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"I can take criticism!",
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This review is from: Frasier - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Thus says Frasier to Roz in the opening pilot episode. All twenty-four episodes of the first series are here, including the return of Lilith and our first view of Niles's home.
Some would argue that the first season was the best in terms of writing, and that's probably true. As this first series progressed, the writing did become sometimes trite and contrived, but still there are a plethora of brilliant one-liners and some fantastic repartee. Here are some of my favourites that make this series a cut above all the rest: -
FRASIER to Niles: "Oh Niles, you're a psychiatrist; you know what it's like to listen to people prattling on endlessly about their mundane lives." NILES: "Touché! And on that subject, I heard your show today."
FRASIER (in anger) to Niles: "Yes, I know what you think about everything. When was the last time you had an unexpressed thought?" NILES: "I'm having one now."
FRASIER to Dad: Dad, I can't read my paper; Eddie's staring at me." DAD: "Just ignore him." FRASIER: "I'm trying to." DAD: "I'm talking to the dog."
FRASIER to Niles (about Daphne): "She's psychic; we've decided to find it charming."
FRASIER to Niles: "I hate lawyers. NILES: Me too, but they make wonderful patients. They have excellent health insurance and they never get better."
ROZ to Frasier: "The whole point of gossip is to talk behind the person's back, not in front of them. I didn't realise you were unclear about this concept."
DAPHNE to Niles: "Why does she [Maris] take the train instead of flying [to Chicago]?" NILES: "She's been afraid to fly since her harrowing accident." DAPHNE: "Oh dear! Did her plane almost crash?" NILES: "No, no, she was bumped from first class."
FRASIER to Dad: "Dad, ... don't you believe in second chances?" DAD: "I did; then we had Niles."
FRASIER to Niles: "Dad can be so judgemental." NILES: "He is, and I've often condemned him for it."
FRASIER to Roz: "What do you do when the romance goes out of a relationship?" ROZ: "I get dressed and go home."
FRASIER: "Back in prep school the existentialist club once named me `Most Likely To Be'."
NILES (on the urge to write a book): "Al my life I have dreamed of one thing: the day I could go into a library and go to the card catalogue and see my name under `mental illness'."
NILES (of Roz): "She is comely, in a back-alley sort of way."
What about the extras? There are separate replays of the calls made by various celebrities into Frasier's radio show; there is a twenty-minute documentary called `Behind the Couch - the Making of Frasier', made in 2003; and a piece entitled `Frasier Crane's Apartment' where we are shown around his condo by the Production Designer. In addition, there is a commentary on the first episode by the creators of the show. Here we learn that the original intention was to have long scenes, like a play, and no music cues. Maris never appeared, as the character was deemed impossible to cast. It was assumed from the start that the audience would have some intelligence, and that the character of Daphne would be played by a Latino.
If you're into good writing, witty dialogue, fine acting, clever characterisation, and self-deprecating humour (who says the Americans don't understand irony?) then you cannot go wrong with this first season collection.