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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 8 -> Episode 8.18

Daphne Returns
Episode Details

Written by: Dan O'Shannon & Bob Daily

Directed by: Pamela Fryman

Original US airdate: 1st May 2001

Original UK airdate: 11th May 2001

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
Guest Cast
Patient .... Bryan McMillen
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Daphne finishes at her weight loss spa, and an ecstatic Niles is going to pick her up, excited also about going way this weekend with Daphne as they are going to consummate their relationship. On the way back to her "Welcome Home" party at Frasier's apartment, Niles offers his professional opinion of why she couldn't stop eating - it was a subsistute for sex. Daphne, however, as part of her treatment has seen a professional therapist - Gloria - who has a differing opinion. She believes that Daphne ate to create distance between herself and Niles because she was afraid of not being able to live up to the perfect woman Niles had been pining for over the last seven years. Niles is dismissive of her 'opinions' but doesn't want to ruin their reunion. Back at Frasier's, everyone is glad to see Daphne but tension grows between Niles and Daphne when Niles starts to make fun of Gloria and her theories about Daphne's overeating, causing Daphne to throw Niles out.

Frasier goes to visit Niles at his office the following day to see how he is and suggests that Gloria may have a point - Daphne does have to live up to seven years of fantasy. Niles refutes this, so he and Frasier take a trip over some of the most pertinent points in their relationship - when they met, the night Niles and Daphne did the tango - which only goes to show that Niles does treat Daphne as being perfect. Niles then goes to see Daphne and decides to start being honest with her - starting with his dislike of her cooking......

Episode Title Cards
  • Of Course, Eddie Gets Ten Percent Of The Royalties

Episode Highlights

- Frasier is recalling the stories he and his brother wrote as a child:
Frasier: Niles and I wrote a series of stories together in which we were the heroes, along the lines of The Hardy Boys, a Nancy Drew.
Roz: The Nancy Boys (?)

- Daphne is recalling how big she was at her "Welcome Home" party:
Daphne: I did get pretty big, didn't I?
Martin: Big? You were ginormous!

- Niles is rather dismissive about the opinions of Daphne's spa therapist, Gloria:
Daphne: I was lucky to have someone like Gloria at the spa.
Niles: Yes - you usually have to go to a hair salon for that kind of insight (!)

- Niles tells Daphne she isn't a good cook:
Martin: God bless you son!!

- Niles questions Daphne's psychic ability:
Daphne: Are you saying I'm not psychic?
Niles: Not if you thought I loved your cooking!

- Daphne can't stand Niles snobbishness:
Niles: You think I'm pretentious?
Daphne: You'd eat a worm if I gave it a French name!

Frasier Online Episode Review

First off, it was nice to have Daphne back as we know and love her, unaccompanied by any fat or eating jokes. Right, back to the episode - well, I felt the argument the writers engineered between her and Niles felt a bit forced but it gave them an opportunity to explore some inportant issues predominantly whether Niles sees Daphne for who she is or the fantasy figure he has pined for over the last 7 years. This included an excellent flashback sequence, but in typical 'Frasier' fashion made it that bit different by having Niles and Frasier appear in the scenes, watching the action giving it a fresh spin. The emphasis on analysing all of this managed to dampen a lot of the comedy, but this is still one of the better episodes in a rather uneven Season 8.


76 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 81.9%
Total Number of Reviews: 7

You'd eat a worm if I gave it a French name, May 19, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Daphne Returns" is, in its own way, the highlight of season 8. (A particular achievement given the five thoroughly placid episodes that follow it.)

Bringing Jane Leeves back after her maternity leave of course meant dealing with the means of her exit: rapid weight gain. If Leeves' pregnancy offset the original analysis of Daphne and Niles as a couple, it's now upon us in full force. I really like the weight loss is played, with Martin unable to avoid commenting while it turns out that Niles never noticed it. His petty hatred of Gloria is an ugly side to the character, but it's one that makes sense. In fact, there's a clear sense in my mind that Niles would be quite insufferable in real life; it's about time the series acknowledged it. The concept of going back to major flashbacks is actually really enjoyable. It's a "conceptual" episode, more so than almost any other episode (only "Dinner Party" and "Sliding Frasiers" spring to mind) but the episode doesn't waste much of its running time on the flashbacks. More to the point, this is another side of the more mature (if, admittedly, more placid) "Frasier". So many shows feature will-they-or-won't-they couples, so few deal with the aftermath of "happily ever after". After building Daphne up in his mind for seven years, can Niles possibly be satisfied? Isn't this daunting for Daphne? How nice that the series is willing to examine this. I don't know if I buy that Daphne and Niles haven't slept together - the relationship was played quite sexually in a few of the early episodes of the season - but I'll overlook that quibble for the panicked way David Hyde Pierce looks around when he thinks "everybody" is talking about he and Daphne. And for the fact that Frasier dismisses the "Heart and Soul" memory as being idealised. Ha!

Look, it would be easy to argue that this is too grim. Why should a sitcom couple experience these kinds of issues, and why should we be watching a soap opera rather than a classic farce? Yet this show has always been about the dignity of its characters, and I very much appreciate this stepping stone in the Niles/Daphne relationship. The series has been able to mine some humour out of them together, although it is a far gentler sort than we're used to. (The refrigerator pig is one of the few non-passive jokes).

It's all leading up to the intelligent and mildly shocking fight between Niles and Daphne. Niles admits the truth about her cooking. She lambasts him for being a snob (not that this should be surprising, although she's always been more open about this with Frasier). And then he brings out the big burn: Niles doesn't believe Daphne is psychic. This particularly is why I appreciate "Daphne Returns". This series has always looked at the ethics of its characters, and someone like Niles would laugh off a woman claiming to be psychic. For the two to be together, they need to be tested like this. It ends in the adorable reconciliation of the two characters.

It's not all riches. Martin's outraged comments about what Eddie would do (not become the world's first dog traffic reporter) is a bit too absurdist for this show, especially an episode devoted to realism! And while Roz's subplot about writing "Heidi" is a good indicator of her increased desire for career and life development, it's dead in the water. If the rest of the season is any indication, the writing staff had grown tired of the main characters, hence they ship in a bunch of new recurring ones for the rest of the season.

Overall then, the comedy is muted but the drama is valid. As a supplement to "Frasier's Edge" and an answer to the plaguing problem of Niles and Daphne, this is a smart episode. All Niles ever saw was "a perfect woman in a red dress". Still, this season has been a definite shift in tone. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it as I keep rewatching, but the series would do well to remember where it came from even if, as I concede, age and evolution require it to look to the future.

Rating: 82%


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