Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: Frasier: a bit less than the first half of season 10

Frasier is one of those shows that's just compulsively watchable. You put the DVD in, thinking, "I'll just watch one or two episodes," and before you know it, two hours have gone by and you're at the end of the disc. You think, "eh, I'll just watch the first episode of the next disc," and bammm! You're half way through a season. That didn't quite happen here - I did manage to stop after the second episode on the second disc, but still.

10.1: The Ring Cycle. This is classic late-period Frasier. A little too sure of itself, a little too "Oh! Look! Farce! We are doing farce! Look at the ridiculous situations our characters have gotten themselves in!" But funny, so it's alright. Although the climax of the episode doesn't really exist - it just sort of peters out.

10.2: Enemy at the Gate. This episode is funny, although it does sort of seem to be a it too much of a steal from the Seinfeld episode where all the characters are stuck in the parking lot. The bit where Niles decides to leave, then for no reason changes his mind, was annoying, as was the sentimental mush subplot about how much Martin is going to miss Daphne bla bla bla.

10.3: Proxy Prexy. This episode isn't that funny, but I like it anyway, largely because I like the fact that it actually shows the benefits of Frasier's pomposity and persnicketiness. If this were a lesser show, when Martin broke out from under Frasier's marionette strings, he would have made a great condo president all on his lonesome. But Frasier knows that the average joe schtick can only take you so far, and without proper planning and thought, you're probably going to become unstuck.

10.4: Kissing Cousin. Zooey Deschanel goes a long way to excusing this episodes faults - she's funny, even if nothing else in this episode is. The Kenny subplot is poorly thought-through as well. Why would we care if he had never unpacked his boxes before? Who gives a shit?

10.5: Tales From the Crypt. I normally hate the character of Bulldog, but here he works, for some reason. Maybe having him teamed up with Frasier makes him more... tolerable. Also, he doesn't have that goddawful horn that he was always obnoxiously honking in the earlier seasons. This is maybe the best episode of season 10, although in a way that says more about the mediocrity of season 10 than it does about this episode. There is also a terrible subplot where Daphne's mother (a terrible, terrible character, who is actually worse than Bulldog) has a trick or treat war with the worst child actor in the history of the world.

10.6: Star Mitzvah. This is another good episode, with some really funny jokes and probably the best appearance of the character of Noel throughout the entire series. The only real problem I have with the episode is when that kid who knows Klingon translates Frasier's speech into English, and then claims it was, "really cool." Nope, it wasn't. It was the exact same meaningless bullshit that parents always bore their kids with at those sorts of things. It was short, I guess.

10.7: Bristle While You Work. The main plot of this episode was kind of crummy, because the actor who played the new housekeeper wasn't funny, but the subplot - improbable things happening to Niles - was very funny. David Hyde Pierce is such a genius that he can make the line, "I won another fanny pack" laugh out loud funny.

10.8: Rooms with a View. This episode just drips with tedious, self important sentimentality - something season 10 kept threatening to do before this point, but it hadn't gone nearly this far. It's pretty much a 'very special episode', and therefore terrible.

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