Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aw, there always be one I'm fergettin'

After updating last night and foolishly convincing myself I'd covered all my bases (O the hubris! The folly of the blog!), I found my mom watching a late-night re-run of Frasier. That's when it hit me. I had failed. Failed so humiliatingly. So per my last post, here's another TV plot development that gits to me:

Niles's love for Daphne revealed too soon

I can't really blame the show for this'un, actually. It must be difficult maintaining that level of comic tension so long, keeping a nice balance between figuring out new ways Niles has to cover his tracks so Daphne won't find out, and how long Daphne can stay oblivious to this pompous, buffoonish psychiatrist's adoration before we start thinking the psychic home healthcare worker a little dim.

Like I said before, sitcoms usually aren't my venue of choice. I know I'm not alone in my aversion to canned laughter, small sets, and tried and true situations playing out over and over again. I'm definitely not heartbroken that it seems now a dying medium. But there are some exceptions that I do enjoy: Fawlty Towers, parts of That 70s Show, and obviously Frasier, to name a few. Fawlty Towers is probably the second greatest show ever produced (after classic Simpsons...and, hell, actually maybe a little after MST3K), That 70s Show reminds me all nostalgic-like of my middle school years when the show was at its best, and Frasier's like those old drawing-room comedies, poking light fun of its menagerie of pretentious, effete leading characters. My grandma was a huge Frasier fan, so the show has some great sentimental value for me, too. I remember how she'd crack up talking about the unseen Maris, and my mom fondly recalls how she'd talk about the characters like they were real. "That Frasier is such a snob," she'd snap disapprovingly.

The unrequited, unspoken Niles/Daphne interactions were my favorite part of the show. David Hyde Pierce added such ingenious little touches to Niles's reactions around Daphne, his glassy eyes almost always locked on her worshipfully, even when the scene didn't center around them. Once Frasier deliriously let it slip to Daphne, that fervent worship lost a lot of its comic edge and its poignancy. Imagine if the Trix bunny ever actually eats a bowl of Trix, or the leprechaun gets his Lucky Charms (it's not product placement, I'm just hungry!). You may want those cereal icons to triumph over those damn ungrateful snot-nosed kids, but where would you go from there?

Scenes where Niles sniffs Daphne's hair and overreacts to any inadvertent double entendres escaping her lips lack the same hilarious effect once all that action is reciprocated. Plus, once Daphne starts dating Niles and becomes subsequently immersed in Seattle's high society, much of her kooky spaciness is replaced by a polished sophistication. And...that's boring as hell. Especially for someone adorably out-there like Daphne. The show is chock-full of enough erudite sophisticates as it is!

I wish the creators had waited until at least the last season--maybe even the series finale--before getting those two kids together. I realize that's demanding too much, but hey. Dass what I do.

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