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Episode reviews for Episode 8.21 - A Day In May

Avg. Viewer Review: 68.5%
Number of Reviews: 21

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...what the...?, Apr 21, 2009

Reviewer: AJ from Ontario, Canada


It is often said that Frasier is a good enough show that even some of its worst episodes are still better than most other TV shows.
This one is the bottom of the barrel not only by Frasier's standards, but even by [insert your choice of worst sitcom ever]'s standards.

Made up of three random events which apparently took place in May, its premise wouldn't even have seemed lazy to me if the stories were just plain better.

This is a big shame because Martin's storyline is quite promising, and if it had been given the entire 22 minutes to unfold, it could have made a worthy episode. Thankfully, another episode, "The Return of Martin Crane", gives us quite a bit of what this one doesn't even try.

I can't help but think that one week, out of a serious lack of available writers who weren't on vacation or something, or simply out of a serious lack of ideas, they decided to pick three random discarded storylines, butcher them down to about 7 minutes each, and stick them into one episode. Clearly, it wasn't sweeps week.

The only reaction I had when watching this episode was one big silent "WTF".


Rating: 12%

 

Nadir?, Sep 07, 2006

Reviewer: Citystreets from England


A laughable (well, not strictly true as there are no laughs to be found here) attempt at a 'slice of life' episode, as we follow the characters during, yes, a day in May. I wish we'd been around for a different day, myself, because this one was lacking. It's as though they took three different sub-plots that were too bad for other episodes and combined them into one.

The three separate stories range from poor to embarrassing to downright bizarre. There's Niles and Daphne in the park as they somewhat address the issue of jealousy in their relationship. This is valid and it's logical Niles would be insecure. Unfortunately, the script is very poor although I will admit that I was amused once or twice solely due to David Hyde Pierce's performance. Next, is Frasier and Lana's story and unfortunately it is worse than Niles and Daphne's. It's strange to think that a story revolving around building a model out of popsicle sticks that culminates in Frasier looking like a mentally handicapped man could be approved and speaks volumes for the show's regime at this point. I usually enjoy Jean Smart as Lana (lots of fun) but she's given nothing to do here of any note.

The worst story by far is Martin's. A strange approach was taken, as his story was filmed mysteriously - we don't know much until the end. This may have worked in a feature film but in a 23 minute episode where the scenes only last short amounts of time, it just leads to frustration, confusion and then ambivalence. In theory, the idea of Martin confronting his attackers could be something worthwhile; a chance at a real meaty episode for John Mahoney (he deserved one). There would also be some (albeit obvious) humor at having Frasier and Niles accompany him to the prison, obviously disgusted and shocked at their surroundings. There's no substance, however, to this story - there's no drama because we don't have a clue what's going on, and there aren't any laughs either. Not even canned laughter, it's just there to be serious but falls flat on its face due to the short scenes and ambiguous structure.


Rating: 27%

 

A Nadir, Jun 26, 2008

Reviewer: Fergus from Dublin, Ireland


Probably the worst episode ever, with Daphne and Nile's relationship sinking further into mirthless emasculation, a truly tasteless sequence involving Frasier being mistaken for a mentally disabled person, and Martin... what was that all about? The most telling detail is that Martin's assailant looks like a male model straight off the catwalk. Maybe he was stealing an Armani jacket when he pulled the gun back in '93. What was going on behind the scenes with the show at this point?


Rating: 28%

 

A Day In May, Sep 25, 2012

Reviewer: Lucy from London


I wished they'd have picked another day in May or any other time of the year.

I just found this episode boring and totally devoid of laughs.


Rating: 40%

 

A Lazy Day, Aug 02, 2011

Reviewer: Edward from USA


In my many years of watching Frasier, collecting the DVD sets, and
re-watching Frasier, I have almost never dreaded watching an episode
again more than A Day In May.

Part of what makes Frasier great is the biting dialogue and the actor's
shining. However, this episode felt clunky, disjointed, and overall lazy.

Frasier's story looks lifted from a lesser sitcom. It is goofy but lacks
whimsy. The story does little to develop Frasier and Lana's
relationship overall.

Niles and Daphne's story is the best of the bunch, but would be better
suited as a B story in a more traditionally structured episode. As a
main plot line, it fails to deliver the laughter, as I found myself smiling
at the scenes more than laughing.

Martin's story is intriguing, as it would seem that this would be a
major story line, but was relegated to nearly C status. Again, this
story had little purpose, and the ball was dropped for a future, well-
written episode on the subject. Having 1/3 or the time crippled a
promising plot line.

This is my least favorite episode of the series, as it fails to deliver on
all fronts. Martin's story was supposed to be emotional, but felt drab
instead. Niles and Daphne's story was supposed to be charming, but
fell short of the aim. Frasier's story was uncharacteristic and
cringeworthy.

It's sad to see a great show deliver such trite, but even Frasier has its
bad apples. This one is the most potent.


Rating: 47%

 

A DAY IN MAY, Jul 21, 2006

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


‘A Day in May’ is the penultimate episode of Season 8, and probably one of the weakest and dullest episodes ‘Frasier’ ever produced. The premise is a simplistic one, and definitely offers some potential for comedic material, but it feels as if every attempt at humour falls flat on its face, leaving an episode that is unsatisfactory and a far cry away from ‘classic’ episodes of the past. In this episode, there are three main running storylines, none of which work, that all take place on the same day in May and feature different characters, a bit like ‘Three Valentines’ in Season 6, but not half as funny. The first plotline witnesses a trip to the park for Niles and Daphne, where the former grows jealous of the latter’s attentions being drawn to a fellow dog-walker Jim Brady and his dog Tank. Niles then introduces an ‘irrational demand’ that means Daphne can never come to the park again, but ironically Jim is leaving the country the following day. That brief synopsis of events is all that happens really, and the scenes in the park are utterly devoid of laughs and feel predictable and weak, offering absolutely no reward for the viewer, because I was fiddling with the remote control during this subplot because it felt so terrible. I didn’t even smile once, let alone laugh, which was unfortunately true for the plot involving Frasier and Lorna as well.

In the second storyline Lorna lures Frasier over to a house she is attempting to sell, but whilst there they meet a depressive and (very irritating) man named Philip, who is missing his daughter and his ex-wife. Unfortunately this type of character has appeared in ‘Frasier’ before now, and the actor who portrayed him brought little to the role, and again I was left feeling uncomfortable, distracted and eager for this episode to end. We also get a pretty pathetic visual gag of Frasier building a wooden toy house and sucking a lolly, which again made me consider just how far from comedy genius ‘Frasier’ has strayed recently. Gone are the days of the witty sophisticated comedy, and instead we have Frasier pretending to be retarded, and therefore ‘A Day in May’ epitomises all the problems, errors and flaws of Season 8 perfectly, because this plot was dire. However, the episode looked as though it could restore some semblance of impressiveness with Martin attending the parole hearing of his shooter, but unfortunately even this segment (which could have been profoundly moving if written effectively) feels disjointed, out-of-place and lifeless. I think it’s probably an idea that looked better on paper, but once this storyline was transferred to the screen, Martin comes across as out-of-character and the idea feels underdeveloped, rushed and really should have been given a more prominent voice in this episode. As it is, this segment fails on all levels, as indeed does this episode, and I think ‘A Day in May’ is one of the weakest of the entire show’s run, and easily the worst episode of Season 8. An utter disgrace of an episode, that really makes you wonder what went so wrong for ‘Frasier’. A script that should have been used for wastepaper, and a complete waste of the cast’s talents. I can’t think of a single positive word for this episode. The ‘Martin’ portion could have been seen as brave or ‘bittersweet’, but I just found it rushed and pointless. In summation, a woeful mess of an episode, just awful in every single way. Eric Zicklin, who has coined three of the very worst episodes ever this season has become my new least favourite writer; congratulations Mr Zicklin!


Rating: 49%

 

Mind numbing............, Jan 01, 2008

Reviewer: Dean Mather from UNITED KINGDOM


If you have seen it once,thats enough,typical of Season 8,avoid. Boring and unfunny,jeez,remember,this is comedy,not an episode of Eastenders,though not as bad as Freudian Sleep or Enemy At The Gate.


Rating: 49%

 

'A Day In May' review, Sep 04, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


One of the dullest episodes ever, this seems like an attempt to replicate the episodic structure of 'Three Valentines' but ends up feeling like a bunch of half-finished episode ideas thrown together at random. Using the flimsy premise of setting each of the character's segments on the same Spring day, it's pretty much devoid of laughs with only the scenes with Frasier and Lana visiting a house which the latter has been trying to sell containing a couple of passable moments with the depressing character of Philip - the house's current owner, - and Frasier, sucking a lolly and putting back together Philip's toy wooden house, being treated like a retarded person by an elderly couple although like the other sequences here, it doesn't really go anywhere interesting. A bland Niles and Daphne segment sees the pair at the dog park with Niles' jealousy of Daphne's friendship with another dog owner leading him to waste his 'irrational demand' while the rest of the episode features a dreary segment with Martin attending his shootist's parole hearing which seems like it's leading up to some great profound moment with Martin finally confronting his shootist, only to cop out when Martin uncharacteristicly decides that he has nothing to say - which pretty much sums up what a lethargic waste of time the whole episode seems. A shapeless, lifeless, pointless mess.


Rating: 55%

 

I had him over for Thanksgiving!, May 19, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Ultimately a failure of an episode, but one whose ambition deserves special mention. I believe there are many good moments in season 8, but this episode would make my bottom ten - at least of the first eight seasons. Look, there's a deliberate thread weaved through these separate plotlines of telling the truth, of facing our fears, and of how we move forward. Perhaps there's a "Cheers"-esque vibe being striven for here. This is just a peak into the characters' lives, deliberately avoiding any comedic structure, any dramatic "lessons", or any big speeches. I entirely respect that. And - as I've mentioned before - the fast turnaround of television episodes means that occasionally mistakes can't be rectified. At some point, a bad writing, directing, casting, narrative choice may end up making it on to the screen. We take those risks and run with them. Yet, I still can't fully justify this.

The opening interchanges with Roz borrowing Frasier's car and Niles retconning Daphne's history with Donny are actually quite amusing. After this, we splinter off into four stories:

a) Roz's subplot is really just an excuse to give Peri Gilpin something to do, and it barely warrants a mention. Alice throws up in Frasier's car and Roz is covering things up. It ties into the episode's themes, I guess, but that's all.

b) The Niles/Daphne storyline is perhaps the most acceptable. He's a man with some serious self-esteem issues, at least when it comes to other men who are more traditionally handsome/strong/masculine. The idea of him being terrified by the prospect of someone like Jim with a dog named Tank makes perfect sense. And I do like to see the other side of Daphne's life. It builds up to the nice little O.Henry twist that Niles made up the concept of a once-in-a-lifetime irrational wish and then wasted it, but that's all. I imagine the actors enjoyed going to the park for a day or two. And Eddie got to run around, so there's that. (See, I'm really stretching here.)

c) The Lana/Frasier business is overall quite amusing since the characters are well-written, and the jokes revolving around her sad-sack client ("That air traffic isn't gonna control itself") are cheekily clever. But after this, things just get a bit silly. Why exactly does a man like Frasier Crane end up in such an undignified position and not correct the situation? Are old people mistaking men in their late 40s for babies a commonly funny joke? I've been surprised that Jean Smart was contracted for so many episodes in a row, but it holds to my theory that the series is opening up the world a little bit. While it's strange to see Frasier lounging around, being so much less pretentious than usual, it's nice to see him with a different kind of friend to the few people he usually spends time with. I guess it's an interesting notion of the character, and this seems like prologue to the psychological revelations we'll be getting in "Don Juan in Hell". Yet, again, even for a vignette-style episode this feels incredibly, unbelievably slight. It's not really humour that comes from the characters, and it's not particularly situational humour. It's just... comfort food, I suppose. Our beloved characters hanging out. (Perhaps the scriptwriter had been watching "Seinfeld" and then just subtracted that show's misanthropy.)

d) Finally, there's Martin Crane. If anything deserves seven minutes of our time (out of 11 years!) it's Martin's shooting. We've seen some emotional fallout, and we'll see a bit more early in season 9, but here - well, this isn't the way to approach it. The two early scenes set up a mystery of where Martin would be, and imply that he's hiding it from the family. And then the hearing plays out with very little exploration beyond the admittedly heartbreaking look on the mother's face. I respect this series, and always will, for looking at the honest side of a situation that doesn't warrant jokes. And I grasp that they were trying to let us make the connection between these things. Yet, I can't help feeling that Martin's situation deserved an episode to be explored. And the very odd decision to let this be the last thing we see before the credits is just haunting without good reason.

Each time I watch "A Day in May" as part of a rewatch, I try and approach it with fresh eyes. I really like the initial concept of just following our characters for a day. Ultimately though, I think some of these storylines deserved to be more thoroughly explored while others didn't even merit the seven minutes they were allocated. A failure, but one worth discussing.


Rating: 55%

 

A little bit different Frasier, Feb 17, 2008

Reviewer: Liam from Hastings, UK


I just watched the 'A Day In May' episode. I came on here to read the reviews of it - and found them a little hard on this episode. To be honest, the Niles story wasn't laugh out loud funny, while the Frasier part was... just about the normal level you'd expect from this show. But the best part of the episode, for me, was the Martin storyline. I liked how it started off in secret, and you didn't know what was going on. Then came the last scene, which I found to be very moving. Some have said that Martin was out of character in this episode - but to be honest, I'm not sure how you know a person would react to this type of situation?
Still some people felt that there shouldn't be an unfunny storyline in a show like this. But I disagree. While I don't think it should be done often, when something important like this pops up - I think a change in style is warrented.

By no means the highest rating - even in this series - but different enough to be watchable.


Rating: 75%

 

 
 

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