Frasier: Season 7
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Frasier ~ Season 7
This is the pivotal season that finally, finally brings together Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and Daphne (Jane Leeves), Frasier's answer to Ross and Rachel. Daphne, engaged to Donny (Saul Rubinek), learns of Niles' unrequited feelings for her from an extremely medicated Frasier in "Back Talk." If Daphne's impending marriage was not obstacle enough to keep them apart, there is fussy, phobic, and formidable Dr. Mel Karnofsky (Jane Adams), Maris's former plastic surgeon, who is introduced in "The Late Dr. Crane" as a romantic interest for Niles. The season culminates in the Emmy-nominated episode "Something Borrowed, Someone Blue," arguably the show's very best, and most satisfying cliffhanger, in which Niles and Daphne make like Ben and Elaine in The Graduate, only in a Winnebago. Bebe Neuwirth makes another memorable return as the dread Lilith Crane in "The Apparent Trap," in which son Frederick employs psychological warfare to try and get a mini-bike from his parents. Episodes featuring Frasier's amoral agent Bebe Glaser (Harriet Samson Harris) are always a season highlight, and "Morning Becomes Entertainment" is no exception, as Bebe and Frasier (Kelsey Grammar) team up to host a TV morning chat show (who knew that Frasier had "a way with voices," as witness his Sean Connery and James Mason impressions!). Dan Butler also returns as Bulldog in the poignant episode "The Dog That Rocks the Cradle," A welcome addition to Frasier's gallery of colorful characters in Simon (Anthony LaPaglia in an Emmy-nominated performance), Daphne's besotted brother.
Frasier Crane is a witty and urbane New Yorker cartoon in a lewd, crude shock jock world. In the hilarious episode "Radio Wars," he literally becomes the butt of his radio station's new morning team's stunts. Frasier is also at odds with his substitute producer, Mary (Kim Coles), a you-go-girl black woman, in "Something About Dr. Mary." The series excelled at farce, and "RDWRER" is vintage Frasier, as the Crane men embark on a New Year's Eve road trip to Sun Valley, and Niles mistakenly thinks he's been kidnapped when he falls asleep in the wrong Winnebago. Another season benchmark is "Out with Dad," in which Frasier is compelled to pass off his father (John Mahoney) as gay. The lack of extras on this four-disc set is disappointing, but as wine snob Frasier might say, the seventh season was a very good year for the show that bears his name, and it's a pleasure to uncork its many delights. --Donald Liebenson
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This season is probably my favorite, mostly because Niles finally finally FINALLY ends up with Daphne, after a highly-medicated Frasier tells Daphne how Niles feels about her. (This episode is really good, but its title currently escapes me.)
This season is also great because one of my very favorite episodes is on this set, and the episode is "Rdwrer". In this episode, Frasier, Niles and Martin go off in Martin's Winnebago (a. k. a. the "Road Warrior") for a new year's celebration in Idaho. However, during a brief stop during the trip, Niles accidentally enters the wrong RV, and a farce ensues.
I also like "The Apparent Trap", the episode where Lilith and Frederick come for Thanksgiving--particularly the part where Niles attempts to play a video game.
Anyway, this season is great, and I highly recommend it.
The best episodes of the season all have either veteran or new character actors featured in some wonderful episodes. Lilith returns in "The Apparent Trap", with Frederick doing all he can to manipulate his parents into giving him a mini-bike. "The Dog That Rocks The Cradle" brings back a finger-dislocating Bulldog and is really a howler. And Frasier's notorious agent Bebe makes "Morning Comes Entertainment" (a wonderful episode title) a sheer delight. The image of her 'n Frasier riding on a donkey while Niles proclaims, "Via con Dios." is very funny.
Let's not forget the newcomers to the series as well, like the irrepressable Jean Smart in "Big Crane on Campus", she's both beautiful and frightening at the same time. Kim Coles is delightful in "Something About Dr. Mary", an episode that addresses the issue of Frasier's inability to tell Mary the truth because she's black. Which is interesting considering that very few African-Americans have ever been on "Frasier". But the real star is Anthony LaPaglia as Daphne's wayward, drunken brother Simon. He is terrific in back to back episodes ("Dark Side of the Moon", "Something Borrowed, Something Blue").
Despite some very good episodes, it's clear that the writers were running out of ideas during this season as several shows repeat themes or even lift parts of previous episodes. Take for example "Hot Pursuit", which vitually remakes Season 3's "Roz Loves Frasier", although this version is slower and unnecessary. "Rivals" uses the same ballroom set as Season 3's "Moon Dance" and even has a tango. And "Out With Dad" reworks Season 2's "The Matchmaker", even Daphne's cackling in the kitchen is identical to Martin's laugh in "The Matchmaker".
It should be noted that Paramount has apparently listened to the hues 'n cries of the masses as Disc 1 gives the viewer a choice of either previews or the menu page, unlike Season's 4, 5, 'n 6 when you had to no choice but to skip through the previews.
I really enjoyed this Season even more than I remembered when it originally ran on NBC and it's argueably better than the erratic Season 6. In fact, had the "Frasier" series ended with Daphne 'n Niles driving off to a new destiny, it might have been the perfect ending. Oh well, this DVD collection stands on it's own and is a welcome addition to the "Frasier" family.
- GOOF: In "Something About Dr. Mary", Daphne injures her RIGHT wrist after Niles accidently kicks her in the behind (a very funny scene). Later on, we see the bandage on her right wrist. But during the stinger, the bandage is now on Daphne's LEFT wrist.
- Rebecca Schull turns in a very un-"Fey" like performance in "RDWRER". She's becomes the second "Wings" star to appear on "Frasier".
- "Fight Before Christmas" has another first for the Frasier series, the title card introducing the "Wassling" uses a different typeface for the first time.
- GOOF: In "Dark Side of the Moon", Daphne clears all the trash 'n beer cans off the coffee table and then stands up just before Frasier enters. When we see the coffee table again, a beer can and some trash magically reappear.
- The stinger for "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" is the first one NOT to have any actors in it (apart from the "Thanks for Calling" stingers that usually appear during the last episode of the season). All we see is a darkened set.
1.) Momma Mia
2.) Father of the Bride
3.) Radio Wars
4.) Everyone's a Critic
5.) The Dog That Rocks the Cradle
7.) A Tsar is Born
8.) The Late Dr. Crane
9.) The Apparent Trap
10.) Back Talk (Part 1)
11.) The Fight Before Christmas (Part 2)
13.) They're Playing Our Song
14.) Big Crane on Campus
15.) Out With Dad
16.) Something About Dr. Mary
17.) Whine Club
18.) Hot Pursuit
19.) Morning Becomes Entertainment
20.) To Thine Old Self Be True
21.) Three Faces of Frasier
22.) Dark Side of the Moon
23.) Something Borrowed, Someone Blue (Part 1)
24.)Something Borrowed, Someone Blue (Part 2)
The main characters are as solid as always and there is the usual array of accomplished guest stars, including Daphne's brother Simon, played by Anthony LaPaglia, who is hilarious although strangely seems to come from a different part of England than Daphne and her mother. Daphne's mother is played by Millicent Martin and those of us with long memories remember her singing the theme song to 'That Was The Week That Was', the show hosted by the late David Frost which introduced satire to the UK.
This series was one that got all the relationships between the five main characters exactly right and that is fully in evidence here. A brilliant concept realized to the utmost in this season.