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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 10 -> Episode 10.20

Farewell Nervosa
Episode Details

Written by: Eric Zicklin

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 22nd April 2003

Original UK airdate: 12th May 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
Julia Wilcox .... Felicity Huffman
   
   
Guest Cast
Ben .... Elvis Costello
Avery McManus .... John Hannah
Evelyn .... Alex Borstein
Maureen Nervosa .... Amy Hill
Coffee Guy .... Matt Besser
Barista .... James Oliver
Steve .... Kevin Daniels
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier's accountant Avery McManus - an old friend of his - has warned him that his spending habits are out of control and heads down to Cafe Nervosa with Niles to think over his problem. He is outraged when a loud and annnoying folk singer, Ben, starts playing while he and Niles are in the middle of a conversation and pulls out the power lead on his electric guitar - to the sound of booing from the cafe's other customers. The owner of the cafe, Maureen Nervosa, asks Frasier just what he thinks he is doing, and tells him that she has hired Ben to play every afternoon in the cafe. This leaves Frasier no alternative than to bid Cafe Nervosa farewell, and takes Niles with him on a hunt for an alternative coffee establishment in Seattle - something the city is not exactly short of. At one prospective coffee house that seems to fit the bill, they run into Julia - which puts them right off it, especially when she describes Niles as "emergency Frasier". He and Niles up and leave but when Frasier pops back for something, he can't believe his eyes when he sees Julia and Avery locked in a passionate embrace!

This leaves Frasier with an agonising decision over whether to tell Julia that Avery is married, a decision that is not helped by his inability to find a new coffeehouse and passes by Cafe Nervosa - only to find Niles there accompanying Ben on one of his songs and dancing round the cafe!! He is about to leave when Ben mentions his next song is about doing the right thing, which leads Frasier to confront Avery over his affair with Julia - and is appalled to discover that Julia is not only hiding in the closet, but already knew that he was married, prompting Frasier to say that they are no longer friends. Frasier returns to Cafe Nervosa and bumps into Ben who has been helped into a job at a bank (a bank where Julia is on the board) and is thankful that, at last, he has his cafe back.

Episode Title Cards
  • Three Days And Five Coffee Shops Later ....

Episode Highlights

- Frasier's accountant, Avery, tells Frasier his spending is out of control:
Avery: I had to take on an associate just to go through your sherry receipts!

- Despite Avery's warnings, Martin can't believe Frasier is going to Cafe Nervosa for a coffee:
Martin: You just had a brand new espresso machine delivered from Italy!
Frasier: Yes, but I'm waiting for the cups!

- Niles is none too impressed with one of the coffee houses they are trialling for a replacement for Cafe Nervosa
Niles: They've found a way to bring the charm of an airport to a midtown location (!)

- Julia bumps into Frasier and Niles at a coffee house:
Julia [to Niles]: Wow - who's this? Your stunt double?!

- Frasier asks for a large coffee at one of the coffee houses he is trying:
Coffee Guy: I'm afraid we don't have large, sir - we have piccolo, macho, mucho and mucho macho!

- At another coffee house, Frasier orders a coffee:
Evelyn: You're number four - I'll bring it to your bean bag.

- Niles' accompaniment to Ben's rendition of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport"

Frasier Online Episode Review

This episode features not 1 but 2 British cameos from singer Elvis Costello and 'Four Weddings And A Funeral' star John Hannah and the plot sounds interesting with Frasier and Niles being forced to find a new coffee house thanks to Ben's singing, but the writing just wasn't there leaving us with a disappointing episode. Frasier once described Cafe Nervosa as his 'chez away from chez', and it has certainly become an intrinisc part of the show over the last 10 years so it was fascinating to witness Frasier and Niles trying out different coffee house - I particularly liked the one which didn't have chairs to sit on, only bean bags. The owner of Cafe Nervosa - Maureen Nervosa - also makes a surprise appearance, while Martin and Daphne's sub-plot raised a few laughs, but on the whole I found this a rather unsatisfying and disjointed episode - more a collection of funny moments than a well put together episode.

Rating

70 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 73.2%
Total Number of Reviews: 6


Who's this, your stunt double?, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


What an odd, stilted little episode this is. "Farewell Nervosa" feels like the beginning of a story arc, similar to how some previous seasons like the seventh and eighth tied up their stories with long-form endings. Instead, most of the events of this episode are simply squeezed in to the running time. Either the writers couldn't decide which subplots to use, or they were going for a vignette feel but didn't bother to warn the director. It's not all bad, but the standout moments are scattered - much like the episode itself.

Alex Borstein guest stars as an examiner watching Daphne on the job, as our favourite Brit has decided to look for new clients. This is a remnant from a scrapped subplot for this season's earlier "Door Jam". While it makes sense for Daphne to pursue other clients now that she has more time, it's not really something that the series is going to be looking at in the future. And indeed the plot is really limited to one scene in which Daphne gets a failing grade and Martin realises how pampered he has been. A neat spin on an element as old as the series is, but outrageously inconsequential!

Niles and Frasier, meanwhile, go up against Maureen Nervosa, the surprising owner of Cafe Nervosa. It's odd how little (in fact, no) time has been spent on the irony of the cafe's name. One assumes that this was the reason Frasier and Niles started coming here. Frasier making a stand at Ben's first performance is probably the most well-written scene in the episode, making great use of Frasier's classic self-assuredness. Amy Hill - often cast as a bureaucrat - makes a great no-nonsense presence here, although she too is a surprisingly small part of the episode. (Is it odd that a small cafe would hire such a noisy musician? Sure, but I've seen weirder corporate decisions in my time!) This subplot has some amusing moments, such as Ben describing a suit as a "three-piece cage", Niles getting dissed as "Emergency Frasier" (Felicity Huffman can land a line like nobody's business), dry-witted Steve, and the apt cafe culture satire of the "piccolo, macho, mucho, and macho-mucho". The very notion of the boys having to find a new cafe is - like SO MUCH this season - odd, once you realise it's taken them 10 years to do this plot. Surely every sitcom with a regular hang-out has done this episode. Sadly again, we're limited to just two alternatives, one being ridiculous and the other being largely at the mercy of the episode's third plot. Imagine a whole episode devoted to this task - something like "My Coffee with Niles" crossed with the "Seinfeld" episode "The Chinese Restaurant" - it would be phenomenal!

(There's an interesting example here of the issues with sitcom filming. The audience doesn't really laugh at the "$9,000 caviar bill" joke, perhaps because it sounds like Avery exaggerating rather than a legitimate expense. Of course, they could not yet have seen "Roe to Perdition", which explains it all.)

Anyhow, the third plot brings along John Hannah as Frasier's accountant Avery McManus. It's Julia's fifth episode, and it seems fair that she get involved in some heavy drama. All three actors sell the hell out of the confrontation scene, but again, like Borstein and Hill, Hannah seems a bit wasted here. We almost expect him to have a major role in another episode or two to justify the plot. As a friend of Frasier's, you would think he would have more to say on adultery. Although perhaps "The Show Where Sam Comes Back" might have taught him the error of his ways? The sombre ending, with Julia getting rid of Ben, makes us aware that this is just the start of something. Again, I can see that the series is doing something new by stringing the Julia plot out over the course of the year. It allows us to really believe she is a presence in these people's lives, and it also admits enough time between experiences for them to have lasting resonance. (Her relationship with Avery assumedly lasts for the course of the next few episodes.) Yet still, by not spending enough time on either the comic or dramatic fallout from this, we're denied a lot of the structure that makes this show great. "Farewell to Nervosa" is carried along by the cast, but it's a bit sloppy. If it didn't feature the bravura sight of David Hyde Pierce feverishly shaking a maraca to the tune of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", I'd be much more unimpressed!


Rating: 69%

 

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