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Episode reviews for Episode 6.08 - The Seal Who Came To Dinner

Avg. Viewer Review: 82.5%
Number of Reviews: 21

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Should certainly send the Sealmobile scurrying, May 12, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


A lightweight farce, but set in the classic "Frasier" mould.

After a slight but amusing first act, in which Martin exposes his thing for Asian women, and Daphne gets in a good matador zinger (despite the fact that she bought the item of clothing she's mocking), we find ourselves at Maris' beach-house for another in the long line of failed Crane dinner parties.

Unlike many "Frasier" farces, this episode delights most in the set-up. Frasier and Niles attempting to keep it together as they offload an unusually buoyant dead seal is certainly a unique moment, replete with grumpy chef and a peach peignoir. There's some darkly funny stuff along the way, such as a meteor shower, a clap-activated lamp, and a shellfish joke that David Hyde Pierce clearly delights in. (The episode's highlight may be Hyde Pierce's face as he attempts to summon up excitement about smelling truffles, but gets a whiff of seal he needs to immediately disguise.)

I firmly believe that, in the last couple of years of the '90s, audience sitcom literacy took a huge step up. Watching a show like "The Nanny", and the last couple of seasons find the audience often one line ahead of a joke, forcing the actors to do more with the way they deliver the line. It's why shows like "Friends" devolved into comfort food, while unpredictable pieces like "Seinfeld" were able to remain so entrenched in the public imagination. My point is that by now, audiences know what they can expect to the point where the episode ends with our characters getting publicly arrested for murder, with no attempt to assure us that there won't be consequences!

I don't think this is one of the series' greater farces. The characters at the party ultimately don't take on enough life of their own, and - like the good-but-not great "The Show Must Go Off" - the script has no surprises left for the pay-off. We're worried the guests will find out about the seal. That's what they find out. The script has plenty to praise, sure, but few last-minute twists that made the greatest of "Frasier" farces sparkle.


Rating: 76%

 

The Seal that Came to Frasier, Oct 20, 2012

Reviewer: Madison from New York


One of the first episodes of Frasier that I ever watched, this is probably one of the better plots of Season 6. Niles is attempting to win his wine club's prestigious award, The Golden Apron, and to prove themselves, all members must throw a dinner party. However, Niles is staying in the Shangri-la, and must find other accomodation for his soiree. When Frasier's proves impossible, Niles uses Maris' beach house-reasoning that she will never know as she is out of the country.
However, when he and Frasier arrive to prepare, they discover a rather pungent dead seal has washed up on the beach, and when Animal Control refuse to help, they must dispose of the creature themselves-an act made more difficult when a series of misunderstandings lead Niles' dinner guests to believe he has murdered Maris...
Perhaps one of my top 20 episodes, this one has several brilliant highlights, perhaps one of the best moments being when Frasier stands alone on the deck and ruminates on the tragedy and nobility of the seal's corpse-only to have Niles run out and ruin the moment by offering to wrap it in a peignoir.
Other highlights include the chef (giving us such gems as "Is there a baby here?" and "I reheat for no one!") Niles' disbelief that his use of the guest house could be seen as breaking and entering ("It can't be a crime if its' catered!") and the entire ending scene in which Niles' behaviour grows increasingly incriminating, as the police and guests become more and more convinced he has murdered his ex-wife. Niles' expression as he attemtps to hide the bloody knife is priceless. Frasier's exit line is brilliant too-as Niles protests that his ex-wife is simply "in Antwerp, having her elbows done!", Frasier gives him the final line "Oh, give it up, Niles, even I didn't believe that one!" as the brothers are dragged out in handcuffs. My only gripe with the episode would be that I wanted it to last longer-I would have loved to have seen what happened next, though then again, maybe some things are funnier if left to the imagination!
All in all, a great Frasier episode and one of the first plots to fuel my love for the show.


Rating: 87%

 

A great episode, Aug 25, 2010

Reviewer: CMOS from Seattle, WA USA


Love this episode. Niles cleaning the knife with the crazed (and incriminating) look on his face while the police and his dinner guests look on in horror is one of the best moments in the series.


Rating: 95%

 

The Seal Who Came to Dinner, Jun 17, 2010

Reviewer: Norm, Jr. from Somewhere, CA


Pretty much in agreement with everyone that something just seems askew in this entry. Like there's a vague inconsistency throughout, but one you can't pinpoint. I have a theory, but first, the story: Niles makes use of vacationing Maris' luxurious beachhouse. They mine no fewer than three(!!) Fraze staples for this one, beginning with the nine-zillionth dinner party ever featured on the show. Then you throw in the ten-zillionth scowling Frenchman they've ever had, along with yet another band of society snobs which prompt you to yell, "Why the hell would Niles or Frasier want to associate with such people?" and you have this retread. The primary predicament is the titular sea-sloshing mammal which turns up deceased on the back porch of said beachhouse. This, of course, presents an endless set of problems of disposing of it before --- and after --- Niles guests arrive. Which leads back to my theory: whenever farce is done in a confined space, the antics seem more restricted. In thinking of "The Innkeepers" or "The Ski Lodge" there were several rooms, multiple entrances and expansive sets. This ep is confined to a darkened deck and crampt living room. The possibility of calamity becomes so limited, the show suffers. It's not altogether worthless in this case (the clapper bit was inspired), but lacking in substance.


Rating: 77%

 

Sheer class, Dec 15, 2009

Reviewer: Julz from Midlothian,scotland,uk


Totally hilarious.build up was ace.dhp
magnificent as ever.wonderfully funny.


Rating: 90%

 

brilliantly funny, Jul 04, 2009

Reviewer: Kathy from Cornwall, England


You'd have to be completely lacking in a sense of humour not to absolutelly love this episode. I've watched it many times and I still laugh out loud. Highlight...Niles to Frasier 'Don't forget your lamp', then to the chef .......'it's getting dark in that water'. hahahahahahahahahahahahh
my god i love everything the frasier team do. outstanding comedy.


Rating: 100%

 

Doesn't quite get the seal of approval from me, Dec 03, 2008

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, England


The Seal Who Came To Dinner is the first attempt at frantic farce this season. And not surprisingly, its author is the great Joe Keenan. I've always believed Joe Keenan was the greatest asset to Frasier. His input helped shape it into the magnificent sitcom it's remembered as today. He probably has more classics to his name than any other writer on the staff. He can generally be relied upon to dream up some hysterical, farcical masterpiece.

So its all the more surprising then that this episode is not one of them. Its not a bad episode. I don't think its in Joe Keenan to write something completely bad. But this one never quite gets off the ground. It has plenty of amusements, but usually I feel exhausted after watching one of his. Because the manic developments of his scripts are something akin to a physical workout. This one is no more than a walk in the park.

The premise is good. Niles is throwing a party for his gourmet club, in hopes of winning the Golden Apron award. But he can't very well hold it at the Shangri-La. Nor can he hold it at Frasier's apartment because of one tiny scratch on the window. So Niles decides to use Maris' beach house. She's out of town at the moment 'getting her elbows done'(!). Its perfect. Well it would be. Except a dead seal washed ashore threatens to cast a bad smell over things.

Its a bit hard to put my finger on why this episode disappoints. Certainly it has everything you'd expect of a Joe Keenan story. Spiralling farce. Plenty of mishaps. But it feels like Keenan is stuck on autopilot. Nowhere in the episode does it have the explosive chaos of The Two Mrs Cranes or Caught in the Act. It just feels like an episode made to order.

Nevertheless it passes the time agreeably enough. There is plenty to like. Like the clapper lamp shaped like an anchor. Poor Maris could never work up enough strength to activate it! Chef Marcel's funny. He won't let anything upstage his cooking. Especially not a dead seal, which he chooses to believe is a mistimed nappy change. And some of the sight gags are hilarious. When they think about burying the seal, the best Niles can come up with is a bucket and spade! Why not build a sand castle with a moat to keep the seal at bay!

But still this episode is well below Joe Keenan's usual high standards. I think the main problem I have is we never get to see the seal. So a lot of the time, we get Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce seeing something that isn't really there. Its an irritation that undermines a lot of the comedy. The whole plot of an animal upstaging a party was done much better in season 4's To Kill a Talking Bird, but because we could see it, it made the comedy that much more believable.

Still we do get a few rare instances of Joe Keenan's knack for witty dialogue. Like Niles' reply to an irate guest:

"In future I'll try to cater to your shellfish demands."

I think another problem is we still have Frasier out of work in this episode. And this story has long since worn out its welcome. Thankfully, he gets his job back in the next one. But the scenes with Frasier hooking up with a guest who could get him a new job are just not interesting, because the storyline no longer interests me.

Things do end reasonably well. But not brilliantly as you would expect of a Joe Keenan. Frasier and Niles have tried rowing the seal out to sea but it keeps washing back in. When they wrapped it in Maris' peach pegnoir(!), Niles tried stabbing a few holes in it to get it to sink. Instead a neighbour thinks Niles murdered Maris! The sight of Niles hastily cleaning a blood-soaked butcher knife in front of the guests is a marvellous sight gag. It ends funnily on Frasier and Niles being carted away in handcuffs.

The Seal Who Came To Dinner is not the worst Joe Keenan episode. Its preferable to some of his lesser efforts like A Word To the Wiseguy or Everyone's A Critic, but its not what you'd expect of the master of mischief. Its script is good but not great. And David Lee's direction is a bit too sluggish. It just goes through the motions without ever leaving the launch pad. I didn't care much for the bizarre scene with Martin flirting with a much younger woman either.

Very funny when it is, and very dull when it isn't. Sadly, The Seal Who Came To Dinner is more of the latter. Another early Season 6 episode that is much less than the sum of its parts.


Rating: 65%

 

Season 6 is getting better!, Nov 27, 2008

Reviewer: Tom M from Cumbria, England


Not as good as the previous episode, but still an enjoyable farce! The episode started off a bit slow, but soon picked up speed near the end when the actual dinner party was happening. Niles' expression with the knife was hilarious!


Rating: 85%

 

The Seal Who Came To Dinner, Oct 21, 2008

Reviewer: Tom from Atlanta, GA USA


This is my absolute favorite episode of Frasier! I couldn't stop laughing! If you haven't seen this episode, you are missing on one of the best.


Rating: 95%

 

I loved it!, Apr 11, 2008

Reviewer: Isabeau from Baltimore, MD, USA


Absolutely hilarious, from Niles' opening line ("If my life gets any worse, Iím phoning Hell to ask about their exchange program.") to when he throws the bloody knife away at the end.

Brilliant!


Rating: 100%

 

 
 

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