
Clive: "Certainly can light up a room."
Frasier: "Oh, yes. Usually by leaving it."
When Niles and Daphne enter the room and Daphne tells Clive, "I see you've met my husband's brother", Frasier immediately understand what's going on. Niles tells Clive he's living with them temporarily because he's "had a spat with his wife, Maris." Frasier is not amused he's married to Maris. When Clive tells him, "Sorry to hear that", he replies, "Yes, me, too." Ha!
Frasier asks Daphne to show him where the wine is, but before she leaves, Niles tells her she has to "pay the love toll" and points to his cheek. Daphne kisses him and he tells her, "Too much, here's your change" and kisses her back. He is definitely taking advantage of the situation, but he knows trying to kiss her on the lips would be pushing it.
While Frasier and Daphne are in the kitchen, this is when he enthusiastically asks Clive if he can stay for dinner. In the kitchen, Frasier is chiding Daphne for what she's doing. She tells him it's just one drink and can he play along until then. Niles comes in to tell them Clive is staying for dinner; claiming he invited himself, but Frasier is giving him this look as though he knows Niles asked him to stay. Niles tells Daphne, "Obviously, he has hopes of winning you back. We must keep these displays of affection as realistic as possible." Oh, Niles!
Daphne tells Frasier if he plays along with the charade this evening, she'll do any favor for him. He gets her to drive Martin to Rattlesnake Ridge. She says if anything goes wrong, the deal is off. He assures her everything will be fine as long as they "stick to their stories and avoid any unnecessary complications." Just as he says that, Martin comes home and Frasier, Niles, and Daphne all greet him with, "Dad!" Daphne introduces Clive to her new husband's father. Niles suggest that Daphne give Clive a tour of the rest of the apartment so he and Frasier can catch Martin up. When Niles tells Martin that Frasier is staying here temporarily because he's separated from Maris, Martin says to Frasier, "You couldn't stand her either, huh?" and they both crack up. Niles does not look amused!
Frasier thinks Martin should leave for the evening because trying to keep up with the whole story "requires quick thinking and improvisational skills and a knack for remembering details." Martin sarcastically replies, "I never used any of those skills as an undercover cop." Ha! I love Martin. He does not leave, just sits in his chair.
Clive asks Martin what he does. He says he's a retired, but used to be an astronaut (!!) and flew missions with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. He adds that he was the one who give Buzz his nickname because "he was scared of bees."
The doorbell rings and everyone looks at the door wondering who it is. Frasier asks who is it and we hear Roz reply, "It's me." Martin has a huge grin on his face as he says, "What do you know? It's Maris!" Now I get that he's mad at Frasier and Niles, but he knows that this whole charade is because of Daphne and he likes her, so I don't know why he's making this whole thing worse for her. Of everyone involved, he's definitely having the most fun with this little scheme, even more so than Niles which will crash and burn for him shortly.
Roz is there to give Frasier back his opera glasses. Frasier greets her with, "Darling!", then hugs her and whispers in her ear, "You're Maris. We're married. Play along." He introduces Roz to Clive and Roz, being Roz, is very attracted to him. Frasier tells "Maris" they could use a moment alone, so he takes Roz out on the balcony to explain what's going on.
Niles asks Clive what he does. Daphne assumes he's still messing around with cars because he had grease on his hands, but Clive says he helped a lady change a tire on the way over. He claims he doesn't have much time for cars anymore now that he has started three sporting goods shops. Yeah, I don't understand why Daphne just assumed he was the same because there was grease on his hand. Even if he was still messing with cars, I think he would be wise enough to take a shower before meeting her. Helping someone with a flat tire on the way home at least excuses him for not getting all the grease off. By this point, Daphne is trying to distant herself from Niles. I think at this point, Daphne needs to cut her losses. She either looks like she's a married woman flirting with Clive (which she does and which he points out!) or she has to admit she was lying the whole time. Either way, she doesn't look great in front of Clive.
When Frasier and Roz come back into the room, Frasier tells everyone "Maris" has to run off for "a previous engagement."Martin tells her to forget about it and stay for dinner and "Maris" accepts. During dinner, both Daphne and Roz are blatantly coming onto Clive, even though they're both supposed to be married and their husbands are sitting at the table with them.
In kitchen, Daphne tells Frasier she better get Roz to leave or he'll be driving Martin to Rattlesnake Ridge. Frasier does try to get her to leave, but it's to no avail. When Roz asks for more wine, Daphne tells her she better not since she blacked out the last time she had too much. Roz retaliates by mentioning that Daphne is pregnant.
When Clive is in the bathroom (which Niles tells him they call it "Frasier's bathroom" because all the towels are monogrammed with his initials), Daphne and Roz start fighting. Roz says she thought Daphne wanted to get rid of Clive, but Daphne says she's changed her mind. Again, I think Daphne needs to let this go. I don't think Roz has much of a chance either, though. Nobody sees Clive as he's coming out of the bathroom. Roz has given up and tells Daphne, "You can have him. He's yours!" Daphne yells back at her, "Fat chance I've got now that you've told him I'm pregnant. How am I supposed to get rid of this bloody baby?" This is when she notices Clive and looks absolutely horrified. Also, I don't think she can blame Roz for her chances with Clive; she did that to herself when she said she was married and let it go on way too long.
Clive says he should be going. Daphne apologetically tells him, "I know what you must think, but we're not what we seem." Clive agrees with her and goes on to tell them all what he thinks of them. Daphne says, "We're not the awful people you think we are." Frasier adds, "No! The truth is, we're been lying to you all night!" Ha! Like that makes it any better.
Honestly, I don't think Daphne was missing anything by not making a reconnection with Clive. As he says goodbye, before he leaves, he says to Frasier and Niles, "I'll never understand how two men like you could have been spawned by that sweet, courageous old astronaut." Clive, Clive, Clive. Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
So those are my top ten episodes of Frasier. I won't lie; it was hard just picking ten because there are so many great episodes out there - I could have easily picked ten more!