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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 7 -> Episode 7.11

The Fight Before Christmas
Episode Details

Written by: Jon Sherman

Directed by: Pamela Fryman

Original US airdate: 16th December 1999

Original UK airdate: 17th March 2000

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
Donny Douglas .... Saul Rubinek
Kenny Daly .... Tom McGowan
Gil Chesterton .... Edward Hibbert
Dr Mel Karnofsky .... Jane Adams
Guest Cast Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier is planning a very traditional Christmas party with carol singing and a game of 'Minister's Cat', and has invited the whole building including Cam Winston who he has a long running feud with over how close he parks his car to Frasier's. Meanwhile, Daphne is still on tenterhooks after discovering Niles' long running affection for her by a Frasier high on painkillers - and doesn't remember what he said to Daphne. When Roz drops by to return Frasier's punchbowl, she takes the opportunity to discuss her problem - only to discover Roz already knew about it! Roz tells Daphne not to worry - Niles is with Mel now, and Daphne's engaged to Donny. Niles drops in with some bad news - their long-time garner Yoshi died of a heart attack, and so has to go and condole Maris. Frasier says not to tell Mel he is going to console his ex-wife, but at the KACL Christmas party, Mel bumps into Frasier (she was a guest on one of the health shows) and asks if he and his brother enjoyed dinner last night. Saying they didn't have dinner last night causes Mel to get her coat but Niles covers it up by saying he was getting her Christmas present, but Frasier lands Niles in it again when he reveals it was Maris he was with causing Roz to overhear Mel say to Niles "It's obvious you're still in love with her!".

Back at Frasier's, the party seems to be a disaster as no-one has turned up because Cam Winston has invited the whole building to HIS party. Niles arrives to say that he and Mel have broken up - causing Daphne to worry that he might now make a play for her. Telling her worries to Roz, she informs her what she overheard at the party causing Daphne to feel even more awkward around Niles. As Niles seems a bit down, Martin turns on 'Dancing Santa' which manages to break Daphne's present, so he suggests switching the gift tags with Mel's and giving her Mel's present as he won't be needing it. Niles does so, and shares them out just as Mel phones. Niles manages to explain everything but then realises he needs Daphne's present back. Niles also admits to Frasier Maris may have mistaken his sign of sympathy as something more, causing Daphne to overhear Niles say "I've got to tell her how I feel". So when Niles asks Daphne to join him on the balcony, she resolves to go first and tell him she doesn't feel the same - but is much relieved when he asks for his present back. Finally some guests show up - apparently one of Martin's buddies in the fire department did him a favour and told Cam he had too many people in his apartment. The episode ends with everyone singing 'Deck The Halls' as Daphne steals a wistful glance at Niles.

Episode Title Cards
  • Anyone For A Hot Buttered Margarita
  • Come A-Wassalin' To Frasier Crane's Holiday Fest. Elliot Bay Towers #1901.
  • Regrets Only

Episode Highlights

- Frasier consults Niles on what should go on at his party:
Niles: Start with a game, then the carolling, then the guests may be ready for another game.
Martin: Yeah - Russian Roulette!

- Martin gets Dancing Santa working again:
Martin: Every year I take him out of the box there's something wrong with him, but I always manage to fix him.
Niles: Good for you Dad. [To Frasier] I told you to dunk him underwater.
Frasier: I did!

- Gil has baked some gingerbread men to inspire him to do some exercise:
Gil: This is my last little man, I promise - oh, who am I kidding.
Frasier: No one Gil (!)

- After Frasier has dropped Niles in it twice with Mel:
Niles: Anything else in the box, Pandora (!)

- Frasier is on the balcony trying to tempt guests in the apartment above at Cam Winston's party:
Frasier: I'll show them what they're missing - Savoury lamb tenders! Pesto-filled mushroom caps!

Frasier Online Episode Review

After the heady delights of the previous episode 'Back Talk' comes this lovely episode which delicately resolves (at least partially) the Niles/Daphne situation. The best moments in the episode, however, resolve around Frasier's party: first, he alienates everyone at work by not inviting anyone except Roz, and then the party itself is a disaster as no-one comes. There is a delightful moment when Frasier is wondering where his guests are, so he goes to the lift and listens to it. He is so excited when a lift full of guests opens - but only Roz gets out! Niles and Daphne, however, do have a great scene together on the balcony where Daphne waits with anticipation for Niles to tell her his real feelings for her. Although Daphne says that she doesn't feel the same about Niles, there is however that wistful look she gives him at the end of the episode - perhaps there is life for this story after all.

The writers have left the sitation in a wonderful position because with Frasier not knowing he revealed Niles' secret, Martin thinking what Daphne overheard in the previous episode was a misunderstanding that Frasier has cleared up while poor Niles has no idea that Daphne knows. This leaves only Daphne and Roz knowing the complete picture which hopefully will lead to a few more wonderful episodes yet. This episode is ultimately a superior one that gives all the cast some great scenes and lines which, together with 'Back Talk', make it the second half of a memorable 2-parter.


83 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 93.5%
Total Number of Reviews: 4

Crane Party 1901, May 16, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

After the revelations of "Back Talk", only a damn good episode could develop the storyline satisfactorily. And that's just what we get in "The Fight Before Christmas".

As with "Back Talk", the Daphne/Niles plot starts out as a Frasier plot, with his hilariously archaic Christmas plans. (Perhaps the reason why I love this show is because I'd be mocking this like Martin but deep down, I'd be the first one to sign up to play The Minister's Cat.) There's some good Crane family fun here with the explanation that Frasier and Niles have been destroying Martin's Dancing Santa - probably something they've talked about since they were children.

This episode also nicely draws the relationship between the brothers, as when - during the sequence of lying to Mel - Frasier and Niles need only share half-sentences to convey their messages.

Beyond this, there's a lot to like in the way the characters interact. Is this the first mention of Cam Winston? His feud with Frasier, thus far only seen from one side, is another perfectly natural development, and Martin's clear-sighted view of it ("Crane Party 1901" makes all the difference. I particularly enjoy Frasier trying to make the most of his tiny party, and the gang pretending to "mingle" with one another.

But of course, the focus is on Daphne's newfound knowledge that Niles has nursed feelings for her for seven years. She's immediately awkward around him, and Roz accidentally furthers this farce. After the developments of "Decoys" and "Visions of Daphne", and then the introduction of Mel, Niles had reached a new point in his life. He could finally appreciate the idea of a future. What with Daphne being taken, he had found the strength to move on. For this episode to take place largely with Niles focused on other projects - it's a dramatically ironic touch that deepens Daphne's dilemma. If the writers had wanted to, they could probably have ended the story here, with both Niles and Daphne able to move on. Except then there's that final scene. It's a marvellous turnaround, for Daphne to be the one nursing feelings: feelings that are of a different nature than Niles'. This is a woman who has been vocally uncertain about her long-term romantic prospects for the entire time we've known her. She finally gave her heart to someone who is not perfect but who truly loves her. And now she's wondering if she's made the right choice, or just the right choice at the time. It's something we've all experienced as a relationship moves from early love to seriously committed. Which means it makes perfect sense that Daphne doesn't act on it. There's a lot to process.

(On a sidenote, I'd forgotten Mel's barely-concealed rage in this episode. Her party face after she finds out Niles lied to her is actually interesting foreshadowing of Mel's appearances in season 8. I'd always wondered if they destroyed the character in her final appearance, but in fact very little of her behaviour then seems out of character with what we know now.)

But I don't want to oversell the drama of this episode. "The Fight Before Christmas" is a very enjoyable episode that treats the characters warmly but continues to open up new avenues. After seven years of cranking out an episode every 8 days, that's really something.

Rating: 95%


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