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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 5 -> Episode 5.20

First Date
Episode Details

Written by: Rob Hanning

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 28th April 1998

Original UK airdate: 22nd May 1998

Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Elizabeth .... Bette Rae
Guest Cast
Phyllis .... Caroline Aaron
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Niles finally decides to ask Daphne out on a date. However, when the moment arrives he chokes and gets cornered into pretending that he is having a date with Phyllis, his downstairs neighbour. Daphne takes it upon herself to make sure that Niles' date comes off perfectly and arrives at his door to help him get ready. While Daphne is cooking dinner and lighting candles, Niles is still not sure how to tell Daphne that there is no Phyllis. Meanwhile undeniable chemistry develops between Niles and Daphne, especially when they break into song while slicing vegetables. Things get complicated when the real Phyllis shows up in order to return Niles' misdelivered mail. Meanwhile Frasier is hooked to a mini-series and is desperately trying to find the opportunity to watch a tape of the climactic final episode before anybody tells him what happened. However, Martin makes Frasier drive him to the funeral of Frasier's God-uncle.

Episode Title Cards
  • The Potatoes Are The Politicians

Episode Highlights

- Roz is surprised that Frasier actually likes the mini-series:
Frasier: I think some of the intricacies of the plot are downright Dickensian
Roz: Yeah - Angie Dickensian!

- Niles is over at Frasier's eager to tell Daphne his feelings for her:
Niles: What's that perfume you're wearing?
Daphne: Leave it to you to notice - it's "Obsession"
Niles: No, it isn't - I'm just curious.

- Daphne wonders why Niles has celery in the house if he hates it:
Niles: Maris liked to have it in case she felt like binging.

- Frasier drops by Niles' apartment and is surprised to see Daphne cooking there:
Frasier [to Niles]: Daphne is cooking dinner for your date with a fictitious woman?! Why not set a place for the March Hare and The Mad Hatter ?!

- Niles assures Frasier his date with 'Phyllis' won't blow up in his face, as he answers the door:
Niles: Phyllis!
Frasier: Ka-boom(!!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

A highly enjoyable episode that sees Niles yet again come within a whisker of telling Daphne his feelings for her, only to choke at the last second and tell her he is in love with Phyllis (one of his neighbours), which leads to some great scenes as Daphne comes over to help Niles prepare dinner for his 'date' - the pair of them singing 'Heart and Soul' in harmony as they chopped vegetables, for example, as well Frasier's reaction when he pops by and sees Daphne helping Niles cook for his date with 'Phyllis'. The scene is topped off brilliantly if a touch predicatably) by the real Phyllis showing up at Niles' apartment. I thoroughly enjoyed Frasier trying to watch his mini-series too, despite all the obstacles put in front of him, and the episode is rounded off nicely with a rather touching scene where Daphne and Niles end up having dinner together after Phyllis leaves. Although this is isn't the best Niles and Daphne episode ever (and I do wonder how many more times the writers can make Niles almost admit his feelings), it still remains a confident, winning episode from Rob Hanning that gives David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves yet another chance to shine.


81 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 90.1%
Total Number of Reviews: 9

Cuuuuute!, May 09, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

While I must spare a thought for Peri Gilpin, who is woefully underused throughout season 5, "First Date" is a pivotal step in the evolution of Niles, who begins the next stage of his development here. It's also a beautiful little tale of the unusual bond between Niles and Daphne - two incredibly different people whom the series magically made work. The farce around Phyllis never lets up, and the series gets a lot of mileage out of the almost-confession of Niles' feelings, which on a lesser series could have simply felt like delaying the inevitable.

Of course, having come to this show in the DVD era, I don't face the agonising wait that fans in the '90s did, so I can talk about the episode in somewhat distanced terms. Still, this is lovely stuff, realistically analysing why Niles can't just come out and tell Daphne how he feels.

Frasier's subplot with the miniseries is also quite serviceable, although the script can't really decide whether the joke is about Frasier liking something so mainstream or about how it gradually overtakes his life.

All in all, a fitting addition to the joys of this season.

Rating: 90%


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