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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 8 -> Episode 8.21

A Day In May
Episode Details

Written by: Lori Kirkland & Eric Zicklin

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 22nd May 2001

Original UK airdate: 8th June 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
Lana Gardner .... Jean Smart
Guest Cast
Jim .... Tom Verica
Philip .... Patrick Breen
Joanne .... Mary-Joan Negro
Mrs Smolenski .... Gloria LeRoy
Mr Smolenski .... William Biff McGuire
David Hicks .... Mark Durbin
Board Member .... Cyndi Martino
Board Member .... Steve Stapenhorst
Board Member .... Mark Withers
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier goes to help out Lana but gets sucked into helping her sell a house she has been trying to offload for over a year. Frasier soon discovers why - the owner is still depressed about his wife leaving him for another man and manages to scare off every potential buyer. Lana's plan is for Frasier to seem interested in buying the house to to try an get a quick sale, but Frasier wants no part in it. Her plan is soon scuppered when she manages to break a wooden house made by one of the owner's children. Distraught at the effect this may have on the owner, Frasier rushes off to buy some lollies so that they can make another one.

Daphne takes Eddie for a walk down to the dog park, with Niles in tow. He seems a little jealous at Daphne's friendship with a hunky fellow dog owner, Jim, and so wants Daphne to agree to one 'irrational demand' each in the whole of their relationship. Daphne agrees, with Niles coming up with his instantly: he doesn't want Daphne coming to the dog park anymore. His demand seems a bit pointless though - Jim is leaving for Chile and not coming back..... Meanwhile, Martin attends his shooter's parole hearing.

Episode Title Cards
  • A Day In May

  • Mr. Happy Pants

  • Mommie Dearest

Episode Highlights

- Frasier seems reluctant to loan his car out to Roz:
Frasier: I've had some unfortunate experiences loaning out my car.
Daphne: I left an umbrella in the trunk!
Frasier: It was a wet umbrella!

- Frasier has to wait a month to have his car serviced because he is not a priviledged enough customer:
Niles: You're not in the diamond alliance (!)

- Philip is despairing about the state his life is in:
Philip: Just ripped my heart out and threw it to the dogs - which she also took!

- Lana tries to get Philip out of the house:
Lana: Don't you think it's time you got to work?
Philip: I guess - that air traffic won't control itself.

- The Smolenski's see Frasier sucking a lolly making a lolly house:
Mrs Smolenski: [in a childish voice] Are you having fun making your little house?

Frasier Online Episode Review

A bittersweet episode was how NBC described this episode, and indeed it is. However, the 'sweet' parts aren't that funny while the darker moments lack any sort of point (more about which later). Of the three tales, Frasier and Lana's meeting with the depressed man as Lana tried to sell his house together with their attempts to make a 'lolly' house was on balance just funnier than Niles and Daphne's dog park encounter with a hunky male dog owner, although I liked the way Niles wasted his 'irrational demand' only for Daphne to say she's got years to think up hers. Martin's visit to his shootist's parole hearing is another kettle of fish altogether - being completely free of laughs, it tries to make some sort of point about Martin's feelings towards his shooter but fails miserably as it doesn't actually make one. It ends up being a 'so what?' kind of segment. Overall, this is a lacklustre show that feels rather disappointing as the penultimate episode of the season.


58 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 68.5%
Total Number of Reviews: 21

I had him over for Thanksgiving!, May 19, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

Ultimately a failure of an episode, but one whose ambition deserves special mention. I believe there are many good moments in season 8, but this episode would make my bottom ten - at least of the first eight seasons. Look, there's a deliberate thread weaved through these separate plotlines of telling the truth, of facing our fears, and of how we move forward. Perhaps there's a "Cheers"-esque vibe being striven for here. This is just a peak into the characters' lives, deliberately avoiding any comedic structure, any dramatic "lessons", or any big speeches. I entirely respect that. And - as I've mentioned before - the fast turnaround of television episodes means that occasionally mistakes can't be rectified. At some point, a bad writing, directing, casting, narrative choice may end up making it on to the screen. We take those risks and run with them. Yet, I still can't fully justify this.

The opening interchanges with Roz borrowing Frasier's car and Niles retconning Daphne's history with Donny are actually quite amusing. After this, we splinter off into four stories:

a) Roz's subplot is really just an excuse to give Peri Gilpin something to do, and it barely warrants a mention. Alice throws up in Frasier's car and Roz is covering things up. It ties into the episode's themes, I guess, but that's all.

b) The Niles/Daphne storyline is perhaps the most acceptable. He's a man with some serious self-esteem issues, at least when it comes to other men who are more traditionally handsome/strong/masculine. The idea of him being terrified by the prospect of someone like Jim with a dog named Tank makes perfect sense. And I do like to see the other side of Daphne's life. It builds up to the nice little O.Henry twist that Niles made up the concept of a once-in-a-lifetime irrational wish and then wasted it, but that's all. I imagine the actors enjoyed going to the park for a day or two. And Eddie got to run around, so there's that. (See, I'm really stretching here.)

c) The Lana/Frasier business is overall quite amusing since the characters are well-written, and the jokes revolving around her sad-sack client ("That air traffic isn't gonna control itself") are cheekily clever. But after this, things just get a bit silly. Why exactly does a man like Frasier Crane end up in such an undignified position and not correct the situation? Are old people mistaking men in their late 40s for babies a commonly funny joke? I've been surprised that Jean Smart was contracted for so many episodes in a row, but it holds to my theory that the series is opening up the world a little bit. While it's strange to see Frasier lounging around, being so much less pretentious than usual, it's nice to see him with a different kind of friend to the few people he usually spends time with. I guess it's an interesting notion of the character, and this seems like prologue to the psychological revelations we'll be getting in "Don Juan in Hell". Yet, again, even for a vignette-style episode this feels incredibly, unbelievably slight. It's not really humour that comes from the characters, and it's not particularly situational humour. It's just... comfort food, I suppose. Our beloved characters hanging out. (Perhaps the scriptwriter had been watching "Seinfeld" and then just subtracted that show's misanthropy.)

d) Finally, there's Martin Crane. If anything deserves seven minutes of our time (out of 11 years!) it's Martin's shooting. We've seen some emotional fallout, and we'll see a bit more early in season 9, but here - well, this isn't the way to approach it. The two early scenes set up a mystery of where Martin would be, and imply that he's hiding it from the family. And then the hearing plays out with very little exploration beyond the admittedly heartbreaking look on the mother's face. I respect this series, and always will, for looking at the honest side of a situation that doesn't warrant jokes. And I grasp that they were trying to let us make the connection between these things. Yet, I can't help feeling that Martin's situation deserved an episode to be explored. And the very odd decision to let this be the last thing we see before the credits is just haunting without good reason.

Each time I watch "A Day in May" as part of a rewatch, I try and approach it with fresh eyes. I really like the initial concept of just following our characters for a day. Ultimately though, I think some of these storylines deserved to be more thoroughly explored while others didn't even merit the seven minutes they were allocated. A failure, but one worth discussing.

Rating: 55%


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