Sunday, February 05, 2017

Will You Marry Me?

In the episode of Frasier that first aired on this night in 2002, Niles (David Hyde Pierce) was planning to pop the question to Daphne (Jane Leeves). As I have mentioned before, I thought at the time that they made perhaps the most implausible TV couple ever. I have changed my opinion since then.

But that wasn't the obstacle facing the couple. The greatest obstacle was Daphne's mother (Millicent Martin) was in town, and Daphne had been trying to keep her mother from learning that she was no longer a virgin. To support the deception, Daphne, who had been living with Niles, moved back in with Martin (John Mahoney) and Frasier (Kelsey Grammer); meanwhile, Niles had been acting as the host for Daphne's mother — an arrangement that was causing considerable stress.

Well, eventually, Mrs. Moon learned that Daphne and Niles were living together, and the three of them settled in to live in Niles' spacious condo. But when Niles decide to propose to Daphne, he wanted his future mother–in–law to be elsewhere — so he recruited his reluctant father to take her out for the evening.

Getting Martin to do it, though, required some trickery. Niles and Frasier started by pretending that Martin was helping them select the right wine for the wedding. In reality, they were trying to get him drunk enough to agree to take Gertrude Moon out for the evening.

Ultimately Martin agreed to do it for Niles, but it was no treat for him. All the Moons were manipulators, and Martin had to spend the evening warding off Gertrude's advances, finally resorting to some manipulation of his own. A recent love interest of Martin's overheard his conversation with Gertrude, though, and the future of that relationship seemed to be in considerable doubt.

In his trademark fastidious fashion, Niles had made all kinds of special arrangements for the big night. He bought a ring. He hired celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck to prepare a special dinner. He hired a choir, a string quartet and a trumpet player to perform.

Frasier had contributed the idea of having doves on hand for the occasion.

There were a few things to overcome. Niles had composed a proposal speech that made him so emotional he couldn't get through it when he tried to rehearse it in front of Roz (Peri Gilpin) — who, in turn, got choked up when she told Niles that all a woman really wants is for a man to get on one knee and say, "Will you marry me?"

But sometimes you can't be prepared for everything. Daphne came home with the flu, and Niles decided to postpone his proposal. He took Daphne to the guest room to get her out of the way while Frasier ushered out the musicians and singers, all of whom had been hiding until Niles summoned them.

Their performances apparently would be postponed until Daphne felt better. Frasier assured them they would still be paid for their time that evening.

But in the end, Niles and Daphne returned to the living area and sat in front of the fireplace — and Niles, in a spontaneous moment of passion, proposed anyway without the musicians and the choir and the gourmet meal.

I guess the moral of the story was that you don't need a gourmet chef or a string quartet — or doves — to make an evening special or memorable.

You know, that wasn't a bad reminder a week and a half before Valentine's Day.