Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day One Hundred and Seven - Frasier: Season 11, Episodes 23 and 24, "Goodnight, Seattle."

As much as I wanted the next episode of Frasier that I blogged about to be one just previous to the finale, featuring more Laura Linney and a hilarious guest spot by Stephen Root, I raced through the last few episodes (skipping the Crock Tales, of course) to get to that satisfying conclusion that makes me revisit it at least once a year.

Episodes 23 and 24 span a whirlwind of life changes as Marty and Ronee get married, Niles and Daphne have their baby, and Frasier, himself, is offered a new job in San Francisco.

The double-wide finale starts in the first class section of a flight in progress where Frasier and an attractive fellow psychiatrist take their minds off turbulence by Frasier sharing his past few weeks. It's an obvious ploy that's supposed to plant the seed that perhaps this beautiful woman is a possible love interest in Frasier's future life.

But the future is isn't the issue, as this is a sort of flashback episode... that seques in bed as Frasier and Charlotte (Laura Linney) are enjoying their final day together as, sadly, she is returning to her hometown of Chicago to resume her matchmaking service there.

It's a lovely, bittersweet sort of parting that allows for a few genuine laughs as Frasier misses his afternoon show (which sets up a mistaken assumption later) and Charlotte is harassed by the return of Daphne's drunken brother (Anthony Lapaglia) who has brought two other siblings to guest for the finale (UK faves Robbie Coltrane and Richard E. Grant).

THAT trio does a good job breaking the morose mood and serve to do so for the rest of the first half, until Eddie eats Marty and Ronee's rings and has to be taken to an emergency vet for some puppy ipecac which allows for yet another guest, this time from Jason Biggs as an inept vet.

Over the finale, lots of loose ends are tied up so that Frasier's big choice doesn't come as such a shock. Roz takes over as station manager from Kenny, sly agent Bebe continues her reign of sociopathy... and, of course, Marty moves out a married man and Niles becomes a father.

All of it is heartfelt and endearing, but still feels more than a little rushed. As I mentioned in my last blog entry for Frasier, the Charlotte romance needed to span the entire season to really have the impact it should have. Or, at least, more than the last quarter. To have any merit, I would've begged a minimum of twelve episodes and fought for more.

I did really dig the plastic surgeon/missed show excuse miscommunications which, when combined with Frasier's secretive big news and his giving away of personal mementos really did feel like a 6-months-to-live announcement.

It was hilarious, but the crocodile tears from all involved in that scene didn't, well, feel real. Maybe it's because I've never seen Niles or Martin cry in grief before... I just wasn't sold. Still, it was a good scene, even if I had a hard time swallowing it.

It really was a good send off... and had a decent twist at the end that I should've seen coming the first time I saw it almost a decade ago. It's weird to think of these shows as being that old. Cheers definitely seems to have aged, but Frasier still feels fresh. I don't even want to think about what Friends or Seinfeld look like now.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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