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Episode reviews for Episode 7.11 - The Fight Before Christmas

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

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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%


the fight before christmas, Jul 18, 2007

Reviewer: person1 from Canberra, ACT, Australia

This, I think, is one of the best Frasier episodes since 'The Ski Lodge'. One importnant issue, is that this episode shows how Mel is so much like Maris, and that Mel does not seem to have much trust in Niles. This is also the first episode where Daphne starts to fall in love with Niles.

Rating: 98%


Episode so good it will make the thesis for my BA-assignment, Mar 15, 2006

Reviewer: Lars Bo from Odense, Denmark

Hello Frasier fans.

I am myself a Frasier fan, and I must say this is one of the best Frasier episodes I've ever seen. This is because a lot of the trends and serial elements within the series are repeated within this epide; The joyful banter between Roz and Niles, Niles' attraction to Daphne, Frasier's Inability to host a decent party etc.

Off course the episode has a lot of superb comedy elements, but it is so good and trademark an episode that it will make the thesis for my BA-assignment at SDU University in Odense, Denmark. I will be looking at the theories of dramaturgical interaction of Erving Goffman to enlight the narrative structure within Frasier.

I can only say: Watch this episode. It really is a trademark Frasier episode

Rating: 99%


'The Fight Before Christmas' review, Aug 05, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

Dealing with the aftermath of the dramatic events of the previous episode where Daphne finally discovered Niles' feelings for her, this seasonal debut episode from writer Jon Sherman expertly blends this storyline with one regarding Frasier's doomed attempt to throw his own Christmas party, which proves to be somewhat less popular than one thrown by neighbour Cam Winston (a character mentioned here for the first time but who would not make an appearance until Season 9). There's a great scene at the KACL Christmas party which sees Frasier constantly putting his foot in it, both by getting Niles into trouble by letting on to Mel that he had spent the previous night with Maris and also hurting Kenny's feelings when he mentions his own rival party, while the scene with Gil and his muscular gingerbread men is hilarious. This being a Christmas episode there's the inevitable inclusion of a tasteless piece of decor courtesy of Martin, in this case a dancing Santa which neither of his sons seems able to successfully break! Ultimately though it's the main Niles/Daphne plot which propels the episode with some good scenes between Daphne and Roz where the latter reveals she already knew about Niles' feelings and the nicely played balcony scene where Niles asks for Daphne's present back temporarily resolving this storyline very effectively and bringing this eventful two-parter to a close.

Rating: 82%