Episode Reviews (6)
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Ah, the ballad of Niles & Daphne. Well, we watched and waited, and then we watched and waited some more until finally, almost 8 seasons later, it finally happened. Niles and Daphne got it together. And was it worth the wait? Definitely.
Of course, the “will they, won’t they” storyline is not unique to “Frasier” and is often found in one form or another in the TV series / sitcom world. David and Maddy (“Moonlighting”) and Ross and Rachel (“Friends”) are just 2 examples that spring to mind. Nevertheless, perhaps what made the Niles and Daphne coupling (or lack thereof) so compelling was that, unlike similar unrequited pairings, we the viewer were never absolutely certain that these two would ever end up together, since it always seemed like the attraction was completely one-sided. With David and Maddy the attraction was blatantly mutual and merely unspoken, and although it was mainly Ross lusting after Rachel, there were some pretty strong hints that she also felt something for him (albeit unconsciously). The writers of “Frasier” chose a much subtler, more effective and ultimately more believable approach. For starters, Niles and Daphne are polar opposites in practically everything – personality, tastes, social standing etc. – yet we can accept that Niles would be attracted to Daphne because she represents everything that he himself desperately wishes to be. He’s uptight and she’s laid back, she’s down to earth and approachable while he’s aloof and neurotic – the list goes on. In fact, given Niles’s usual choice of partner (Maris and later Mel), his infatuation with Daphne should have been even harder to swallow – all praise to David Hyde Pierce’s performance that we never questioned this. Besides, let’s not forget that Martin and Hester Crane was a similar case of opposites attract.
Which just leaves the question of Daphne. Could she ever possibly feel the same way about Niles? Well, for the majority of the series I found myself thinking “No way”. Yet, here again I must congratulate the writers for making Daphne’s developing feelings for Niles believable. Rather than employ a more sudden transformation – Daphne finding out and instantly (and conveniently) realising she loved him too with little or no explanation as to why – the writers took their time and made it a more gradual process, drawn out over half of season seven. In fact, Daphne was all ready to let him down gently had not events prevented her from telling him she knew. Instead, knowing that Niles harboured deep emotions for her was enough to start Daphne looking at him and, over a period of time, realising that Niles has all these really good qualities – his chivalry, his attentiveness, his caring nature – as well as some less obvious ones. I’m glad that they took this approach as something that I’d always disliked about the Ross/Rachel revelation was that it took virtually no time at all for Rachel to switch from virtual apathy to complete affection.
My one objection – and this is something that someone else identified in another review – is I felt that not enough was done to demonstrate why Donny was the wrong man for Daphne. True it added to the tension as it felt like it could have gone either way when Daphne was choosing between Donny and Niles. But the flipside of this is that it was hard to see why Daphne would even look at Niles when Donny seems like such a nice guy and Daphne herself describes him as “a dear and wonderful man”. She’s happily engaged to Donny, finds out by accident that Niles has been in love with her for seven years, circumstances prevent her from telling Niles that she knows and with this new found knowledge starts to look at him differently and notice that he has all these qualities that she never noticed before. Look turns to like, like turns to attraction and attraction turns to love. The process is believable but what sets Daphne on this journey is less clear. Rather than give Donny some repellent qualities, we simply have to accept that Donny is just not ‘the one’ – something that we’ve known since the previous season in “Visions of Daphne” when at the end of the episode it was revealed to the audience alone that Niles was meant to be with Daphne. One route that the writers could have taken was for Daphne to realise that she’s also had feelings for Niles for years but never realised. In fact this is the most likely explanation for the development of Daphne’s emotions. This is never made particularly explicit but there are subtle clues throughout the earlier seasons. For instance, Daphne’s comment in ‘Moondance’ that she was surprised how easy it was for her to pretend that she was in love with Niles. Or in ‘Daphne Hates Sherry’ when it became apparent that Daphne is attracted to Niles to an extent. Certainly physical attraction is a factor and let’s face it, Niles is better looking than Donny is, but then if Daphne’s relationship with Donny was completely secure and built on love then surely she wouldn’t be looking elsewhere.
In the end, it’s probably best to just accept that the romantic in Daphne was stimulated by the revelation that Niles has been in love with her for seven years. To learn that you have been the object of someone’s passion for such a long time, it is only natural to feel at the very least flattered. In Daphne’s case it would make her feel attractive, feminine and desirable, all of which would naturally draw her to Niles, but above all it would make her feel romantic. Perhaps her relationship with Donny has never been particularly romantic. Not to mention that Niles does have time on his side – he’s known her for a long time and the two of them have become good friends – whereas Daphne has only known Donny for about a year and a half. In conclusion, the long-awaited union between Niles and Daphne was very satisfactory if rather agonising. When they finally share their first kiss, surely we all exclaimed “Thank God”.moreless
The Truth is Out
This two-part episode ranks among my favorite five of all Frasier episodes. After years of empathizing with Niles, and several episodes agonizing along with Daphne, to see their feelings for one another finally come out in the open is exhilerating. Best of all, the comedy never stops as one hilarious moment follows another in between the two lovers' declaration of their passion, as Frasier, Martin, Daphne's ill-mannered brothers, her meddling mother, and the two (unknowingly) jilted lovers of Daphne and Niles pop in and out of the room in sequence.
One of the great characteristics of this episode is Frasier's portrayal, and the new light that we see him in as he's heartsick over his brother's elopement and Daphne's devastation. When Daphne and Niles dance together at the rehearsal, the camera pans to show Frasier sitting at a table observing them, and there's a real sense of the caring side of Frasier, as opposed to the brash and pompous self-centeredness we've come to know as defining him.
Equally satisfying is knowing that their respective former love interests (the insensitive and toxic Mel, and the smarmy and unworthy Donny) are getting the boot.
The one drawback to the episode and plotline is Niles' marriage to Mel. I do not like the fact that the writers had him marry Mel and then days later nullfiy it. It dilutes and mocks the institution of marriage, regardless of how the audience feels about the character of Mel. For Niles so easily to break his vows diminishes his character as well.moreless
i love this episode.
i love it. i think it one of the best frasier episodes. the whole niles and daphne thing has always interested me, even when it was only niles that felt that way. after daphne finding out how niles felt episodes earlier i loved how they built into how she felt. anyway i loved this episode. frasier was also good in this episode and doing what he usually does. interfering. this nearly shifted away from comedy into drama but it still had the comedy there, even though the niles and daphne scenes were quite serious. overall i really loved this episode. brilliantmoreless
A wonderfully written and acted episode which blends comedy with seriousness in an excellent way!
The classic plotline of someone (a male usually) lusting for someone else secretly (a female usually) is tricky. It can go wrong and end up being a worn-out plotline concerning two people horribly wrong for each other (Ross and Rachel anyone?), it can end up as a huge let-down after a long build-up, and it can end up great. In this case I think it ended up great.
True to how the plotline usually goes Daphne found out about Niles' secret affection several episodes back. She seemed to be pendling back and forth in her emotions before finally deciding she had to tell Niles. Then the road to happiness got rockier since Niles eloped with his girlfriend Mel. On the nigh before Daphne's wedding Niles finds out that she knows and confronts her.
As for this episode and the "conclusion" of this storyline there were three things I found to be excellent.
First of all I thought Daphne was well-written in this episode. Her emotions make sense to me; she can't see everything crystal clear and she doesn't know what to do. Both through great writing and acting we can follow her feelings even when she tries to hide them after finding out about Niles and Mel. And when she learns that he would leave her for Daphne she does not just toss aside her whole life; she realises the problems and adresses them. And she thinks about other people but herself, not wanting her happiness at the cost of someone else's.
The second thing is the scene out on the balcony with Daphne and Niles. The tosses from nervousness to happiness to sadness work really well and the whole thing has a beautiful Romeo&Juliet sense to it with the balcony setting, fitting for someone as Shakesperian as Niles. It also explained both Niles and Daphne's feelings and thoughts in a great way.
The third element to this episode, the doubtlessly best one, is the acting by David Hyde Pierce. He is absolutely superb in the scenes after he has found out about Daphne's feelings. Especially out on the balcony, where he is hopeful, happy and scared all at once. You can really feel how close he is to get everything he's ever wanted and how he knows that if it does not happen now it never will. There are really no words to describe how taken I was by his excellent performance in this episode!
These are the three top reasons why I think this episode is one of the best I've ever seen, but there are other reasons as well. This episode combined comedy and drama in a very natural way. When I watch these types of sit-coms with live studio audience laughing I don't want the drama parts, I don't feel like they belong in that type of medium, not the really dramatic ones. But in this episode I thought it worked very well. And it made me a fan of a show I had only watched from time to time before.
If you only watch one conclusion of a will-they-won't-they storyline... let it be this one!
In the midst of her wedding ceremony, with family and friends adding to the confusion, Daphne is torn between marrying Donny and running away with Niles.
Although this episode has much to recommend it, in its most important aspect, it was a great disappointment. Admittedly, the writers had an awesome responsibility here, considering that it was to be the resolution of a seven-year plot line, namely, the relationship between Niles and Daphne.
When it first aired, for whatever reason, I missed seeing it. The next day at work, I asked a coworker and fellow Frasier fan how it went. "It was, ...good", he replied hesitantly. Based on this succinct review, I knew what to expect. What he was saying was that although it concluded in the way that everyone hoped, it was not the triumph we needed it to be, all things considered.
The real problem, of course, was that it came down to a judgment call on Daphne's part. She was torn between Donny and Niles. In the case of Donny, perhaps it was more a case of keeping a promise to a good man, but her statement to Frasier earlier in the episode made this more difficult to believe: "I love your brother, but I'm in love with Donny". It should have been the other way around.
In a classic romantic comedy structure, Donny would have been clearly wrong for her and everyone but she would have known it (much like the relationship between Niles and Mel). Daphne's reasons for wanting to marry Donny would have been purely symbolic; Niles being the reality thus symbolized. As it was, Donny was a likable fellow and actually loved and appreciated Daphne. Not exactly a foil for Niles, but rather a valid alternative.
Personally, I was hoping that at the last minute, Donny and Mel would discover that they were soul mates, and in a complete upset, run away together. Niles and Daphne would then be completely free of guilt and responsibility, and left to comfort each other. Instead, it was the beginning of a troubled period, with Donny suing everyone and Mel's humiliating terms of divorce.
Oh, well. In the end, we got what we really wanted. But as for a rating. I think my friend said it best: "It was, ...good".
A wonderfully moving and sensual episode, yet full of usual wit and hilarity.
This one unquestionably my favorite episode. It is unusually full of emotion. Frasier is witty but it's not a romantic show. This episode shows the well-known kind, friendly disposition of all the characters. It's focus on Niles and his struggles as well as his torment in telling Daphne how he feels. The episode very skillfully slips from comedy into almost drama. The writers very sensually handle Niles' feelings and Daphne's changing attitude towards him.
The episode is a pleasure to watch and possibly one of the best of the whole series. I would greatly recommend it to all the Frasier fans or those who want to see best of the show.moreless