Wednesday, November 2, 2011

S2 E1 “Slow Tango in South Seattle”

Pompous Frasier Crane, a successful psychiatrist with a Seattle radio show, returns for another hilarious round of comedy that has him ice fishing with Marty and Niles and taking a girlfriend on an ill-fated trip to Bora Bora. Also this season, Frasier and Niles open a restaurant, and Frasier plays matchmaker for Daphne -- while the unhappily married Niles begins to lust after her. –Netflix description of Frasier season two.


Imagine for a second there was a book about your first sexual experience. This book described in overwrought detail your lovemaking prowess, your naked body, your sexual tics and unique appetite. How would your family respond to the existence of such a book? In my Catholic household I’m sure the topic would go forever unmentioned, the book avoided like a leper. Even if your family were less reserved than mine, I would assume they would politely decline the opportunity to read of your sexual exploits as a teenager.

The Cranes are not like your family or mine. Niles and The Dad, Frasier’s fucking dad, are both really excited to read a vivid account of Frasier’s first time making it Crane in the bed as an 18 year old. They are so excited that they clamor and crawl over one another to be the first to read the book revolving around KGramms sexual adventures.

This is totally fucking disgusting. It is even more disgusting when you put yourself in the place of The Dad or Niles, try to imagine being insanely excited about reading about your brother or sister fucking. So excited that you debase yourself to the level of a six year old lusting after another’s toy, clawing at your dad’s face and turning over a chair in a mad dash to read a description of your family member’s penis.

This book exists because at some point during Frasier’s stay in Boston, unseen by Cheers’ cameras, the good doctor helped J. Peterman overcome writer’s block over a few beers at the bar. He did this by telling him in minute detail, about his first love affair with his piano teacher, even explaining that as an 18 year old he called his chest hair a love rug. This seems a bizarre way to help someone overcome writer’s block, but who am I to judge Fras’s expertise? I have been in a bit of a rut lately, does anyone have any perfectly remembered spring-autumn relationships they could recount to me while we get drunk? I will pay for the beer.

Many years after Frasier told Peterman about his deflowering, the dastardly scribe wrote it down in a book that is now the talk of Seattle! And he didn’t even mention Frasier in his acknowledgments! Frasier is pissed and confronts the scam artist at the radio station and makes him cry. My friends at were not pleased with this plot, Norm Jr. complains that the ep “takes a few too many liberties. The first involves "Cheers" back story issues with this alleged cleansing of the soul with some random writer at the bar, followed by said writer ending up at Frasier's radio station years later.”

What is it like to be a Frasier fanatic (Franatic) and hate plot contrivances? This is the same Norm Jr. who fucking loved it when Frasier’s son showed up in a different episode. Norm just watches every episode of Frasier, cursing the ludicrous plot twists and unbelievable hi-jinks while waiting with bated breath for an appearance by young Freddie, screaming out, “worth it! All worth it!” when he finally appears, like a 13-year-old boy watching an Ashley Judd movie on HBO at 1:30 in the morning. “The rating screen said there was nudity!”

I’m going to give this 73% out of 100, just like Norm Jr.

A few episode highlights: After Frasier gets the writer to cry, his dad is just disgusted that he isn’t happier about it. “You get exactly what you want and you still aren’t happy.” What a weird thing to say. You humiliated this man until he was brought to tears WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

Also, there is an incredibly long zoom on Frasier while he is reading from Peterman’s book and it is awesome. Apparently Doc is very expressive while he is reading, nodding and frowning and laughing. I am not any good at any sort of computer stuff, so if you will indulge me, please click this link to a short video of him reading and watch it on mute. I think its worth it, I’ve watched it about 10 times and it keeps getting funnier.

Monday, March 7, 2011

S1 E19 "Give him the Chair"

As Niles and Frasier walk sullenly around a furniture store:
Niles: Dear God Frasier, we've stumbled across Hell's waiting room.


The Dad is a terrible roommate. He seems to spend all of his time in the living room watching tv (which is awful), he has a dog, he is loud, he is nosy and he frequently asks Frasier to stay out of his own apartment so he can have sex (I was trying to come up with a funny way to say this but it all just sounded so lame). But mostly, he is a self-righteous piece of shit.

The first season of Frasier was being computed by an earlier model of the Frasier-bot, one perfectly designed to win emmys, but with its drama, conflict and emotion levels too high and its hi-jinks and absurdity levels dangerously low. So season one is filled with episodes like "Give Him the Chair," with Frasier and The Dad having serious fights and then contemplating the history of their relationship. I cannot imagine coming home from a long day at work, plopping down and tuning in and dropping out to this. Why is NBC broadcasting an amateur theater version of Death of a Salesman? This is supposed to be funny dammit, not sad and terrible.

These episodes always feature one middle act when all the tensions boils up and Frasier and The Dad have a screaming match that lasts way too long and then the dad whips out his fucking sad dad card and lays it on the table and Frasier feels awful. But fuck that. All of the tension in the first season is based on the strain in their father-son relationship and Frasier's guilt over not connecting with his dad. But why does Frasier feel guilty? The Dad was the dad, Frasier and Niles were just prissy little kids and The Dad was too busy being a fucking jack-off cop to try and spend any time with the little pussies. Whose fucking fault is that? I picture young Frasier coming home from school all excited, his face aglow from a wonderful day of learning at St. Francis of Assissi Elementary School, "Dad, dad we got to listen to Beethoven today during reading hour!" "What do you think you're better than me? I was too busy being a fucking HERO cop to listen to Beethoven or read you faggot. I wish you liked sitting in a stupid chair and drinking off-brand beer and watching TV on mute all the time, THEN I'd have a real boy for a son and not some pussy-whipped smart ass. How come you never ask me to play catch with you Frasier?"

If I had a kid who was smart and into reading and high culture I'd be stoked, and I'd play catch with him and hang out with him a little bit so he grew into a well-rounded adult. But if he was some no-reading buffoon who only liked Nascar and spitting I would shun him, not try to make any impression on him at all and then show up in his life 40 years later, blame him for the way he was raised and then plop myself down in his living room and ruin his whole life. And if he ever asked me to make any concessions to his lifestyle I would just thump my dick down on the table and cry and scream about how he wasn't exactly the same as me as a child and so I justifiably ignored him and now he needs to make things right by catering to my every old man whim!

"Chair" centers around The Dad's famous old chair, an impossibly ugly green and gray recliner covered in duct tape. Frasier doesn't like the chair because its ugly and his apartment is nice, so he goes to a furniture store and buys a leather recliner with a vibrating massage option for his dad. Everyone loves it and it almost brings Daphne to orgasm (yes, seriously because women usually get off by having someone jiggle their asses).

Guess what? The Dad hates it! Even though the chair is a nice new recliner, and its massage option delighted even Niles and Frasier, The Dad demands that Frasier bring his old chair back. Frasier resists, and then The Dad launches into one of the most groan-inducing monologues ever on television. He doesn't want a nice new chair he wants the chair he was sitting in when he saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, when Frasier called him to tell him he had a grandson, when his wife kissed him on the cheek, etc. You can just watch John Mahoney working all of his biggest STAGE ACTOR muscles while he delivers this claptrap. This logic is exactly the reason I have been wearing the same pair of underwear since 1999, why I still have a racecar bed and why my TV sucks (I want to watch the same TV I watched Sesame Street on!).

I guess the Frasier brothers and their loftiness are the butt of the joke on Frasier, but it's the depiction of the working class through The Dad as our surrogate that is truly insulting. Us every-Joes don't like orchestras or art, we can't be bothered with all that high-minded bullshit, we don't even want to do necessary physical therapy, all we want to do is sit in an ugly chair that for some reason holds a spiritual significance, like a Catholic relic, watch TV and drink beer all the time. GARH GARH GARH baseball and beer and manly stuff like poker.

As it always does, this pandering bullshit works on Frasier, and he goes off on a chase for the chair. He finds it at a high school drama club that features a fat (and alive) Brittany Murphy, RIP, and that is staging "10 Little Indians*" that night! Frasier asks for the chair back and the drama teacher tells him he has to wait two weeks. Obviously this will not stand, since The Dad is a big self-righteous baby (a nickname I've suffered before too!) he could never wait two whole weeks to have the chair that he was sitting in the first time he jerked off while sticking his badge up his ass. The lead actor gets food poisoning, and the drama teacher strikes a deal with Frasier that if he will play the lead in the play he can have the chair back that night. I'm sure that was really weird for the parents going to see the play "Oh I thought Chereth was playing the lead in the play, but apparently its some old man, oh well." My favorite part of this scene is when Frasier introduces himself to the drama teacher and she doesn't know who he is, which MAKES TOTAL SENSE. Why does everyone know who Frasier Crane is? Oh yeah of course I know you, you're that guy on AM radio in the middle of the day. How could I not immediately recognize you, everyone in Seattle listens to AM radio aaaalll the time.

Talk radio makes me want to cut my ears off.

As the credits roll we get one last peak into Frasier's life as he delicately sets up a wonderful looking place on the couch to have some sherry and read his book. But then The Dad comes in and turns on the TV and Eddie runs in and ruins everything. What a fucking dick.

7.4 out of 10-As I said, the original Frasier-bot model was designed to win emmys and emmys alone, and obviously something like: beloved character dealing with REAL ISSUES and having emotional turmoil, is the same sort of catnip to Emmy voters that British accents and funny dresses is to Academy voters. But a 22 minute sitcom is the absolute worst place to try to deal with real issues or explore complex emotional issues. The whole thing is just overwrought and amateurish.

Roz is a slut: In a past review I touched upon the genesis of the Roz is a slut joke, but this was the first one that really took the gag into a whole new stratosphere of ridiculousness. Before this episode the jokes were pretty simple, oh yeah you sleep around stuff, boring and offensive but nothing too important. In "Chair" we get a story about Roz coming home in the morning from a night of wild sex and for some reason stopping to talk with a minister who tells her her shirt is on inside out and then propositions her, and of course she is totally into it! Within the story we learn that Roz thinks a church service is called a "show."

I still do not understand why this show is on Lifetime, it absolutely detests women. Every ex-wife/wife is a stuck-up cunt and the women are all retarded.

*When I was a little kid I loved Agatha Christie novels. Are they still awesome? Does anyone know?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

S6 E 14 "Three Valentines"

Frasier: Roz, I'm in Cassandra's hotel room but I'm not sure what that means.
Roz: What it means is that even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.


Late-night television for women is a strange place. I still don't understand why Frasier reruns are shown on Lifetime, the show's only two female characters are a mystical servant and a slutty drunk, but watching these syndicated masterpieces on the channel for women has opened me up to a whole new world of advertising. Years of drunkenly watching sports highlights and the Fox News Channel (no that isn't a joke, and I think this peculiar habit is a large source of my inner rage and misanthropy)has made me well-versed in the ads aimed at the particular sort of man watching TV in the early morning hours, so I hardly even smirk at the male enhancement ads and phone sex hotlines. But apparently the women watching Lifetime at 12 am Central Time are a very insecure and disgusting group. Most of the ads had something to do with physical ailments not typically discussed in mixed company, like colons (thats right, having a colon is an ailment, you girls are not supposed to poop)and stretch marks and body itching. I'm still confused by the Head and Shoulders ad that ran constantly during this hour long block, in which a lady is on a date with a really boring looking dude and she is fucking freaking out about scratching her head. "If I scratch my head it will turn him off" her inner monologue says. What the fuck are you talking about commercial? Unless this girl is going to go all meth-head Fergie and scratch her scalp until it bleeds who gives a shit? "Oh no, I better not react to physical sensations or he'll hate me!" This is weird. Plus the guy in the commercial is kinda busted, why are you so worried about the opinion of a dude who looks like a withered Michael Phelps and whose turn offs apparently include head scratching?

Thankfully she solves the problem by knocking her knife on the floor and then scratching her head below the table. You know what I like better than girls who scratch their heads? Girls who purposefully knock their silverware on the ground and then scratch themselves while they're picking it up like some sort of obsessive compulsive toddler. I bet old man Phelps took her home and gave her her the time of her life after that hot move! I just hope she didn't do anything that might resemble the actions of a natural human being, that would be fucking disgusting. Don't you dare scratch your head brown haired sex robot!

Also, Suzette, if you're reading this. TUESD-AD dude, please.

I was interrupted in the middle of this episode, so I don't have much to say about it, partly because I didn't finish it, but mostly because I sort of enjoyed it. I would rather spend 400 words reviewing a Head and Shoulders advertisement than talk too much about me legitimately enjoying an episode of Beast goes to Seattle. The premise is three Valentine's Day vignettes in which things go horribly awry for our beloved characters. Virginia Madsen is in the second one and the gags were funny.

Anyway...There is a part in this episode in which Frasier says that Roz called one of her boyfriends "The Cricket" because he drones on and on, and Roz corrected him saying that she called him The Cricket because he furiously rubbed his hands together during sex. WHAT? Imagine how insanely creepy that would be. Some dude pounding Peri Gilpin while rubbing his hands together really fast like a preying mantis? How would that even be possible? Also when did the hand rubbing start, at the point of insertion or during foreplay too? Did he give her nipples Indian burns?

I am going to call this move the Mr. Burns, which is when you sleep with a girl and you have such horrible intentions, to never speak to her again or steal from her as you leave or whatever, that you can't help but rub your hands together and twiddle your fingers menacingly while you're boning.
"That chick you went home with last night was kinda hit man."
"I know, I was fucking Mr. Burnsing while I was doing her from behind. She passed out and I snuck out around 4 and stole her blender."

Also, near the end of the second episode of the Lifetime double-header Niles says that Daphne's perfume is called "cherry bark and almonds," and swoons at the thought. Eww. What the hell? Is Daphne a 13-year-old white chick? Who could ever get all amped up on a chick who smelled like a scratch and sniff sticker? Oh you smell heavenly, I feel like I'm in the checkout line at Claire's! My god this is even better than your candy-apple jolly rancher lip gloss!

This is yet more proof that no matter how hard it tries, Frasier-bot will never be able to accurately depict class. Here's a hint Frasier-bot, it cannot be bought with money.

7.9/10 -In my defense both Frasier Online and the Tivo Forum called this the best episode of Frasier ever, so its not THAT awful that I kinda enjoyed it, is it? Also, I only watched 10 minutes of this which is sure to make any viewing of Frasier seem more fun: "that Frasier episode flew by! It only felt like half of an eternity!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

S1 E16 "The Show Where Lilith Comes Back"

Dr. Lilith Sternin: I'm here for a convention and I happened to hear your voice on the radio. I kept hoping that you'd introduce Pearl Jam's latest hit, but to my chagrin, you were doling out worthless little advice pellets from your psychiatric Pez dispenser.


It happened to your dad and its happening to me.

Four episodes in a row of this 37-prime-time emmy winner and my standards have started to wear down. "By the end of this season this show had gotten a lot better," I exclaimed thoughtlessly to Mr. Hunky, A.A. Dowd during this episode. But the show is still only bumping into mediocrity, dulling my senses with its laugh track and forced whimsy. In Frasier-land quality is entirely a matter of comparison. Compared to episode one of Frasier, episode 16 is a masterpiece. Compared to Mad About You, the second season of 3rd Rock from the Sun is like the fourth season of Caroline in the City.

As my standards have ebbed it seems I'm growing more bitter in my prose. What a wasted life, what a sad state of affairs. Week after week millions kept an appointment with Beast and Co. In 1999, 20 million viewers a week watched Frasier hide in closets and make faux high-brow allusions. A housewife supports a ridiculous lifestyle and spoils three children based on the vacant stares of Americans. Across the sea a UK web site is devoted to celebrating this highlight of American mediocrity. The popularity of this Seattle story compels stewardesses to bed married hairy actors. Here in Chicago I've spent the entire Sabbath watching and commenting upon it. I find myself only being able to ask why.

Not of my own wasted day, because I don't think this has been a waste. For the atheistic among us today is set aside for hangovers and relaxing, I am not hung over but I am full and relaxed, there is nothing more restful than the soothing repetition of a Frasier episode. Had I watched this asleep it would hardly matter. Lilith is here, Frasier is naked, Frasier has an invisible son, family rift is humorous, psychiatrists are pointless, Christ is risen, Lilith mentioned Pearl Jam, Roz belongs to a union, Eddie is funny/adorable/likely dead now.

I do not judge the working stiffs who dulled themselves on Frasier's hardened repetition. I am just confused at our, my, aptitude for self-defeating. Surely time could be better spent after a taxing day then to tune in and drop out as Must See TV loudly suggested we do. And yet I feel myself pulled, like so many others, when I am taxed and numbed by a day at a desk to go deeper into the k-hole. To numb myself from my own lack of feeling.

9.5/10-For a Frasier episode, this is pretty good.

"I didn't realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. Take me back - up the hill - to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute? (she sighs) I'm ready to go back. I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people."

S1 E16: "The Show Where Lilith Comes Back"

This is actually one of the better "Frasier" episodes I've seen, one of the few that makes me half-way understand why Emmy voters and dads kept this unholy beast alive for 11 fucking years. I say this through gritted teeth, begrdugingly. "Frasier" is best enjoyed as a novelty. It's probably fair to say I watch it "ironically," though that couches my appreciation for its genuine weirdness in a wink-wink way I'm not entirely comfortable with. We started watching this show as a case study in the mediocrity of American television. Several years, many hours and not enough blog posts later, and I'm ready to confess that it's a supremely bizarre approximation of human interaction. Simply put: people do not behave this way. Not even on TV. If those super-intelligent future androids from A.I. were to dig up the complete series of "Frasier" as some artifact of 2oth century living, they'd be subject to some serious misunderstandings on how our species operates.

Unless they watched this episode or a select few like it. Now, don't get me wrong. Quality or humor or recognizable human behavior are relative distinctions when talking about the FrasierVerse. This ain't exactly a profound study on the modern man. The Brit still acts all loony. Niles preens and minces like he's shouldering the burden of laughter in a "serious" episode. And Lilith, who appears on the show for the first time, enters the ep like a bull in a china shop. (Being this openly bitchy to a person you haven't seen in years is vintage "Frasier".)

But the way the ep characterizes Frasier as basically a selfish horndog--and then calls him on it!--is unusually candid for the series. There aren't a lot of laughs here, intentional or otherwise. It's a "serious" episode that reads as rather believably serious. The closest I came to even derisive laughter was a dated mention of Pearl Jam. (I kinda wonder not only if Frasier knows who they are, but if Kelsey Grammar does either.)

Solid episode--but if they were all this passably decent, this blog wouldn't exist.

7 Stars.

S1 E15 "You Can't Tell a Crook by his Cover"

Frasier: Excuse me, dad, if I can interrupt that self-righteous police mentality for a second, don't you believe in second chances?
Martin: I did. Then we had Niles.


The hate shines through in this episode. The dad's hatred of his sons, Daphne's hatred of the Crane's, Niles' hatred of the lower class, "He's being pretty cavalier about his tips for someone who drives a van," Niles scoffs of a lowly service-industry wage-slave, it is all on display in the third installment of Frasier Day and the hatred drives the episode into a season highlight.

Most of "Crook" is based on two scenes, the first takes place at Frasier's place, in which Frasier lurks behind a group of his dad's friends playing poker, drinking sherry and trying to figure out which one of them is a criminal. No, it doesn't matter why. He is unable to pick out the crook, but Daphne does end up agreeing to go on a date with Martin's ex-con poker buddy. Because the guy spent time in jail and he is a low-class buffoon his idea of a first date is a two-table pool room and a premature, hamfisted pass.

The dad and Niles are NOT happy about this, and both depict Daphne as some sort of virginal asset to be protected, if it didn't say otherwise on Wikipedia I'd almost think Sylvester Stallone directed this episode but nope, Frasier-bot just shares Sly's obsession with those nefarious others looking to steal away the prized purity of our women. To stop this low-class defilement, the Brothers Crane go to the dangerous pool hall where the criminal has taken Daphne, only to find that the Scot has already given the ex-con the boot and is now just holding court with a group of pool-hall hooligans.

Predictably Daphne can take of herself, but the Crane's stumble into a dispute with a ruffian looking to "pulp" them, and only Daphne's quick thinking and a gag stolen from "The Graduate" can save them.

8 out of 10. When Frasier tells Niles about Daphne and the convict Niles says that Frasier must be "yanking [his] giggle chain." After last episode's hand-job joke I'm noticing a trend here for Niles, and I'm betting he gave his giggle chain a good yanking while thinking about Daphne and that dirty, nasty, low class convict taking liberties with her soft, white, European skin.

S1 E15: "You Can't Tell a Crook By His Cover"

It's always embarrassing to get caught laughing at a "Frasier" joke. The shame burns under your collar. You feel naked and exposed, as though someone were seeing just a little too far into you. It's like when you mom walks in on you masturbating. But sharing a Frasier laugh? That's a rare and special feeling, like planets aligning. Non-dads rarely laugh in unison at "Frasier." It's just mathematically unlikely. The hit-to-miss ratio of Frasier-bot's funny software basically assures a chuckle or two per episode. And these titters are usually random, a product of mere fatigue. "I'm watching a comedy," your brain cries. "I should create the sensation of amusement at some point." This approximation of funny strikes rational non-dads at different times, so in the rare instance that one "Frasier" joke tickles two funny bones, you want to celebrate. It's like belatedly noticing that you're masturbating in the same room as some one else... to the same magazine. And then someone else's mom walks in. Quote me on that.

Pat and I shared a genuine laugh on this one. We locked eyes and then looked away quickly. Best to not acknowledge it. We had to share the shame. Joke was about Roz. Surprise surprise, she proved neither a slut nor a lush in this instance, just a dupe. Poor girl's the victim of a con artist-- it was a half-way shrewd way to kick off an ep that's about spotting criminals among us. Marty and Fras make a wager that the good doc can't pick an ex-con out of a line-up. He invites three friends over, one of whom served time. This seems like a pretty good set-up for an episode--I predicted that FrasFans call this one a "first season gem". (Anyone want to confirm that? I'm too lazy to check and I only have 22-minutes to pen this masterpiece.) And the Bot does not disappoint. My favorite moment arrives when Marty's marks, a lady, comments on how beautiful Daphne is, prompting Frasier to posit that time behind bars may have turned her into a lesbian. Priceless.

There's enough plot in this one to power three "Fraiser" eps. Eventually, the Brothers Crane stumble into the quaintest wrong-side-of-the-tracks bar this side of a high school production of West Side Story. (Fun Fact: PK Smith himself played a Jet on stage in his formative years. Bet he looked harder than these "rough-necks.") Fans of the pool episode of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire" should get a kick out of this one, though I say it shows it's hand (mixing game metaphors!) a little too soon.

82 on the Pitchfork scale.

S1 E14: "Can't Buy Me Love"

Frasier-Bot has some very strange notions on female desire. Chief among them, that a gaggle of sexy single ladies would find a balding, fussy radio psychiatrist absolutely irresistible. One of the big, running gags on this show involves finding Fras often minutes away from touching down with some chick waaaaay out of his league, only to fumble it in the final seconds. (That's right folks, a sports metaphor. The good doctor himself could probably make a better one, but given me an A for effort at least.) So often does this particular plot device rear its head that we've dubbed it a template: Frasier Embarrasses Himself In Front of a Beautiful Woman. What the Fras-Bot fails to ever convincingly convey is why these ladies would ever dig his vibe in the first place.

Case in point: episode 14 here hinges on the dubious premise that a supermodel would pay $500 for a dinner date with the doc. I don't buy it, but then, if I get hung up on doubts like that, we'll be here all day. (And we will be, folks. Stick around.) The first few minutes of any Fras ep are always a wheel-spinning wash; this bad boy doesn't kick into second gear until right before the first commericial break. Bulldog, Fras and some other local "celebrities" get roped into a charity auction, where an army of (unseen) sexually-starved women barter for their company. After the feeding frenzy--you just know Frasier-Bot thinks its being "subversive" by making the men objects of leering desire--Crane finds out that a beautiful model has "purchased him." Cue ensuing delightful misunderstanding.

This ep eventually proves itself to be a combo, with Fras both humiliating himself in front of said beautiful woman and learning a lesson. But seriously, what kind of woman entrusts a complete stranger--even one who's a "celebrity"-- to watch her 13-year-old child? Standard issue. This review bores me as much as the episode did. Niles makes a handjob joke, Daphne gets shit-faced and Bulldog gets dragged screaming into the night by some aggro stranger. So it's not a total loss.

Final note: one of the episode cards reads "Driving Miss Daphne." Come on Frasier-Bot, stop teasing me with the offensive racial farce you have swimming around in your hard-drive. I want Kelsey in blackface!

S1 E14 "Can't Buy Me Love"

madbaldscotsman Rick Elliott
@Kelsey_Grammer Your character as Frasier inspired me to take the high road and be a more descent man. #properetiquette


Yep. I'm already at the point where I'm mining the bowels of the interweb for material. How, how, how did this show last so long? What is going on? Why have these choices left me so broken?

This episode centers around a charity bachelor auction and an evening Frasier spends with a 12-year-old. It's a Frasier embarrasses himself in front of a beautiful woman episode, unfortunately the main plot is disappointingly free of hijinks and the embarrassment slides into introspection much too quickly. Episode director and Oberlin alum James Burrows has a tendency to rush past the comedic elements of any given episode so as to dive into the sentimental, a tactic that serves him well at times but leaves "...Love" feeling a bit hollow. You can't pour this much sentimental syrup onto a plate so devoid of comedy flapjacks!

After the auction, which features today's first Roz is a slut joke (Roz chasing hungrily after a Seahawks linebacker), Frasier prepares a dinner at his home for him and the beautiful woman who purchased the date for $500 at the auction. But she shows up to his apartment with her 12-year-old daughter and explains that she just got a modeling gig for THAT NIGHT, and has no one to watch her kid. It makes total sense of course that she would entrust this task to a single 40-year-old man she's never had a conversation with, so she does, and even says she will be back later and will spend the night, which of course convinces Frasier to agree to watch her daughter. So the episode centers around a mother trading sex for a few hours of baby sitting, a decidedly creepy plot point the show treats as totally normal.

Her daughter, Renata, proceeds to act just like you would expect a TV 12-year-old to act, she eats junk food and talks on the phone repeating "No way!" over and over, describing things as "so fresh," and asking what Frasier's "damage is." Now for me, anytime I agree to babysit a pre-teen in exchange for sexual favors from her mother, I just give the kid the phone and a bag of Munchies and make myself scarce. Maybe get the bed ready for my "payment" and then read a book. But not Frasier, even though he, presumably, has a bedroom, he sits right next to the brat while she yaks on the phone and then whines that she isn't paying attention to him. "We're supposed to spend the evening together and you haven't said one word to me," he says to her after hanging up the phone in the middle of her phone conversation. So they eat cookie dough and she weaves a tale of a distant uncaring mother.

When her super hot mom arrives and sends her daughter away with a simple peck on the head Frasier confronts her and totally blows his shot at getting paid...err layed. In turns out the daughter was lying and now Frasier had to spend time with a kid and he's been dumped! Call me crazy but I think having her daughter babysat by a mildly famous stranger and then immediately sending her daughter off so she can fuck said stranger lead me to believe this model may not be such a great mom, but that doesn't matter, what does matter is that Fras is not going to be getting it in.

Grade: B. The highlight is definitely a Daphne subplot in which she is a huge drunk bitch to Bulldog, leaves him to be beaten up by strangers in a parking lot and then goes joy riding in a limo.

S1 E13 "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast"

Dad: I don't know if you remember but I have warm toes.


What a way to kick things off. Episode 13 of Frasier's inaugural season is awesome in the abstract but boring in execution, which is kind of the unspoken thesis of every review I've ever written for this blog. It's good to see the first ever episode to deal with the dad as a sexual being and Frasier's discomfort with the concept since the dad's sexual adventures will get weirder and creepier as time goes on.

God I was hoping so hard for the dad to bring a black chick to the breakfast table and then find out Fras-has a little racism inside, but no, the title is the weakest of allusions, and the Frasier-bot isn't wired to deal with those kinds of issues. The "who" coming to breakfast is a woman from Frasier's building who's got it bad for ex-cops. She surprisingly emerges in Frasier's kitchen in the morning after a dinner date with the dad. I'll admit to one legitimate laugh during the episode, when Frasier stumbles and hams through the awkward breakfast and asks the lady if she likes to keep the lights on during sex. She probably does, I'm imagining one of those cliche'd movie scenes where she traces the dad's hip-surgery scar with her finger and he tells a story that shows his surprising vulnerability but reassuring inner strength. "You know, even when I was in those tough spots, and chasing bad, bad men as a police officer I never felt afraid. Not out of bravery, I just didn't know any better, but when my wife died, all the fear hit me. I was so scared of the unknown, all I could think was, what do I do now?"


After he gets all Frasier-manic at breakfast and scares his dad's lover off, Frasier commences to prove just how profoundly weird his radio show is by talking about his dad's sexual tryst on the air. This offends his dad's new chick, who feels exposed, and the dad berates Frasier for fucking up his dick-game. Frasier publicly apologizes to the building mate (I cannot remember this chick's name) trying to make good, but it takes the dad reminding her that he has "warm toes" to really win her back...Foot fist way. I'm pretty sure the implication is that the dad is into some freaky foot-penetration shit, which is cool. I think I saw a video about this once...

2 out of 3 somethings. The is almost too perfect a beginning to Frasier Day, boring and weirdly sexual.

S1 13: "Guess Who's Coming To Breakfast?"

Don't let the title fool you. I hoped and prayed that this would be the episode wherein Frasier-Bot finally had the gall to twist the good doc's entrenched class condescencion into sitcom-friendly racial discomfort. Think: Niles brings home a Detroit sister, like Kip in the horseshit-racist Napoleon Dynamite, and Fras spends the whole episode trying to relate to her/not offend her. It'd drop more jaws and raise more protest signs than "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer"--and "Frasier" fantatics would chuckle through the thing like it was business as usual. Alas, this is business as usual, another ep where Fras has to grapple with the fact that his old man's a person and not just, you know, his dad. (As my prolific partner in crime posited recently: is this really such a mind-blowing revelation? Especially for a man in his 40s?) Anyway, The Dad bangs a betty who lives in his building, and Frasier fumbles through the morning after like a marble-mouthed buffoon. And then, in a spectatacular display of head-slappingly oblivious assholery, broadcasts the old babe's walk of shame on his radio show. He basically gets a free pass for this, too--Frasier will be Frasier, nevermind the magnificent invasion of privacy. This is standard-issue to the max, notable only for revealing that Marty likes to foot fuck ("Remember my warm toes?" he lustily cooes at his embarassed bed fellow in the elevator, while Fras stands not two feet away, pretending not to listen.) Creepy stuff, though the gross-out highlight is when a caller laments not being to stuff her child back into the womb. Even a weirdo perv like Crane has to wince. One lingering question: what happened to Frasier's Friday-night date? That's just sloppy writing, Frasier-bot. C+

Genuine laughs: a few. Frasier telling the school bullies where to find this condescending little shit who calls in got a laugh out of me.


...and so it begins. My silent partner and I are embarking on an adventure that could change us forever. Sometimes the roads we take leave us stranded, and the choices we make leave us broken...the road we've taken has led us to this point, wherein we will be watching a marathon of Frasier episodes and responding to them in real time. After an episode is completed we each have 22 minutes to craft a response and put it up...