Sunday, May 05, 2013

Roz and the Schnozzola

Kevin Kilner and Jordan Baker, married in real life,
played Steve and Paula Garrett in this episode.

Roz (Peri Gilpin): Now I'm supposed to put up with in–laws, and I don't even have a husband? That's like posing nude for your art teacher and still flunking the course.

Readers of this blog know I am a diehard Frasier fan.

I like all the episodes — some better than others, of course — but the one that aired 15 years ago tonight is one of my particular favorites.

At this point in the Frasier storyline, Roz was pregnant and had decided not to marry the father, who was quite a bit younger. (After Roz turned down his proposal in an earlier episode, the young man left Seattle to study in France.)

Her apartment was being painted, and Roz arranged to stay with Frasier while that was going on. Consequently, she had her calls forwarded to his phone, and one of her messages was from Paula Garrett, the mother of her lover who wanted to meet Roz before Paula and her husband departed for Paris, where they would visit their son.

Roz wasn't enthusiastic about the idea, but Frasier talked her into meeting with the Garretts briefly. It was an opportunity, he told her, to see the kinds of family traits that her child would be inheriting.

A side plot involved a misunderstanding between Frasier and Daphne over a gift Frasier gave her. It was a pair of earrings that looked like they had sapphires — but, in fact, they were colored glass. Frasier saw them and thought they looked pretty so he bought them for Daphne (Jane Leeves), not remembering that it was the fifth anniversary of Daphne coming to work in the Crane household.

When Daphne appeared to believe they were genuine, Frasier didn't have the heart to set her straight.

It turned out the Garretts had huge noses. They also had some endearing qualities, but Roz couldn't get over the fact that their noses were so large.

Neither could the members of the Crane family, who could hardly contain their mirth at the double entendres in their conversations.

For example, when Niles told the Garretts of his and Frasier's intention to attend the annual dog show, Paula said, "We love dogs. We have two Giant Schnauzers," and it was all the Cranes could do to maintain a semblance of self–control.

And, when Paula bent over to smell the fresh–baked quiche and asked if the crust was homemade or from the store, Steve said, "You'll have to forgive my wife. Sometimes she's a little nosy."

That was the point where Frasier, who had resisted any urges to laugh, lost it.

Roz: Now I know all the wonderful qualities my baby will have. A sunny disposition, a great sense of humor ... a nose like an ANTEATER!

Roz took some comfort in the knowledge that the father of her child had a normal nose — even if his parents' noses were large. But that went out the window when she was given pictures of her baby's father when he was a boy. He had had a hockey accident, and nose surgery had been necessary.

Apparently, genetics had not taken a holiday, as Roz had so desperately hoped.

Roz didn't want to show the Cranes the pictures. "I'll never hear the end of it!" she protested. Ultimately, though, she relented.

"Where is the end of it?" Niles asked.

Frasier always had a nice way of ending such a story on an upbeat note.

In this episode, Daphne came into the dining room later that night to find Roz sitting at the table staring at some pictures — these of herself when she was a child. She recited her childhood maladies for Daphne, then said, "I'm just sitting here thinking, what if my kid gets Rick's nose and my ears and eyes? Throw in my grandfather's third nipple, I might as well pitch a tent and charge admission."

Roz said she couldn't stand the thought of her child being teased, but Daphne pointed out that being teased is a part of being a kid and Roz's child would be fortunate to have a mother who understood what it was like.

I thought it was a well–written lesson in human — especially parent–child — relationships.

I've heard some people say that they didn't like this episode because the reactions of the Cranes (with the exception of patriarch Martin) were out of character for them, that they ordinarily exhibited more restraint.

But even the most restrained people can blow their cool under the right conditions, and I thought Frasier was particularly effective in showing that 15 years ago tonight.