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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 10 -> Episode 10.15

Trophy Girlfriend
Episode Details

Written by: Saladin K. Patterson

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 18th February 2003

Original UK airdate: 7th April 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
Kenny Daly .... Tom McGowan
Julia Wilcox .... Felicity Huffman
   
   
Guest Cast
Chelsea Gray .... Jeanne Tripplehorn
Coach Fuller .... Bob Hoskins
Gym Girl .... Scout Taylor-Compton
Jim .... Jack Brewer
Campbell .... Amanda Corday
Waitress .... Nadine Donahue
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

It's time for the Crane brothers sports club squash tournament, and Frasier is expecting to be teamed with Niles again but he has other ideas: as they have been eliminated in the second round for nine years in a row, Niles has decided to team up with Jim Braggett (something of a poseur) in the hope of doing better. Understandably, Frasier is upset at his brothers actions but luck is at hand when Chelsea Gray, a girls gym teacher, walks into the room. She and Frasier briefly met some time ago and mentions that she is looking for someone to team up with her for the mixed doubles. Frasier is reluctant initially but when he sees her hit a great ball at Jim Braggett he agrees! This decision pays off handsomely when Chelsea and Frasier win the mixed doubles tournament which delights Martin as his son has finally brought home a trophy that doesn't have a book on it, while Niles is a bit jealous of brother's achievements and hopes he can do just as well with Jim. Frasier also admits to Daphne that he has developed a bit of a crush on Chelsea and is worried that she doesn't feel the same, but Daphne manages to convince him to take the plunge and is rewarded with a date with Chelsea when she says yes.

After they have been dating for a while, Niles tells Frasier that he first he couldn't believe he was dating a gym teacher on account of their dreadful experiences they both faced when they were at school but remarks that Chelsea couldn't be more different. Frasier is also enjoying their relationship but things change when he goes to pick Chelsea up at her school and witnesses Chelsea berate a rather fat girl for not trying hard enough to climb the rope. This brings back memories of Frasier's horrible cigar-smoking gym teacher Coach Fuller and as a result he can no longer look at Chelsea without seeing her as his former gym teacher. Will Frasier manage to get past this for the sake of their relationship.......?

Episode Title Cards
  • Trophy Girlfriend

Episode Highlights

- Niles reminds Frasier they have been eliminated from the squash tournament in the second round nine years in a row:
Frasier: Niles, if you're suggesting taking that powder made from sheeps glands, the answer is never again!

- Chelsea and Frasier celebrate their mixed doubles win:
Chelsea: There's no 'i' in team.
Frasier: Like there is in Niles!

- Martin is worried Niles is jealous of his brother's win:
Niles: I'm a bit more grown up than that.
Martin: No you're not - it still bugs you that Frasier's name comes first alphabetically!
Niles: Well, that was your fault!

- Chelsea comes into the cafe but Frasier sees her as Coach Fuller:
Coach Fuller: Hello sweetie!

- Coach Fuller and Frasier hugging and taking a bath.

- Roz and Julia find a way to be friends - by insulting each other:
Julia: You know there's a place down the street that's open all night.
Roz: Just like your mouth?
Julia: Just like your legs?

Frasier Online Episode Review

The idea of Niles dumping Frasier for someone else in the squash tournament is a promising one and there is some good comedy in the first half of the episode. However, when the episode moves on to having Frasier only being able to see Chelsea as his old gym teacher Coach Fuller, the law of diminishing returns applies because while it is funny the first time, it becomes less and less funny in the second and third scenes. That said, it was nice to see Bob Hoskins in a 'Frasier' episode and there was a nice twist at the end where Chelsea could only see Frasier as the kid she berated in gym class. Roz and Julia'a plot about finally finding a level where they can be friends by trading insults with each other was nothing special, leaving us with an amusing but rather run-of-the-mill episode.

Rating

69 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 66.6%
Total Number of Reviews: 7


Not as bad as I thought, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


I remember finding "Trophy Girlfriend" phenomenally weak on first viewing. In retrospect, I overcriticised the episode, although it's still not great.

What strikes me here is the same element that has struck me about most of this writer's scripts: an ability to write good lines (even if they feel like generic sitcom zingers sometimes) but an inability to structure. Even my favourite of his scripts, "War of the Words", never quite decides whether it will be a tale about Freddie, Niles, or Frasier. Here, "Trophy Girlfriend" sets itself up to be a story about sibling rivalry, with Niles abandoning Frasier at the squash court, but becomes a tale of Frasier's residual feelings of childhood inadequacy. Jeanne Tripplehorn puts in a solid performance as Frasier's date, a gym teacher, and Bob Hoskins is effortlessly funny as Frasier's boyhood Coach, who takes Chelsea's place in Frasier's mind. As others have noted, the law of diminishing returns takes hold here. The scene of Coach Fuller giving Frasier a bubble bath should be hysterical however, much like the repetitions of the robe scenes in "The Wizard and Roz", it feels as if there's no further comic development. Seeing Coach Fuller doesn't lead Frasier on to any further comedy, it's just a lazy excuse to pad an episode. Having said this, the basic idea - Frasier's terror at dating someone so crucial to his childhood fears - is sound, as is the final comedic twist that Chelsea is now suffering the same issues. And whatever else one may think, Hoskins has a lot of fun as the sleazy Coach Fuller. (I have to wonder what the audience saw during filming of the rope scene. Did the actors film it literally, or was it filmed previously and shown on a screen - as with the bike sequences in "Fraternal Schwinns"? Or was it something in between, a "mock-up" done on set to get the point across before actual filming?)

The subplot arrives reasonably late in the piece, again feeling like a poorly structured development, but it's nice to see Julia being part of the cast in more ways than just a lightning rod for Frasier. Felicity Huffman remains a great addition to the cast, even if it's odd to introduce such a non-quirky character at the usually-quirky KACL. And the idea that the women just want to have a cold rivalry despite Frasier's interventions is quite a neat spin on an old concept. This writer may not really suit "Frasier", but he knows how to write sitcom dialogue, and Roz and Julia's verbal interplay is the highlight of the episode. Gilpin and Huffman find just the right balance between hatred and relishing their chemistry.

Sadly, though, "Trophy Girlfriend" is the weakest episode of season 10 to date. It simply feels like one interesting idea stretched beyond breaking point, without adequately tackling the psychological notion at heart but also without providing enough rampant comedy to overcome this. A well-cast misfire.


Rating: 67%

 

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