blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s02e17 – Daphne’s Room

Once again it’s a “Frasier” where it feels like they’re trying to one-up something, but they’re not actually trying to one-up anything. It’s just Kelsey Grammer trying out an extremely physical episode—extremely physical bits are mostly David Hyde Pierce’s forte (though Grammer’s had at least one good one this season already)—but after a certain point, all the comedy in Daphne’s Room is physical comedy and it’s magnificent.

Linda Morris and Vic Rauseo contribute the script—they’ve written some of the stronger Daphne (Jane Leeves) episodes in the past—and David Lee directs. As the title implies, Leeves’s room plays a big part in the episode as Grammer invades her personal space and then bungles every attempt to repair the offense. There are multiple outstanding sequences involving him sneaking into, around, and out of Leeves’s boudoir.

It’s not just the great physical comedy, there’s also strong scenes between the cast—Hyde Pierce and Peri Gilpin get to team up against Grammer, not to mention Hyde Pierce having his own subplot with ever-offscreen wife Maris, and then John Mahoney gets involved because Grammer’s pissed off Leeves so much.

The episode’s balance—this much Grammer, this much Leeves, this much Hyde Pierce (who, of course, also wants to snoop around Leeves’s room once Grammer establishes the principle)–is exquisite. Script, director, performances. They’re all in excellent sync, which might make this one of those exemplars I occasionally call out. Yes, actually, indeed–Daphne’s Room is one of those “Frasier” exemplars. Leeves’s character arc is full of complications they can’t really address because it’s a sitcom and Leeves gets it into the performance. And Grammer does really well making everyone believe he’s so obvious the intrusions are plausible.

There’s an excellent punchline—which almost could go over the credits but they wisely keep it in the episode proper. Leeves is second-billed on “Frasier” while usually fighting for fourth with Gilpin so it’s very nice to see her get so much to do here.

It’s an outstanding, hilarious twenty-whatever minutes.

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