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Episode reviews for Episode 8.21 - A Day In May

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

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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%

 

Probably a Reflection on Grammer's Personal Tragedy, Dec 09, 2012

Reviewer: Kiele from Seattle, WA USA


I am revisiting the series on Netlix and just watched this episode.
Knowing a little about Kelsey Grammer's personal life, I am surprised
that nobody made a connection between the segment regarding his
father having to face his shooter's pursuit for parole and Kelsey's
sister's killer in prison. As Kelsey did direct this episode, it only
makes sense. The weak structure of the side bits is justified by the
solemn mood that surrounds Martin Krane's situation. Kelsey admits
later in 2009 that he never had a chance to speak out for his sister
and that he would, should the killer pursue parole once more. My
guess is that Martin's pause at the hearing represents Kelsey's own
restraint - suppressing his own feelings which one could only guess
would include anger, sorrow and frustration. While the episode isn't
the most hilarious, I admire it for what it represents for Grammer on
a personal note.


Rating: 90%

 

A Day In May, Sep 25, 2012

Reviewer: Lucy from London


I wished they'd have picked another day in May or any other time of the year.

I just found this episode boring and totally devoid of laughs.


Rating: 40%

 

Not getting it..., Sep 09, 2012

Reviewer: Eddie from Germany


As a representant of the deficit-brained, I think I have to underline that the editors - indeed - missed the point.

Whatever feelings Martin has for the guy that shot him, for people acting against police officers doing their duty etc - what ELSE could that guy have said to point out how wrong he was, and how miserable he feels about what he did?

Leaving EVERYTHING open is not the most outsmarting writing the episode's editors ever did - saying nothing does not always say anything.

Sorry wooky2105, I didn't get it either...


Rating: 80%

 

GET A GRIP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Apr 05, 2012

Reviewer: wooky2105 from Lanarkshire, Scotland


A DAY IN MAY, is fantastic... I think those of you who take such
serious issue with it are missing the point. The title of the episode
gives you a clue. It's actually quite clever and I think authentic.
It's just another day and I dont agree that Frasier's story line was
uncharacteristic... matters of the heart always take this character
down an uncharted path. I think it was well acted under Kelsey
Grammer's direction. This episode also gives a poignant nod to
the past with regards Martin Cranes shooting, an intrinsic
storyline that has run from the very start. When someone is the
victim of a serious crime it really doesn't end with rolling titles and
the writers captured that well. I came onto this forum to see how
that was interpreted and find myself leaving a review because a
lot of Frasier fanatics out there just don't get it. Maybe there
should be a government warning at the start warning people with
a brain deficit not to watch..............................................


Rating: 87%

 

A Day in May, Jan 02, 2012

Reviewer: Nattie from Vancouver BC


I really enjoyed seeing these little moments of life which most of the
episodes can't devote time to.
This episode provided glimpses into the deeper parts of their thoughts
and fleshed out their characters. I dislike shallow, monotonous sitcoms
and I really enjoy the efforts made to vary the tones, locations and
situations of this sitcom.
Well done!


Rating: 100%

 

One of the best Frasier episodes EVER, Dec 30, 2011

Reviewer: Praveen Deepak from Bangalore, Karnataka, India


I guess what stumps most Frasier enthusiasts about "A Day In
May" is that nothing much really happens. There doesn't SEEM to
be a discernible point to the three plot lines, even less a
connection.

Personally, it will always remain one of my firm favourites, one
that I'd like to watch over and over again because it helps me
relax. Why are we like feverish ferrets always itching for
SOMETHING TO HAPPEN? Why must the show be ALWAYS over-
the-top sophisticated and funny? Why can't there be "ordinary"
where everyone is just getting on with their lives? Have we
missed the point of the episode title? It's just another day in the
lives of the characters - it needn't necessarily all tie together or be
funny just because we're sitting around waiting for it! And that is
something that's ABSOLUTELY FINE with me:)

That's why I love the episode - because it dares to just free up
the show and the writers to JUST BE and let NOTHING HAPPEN. It
dares to go against the grain of Frasier shows and succeeds as
well as it can.

There is a tinge of poignancy in two of the plot lines - the "sad
sack who owns this place" as Lana puts it, and more importantly,
the realisation that Marty hasn't still gotten over his bullet-in-the-
hip incident which changed his life forever. Personally I felt that
the whole Marty story in this episode was handled with a daring
seriousness and poignancy that is rarely ever seen, let alone
attempted, in a sitcom. It is one of the show's best-ever moments
in my book.

I simply cannot believe reviewers who responded to this episode
with expressions like "WTF" - I guess they haven't really spent
time getting to know the characters on the show well. I guess
they are like fair weather friends - as long as there are laughs,
they're around, but when they are asked to really get into the
characters, they lack what it takes.

I rate it 100%. It is one of the show's finest hours.


Rating: 100%

 

This May Day is nowhere near as bad as some claim , Sep 15, 2011

Reviewer: Bond-san from London


It seems that, for some, simply being part of Season 8 means that
an episode must be damned, objective criticism flying out of the
window. This is no classic, to be sure, and no-one would argue that
it is. And yet there are parts of this that I, for one, really enjoy.
Martin's story is actually very poignant and is all the stronger for not
being overplayed. Some lesser-regarded Frasier episodes really do
require revisiting and reappraising. This is one of them.


Rating: 85%

 

A Lazy Day, Aug 02, 2011

Reviewer: Edward from USA


In my many years of watching Frasier, collecting the DVD sets, and
re-watching Frasier, I have almost never dreaded watching an episode
again more than A Day In May.

Part of what makes Frasier great is the biting dialogue and the actor's
shining. However, this episode felt clunky, disjointed, and overall lazy.

Frasier's story looks lifted from a lesser sitcom. It is goofy but lacks
whimsy. The story does little to develop Frasier and Lana's
relationship overall.

Niles and Daphne's story is the best of the bunch, but would be better
suited as a B story in a more traditionally structured episode. As a
main plot line, it fails to deliver the laughter, as I found myself smiling
at the scenes more than laughing.

Martin's story is intriguing, as it would seem that this would be a
major story line, but was relegated to nearly C status. Again, this
story had little purpose, and the ball was dropped for a future, well-
written episode on the subject. Having 1/3 or the time crippled a
promising plot line.

This is my least favorite episode of the series, as it fails to deliver on
all fronts. Martin's story was supposed to be emotional, but felt drab
instead. Niles and Daphne's story was supposed to be charming, but
fell short of the aim. Frasier's story was uncharacteristic and
cringeworthy.

It's sad to see a great show deliver such trite, but even Frasier has its
bad apples. This one is the most potent.


Rating: 47%

 

Common thread of episode: Deception, May 29, 2010

Reviewer: Chen Zhao from Minneapolis, MN


I think people really missed the boat regarding this episode, as a lot of reviewers seem to see the three storylines as "random" and unrelated.

They are only loosely connected, true, as suggested by the title "A Day in May". Yet there IS a common thread or theme being explored- the idea of deception, lies (perhaps small or white lies), and thoughts kept private.

The most overt storyline is of course Frasier's comedic storyline with Lana. Frasier acts as the voice of good conscience yet again, but in the end is forced to engage in a bit of deception by building the wooden house.

The small bit about Roz borrowing Frasier's car and coaching her daughter to lie about what happened furthers this notion. There's this intrinsic tension between what adults of good conscience aspire to- telling the truth and being honest- and the messy reality of omitted truths and white lies often required by the real world.

Both these storylines are light-hearted, but the issue being explored in this episode is definitely serious in tone. Nile's storyline is also comedic, and also got at the issue of not being honest. It was obvious to Daphne that he was jealous. But neither he nor Daphne decided to confront the issue or bring his feelings out into the open. The dog park scene was actually a great scene, in a way. Juxtaposed against the lovely, airy openness of a park on a sunny day in May was that hard kernel of jealousy Niles keeps close to his chest. There's nothing dramatic about this juxtaposition, as again, the overall tone is casual, breezy, light-hearted. Yet, the comedy is still somewhat subdued and pensive... bittersweet, perhaps.

The darkest part of this episode is of course Martin's scene. His "deception" came at the beginning, when he lied to Niles about where he was- saying that he had gone to the dog track on a whim. It was clear how heavily the day's task weighed on his mind by the fact that he had even forgotten to take care of Eddy before leaving the apartment. It was a somber day for him, and an event he felt a need to deal with alone, in private. The story doesn't really go into his exact thoughts, beyond allowing the viewer to see how seriously he took the day's events. Again, a pensive storyline, circling around the notions of a private inner world, lies, obligations, and conflicting emotions.

I think the writers were going for an episode similar in feel to "My Coffee with Niles."

All in all, this episode had a direction, but perhaps did not go far enough down the path for all the storylines to be pulled together neatly. With a bit more polishing and tightening, the common theme of this episode would have been more apparent and perhaps made a stronger impact.

As it stands, it feels more like two lines of a haiku- with a clear direction, yet waiting for that last line to pull everything together and convey a strong sensation.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for episodes in the vein of "My Coffee with Niles", and I do not think this episode is nearly as bad as other reviews would seem to indicate. At the very least, I do not see this episode as "random", as it seemed quite apparent that the writers were exploring a common theme in the disparate storylines.


Rating: 85%

 

 
 

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