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Episode reviews for Episode 10.19 - Some Assembly Required

Avg. Viewer Review: 62.7%
Number of Reviews: 3

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A mailbox is a house's handshake, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Some Assembly Required" is hardly bottom-of-the-barrel "Frasier", but it's an episode that never really finds a funny concept to grasp hold of. The idea of Frasier being "painter's helper" is quite amusing, even if it treads that thin ground between the more mature Frasier Crane (who would recognise when he is being patronised) and the out-of-touch guy he once was. Similarly, there is of course an amusing notion in the idea that he would impose upon these people's lives. The problem, I think, stems from the fact that his imposition is so mundane. While the Grants' quickly annoyed attitude is well-played, it feels as if the episode would be funnier if Frasier's existence really tortured their lives. Or led to some kind of climactic storyline. Or led to him having to defend his actions to a crowd of angry citizens. Something, anything! Instead, "Some Assembly Required" sticks to the small stuff. The script gets those right, particularly Martin's silly little gag about Officer Chirpy and Bob, and Roz's no-nonsense analysis of how the Grant family must feel. It's just a shame that nothing really happens.

I still enjoy Mrs. Moon, but this is the first episode where I've felt her presence to be truly unnecessary. The idea of having her work long term at Nervosa is an odd choice by the writers, and can only stem - I assume - from a desire to expand the show's world. This happened previously in the misguided end of season 8, and it also seems like a non-starter here. However, I find Gertrude's guilting of Daphne to be quite amusing, so I'll let it slide for this week. Still, aside from Niles' presentation, nothing here stands out. David Hyde Pierce and Enzo are the standout performers here, but this is definitely an episode that finds one plot idea and then fails to take flight.

Rating: 62%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

After the wonderfully funny previous episode ‘Roe to Perdition’, this episode couldn’t be more different because the contrast in quality is enormous. ‘Some Assembly Required’ plummets right down to the other end of the scale, as this episode is without doubt the weakest offering from Season 10 so far. Patricia Breen’s feeble script felt like a mismatch of half-finished ideas and incomplete situations thrown together at the last moment, and the result is abominable. Even with some of the weakest episodes of Frasier I have still found things to laugh at, and there is generally at least one scene that I find funny, but unfortunately on viewing this episode I didn’t laugh once. It felt disjointed, and seemed to drag on and on. The best episodes of Frasier have a tendency to run smoothly, but it is no exaggeration to say that this episode was one hell of a bumpy ride. All three subplots were dire – Frasier getting too close to a family whose house he ‘assisted’ to build (well, stirred the paint), Martin and then Niles giving an assembly to a class of fourth graders, and a row between Daphne and Mrs Moon resulting in the latter getting employed at Café Nervosa.

Let’s start by the looking at the central plot, which was banal and tedious at best. Generally, even when Frasier is at his most pompous, I can still find some sympathy for him and usually find that I’m on his side, but his pointless obsession with directing and influencing the Grant family on how to decorate their new house was just ridiculous and tiresome. The Grant family themselves were really irritating too – and for some reason Dale Dickey as Mrs Grant was a performance that really grated on me. I found it so childish and churlish of Frasier to keep insisting on coming round to give them advice on what décor to have; and the notion of changing Frasier’s gift of a mail box to a different ‘cow’ mailbox was so uninteresting, I felt tired watching it. The clichéd comment Frasier gives about the mail box being ‘a house’s handshake’ was cringe worthy, and not for the first time since Season 8 did I have to remind myself that this was still Frasier I was watching. Sometimes it seems hard to believe that just six years before this, Frasier was churning out classics like Ham Radio!

I’ve never been a big fan of Millicent Martin’s portrayal of the deeply annoying and quarrelsome Mrs Moon, Daphne’s mother. Martin seems to have this overwhelming need to overact constantly, and everything she says seems incredibly hammed up and over the top. I know I shouldn’t complain about her voice, but Millicent Martin has a voice that drives me crazy. It’s a shame really because I had just began to grow used to Daphne’s mothers presence on the show, and on the whole I’ve found her a lot more tolerable this season in comparison to her entrance in Season 9. However she re-inherits all of her irrational traits and qualities here – and the episode is dragged down because of it. I mean, how interesting is a plot which involved Daphne and her mother having a row, which leads to Mrs Moon taking a job in Café Nervosa; whilst all the time (very unsubtly) boasting to the customers that Daphne would be happy if she died doing the job. Yawn…

The only remotely humorous moments were derived from the scenes with Martin, Eddie and to a lesser extent Niles. Moose or Enzo (I don’t know which) did some great tricks as the lovable Jack Russell in this episode; and I particularly liked his rolling over and over when Martin asks him what he’d do if he were on fire. When Martin has to drop out of giving a talk to a group of fourth graders, Niles takes on the challenge instead. Although Officer Niles is somewhat amusing, I couldn’t help but think that Niles talk on hygiene should have been a lot funnier; which it would have been at the helm of a better writer. The scene where Niles gives his trusty handkerchief to an adoring school kid felt a bit overdramatic. Thus, this episode was a mess really, it felt very limp and seemed to crawl along at a snails pace. This won’t be an episode I’ll be watching on a regular basis; although it was great to see Eddie doing some tricks again. Poor episode on the whole though.

Rating: 61%


'Some Assembly Required' review, Oct 15, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

After a handful of very enjoyable episodes comes this sadly banal affair which sees Frasier getting involved in another KACL charity event - this time helping to build a house, after which he finds he can't leave the tenants - the Grant family - alone as they choose to decorate the house in a manner not to his liking. A dull plot which certainly isn't redeemed by the script which is fairly weak throughout, with Frasier's interfering behaviour seeming rather forced and contrived, as well being much too annoying to be funny, while this plot is made more irritating still by Mrs Grant's scratchy voice. Sadly, the episode also manages to feature Mrs Moon's most irritating appearance in the series as she takes a job as a waitress at Nervosa in order to earn some housekeeping money for Daphne, which results in some particularly idiotic dialogue when Mrs Moon announces to the cafe that her daughter is kindly letting her keep her blood. Thankfully the episode is partly redeemed by Niles taking over from Martin at the school assembly by giving a lecture about hygiene - the speech itself isn't particularly funny but it's nice to see Niles returning to a character trait that seemed to disappear quite some time ago. However, the real saving grace of the episode is Eddie, giving us a much welcome display of some of his dog tricks and therefore doing his best to provide a few brief moments of fun in an otherwise below average effort.

Rating: 65%