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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 10 -> Episode 10.11

Door Jam
Episode Details

Written by: Heide Perlman

Directed by: Scott Ellis

Original US airdate: 7th January 2003

Original UK airdate: 10th March 2003

Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Crane .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Guest Cast
Receptionist .... Hal Sparks
Reservationist .... Sarah Shahi
Facialist .... Monica McSwain
Attendant .... W. Scott Strassner
Esthetician .... Annie Wersching
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier and Cam Winston have swapped mailboxes but Frasier keeps getting Cam's mail by accident. He opens one of his letters and finds an invitation to a place called 'La Porte D'Argent', which neither he or Niles has heard of. There is however a phone number but it requires them to enter their six-digit access code. Thoroughly intrigued by this exclusive new place, they go down there but the receptionist won't even tell Frasier what 'La Porte D'Argent' actually is even though he has a valid invitation as Frasier's name isn't on the list. Thankfully, when Niles walks in Frasier calls him Cam Winston - whose name is on the list - so they discover that 'La Porte D'Argent' is an exclusive day spa and are just ecstatic about the service they receive. However, as they are about to pay, they see Senator Ogden going into an area with a gold door. The reservationist tells them that's the gold level, and they can't go in because they aren't on the gold level list.

Understandably, Frasier and Niles are angry that they can't get in and search their Rolodexes in the hope that someone can get them into the gold level. Thankfully, Roz is on hand to help them as Senator Ogden owes her a big favour. The gold level exceeds even Frasier and Niles' expectations but as they sit in the relaxation grotto, Frasier spies a platinum door. Niles is eager to go but can barely walk as he is wrapped up like a mummy but after an attendant tells them they can't go through that door, Frasier picks up his brother and the two of them fling open the platinum door and head to what they believe will be paradise - however it doesn't quite live up to their expectations......

Episode Title Cards
  • Plan B

  • After The Rubbin'

  • Door Jam

Episode Highlights

- Martin speculates on what 'La Porte D'Argent' is:
Martin: Probably just another frou-frou restaurant or frou-frou clothing store.
Frasier: This is not frou-frou Dad - as evidenced by the manly scent of balsam!

- 'La Porte D'Argent's answerphone asks Frasier to punch in his six-digit access code:
Martin: Why don't you just punch in whatever keys spell out 'SNOBBY'

- The spa's receptionist can't find Frasier's name on the list to let him in:
Frasier: Perhaps you've heard my popular radio show?
Receptionist: I'm not really a radio person (!)

- Niles impersonates Cam Winston's voice to get into the spa:
Frasier: It's the worst impersonation of Cam Winston I've ever heard
Niles: You've heard another one?
Frasier: Of course not!
Niles: Then it's the best!

- The reservationist hands Frasier and Niles a bag of spa goodies to take away:
Niles: I've never even heard of eyelash conditioner!
Frasier: Hence the brittle eyelashes

- Niles wrapped up like a mummy trying to walk

Frasier Online Episode Review

This is an episode with a bit of a torturous production history: it was originally meant to be the third episode of this season, but was to feature Ana Gasteyer as a physical therapist in a subplot that would have seen her observing the techniques Daphne uses on Martin. The producers felt that this subplot didn't work very well so they pulled the episode for retooling, and used Ana in 'Bristle While You Work' instead. Not only that but David Hyde Pierce also fell off a gurney during filming and had to be rushed to hospital. All of this trouble can be seen in the episode, sadly, as the replacement subplot (Daphne ruins Martin's enjoyment of Rockford by saying Martin is like Rockford's father instead of Rockford) is one of the dullest I've ever seen. Thankfully, the main plot of the exclusive day spa that Frasier and Niles discover contains a wealth of enjoyably bitchy one-upmanship, but I found that just like in 'The Club', the more the episode went on the less funny it became (not to mention the fact that just like in that episode Roz helps them by calling in a favour). I also found it predictable that as soon as Roz said that after they've been through the gold door there'll be a diamond door, then a platinum door - that oh, look they discover a platinum door. That said the brief Hal Sparks cameo was fun (he played one of my favourite characters, Michael, in the US version of Queer As Folk) and the ending was pretty good too, but I found that this was an episode I wanted to like more but was a little disappointed by the end result


73 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 80.3%
Total Number of Reviews: 10

The Silver Level, May 25, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

It's always funny when you discover things about an episode many years later. I saw this episode on first broadcast (one of the very few times I did that) and have always been delighted when it comes up in the schedule. It's funny to learn both the scenario behind its production, and the mixed reactions it has received.

Perhaps this episode is made for people like myself who just enjoy Kelsey Grammer growling the words "relaxation grotto" with a vague air of discontent. Those syllables seem perfectly suited to the character's speech style, I can almost imagine the episode working around that. Like two recent stagnant-but-funny episodes, "Deathtrap" and "Enemy at the Gate", "Door Jam" hinges (pardon the pun) on a reasonably repetitive, claustrophobic plot, enlivened by the character work by Grammer and David Hyde Pierce: surely one of comedy's great double acts. Even the idea of Porte D'Argente is perfect, setting the Crane brothers on a natural arc. Has this plot been done before? Of course. Does it still work? Certainly. The fact that the episode had to be held back and retooled due to issues with the original subplot seems to work in its favour. With the exception of a couple of Daphne/Martin scenes (discussed below), the episode centres on the Crane brothers vs. the club, which makes it a tight little morality tale. The development of the plot's ridiculousness feels quite natural. Are we surprised that the brothers keep finding further doors? Of course not. Is it convenient that Roz knows Senator Ogden? Of course. (Then again, I find this more likely than the weird coincidence where she shows up at the theatre in "Hot Ticket" just so Peri Gilpin can have a scene!) Yet, with the tight focus, everything combines to create a neat little comic tragedy. I've already mentioned Grammer, who does his usual bang-up job of ambition alternating with paranoia. David Hyde Pierce, of course, gets many of the best moments, from his (needless?) impersonation of Cam Winston to that exquisite caterpillar like crawl, and my personal favourite, his prefect-like delivery of the line, "Plutonium's radioactive, no-one's going to make a door out of it." (Pierce's own injury during filming, falling from the gurney, contributed to just about everything going wrong this week, it seems.) Beyond that, the guest cast are really great, even in small roles. The male receptionist has exactly the attitude you catch among front-of-house employees of places that wish to be exclusive but polite, while the female attendant pronounces "Silver Level" in a wonderfully ambiguous way: she doesn't mean it to be patronising, but she can't hide her true intent. To be honest, I very much enjoy the antics of the boys throughout.

The subplot deserves some analysis too. After trashing the original plot, the series had to write in some secondary scenes that only utilised Jane Leeves and John Mahoney. They came up with some of the smallest, least eventful scenes in the show's history - Daphne raising and lowering Martin's self-esteem by likening him to old TV characters - and I can see why people find this to be inane. I don't disagree, however I'm ultimately defensive for two reasons. One: they were in a tough bind. Sure, not everyone will excuse lazy writing. But I know what it's like to have limited time and resources in these situations, and the desire to write something that could be filmed in a day and fit into an existing structure ain't easy. Two: regardless of how slowly things play out, they're only a couple of scenes, and they do their bit to colour in the Daphne/Martin relationship after ten years. The pair have been able to annoy each other at the drop of a hat, yet there's such a profound respect between them. Martin's ego and self-image are grounded in his various life stages, and it's nice to see Daphne figure him out in this way. I've had this feeling with older people I work with, coming to see them as more than just "old folks", and I see that in Jane Leeves' eyes during this story. Is it the best they could have come up with? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I'm not about to scratch this episode out of my DVD set because of it. (Although, one final question: the series hasn't really answered the housekeeper question it raised back in "Bristle While You Work". A bit disappointing, even if the answer is just Daphne!)

Rating: 86%


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