Monday, May 14, 2012

S2 E3 "The Matchmaker"

Frasier: A German narcissist - there's an appealing combination.

Oh Shit the mid-90s loved gay-confusion episodes sooooo much. It is almost hard to fathom how much your dad likes it when gay people think straight people are gay and vice-versa. He really really likes it. I know he does.

Every single sitcom in the '90s had at least one episode like this, where some characters think a straight person is gay and it is SO FUNNY! The straight person is all like yeah I love having (straight) sex and then the other character thinks: GAY SEX!!! And then the audience laughs.

So in this one Frasier is trying to set Daphne up with his new boss, but his new boss is GAY! And he thinks Frasier is GAY! too but actually he is just into the theatre. I want to call this a gay-panic episode but I think that is politicizing a dumb joke that only exists because Frasier-bot is a lazy robot. But if you want to politicize it then yes, this is a very gay-panic episode where every single fucking joke in the whole episode is just GAY!!!! Over and over. Like Frasier says “you should come over and have dinner” and the audience laughs because GAY! And then Frasier is like “I like wine” and the audience is all like “hahahaha GAY!”

The really sad thing is this may be the best-written episode so far. Not because gay jokes are funny but because gay jokes seem to really inspire Frasier-bot, and they get his gears grinding extra fast (this is a very mixed metaphor) and he spits out some legitimate situational comedy that isn’t just “The Dad is sad” or “Frasier likes the opera.”

As a result we the audience are treated with a slightly humorous situation where Frasier is trying to set up Daphne with a dude who is trying to fuck Frasier, and Niles is trying to sabotage the imaginary set up and the gay dude thinks The Dad is gay and where the fuck is Eddie? Probably off trying to have gay sex with a straight poodle he thought was gay because it was a poodle, or trying to screw a handsome Labrador retriever who is all like, “Eddie I am a lesbian. Your cock-eyed stare is not cute it is menacing and I find you threatening and repulsive.”

Anyway the gay dude thinks Frasier is gay because of GAY STEREOTYPE! And that shit is hilarious. Daphne throws her bra away in a gesture that makes literally no physical sense at all and then everyone goes away happy.

Some notes, first of all the Roz is a slut theme may have reached its nadir in this episode. In Peri Gilpin’s first appearance in the episode she approaches a very normal looking Frasier and says “You look like you’ve been ridden hard and put away wet.” And then the audience laughs. No context is given for this nor is there any sort of mitigating factor that somehow explains away the bizarre sexual connotation. This is so weird, the show acts like this is somehow innuendo but there isn’t any veneer of normalcy, it’s like if Roz walked up and just said “you look like an erect penis that just got spit on by a prostitute,” and then the laugh track hummed and everything was cool. What the fuck? Then Roz debases herself by listing a bunch of ex-boyfriends while Niles and Frasier mock her from on high. Those fucking lame-ass prudes, you wish you were half the man Roz is.

Also Frasier makes GAY! Dude think The Dad is gay and it leads to The Dad describing an idyllic bar as having a “great crowd, lot of young cops” and then inviting the guy to a Seahawks game and saying “Frasier hates it so it’d just be us.” This is absolutely the funniest part of the episode.

Anyway here is the review:

This episode is my all-time favourite, and an undoubted classic episode of 'Frasier'. What works so brilliantly is the script by Joe Keenan, because the lines that Frasier comes out with where he believes he's getting Tom closer to Daphne, is in fact making Frasier all the more attractive to Tom. This works all the way through the dinner party scene and never once descends into innuendo. Although a bunch of gay cliches is used (opera, theatre, fashion, cops), the episode would not work without them because it is precisely these things that are so present in Frasier's life and so normal that to think anything else of them is absurd. For example, only in 'Frasier' could Daphne tell that Tom's break up involved a dispute over opera recordings, and Frasier not give a moments thought to it. A simply wonderful episode from beginning to end.


95 %

Thursday, May 10, 2012

S2 E2 "The Unkindest Cut of All"

- Roz shows affection for one of the pups and then tosses him aside:
Frasier: How could you do that?
Roz: I can do it with men too!

So Lawrence Kasdan watches Frasier. It’s no surprise, Kasdan is an old white guy, but it seems weird that he would base his new, terrible, movie on an old episode of the show.

Kasdan’s Darling Companion is basically what it would be like if you took this episode of Frasier and made into a feature film with Diane Keaton (I assume this is the case based on the trailer, there is no fucking way I am going to watch that movie). Based on the trailer the Kasdan movie and “Unkindest Cut” have these things in common:

1. Old white people
2. A dog
3. A lost dog as a metaphor/test for a long relationship
4. More old white people
5. A kooky “psychic” who has visions of where the dog might be.
6. Terrible dialogue
7. Looking for a dog in the woods
8. One character who doesn’t care enough about the lost dog but then realizes how much he actually does care about the lost dog
9. A pompous doctor
10. An old man who thinks of a dog’s penis as his own penis (I think this happens in Darling Companion).

In “Unkindest Cut” Eddie goes missing. As is typically the case in sitcom world, although this is the plot, it doesn’t actually take place until the last third of the episode. The first two thirds are all about dog castration and coasters and pate and Lily Tomlin. Which, when put in a list like that sounds super interesting but it is really not.

The episode starts with Frasier’s neighbor coming up to his apartment and giving him a box of TOTALLY ADORABLE puppies that Eddie sired with her dog. For some reason Fras- just accepts the crate of dogs and she leaves. Then Frasier is upset, then he leaves. Then Frasier tries to give Roz a dog and she doesn’t like it, then he hilariously suggests to Lily Tomlin, who called in on his radio show with a serious problem looking for real help, that she get a puppy. Then all of the dogs are mysteriously gone and Frasier takes Eddie to get him fixed. Then The Dad freaks out about it and Eddie runs away.

There, that was 15 minutes of jokeless show I condensed for you. You’re welcome.

When The Dad comes to the veterinarian hospital to confront Frasier about getting Eddie fixed he throws a real typical The Dad fit about how Frasier didn’t need to do this and he can take care of his own dog wah wah wah wah. Except here’s the thing old man, you didn’t fucking take care of it. You lied about getting your dog fixed, then it got a dog pregnant and you did fucking nothing about it, and then you kept putting off taking it to the vet. So clearly you can’t do shit for yourself so stop bitching.

The Dad is real lucky all those TOTALLY ADORABLE puppies mysteriously disappeared since it was completely his fault Eddie got the bitch (humor) pregnant and he offered no solution or assistance. Just sorta harrumphed on his chair drinking off-brand beer and thinking about watching TV.

Ok so finally My Darling Companion starts and they can’t find Eddie anywhere! They looked in the park, and they looked at the pound. And that was about it, but that was enough so then everyone felt hopeless. And The Dad put out a $500 reward for Eddie and the doctor thinks that’s too much but actually Frasier just doesn’t care enough about Eddie, but he will care enough about him when he realizes that Eddie is a stand-in for all of The Dad’s fears and concerns about growing old. GOD we have already explored The Dad as a whiny old person so much, when can we stop doing this?

So The Dad is Diane Keaton and Frasier is Kevin Kline and they go out to look in the park one last time, but for some reason looking in the park just means sitting in a parked car talking. I think I understand why they didn’t find Eddie and it is because they think that “looking” means not looking at all and just sitting in a parked car talking.

This gives us the opportunity to hear what the Frasier writers can do with witty back-and-forth stake out banter. Nothing. This is worse than Righteous Kill. Finally The Dad just comes out and says he hates psychiatrists because all the psychiatrist on the police force would do was ask him about bathroom habits. This doesn’t seem true, maybe The Dad was molested by an analyst? Anyway, The Dad says he feels out of place at Frasier’s apartment (still?) and then Frasier says it sounds like he has been “emotionally castrated,” to which The Dad responds “why does it always come back to the crotch with you therapists?” which I think totally confirms my molestation theory.

Then Eddie just comes back on his own. The end.

37 out of 50.

PS: All of the seasons of Frasier are on Netflix but with a few select episodes unavailable for instant viewing. This is awesome. It means that whoever is the caretaker of the Frasier collection thinks that by keeping from us the absolute complete collection people will just be compelled to buy the dvds. "I just have to know what happens in episode 7!"

This may not have been my best effort, but it was an honest one. I am really trying to get back on the Frasier tip.