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Old 05-14-2018, 10:50 AM   #1
MAGMAXTIC
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Default Why the final season is the weakest of an otherwise excellent show+overall summary

Hey, guys. I'm new here.


Okay, I'll just preface this by saying, Frasier is a brilliant comedy.

In fact, after I've revisited it for the first time several years ago, this became the only sitcom I could watch without losing interest.

From the excellent rapport between the actors ,to the writing, the grounded characters, and the timeless delivery,to the balance between poignancy and humor, and the physical comedy, Frasier has it all, and in spades.

In fact, I could pick almost any episode, and rewatch it, and it would just be as enjoyable as a first time viewing, if not better. Truly a triumph. And I've run through the show several times already.

Merely watching these characters interact brings about a thrill that's unlike any show that I can remember.

Anyhow, one of my favorite things about Frasier is the family dynamic and how everything is filtered through it.

From the relationships, to the growth of these characters to their romantic interests, everything is grounded in family affairs, everything is filtered through the home front.

That's part of the reason why I think Niles and Daphne work so well as a couple- because they are part of the Crane clan, they're not merely defined by their romance.

This is one thing that I think many shows about relationships fail to do well.
Characters would often be stretched and saddled with partners, dividing them from their original starting unit, and then stories would be filled with all these accompanying relationship cliches - breaking up, making up and whatever.

Frasier is not like that. The show is rarely if ever soapish, because at its core it remains a family-centered sitcom.

And I think the show has continued to portray the growth of these characters' relationships with care and varying degrees of success up until the final season.

I honestly don't know. I've found the final season hysterical the first time, but then with each viewing it started to lose its appeal.

I think missing in Season 11 are the scenes that truly define the Cranes as a family.
Also the writing has something to do with it, because it just becomes more random and cliched, with humor more reliant on slapstick.

Everything feels rushed in this season; Niles are Daphne are sideleined in favor of Frasier's and Martin's quest for a partner whom they find conveniently and without much development and without allowing us to warm up to their characters.

Does anyone feel this way?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

As for my thoughts about the seasons themselves.I'll be more critical here.

The first seven seasons are strongest followed by Seasons 9 and 10.

I think Season 9 is vastly underrated, in general.It's very spirited with good characterization.

Season 10 is somewhat sillier in tone, but with the heart in the right place. I
personally wasn't crazy about Niles' heart surgery episode(way too manipulative), but good comedy and observations arose from this plotline in the followup episode.

The two concluding episodes of Season 10 were also weak, I think, but otherwise, I've found this season quite funny.

Season 8 is amusing, but scattered and has problems with tone and overall direction. Pretty average compared to the first 7 seasons, but not bad.

Last edited by MAGMAXTIC; 05-15-2018 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:46 PM   #2
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Thoughtful post.

i the show quite a bit, in the top 25 or so US sitcoms. I think of seasons 1-4 as the classic seasons - they're just more consistently funny than the following years. The later years still have very strong episodes, but also long stretches, such as the Julia and Lana/Clare eras that are pretty forgettable. I guess those are examples of what you note - stretching the romantic story till it leaves the core cast behind.

I think Niles and Daphne were a pretty extreme example of breaking up/ making up. Their saving grace, I think, is that they were, at bottom, supporting characters to Frasier. If it had been The Niles Show, we would have tired quickly of him going through his day, trying to think of some excuse to end up at his brother's door.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:59 PM   #3
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Many sitcoms lose it in the final years. The best thing is to go out on top.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts.

I'm in the middle of rewatching Season 8 which is one I often skip when running through Frasier, and it had me thinking if I'm not overselling it slightly.

It makes a major tonal shift in the show. I always remember it with fondness based on some favorite installments, but my overall impression is that of disappointment.

It's a majorly underwritten and fairly drab season, though not without some saving graces.

I especially enjoy

The Show Must Go Off
Frasier's Edge
Hooping Cranes
The Great Crane Robbery
Cranes Unplugged

So much of Frasier is riding on motivated characterization, and this season feels hollow in that respect compared to my favorite nine.

Well, 7 fantastic seasons, 2 good ones, and two average/weak ones
it's still more than most sitcoms can claim to their name.

Last edited by MAGMAXTIC; 06-03-2018 at 06:18 PM. Reason: rephease
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Old 05-24-2018, 03:59 PM   #5
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Well, I'm halfway through Season 8 again. I have to say it's not too bad overall, but there are a few episodes I really dislike(like Legal Tender Love and Care, where Frasier is dating that lawyer).And I think there are a few more snail-paced episodes near the end of this season.

It's just more difficult to adjust to the new dynamic after a classic season.

Plus, I don't like the color palette of this installment It's all gray, drab and washed out.

Still, I think Seasons 9 and 10 are much better.

I especially enjoy the show's vibe in Season 9; there's something special about it.Frasier returns to being more family-centered, and the characters become vibrant again.

I know many fans didn't like Gertrude Moon-Daphne's mother, but I actually think she's a decent character.

She provides a source of conflict for Niles and Daphne. She's somewhat more overbearing in Season 9 than in Season 10, where she becomes more broadly comical.
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:25 AM   #6
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I go up and down on the merits of Season 8.

I've finished rewatching it, and have found the final episodes better than I remembered.

Overall, Season 8 is not too bad; it's just average. A more dramatic chapter in the Cranes' family saga.And when I think about it this way, it has its place in the show's timeline.

It's the rewrites of classics,Daphne's weight gain plotline and Frasier's romantic escapades in Season 8 that sometimes grate.

About the latter, maybe it's because you get used to the fact that Frasier can't hold a relationship,and you'll know how that will end, so the episodes where he gets the occasional fling which are written with little humor(like with the lawyer, and later with the girl at the cafe) feel like filler.

With that said, I really liked Frasier with Lorna. She's a pretty strong character. I just really enjoy Jean Smart's portrayal of her.

I've always been a big fan of Niles and Daphne as a couple, so to me Daphne Returns is one of the season's highlights
The entire flashback scene is brilliant, and the dialogue between Frasier and Niles is so well-written.

Even episodes that I thought were weak like A Day in May which on first view seems to have been cobbled together from three disparate storylines actually feels ambitious, as it provides a small peek into the mundane lives of the main characters.

Frasier's segment in A Day in May is also pretty funny.


So yea, even Frasier at some of its weakest is worth some praise.

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Old 06-03-2018, 06:09 PM   #7
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Clown Therapy
---------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk-Rcsg1H9A

I've been watching some random videos, and this funny scene from the final season makes me want to revisit it again, actually.
Many of my impressions of it are drawn from memory.

Maybe I am being a bit harsh on Season 11. I mean, even at its weakest Frasier has remained very watchable. On top of that, I always like to find redeeming qualities in the weaker outings of my favorite shows

Last edited by MAGMAXTIC; 06-04-2018 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:08 AM   #8
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Finished watching the series, and yea, my view of Season 11 is even lower. The writing just becomes contrived and predictable, in my opinion.

From this season I like Maris Returns best- a fairly strong episode that doesn't capitalize on Frasier's love life at the expense of everyone else.

The Doctor is Out is decent, though it lacks the sensibility of Out with Dad or the wit of The Matchmaker.

Boo! has a few decent scenes.
And finally, the finale which is a good two parter.
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