Season 6 Episode 8

The Seal Who Came to Dinner

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 19, 1998 on NBC

Episode Recap

Niles, Frasier and Roz are in Cafe Nervosa and Niles is in distress because it's his turn to host the event for his elite dinner club, and with him and Maris separated, he can't bear to have people know that he's dwelling in the seedy Shangri-la apartments. He and Fraiser go back and forth discussing the dilemma in front of a disbelieving Roz, who shares that she's rear-ended an SUV full of attorneys and that that is a true problem. The brothers don't hear a word she says, and she finally leaves in disgust. Frasier hits upon the idea that Niles should have the dinner party at his place, and a relieved Niles expresses his gratitude.

Back at Frasier's place, Martin has been making eyes at Daphne's Asian friend, Pam. Daphne is disgusted to learn that Martin is attracted to Pam, a fetish stemming from his years in the Korean war. As Daphne and Pam make a hasty retreat from Martin, Frasier and Niles walk in and discuss the dinner party. As Niles is surveying the apartment, he is horrified to find a piece of duct tape concealing a crack in one of the doors leading out to the balcony. Frasier tells him that a bird flew into the glass and cracked it, and assures him that the mend is hardly noticeable. Niles protests that this is a highly critical, snobby group of people, and backs up his claim with an example of his own disdain at a previous gathering. After mulling it over, Frasier points out that Maris' beachfront cottage would be the perfect venue, and Niles agrees, especially since Maris is out of the country "having her elbows done."

Frasier and Niles go check out the beach villa, interrupted from their inspection only by Maris' nosy neighbor, . They conclude that the venue is perfect, except for one thing: there is a horrible odor coming from outside when they open the door to the deck. They discover that a dead seal has washed up on the shore near the house.

A call to animal patrol is in vain, and as Niles and Frasier debate what to do about the seal, the high-strung French caterer arrives with his staff. He notices the odor as well, and demands to know if there is a baby around. While trying to distract the chef, Frasier and Niles first consider burying the seal, then decide to hoist it out to sea in a dinghy. They were told by the animal patrol that the best thing to do is to stab holes in the dead animal to make it more buoyant, but the brothers are too grossed out to attempt such a thing. They wrap the seal in one of Maris' peignoir after Niles tries to neutralize the odor with perfume. Finally, they get the creature out to sea.

Guests arrive for the dinner party, and Frasier is delighted to network with one woman in particular, who is the manager of another radio station where Frasier hopes to interview. They begin to chat, and eventually go outside to enjoy the ocean view along with the other guests. Sebastian, the most recent one of the group to host a dinner, complains about the infestation of gnats. As people begin to clap their hands at the bugs, the clapping triggers the lights to go on, which illuminates the dead seal, which has washed up again on shore due to the tide. Niles and Frasier clap the lights off each time someone swats at the gnats, but they can't mask the smell that the guests are noticing. Frasier herds the guests inside and implores Niles to dispose of the seal.

Desperately trying to hold off both their hungry company and the disgruntled chef, Frasier insists that they watch the meteor shower through the transom window and halts a woman about to walk outside from taking another step.

As chaos continues, the doorbell rings and it is the police. They were called on an eye witness report of two men dumping a body into the ocean. As the Cranes try to explain, the neighbor lady, Gretchen, comes running over screaming that she saw Niles stabbing his wife outside the beach house and even recognized the perfume she wore.

Finally, the shocked guests leave after investigation by the police, and a disgraced Niles bemoans his loss of "The Golden Apron" award to Frasier.