Wednesday, August 18, 2010

S4 E16 "The Unnatural"

Frasier [to Frederick]: You're going to see me play softball today, and I'm not going to play very well. The truth is, I'm not a good softball player.

Frederick: Why are you called Bulldog?
Bulldog: I don't know - people just call me that.
Frederick: But why?


The first line up there is all me, I took notes on this episode. Journalism.

The second quote though is from a fan site recap of the episode, and seriously what the fuck? These sort of things are my inspiration for living, the fact that there is someone out there, at least one person, who thinks that exchange is either funny or somehow remarkable just drives me mad with desire. I cannot stop thinking about it. I want to meet this person and explore his mind. That is one of the "episode highlights" according to Frasier Online, and commentor on the site who gave the episode a 79% (cool) called that exchange between Frasier-seed and Bulldog a "very funny little moment."

It is possibly the least interesting thing the Frasier-machine has ever created.

Also from Frasier Online (a British site by the way, what is it with the Brits and American mediocrity? Is it just to make them feel better about the war and Mike Skinner?) is this tidbit from Norm Jr. of California: this episode's "completely uninvolving premise" is "mostly excusable" for the chance to get a visit from Beast's son Frederick "worked in." Again, who are you? I want to spend my whole life with you.

Imagine what a great time you could have with someone who gets excited about a "Frederick" episode in Frasier! What does Norm do when something even marginally cool happens? (Green light!) Nothing against young Fred but on the scale of things that could happen, watching an episode of Frasier in which his son appears registers as kind of a bummer. At best it's neutral. And Norm is super stoked! Hanging out with Norm would be like hanging out with a baby. I haven't even explored the "completely uninvolving premise" line, I'm not sure I have the room in my heart to do so! This means J.R. finds most Frasier premises involving! How so Norm? How so?

Like all things in life, maintaining Frasier fanhood requires that we lie. What is inexcusable is that it forces us to lie to ourselves. The editor of Frasier Online, and Norm and all those beautiful souls like him, is forced to pretend that an excruciating segment between Young Windbag and Bulldog is an episode highlight, how else to continue on but to grin and laugh when the track does? Admitting that nothing in this episode gets above being mildly perturbing would be to admit that Frasier-bot is not the dream machine we imagined and no episode has truly fulfilled us. Surely the emmy voters watched the Crane's sipping wine, heard Daphne's accent and felt multi-syllabic words bounce through their heads and told themselves something smart had happened. Just as Academy members hear the word holocaust and start handing out awards, just as Decemberists fans hear excruciatingly boring music and are sure there is genius in the monotony. We enjoy things in a context, and for these fine folks that context involves a web site devoted to Frasier. As does mine.

And so in that context I searched madly for something to grab a hold of. Some thread to pull me back from the abyss of a sentimental Frasier episode.

Leave it to Mr. 79% to root out the needle in the haystack: Niles and Frederick competing for Daphne's affection. Shit is real disgusting. It seriously had me pining for those beautiful days when the creepy sexuality was emanating from the dad's over-used loins and Frasier's oedipus complex. In The Unnatural (such a clever title too!) Freddy has a crush on the Scot that would be gross on its own. The over-fed, over-smug child keeps eliciting hugs from Daf and mugging for the camera. It's fucking weird. Kid's aren't sexual like this, predatory and sneaky. Forcing this sort of under-handed flirting into the mouth of a child is a sin, imagine how weird it would be if Niles' pathetic swooning was done by a chess club 10-year-old, gross right?

And then the machine just makes it worse, as Niles looks on with seething jealousy at Freddy's every advance. There is something really distasteful about a grown man feeling genuine jealousy toward a child for receiving a hug from his dad's nurse. And yet the bot just keeps milking the premise for gross laughs, never once considering the ramifications. The only legitimate highlight of the episode is K-Gramm's big ass head in a softball helmet. It is pretty cool actually.

Yes, the plot involves softball, the set-up is too boring and simple to explain here, but the crux of the episode is the anticipation of the moment Frederick will realize his dad isn't perfect. Frasier-bot was not the first or the last to trot out this trope, and its prevalence in our culture makes me wonder if I'm missing something. I certainly don't remember any watershed moment, when my father fell from Zeus to Hercules. I'm sure my feelings towards Poppa Smid weren't always a reasonable, aware admiration, but I don't remember when I realized my father was a man to emulate and not one to worship. To me my father's fallibility was something known once memory began. Just as I don't remember learning to speak, I don't remember when I viewed the error of man on display. It seems like the memory would be an eerie one, who remembers being that innocent? Does this happen in real life?

In the world of mediocre fiction it does, again and again and again. Frasier's moment came when he realized his dad couldn't do math in his head (elitist!), and Freddy's is supposed to be when he realizes the doctor is a klutz, imagine when he finds out Frasier can't ride a bike! Of course one cliche deserves another so we get Frederick as the wise beyond his years child, and the episode closes with a reveal, Freddie already knew his dad was imperfect! Oh the egg on Frasier's face!

79 out of 100, because why the hell not. Only one Roz is a slut/lush joke, in which Roz describes to Fras- how much she wants to grab some guy's butt, but then freddy comes in and she covers for it. Also, the fact that Roz was stalked and harassed to the point of being unable to come out of her house is played for laughs. Domestic violence! Aaaand, my friend told me recently that Roz totally "likes it rude boy." Couldn't agree more.

Shout out to Norm Jr:

"The episode, though, belongs to Frederick's crush on Daphne with everyone except Niles seeing it as harmless. Frederick knows Niles has feelings for Daphne too and sets out to rub his nose in it at every opportunity. Indeed, the episode ends with Daphne giving a depressed Frederick a hug, with Frederick giving Niles a 'Bet you wish this was you' smile - great stuff."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frasier leaves Lilith for Daphne sound-alike!

Stewardess' Friend: Kayte is a great girl, Kelsey is besotted with her, they are spending all their time together.

Stewardess' Dad: I'm a big fan of Cheers and Frasier


Stars, they're just like us!

They get lumpy-butt british "air hoestesses" knocked up (thats right I said HOEstess)!

The chicks that they get pregnant look super dissapointed to be with them!

They constantly try to prove that they're a full head taller than their jump-offs!

Their girlfriends' dads are totally into Frasier and Cheers!

They get besotted!

They wear New Balance sneakers! (Actually this makes him exactly like my dad.)

They apparently cheat on their wives with whatever lame piece of british ass serves them cocktails on Jet Blue Airlines!

So, the voice of Beast from "X-Men: The Last Stand" got some mediocre-looking british flight attendant pregnant.

The producer of "Girlfriends" is the dad-jam equivalent of Shawn Kemp apparently. Five babies with three women? Who the hell are these women who want to have sex with Frasier Crane so badly? It would make sense to me if they were as old as he is, like they grew up with a bad-comedy fetish and always wanted some sort of hackneyed night of hijinks and passion (probably an equal amount of hijinks and passion constantly alternating between the two. Like, oh Frasier's underneath the bed, now hes pulled you down to the floor and is having his way with you! Or, oh Frasier almost got caught taking a Viagra but pretended it was a tic-tac and then you asked for one and he said he couldn't give you one and you asked why and he said it was because he loved the way your mouth tasted au naturale and then you just licked the inside of eachother's mouths! Or, oh Frasier took a call from his wife while you two were doing the beast with two backs (get it beast) and you asked who it was and he said it was his mother but then you overheard his conversation and you heard him say he missed her body on the phone and you asked him what it was about and he said it was a Freudian theory that children should tell their mothers they missed being inside of their bodies as often as possible as a way of mother-son bonding, and then you two did it! Too much?), but these women are all in their 20s. What is it? A way to get closer to your father? Are all of these chicks really into the emmys?

Actually, Seattle's number one radio psychiatrist may be the dad-jam equivalent of T-Pain. The women he's hooked up with are: his dance instructor, a stripper, his make-up artist and now a flight attendant. Much like Teddy Penderass, Frasier is super into women who are required to be nice to him as part of their profession.

Three things I learned from this british gossip magazine article that are more interesting than the republican candidate from "Swing Vote's" sex-life:

The British use the word besotted all the time. It's in this piece like 6 times! What the fuck does besotted mean? I refuse to look it up.

Limeys call first class on an airplane, "upper class" this just seems so much more honest. I think coach should be called proletariat seating. Like, are you in business? No, I'm sittin in prole.

The british think Kelsey Grammer is a celebrity worthy of an entire article with multiple pictures. I think he's a weirdo worthy of a 600-word blog posting. Prolix!

3 out of 8 stars. Its cool that K Gramms has the same taste in women as T-Pain, and the same taste in shoes as my dad. But its not cool to cheat on your wife, especially not with a busted wanker, and it is definetely not cool to get said wanker pregnant.