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Episode reviews for Episode 10.14 - Daphne Does Dinner

Avg. Viewer Review: 87.9%
Number of Reviews: 9

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Lord Mayor of PartyTown, May 25, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


While I enjoy every season of the show, and I try to offer redemptive readings of episodes where possible, I can still concede that the later seasons don't have anything on the classic years. So I'm pleased to say how much I enjoy "Daphne Does Dinner", a neat little episode that plays into a lengthy tradition of disastrous dinner parties, but does so with a knowing smile. Like the scene in season 8 in which Daphne and Niles reveal the things they dislike about one another, "Daphne Does Dinner" snaps one of the series' narrative threads by having the eponymous character shut down any notion Niles may have that he is a successful event planner. It's a bit delicious. And to have this follow on from the brilliant opening in which the series parodies its own history with a farcical dinner party? Divine.

Going into this rewatch, I stood by my earlier assumption that Daphne was the character who suffered most of all in the series' later years. That whereas Niles was too comically strong to break, and the other three were increasingly defined by wondering why their lives didn't change (despite being in a sitcom), Daphne lost most of her early comedic quirks and no-one remembered to replace them. Well, to a large extent I was wrong. The writers lost track of her a bit during the aftermath of "Something Borrowed", and I still lament that her psychic abilities became an afterthought, but Jane Leeves and the writers have staunchly redeveloped her character over the last year or so. She's different now, true, and moreso than the other characters. But none of them are who they were in season one. Daphne's respectful but honest relationship with Martin, her more mature married life with Niles (and Roz), and her far more openly volatile relationship with Frasier: these are all natural extensions of her character, even if means some traits were lost along the way. The writers have had fun matching her up with Niles and a third party, be it Roz or Frasier, and this week is no exception. Their frantic back-and-forth during the physically comic parts of the dinner party are great fun. I also particularly enjoy the scene where Frasier attempts to accept Niles' decision with dignity. And fails.

The episode utilises a larger guest cast than usual, which asks us to slightly stretch belief that none of these people (who act as if they're familiar with the Crane parties) have met Martin, but I'm willing to overlook it. There are quite a few TV faces here - Paul Schulze, Nana Visitor, Michael Weston - in small roles, meaning that every cog of the episode feels well-oiled. Mrs. Moon really only appears as set-up for the final climax, but I like her frank analysis of the arty-fartiness of the Cranes. Major highlights have to include the frantic kitchen fighting, Daphne's poor attempt to cover up Frasier even once he's been sighted by his brother, and of course Martin writing off the twentieth century's major artists as "Crap". The look on David Hyde Pierce's face in that moment - such sublime pain - says it all.

As I said at the top, season 10 is a good season but it lacks a little of the early pizzazz. This is not the most brilliant of Crane dinner parties, but I admire how well-oiled the machine is. I admire it very much. My sole complaint would be that the script doesn't find a way to rework Roz and Alice into the situation, meaning that the scene where they impatiently wait for the elderly art restorer to do his work ends up feeling like filler. Still, it's beautiful the way things come (literally) crashing down. Daphne is "now officially a crane".


Rating: 93%

 

Daphne does dinner, Jun 29, 2011

Reviewer: Johnston from Bessbrook. N.Ireland


I really liked this episode,it smacked a lot of the oldfasioned farce but was carried off well
by all the actors,the bits when Frasier had to hide in the cupboard to keep from been seen
was really funny and Martin pretending to be Mike Shaw was priceless .Well done too
everyone.Top class.


Rating: 99%

 

a great episode in an underrated season, Sep 07, 2009

Reviewer: a frasier a day keeps the doc away from edinburgh scotland


this is not only a great episode in terms of it being funny but also it is a neccesary episode. it shows that maybe, perhaps niles isn't in fact joined at the hip with frasier and can do a 'successful' dinner party. unlike two mrs cranes and mixed doubles this has a meaning to it. The funniest bit in the episode has to be how Frasier treats the whole thing as an operation . also the man who is trying to take ALICE out of the painting is hardly needed but somehow hilariously funny trying to remember the name of speedy gonzalez.
Overall this has to be up with Star Mitzvah and Fathers and Sons as one of the best episodes of season ten. The whole cast are on top form. Well done team frasier for a funny and enjoyable episode.


Rating: 91%

 

Great episode- funny but also necessary, Apr 29, 2009

Reviewer: AJ from Ontario, Canada


This is a great episode, both in terms of how it's handled by the writers and how it is directed and acted.

It is a very, very fun watch, but also an episode that works great upon rewatching, and I have to admit that I would much rather put it on than-- oh, I don't know-- quite a sizable chunk of the rather overrated Season 2.


What I liked about the writing is that they addressed some things that I felt were necessary at that point in the show. SO MUCH bad luck for the otherwise intelligent Crane boys for 10 years was a bit hard to swallow even for a comedy show. The writing of this episode pokes fun at itself by beginning right at the end of yet another Crane dinner party gone awry, this time not even bothering to tell us what happened, but just that it naturally ended on a sour note. It addresses the Frasier/Niles tendency to be joined at the hip for every function almost as well as the awesome "Dinner Party" episode of Season 6, and it also addresses Niles and Daphne moving forward with their relationship in a realistic way, which is always welcome.


The directing moves briskly and there is not a moment that feels slow or pointless.


There is abundant comedy. I love Martin pretending to be a "fancy-ass" artist, Daphne trying to stay calm through a string of mishaps, and Frasier treating the dinner party like a medical emergency that apparently needs a doctor's bag as well as a surgery. The misunderstanding stemming from the artist's appearance was also fun and easy to believe, and Gertrude Moon's presence was one of her more bearable turns. Everyone is funny, even the dinner guests at Niles and Daphne's aren't wasted as was the case in some previous episodes. Even small things like the art restorer that can't remember "Speedy Gonzales", the cartoon mouse, bring laughs. There are also some great lines, like Frasier and Niles discussing Daphne's 'Piccadilly beef' at Nervosa.

An excellent and welcomed episode.


Rating: 90%

 

Seconds, PLEASE!!, May 31, 2007

Reviewer: Jim Jarrell from Gainesville, FL


My title for this review is exactly what I screamed at a recent syndicated rerun of this classic episode. Thankfully, I recorded it on DVR, so I could go back and relive the moments of sheer laughter. I will agree with most of my prior reviewers that this particular episode lacks the depth of humor that many of the previous farcical episodes have enjoyed - there's only so many tricks you play in a farce before you start repeating gimmicks. I'll refrain from retelling the plot, because that's not a REAL review. This particular episode strives to show our beloved Niles and Daphne as they now are - a married couple. Married couples plan dinner parties together - much to the chagrin of Frasier. What ensues is Daphne's baptism by fire, the birth of which begins with Frasier's refusal to have anything to do with the party. The paradox that we, as the audience, must endure is will the party really survive now that Frasier isn't involved (given his well documented track record)? Can Daphne finally break the Crane Party Curse? We root for her for the entire 30 minutes, and just when it looks like she may actually succeed in her own style of success, there's a twist that (quite literally) comes crashing down on her. This episode is full of wit, promise and another glimpse of the character of Daphne as a leading player. I do love her, and this episode shows us why.


Rating: 95%

 

Classic Farce, Jul 14, 2006

Reviewer: Graham Crane from Nottingham, UK


I watched this episode for the fourth time on Paramount last night. It still rates as my all time favourite. The first time I watched it I woke up my wife, who had inadvisably gone to bed, with my laughing. The line: " Suit up boys, we're going in" which Frasier delivers to the roast hens is the man at his pompous (but also knowingly comic) best. The way he then treats the rest of his rescue attempt on Daphne's dinner party as a surgical operation is hilarious.

The art restorer character (Mr Slobodwic?) provides a superb moment when he is trying to recall the name of a cartoon mouse, which is clearly Speedy Gonzales, but is adamant is called something else.

A true masterpiece, like the Mike Shaw painting...


Rating: 90%

 

DAPHNE DOES DINNER, Nov 22, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


I think that if you can ignore the fact that this farcical episode isn’t in nearly the same calibre as any of Joe Keenan’s earlier masterclass efforts, and are willing to judge this episode purely on its own merits, which there are plenty, then I think you’ll probably really enjoy this episode, because it proves to be a chaotic slice of excellent comedy, and I think it has to be my favourite of this season thus far. In fact, I may even go as far to say that this episode, although only just manages to scrape into the classic bracket, but whether or not it stands up on repeated viewing or not, time will tell. There are a host of things to enjoy in this episode, and I loved the opening segment, in which we see the climatic end to one of Frasier and Niles’ disastrous dinner parties; with the presence of goats in the kitchen (simplicity…) this proves to be a great opening.

Daphne and Niles decide to throw a dinner party together, as Niles thinks its time they took their relationship to the next level. Frasier is appalled and deeply hurt that he has been shunned aside and vows not to attend the party. The party itself is in honour of an original Mike Shaw painting that Niles recently acquired, but before the proceedings are underway Roz’s daughter Alice has smudged the artwork, and Roz has to go and rectify the mistake. Elsewhere Daphne allows the hens to burn, and realises she has no alternative but to get Frasier into help. As usual Frasier has to save the day, and as usual Martin has to here about it; but what makes this section so great is Frasier having to keep out of Niles’ sight (which means he’s constantly running into the cupboard). Other highlights of this scene are Frasier gulping from a wine bottle, and Niles saying that Frasier’s sauce (although he thinks its Daphne’s) is much better than his brothers; which leaves Frasier seething.

Elsewhere as the guests arrive, Mike Shaw (the painter of Niles’ picture) drops by, but is sick of talking about art, and so is lured off to watch the boxing with Mrs Moon upstairs. Frasier enlists Martin’s help next, and wants his father to bring over his ramicans (nut bowls), and due to the fact that Martin and Mike Shaw look extremely similar (white hair, cane, same shirts, etc), everyone mistakes Martin for the artist, and in a very funny scene Martin agrees to take the party of guests around Niles’ house and tell them what he thinks of his art: ‘Oh, I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time…’ Of course everything goes wrong when the painting is revealed; and due to the fact that Roz has the real painting, the guests are outraged; although perhaps spirited somewhat by the fact that Martin (as Shaw) draws a good rocket?

The episode reaches its conclusion with Niles discovering Frasier hiding in the cupboard, and blaming his brother for the parties failure. There is a great scene where the brothers argue over Frasier’s honey sauce; in which Niles flies backwards out of the kitchen door covered in the garnish (or is it blood?) and Daphne licking it also proved a great visual gag. However, I do feel the episode went a little too far at the end, with Mrs Moon and Mike Shaw crashing down through the chandelier on the bed, only for everyone to take their coats off them, which seemed slightly over the top. Although the ending was priceless; as Daphne looks on at the destructive rubble and Frasier squeezes her and says ‘… you’re officially a Crane!’ In conclusion then, a mostly triumphant episode that was tightly plotted and quickly paced. Although not nearly as good as the show’s previous farcical episodes, Daphne Does Dinner is the toast of the season so far. Great fun throughout.


Rating: 83%

 

'Daphne Does Dinner' review, Oct 11, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


'Daphne, congratulations. You're now officially a Crane'. The first attempt at a full-blown farce in a good long while, this is a highly enjoyable romp which makes good use of it's extended running time and gives all five core cast members some decent screentime. Opening with a very knowing sequence showing the end of another of Frasier and Niles' disasterous dinner parties, the episode gives a fresh twist on a well-worn scenario by putting Daphne in charge of the next dinner party - in this case held to celebrate Niles' latest acquisition of a painting by artist Mike Shaw. While this lacks the smoothness of the farces from the show's classic years and is occasionally marred by a rather too hammy performance from Kelsey Grammer, it's nevertheless agreeably fast-paced and enjoyable throughout. Having Frasier help out Daphne in secret is a great idea with much amusement arising from his constantly having to hide in the kitchen cupboard while Martin being mistaken for Mike Shaw leads to a great moment where he's only too happy to oblige when one of the guests asks for his opinion on various works of art ('Crap!'). I also liked the scene where Roz and Alice visit the art-restorer who seems confused by the cartoon character Speedy Gonzales while the double whammy of the climax - Frasier seemingly having knifed his brother ('You've been asking for this for years!') with Daphne tasting the 'blood' followed by the over the top sight gag of Mrs Moon and Mike Shaw crashing through the ceiling on a bed - bring things to a suitably silly close, leaving this one of Season 10's liveliest and most entertaining episodes.


Rating: 80%

 

Frasier Does Post Modern, Jun 23, 2005

Reviewer: TheMurphy from UK


Season ten saw a return in quality writing for Frasier, however it also managed to contain a couple of the worst episodes ever. One of the reasons I have such affection for this uneven season is that when an episode was good, it wasn’t just funny, it showed a series purposefully striving for something new. Such is the case with Daphne Does Dinner, which begins with a scene which displays a brilliantly written and performed piece of self parody. By cutting straight to the end of another disaster dinner party, we see the show superbly mocking its own traditions. It’s only slightly disappointing that, having established such a magnificent level of post modern humour, the show then continues to tell a rather average (by previous Frasier standards) “disaster dinner party” story. It probably sounds funnier on paper, but having Daphne become the hostess who has to deal with all the mounting problems instead of Niles and Frasier, ultimately fails for one reason. Daphne the character had long since lost any real comic value and become a rather whiney snobbish sow of a wife. Roz, too, is a character that seems to have lost an edge over the years and her scenes with the old art restorer are pure filler. Frasier is another character casualty, at least for the duration of his scene with Niles in the coffee shop where he behaves outraged when told that it will be Niles and Daphne hosting the party, not him. Now, I know Frasier is prone to over the top theatricality sometimes, but his reaction here was utterly loathsome. Fortunately he improves thereafter when trying to help out Daphne and running to hide in the cupboard every time Niles entered the kitchen. Meanwhile Niles is pretty much Niles with no really fine comic moments but nor does he fail to entertain, which says more for David Hyde Pearce’s superb acting chops than the script. In fact, in the character stakes only one comes out of this show trumps and that is Martin, who gets some brilliant moments, especially when he is pretending to be a famous artist, allowing him to give his opinion with wonderfully pretentious haughtiness. Daphne’s mother really is a pointless addition to the show and her presumably funny lines are just dull. As far as farce based Frasier shows go, this one is on the lower end of the scale, but despite all my criticisms, it has enough individual moments, including the exceptionally funny opening scene, to rise above its own short comings. Much like the season it’s in, Daphne Does Dinner is a mix of highs and lows.


Rating: 70%