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Episode reviews for Episode 8.19 - The Wizard And Roz

Avg. Viewer Review: 63.0%
Number of Reviews: 7

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It's not me, it's you, May 19, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


I'm putting it out there: "The Wizard and Roz" is the 188th episode of the series. It's also the worst of those 188. Regardless of what lies ahead, this is a grave error.

The crux of the episode is fair enough: Professor Tewksbury has always been the wizard behind the curtain for Frasier. Seeing him in an unsavoury light would have an effect, particularly on someone as id-driven as Frasier is. Yet, everything is off. The characters are meek or illogical (I don't buy for a second that Tewksbury would say "my pants are stuck in the ceiling fan" in front of Frasier). The episode buries the actual conflict for so long that, by the time we reach it, the confrontation scene doesn't seem earned. It's not the actors' fault. In fact, they're finding smiles where there aren't any. (Rene Auberjonois adds a layer of depth into this meeting with Roz, and Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce take their early scene - "Thankyou Frasier, laughter is indeed the best medicine" - which is written like a terrible series of zingers, and reclaim it by making the lines sincere.)

I highly admired "Frasier's Edge" but in some ways bringing Tewksbury back is a big mistake. Because he's a recurring character, the script feels obligated to give him plenty of material, and the writer seems to think that "old guy in a robe" equates humour over and over again. As a result, we don't get Frasier's realisation about Roz until literally the final scene. While the chemistry between Frasier and Roz has been elevated since late season 7, and everything about the concern makes sense (he's the school geek and she's always been sexually popular, of course he's asked this question)... it merited an episode focused on this issue, not the gag of a man in a lilac robe! The conflict comes from nowhere, feels contrived, and then isn't brought up again this season. My thought process is, "Whatever". I can't help but wonder if the Roz/Frasier pairing was tossed around in the writers' room as a serious endgame for the characters but either why, while I'm amenable to the pairing and I really liked their near-hook-up episode in season 7, this just doesn't feel earned. It doesn't help that the episode is almost entirely devoid of laughs. The only time I genuinely laughed was when Roz catches Frasier reclaiming the "it's not you, it's me" speech. And that laugh came mostly from character! (The student misconstruing Tewksbury and Frasier is an amusing concept but... again, we get it. Guy in robe = funny.)

Meanwhile, Niles and Daphne are engaged in an episode which could have been phenomenal! After the fight in "Daphne Returns", it makes sense that we'd explore this. And given the writers (or Jane Leeves) (or the network) have chosen to make Daphne considerably less quirky since the start of the season, I'm glad to see her psychic non-abilities get a mention here. To finally explore one of the foundations of a main character, particularly in the presence of her sceptical husband, is a great idea. But realistically it deserved a whole episode and a good deal of farce, not a vignette-style subplot that ultimately chooses the sweet but easy way out. The only thing I admire about this plot is that Daphne is so confident of herself thanks to her lifelong experience.

Perhaps I can't explain why I find this episode such a flop. There have been other middling episodes, of course. Early "baby steps" episodes ("Fortysomething", "Death Becomes Him"); one-joke episodes that don't evolve ("The Great Crane Robbery"); vignette pieces that are deliberately non-traditional ("RDWRER"); and sometimes episodes that take an interesting idea or performance but just don't quite come together over the speedy course of writing and filming ("Crane vs. Crane"). But they're few and far between. Never before have I seen an episode that takes a hare-brained concept for a main plot and a vital plot as a throwaway subplot, and achieves no humour or character-based insights with either. This writer's first script was bumpy, but primarily because it showed some signs of a newcomer not fully aware of the characters yet. This shows a lack of simpatico with the series' style of humour, and an amazing inability to grasp what's important to the characters. 1 in 188 is an amazing track record, and every writer has a misguided script somewhere in their back catalogue. So no lasting judgments for "Frasier", but this is the first true failure. (For grading reference, I'll give 35% for the competent direction and the willingness of the actors to play along. That's all.)


Rating: 35%

 

The Wizard And Roz - very irritating, Aug 08, 2012

Reviewer: Eddie2012 from UK


Roz gets a bit more airtime, but sadly it is once more an ‘affair’-storyline which I found rather dreadful for Roz. We get some old grandpa jokes from Professor Tewksbury “Oh, well in that case, no matter who's right or wrong, HE's wrong. I learned that from years of marriage”. Good Grief. Not sure whether to cringe or yawn. Plus an equally worn out “pants on the ceiling fan” joke.
Towards the end Frasier probes her as he cannot for the life of him understand that Roz never fancied the god that is him. And gets her to admit to have had a bit of a crush on him way, way in the past, but never acted on it as she respected him too much. This rather sweet and honest confession is rewarded by F. telling her that nothing would ever have come out of this even if she had tried to act on her little crush, then treats her like a little schoolgirl who had a crush on a teacher. His arrogance is not out of character as such, but the ruthlessness is, especially as the recipient is his very good friend. A treatment like this would put a serious dent in any of MY friendships!

The subplot sees Niles taking up kickboxing (sure…) and Daphne trying to prove her psychic abilities. She is as irritating as usual in 8/9/10/11 and demands that Niles fully accepts her view in the matter while at the same time banning him from having an opinion of his own. Because it is important to her, full stop. Of course he agrees. When he dares to disobey her once, he is punished by cold stares and her refusal to make love to him even after they make up. Charming!
The scenes with the psychic are okay and there are some funny lines from Niles in general, but the whole thing is let down by an obvious and predictable ending. She involuntarily gives an explanation for her psychic visions (Grammy Moon planted the idea in her head as a child) and Niles refrains from hearing the result of the psychic experiment (to spare her feelings I assume as she is obviously as non-psychic as the rest of us) and “wants to get to know her himself over time”. So they live happily ever after. Yawn. Maybe this could have been funny, if one of them actually had a premonition afterwards.

Overall a disappointing episode with many irritating moments. Plus the script seems to demand DHP to look mainly bored with only the occasional smile. Funny that some reviews highly praise Niles’ transition from condescending yet charming snob to ordinary one-of-many soap opera character, even though his earlier behaviour provided so much of the fun. East Enders or Corrie might be better suited for them.


Rating: 70%

 

The Niles-Daphne cameo makes it worthwhile, Aug 21, 2009

Reviewer: Vijai from India


Katie from England: your review was a delight to read. I liked the subplot as well and the synopsis is flawless. Something else that stands out is an easing into Niles' transition into a "regular Joe". If you take the first ever Frasier episode, Niles was an uncaring self-absorbed man who shoved his dad on to Frasier, and far more concerned about his rising social status. He is revealed over the length of many episodes to have been molded by people in his life- by Frasier, by Maris and finally by Daphne.

This episode proved a delightful glimpse into how the change was worked out in the series. Daphne changes Niles as much as he breaks with his demand for a rational justification for her claims of psychic ability.


Rating: 65%

 

Not perfect but of some interest, Nov 22, 2008

Reviewer: Katie from England


I don't hate the main plot but I love the subplot with Niles and Daphne. It speaks profoundly about something in psychiatry.

Daphne is on the point of gaining increased self-knowledge. Either her psychic powers will be confirmed or she will find out something she considered a major personality trait of her own will be revealed as a comforting delusion.

When Daphne reveals how important the trait is to her by her answer about how it was the thing that made it worth being the only girl and the outsider in her family; Niles steps in to protect Daphne from a revelation that could potentially be damaging to her and out of his love for her.

It is interesting as a kind of exploration of what Frasier and Niles have chosen to do with their working lives. How do you balance the scientific side of psychiatry with the emotional side? Frasier and Niles choose to examine everything while Martin, Daphne and Roz tend to accept things and not question themselves if they can avoid it.

Frasier has to pick at his not unusual discomfort about seeing two people who are important in his life together until he feels it is resolved. However Niles is willing to concede his point when he uses his skills to finally figure out why Daphne believes she is psychic.


Rating: 77%

 

Follow the yellow brick road, May 18, 2007

Reviewer: Jim Jarrell from Gainesville, FL


I'm surprised at how many "loyal" viewers of Frasier cast aside the main plot as trite because they view it as Frasier's problem with D. Tewkesberry, when it is clearly an issue he has with Roz. Over the years, there has been a lot of romantic tension in that relationship. I think the way they addressed Frasier's very natural jealousy was clever. Of course he would feel that way. For years, he has watched Roz chase down all sorts of men, yet she has never shown an interested in him. Now, all of a sudden, she's hot and heavy with a man that Frasier identifies himself with, so the logical conclusion for him is "why all these men, and now with Tewkesberry, why not me?" I think it was great that Frasier finally exhibit some vulnerability and express a human emotion other than bitterness and rancor. Perhaps the plot device (using Tewkesberry as a suitor for Roz) was far-fetched, but it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities (if Roz can stoop to Bulldog, she can certainly climb a step-ladder for the likes of Tewkesberry). I found the subplot about Daphne's psychic abilities a little tired (I think they reached into the cookie jar too many times to build a storyline around her psychic powers). Once again, the funniest moments involved John Mahoney's Martin -- and his little dog, too. I'm not as disappointed as the other reviewers. I liked the main plot - probably because I could relate to it.


Rating: 75%

 

'The Wizard And Roz' review, Sep 02, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


One of those episodes in which the plot appears to have been contrived to fit around the title, this sees the puzzling return of Dr. Tewkesbury (Frasier's mentor in the episode 'Frasier's Edge') who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Roz, leading to an embarrassing moment when Frasier catches him wearing Roz's bathrobe. While the straight nature of Tewkesbury's character worked well enough in the more serious context of 'Frasier's Edge', this episode makes the woeful miscalculation of attempting to turn him into a 'comedy' character with cringeworthy results. The scene where Frasier can't stop visualising his mentor wearing Roz's bathrobe is not only childish but for some reason includes moments where we can see both Frasier and his bathrobe-clad mentor in the same shot which, considering this image is only to supposed to be in Frasier's imagination, doesn't make any sense. This idea is made even worse when Tewkesbury actually puts on the garment during Frasier's next visit in an attempt to get him to deal with his feelings for Roz. I found Tewkesbury's character really irritating in this episode although not far behind is that of Dr. Moray, the psychic evaluator who Niles hires to test whether Daphne's really does possess psychic powers - a promising subplot which proves ultimately pointless when Niles decides that he'd sooner not know. It's a shame because the episode does contain some bright moments - Niles banging his leg on the table when Daphne catches him in Nervosa; Frasier's short-lived attempt to feign interest in how Martin spent his day - but, sitting amongst the dire nature of the main plot and the wasted opportunity of the subplot, they struggle to make much impression - leaving this one of the weakest of all the Season 8 episodes.


Rating: 62%

 

THE WIZARD AND ROZ, Jun 21, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from UK


Once again, this episode proves to be devoid of laughs, somewhat boring and a waste of a potentially interesting story. Gone are the days when ‘Frasier would churn out classic episodes like ‘The Matchmaker’, ‘Mixed Doubles’ and ‘Ham Radio’ – in fact it’s hard to even believe it’s the same show. Gone are the episodes when I would laugh so frequently, at least ten times a scene – now reduced to not even cracking a smile throughout the entire twenty-two minutes. This episode stands as being one of the more dreadful episodes of Season 8, right up there with the appalling ‘Legal Tender Love and Care’ and the empty failure that was ‘Frasier’s Edge’. This episode, once again coined by the infamously useless Saladin K. Patterson is rubbish, for who wanted a better word – lifeless, cringe-worthy in places and just dull. The reintroduction of the excruciatingly boring Dr. Tewksbury made me groan, as his character has no personality whatsoever. Frasier’s impending jealousy over Roz was poorly done in Season 7’s clunker ‘Hot Pursuit’, but this offering makes the former look like a classic! The subplot with Daphne getting in a psychic doctor was also boring, and in my opinion slightly out of character.

So where are the highlights in this pile? I’m finding it hard to find a sentence I found funny, let alone a scene. I suppose Niles threw in the odd good wise-crack regarding Daphne’s psychic ability, and Daphne’s predictions around the psychic doctor proved amusing at times. I think my favourite quote would have to be:

DOCTOR MORAY: Now I've got a card -
DAPHNE: Ace of spades
DOCTOR MORAY: with my office and fax number on it!

In conclusion however this episode is one of the weakest of the season, which let’s face it has been a big disappointment. Saladin K. Patterson has turned in a very uninteresting and banal script here, that is not even saved by the cast’s performance. Poor episode - but I like the title though


Rating: 57%