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Running out of steam
on 3 June 2008
With season 10 it seemed that the once perfect combination of writing talent & acting skills had finally been unbalanced beyond repair. Far too many of the peripheral characters were given prominent roles when quite frankly they weren't needed & in what seems like a desperate attempt to paper over the gaps guest stars pop up all over the place.
Too often a miniscule story line was stretched over a whole show,'Roe to perdition' has Frasier & Niles in with the Russian mafia while buying caviar, 'ring cycle' has Daphne & Niles marry several times to keep everybody happy & 'Lilith needs a favour' has Frasier spend a whole episode umming & ahhing over whether he should agree to be a sperm donor for his ex-wife. All wafer thin ideas stretched to the point of boredom.
For the first time Frasier is shown as being a completely unsympathetic character. In 'enemy at the gate' he harasses a car park attendant because he doesn't want to pay an extra 2 dollars. While in 'some assistance required' he becomes obsessed with a family in need who have a house built for them by the staff at KACL. In both these episodes he is portrayed as a very unpleasant & unlikeable person, surely a fatal idea for the title character!
However this is still Frasier so there are some funny episodes, 'Door jam' see's the hopeless brothers jealousy lead them to disaster in an upmarket spa where there always seems to be a level of snobbery just beyond their reach. 'Trophy girlfriend' has Frasier dating a sports teacher who reminds him of his old coach, played by a cigar chomping Bob Hoskins. The scene where frasier see's her as hoskins while in the bath being sponged & read poetry to is hilarious. Best of all is surely 'Daphne does dinner' where Niles & Daphne dare to break away & do there own dinner party without Frasier only to discover that they are as useless as him.
This season seemed to indicate that Frasier was going to go out with a whimper. With just 1 more series left to go it seemed fans would have to plunder the earlier shows to recapture what was easily the funniest show on TV. However miraculously series 11 would turn out to be one of the strongest & the disappointment of the previous 2 or 3 seasons could be put to one side.
If you are a fan then you will not be put off by a negative review. Quite right too! This season may have been the weakest but it still had enough to keep you watching. If you're new to Frasier & want to know why it was so popular then this is not the place to look. Although I would recommend starting at season 1 any of the first 4 seasons are as strong as any other ever seen on TV.