Monday, April 27, 2015

Things Aren't Always What They Seem to Be

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Dr. Seuss

There were certain things that TV's Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) craved — like fame, fortune, power (later in the series, he disclosed that he preferred to look at it as influence), prestige — and everyone knew them. Well, the audience certainly knew them. He didn't crave regular–guy stuff — but, as TV viewers found out 15 years ago tonight, he craved acceptance from the regular guys.

He didn't really want to be a regular guy. He just wanted to be thought of as one. Frasier went through periods like this during the series' 11–year run. He really liked being an elitist, but sometimes his fussy nature got in the way.

Like when Daphne's (Jane Leeves) fiance Donny (Saul Rubinek) needed someone to throw him a bachelor party, and Frasier volunteered, but Donny insisted that Frasier not do that.

"I don't think we're talking about the same kind of party," he told Frasier.

Or when Frasier bumped into his winsome neighbor Regan (Gigi Rice), with whom all his previous attempts to establish relationships had failed. In fairness to Frasier, it wasn't always his fault. The most recent time, it turned out she had a boyfriend.

But Regan was no longer with her boyfriend, the handsome professional athlete — who, like Niles' first wife, Maris, was never seen — and Frasier felt encouraged to pursue a relationship with her once again.

Speaking of Maris ...

Niles (David Hyde Pierce) was in a new relationship. His divorce from Maris had been official for awhile. Now, he was dating Maris' plastic surgeon (Jane Adams), and the two of them were being mentioned (and photographed) at all sorts of functions around town.

Anyway, one day, Niles rushed into the cafe, where Frasier was having a conversation with his producer Roz (Peri Gilpin), and urged them to come to the window to see something, but he wouldn't tell them what it was.

"You see that rotund woman coming out of Chock Full of Doughnuts?" he asked. Frasier and Roz indicated that they did. "Before she gets to her car, she will finish that bear claw and then go back in. This is her third time."

Frasier and Roz were appalled that, as Frasier put it, Niles had brought them to the window to "gawk at some poor woman's struggle with junk food."

"It's rude," Roz said, getting up to return to her table.

"It's childish," Frasier contributed, following her.

"It's Maris," Niles observed.

That brought them back to the window in a hurry.

"It's hard to believe," Frasier said, "that's the same frail woman who once sprained her wrist from having too much dip on a cracker!"

Niles revealed that Maris had been a chubby child, which had made her obsessive about keeping weight off as an adult.

"Something must have snapped," Roz said.

"Literally," Niles agreed. "When she saw me, she swallowed, and her necklace exploded from the pressure."

The psychiatrist brothers then began to analyze the situation, and they concluded that Maris' eating binge may have been triggered by Niles' blossoming relationship with Maris' plastic surgeon.

Frasier continued to obsess about Donny and his bachelor party so he called Donny and promised to throw a memorable party, complete with at least one stripper — although Frasier confessed to Roz that he didn't have the first clue how to find a stripper.

Somewhere — and probably from someone — he got the idea that a good place to start would be the local SexPress so he tried to acquire a copy but got his tie caught in the display box. It was unfortunate that this happened in front of a florist, out of which came Regan, and Frasier had to try to explain his way out of an incriminating situation. He wasn't very convincing; he freed himself from the newspaper box, apparently causing some damage in the process, and went home.

To rub salt in an open wound, when he got there, Daphne told Frasier how happy she was that he would be throwing Donny's party. "Your party will be over by 9:30," she remarked. "We can all go out for dinner afterwards."

That wasn't what he had promised Donny.

Things turned around quickly, though, when a female police officer (Rachel York) appeared at Frasier's door and said she was investigating an incident of vandalism to a newspaper vending machine.

Turned out, though, that she was a stripper who went by the name Officer Nasty, and she was auditioning for the gig at Donny's party. Martin (John Mahoney) had arranged for her to come over.

"You hire her for Donny's party," Martin said, "he'll put you in his will!"

Then things got busy around Frasier's apartment. First, Niles and Mel the surgeon came by. Mel was upset because Maris apparently was blaming her for her weight gain, saying Mel had nicked her thyroid during a procedure. Then Maris herself showed up (still unseen). Mel was in another room so Niles hurried Maris to a different room, from which Frasier had just emerged with Officer Nasty. Frasier, who always seemed to fancy himself as something of a frustrated showman, had been giving her tips for her act, and they had been locked together by her prop handcuffs. She didn't have a key.

As they were about to leave the apartment in search of a locksmith, Frasier encountered Regan coming out of the elevator. She carried a sack that was loaded with groceries. She dropped the sack, and the contents came spilling out.

Frasier was still handcuffed to Officer Nasty — Regan couldn't see her from the hallway unless Frasier pulled her out there, which he probably would have done if he had reached for the head of lettuce that rolled over near him. So, instead of doing that, he rather ungallantly kicked it soccer–style in Regan's direction.

Ultimately, Frasier had to confess to Regan what he had been doing, and he mused that they probably had to acknowledge that a relationship between them just wasn't in the cards. He mused further that he doubted that anyone would want to go out with him, at which point Officer Nasty said, "I would."

So Frasier and Officer Nasty went out, and Frasier learned a couple of valuable lessons — about being true to yourself and not judging books (and people) by their covers.