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Episode reviews for Episode 10.20 - Farewell Nervosa

Avg. Viewer Review: 73.2%
Number of Reviews: 6

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Who's this, your stunt double?, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

What an odd, stilted little episode this is. "Farewell Nervosa" feels like the beginning of a story arc, similar to how some previous seasons like the seventh and eighth tied up their stories with long-form endings. Instead, most of the events of this episode are simply squeezed in to the running time. Either the writers couldn't decide which subplots to use, or they were going for a vignette feel but didn't bother to warn the director. It's not all bad, but the standout moments are scattered - much like the episode itself.

Alex Borstein guest stars as an examiner watching Daphne on the job, as our favourite Brit has decided to look for new clients. This is a remnant from a scrapped subplot for this season's earlier "Door Jam". While it makes sense for Daphne to pursue other clients now that she has more time, it's not really something that the series is going to be looking at in the future. And indeed the plot is really limited to one scene in which Daphne gets a failing grade and Martin realises how pampered he has been. A neat spin on an element as old as the series is, but outrageously inconsequential!

Niles and Frasier, meanwhile, go up against Maureen Nervosa, the surprising owner of Cafe Nervosa. It's odd how little (in fact, no) time has been spent on the irony of the cafe's name. One assumes that this was the reason Frasier and Niles started coming here. Frasier making a stand at Ben's first performance is probably the most well-written scene in the episode, making great use of Frasier's classic self-assuredness. Amy Hill - often cast as a bureaucrat - makes a great no-nonsense presence here, although she too is a surprisingly small part of the episode. (Is it odd that a small cafe would hire such a noisy musician? Sure, but I've seen weirder corporate decisions in my time!) This subplot has some amusing moments, such as Ben describing a suit as a "three-piece cage", Niles getting dissed as "Emergency Frasier" (Felicity Huffman can land a line like nobody's business), dry-witted Steve, and the apt cafe culture satire of the "piccolo, macho, mucho, and macho-mucho". The very notion of the boys having to find a new cafe is - like SO MUCH this season - odd, once you realise it's taken them 10 years to do this plot. Surely every sitcom with a regular hang-out has done this episode. Sadly again, we're limited to just two alternatives, one being ridiculous and the other being largely at the mercy of the episode's third plot. Imagine a whole episode devoted to this task - something like "My Coffee with Niles" crossed with the "Seinfeld" episode "The Chinese Restaurant" - it would be phenomenal!

(There's an interesting example here of the issues with sitcom filming. The audience doesn't really laugh at the "$9,000 caviar bill" joke, perhaps because it sounds like Avery exaggerating rather than a legitimate expense. Of course, they could not yet have seen "Roe to Perdition", which explains it all.)

Anyhow, the third plot brings along John Hannah as Frasier's accountant Avery McManus. It's Julia's fifth episode, and it seems fair that she get involved in some heavy drama. All three actors sell the hell out of the confrontation scene, but again, like Borstein and Hill, Hannah seems a bit wasted here. We almost expect him to have a major role in another episode or two to justify the plot. As a friend of Frasier's, you would think he would have more to say on adultery. Although perhaps "The Show Where Sam Comes Back" might have taught him the error of his ways? The sombre ending, with Julia getting rid of Ben, makes us aware that this is just the start of something. Again, I can see that the series is doing something new by stringing the Julia plot out over the course of the year. It allows us to really believe she is a presence in these people's lives, and it also admits enough time between experiences for them to have lasting resonance. (Her relationship with Avery assumedly lasts for the course of the next few episodes.) Yet still, by not spending enough time on either the comic or dramatic fallout from this, we're denied a lot of the structure that makes this show great. "Farewell to Nervosa" is carried along by the cast, but it's a bit sloppy. If it didn't feature the bravura sight of David Hyde Pierce feverishly shaking a maraca to the tune of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", I'd be much more unimpressed!

Rating: 69%


Worth it to see Niles dance., Sep 28, 2011

Reviewer: Anonymous from Alaska

Niles is priceless when he gets that wild look in his eye and then begins
dancing to "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport". Had the song stuck in my
mind for weeks and the look on his face continues to make me chuckle.

Rating: 76%


Simply HILARIOUS!, Mar 21, 2011

Reviewer: Karen from Ireland

I think those who analyse the episodes too much cause people to either not enjoy or find fault with them so try switching back to reality and remember that the show is just about fun! Sit back, relax & enjoy it rather than expecting too much from it! I found this episode absolutely hilarious! Sometimes the most simple things can be so funny! 10/10

Rating: 88%


Sporadic Quality, Jun 28, 2008

Reviewer: Fergus from Dublin, Ireland

This show delivers a few good laughs, stranded amidst a totally unfocussed plot. Frasier's attempts to find another regular coffee spot are very funny, though this plot device has been used on Seinfeld before. It's ironic that the actor playing Steven (or 'Steve') should steal the limelight from a stilted, perfunctory turn by John Hannah, not to mention a hapless, stuttering performance by Elvis Costello. The appearance of Maureen Nervosa is one of those crass jokes which are meant to raise an immediate laugh without bearing much relation to reality. And given Frasier's ethical qualms, why would he be atttracted to Julia? She represents so much of what he loathes - so naturally with these scriptwriters they get together. And as for the subplot... I'd given up on the subplots at this juncture. Yada yada, time to fill. Poor John Mahoney. Jane Leeves is lost at this stage. A very mixed bag.

Rating: 62%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

Writer Eric Zicklin has proved himself as one of the weakest authors to have served time on the Frasier writing staff, and he has delivered some terrible examples of the show at its very worst. Therefore I was somewhat pleased to come to this episode ‘Farewell Nervosa’ because it is his final script for Frasier that he was responsible for, because Zicklin left at the end of the season to be replaced by much more competent writers during the glorious Season 11. I was expecting this episode to fall into the murky caverns of ‘A Day in May’, ‘Mary Christmas’ and ‘Frasier Has Spokane’ which are all shining examples of how much Frasier has sagged in quality these past two years, but (although this episode isn’t anything special) I did enjoy it for the most part. Kelsey Grammer was on good form this time round too – although he is guilty of some overacting. However this episode didn’t balance completely, and ‘Farewell Nervosa’ does contain some noticeable flaws; and there are definitely some sections that don’t work. I think this is largely due to the writing which seems somewhat rushed and lazy; which is a shame because this episode had good potential.

The main plot concerns Frasier who vows never to set food in Café Nervosa ever again (famous last words) due to the fact that he is unable to converse with Niles properly because of a new addition to the coffee bar. Enter Ben; a folk singer played by Elvis Costello, whose renditions leave Roz desperate to buy his albums and Frasier desperate to flee and find another sanctum and place to ruminate. I enjoyed Frasier’s unsuccessful quest to find another place to take his coffee; especially the café with the confusing sizes of drink (mocha macho) and the hilarious sight of Frasier on a beanbag! I also found Frasier’s attempts to get along with a coffee worker very funny too, but because Julia Wilcox and her new boyfriend drink there, Frasier felt uncomfortable and poor old Steven; sorry just Steve (!) had just ‘opened his heart’. Although this isn’t the funniest plot ever, there are some amusing moments along the way, but I wish we’d seen a bit more of Niles, but then again we did get a great gag of David Hyde Pierce ‘shaking’ along to Kangaroo Down Sport.

Elsewhere the plot between Martin and Daphne appears promising, and although there are a few laughs produced throughout, it seems a bit slow to truly work. I liked Martin describing himself as a ‘performing seal’ only for Daphne to say that if he does what he’s told he can have ‘treats’, which cheers Martin up. Daphne’s interview (in order to get more clients) is jeopardised by Martin continually exaggerating and making Daphne seem better than she is. I liked the scene where Martin describes his morning physical exercises (the best part of the day in his opinion) and ‘just like being on clouds’, only for the harsh interviewer to come over and demonstrate how it should really be done! Martin’s agonised screams are priceless, as she digs deep! John Mahoney was great in these scenes, and although the ‘exaggeration’ technique has been used before on Frasier, I found this plot quite funny.

Earlier on in the episode Frasier is reconciled with his old Oxford buddy Avery, who deals in insurance, but Avery soon pursues a romantic interest with Julia Wilcox, the cold, icy stock reporter for KACL. I thought the way that the two plots were terminated; with Julia giving Ben (the singer in Café Nervosa) a job worked well, as it saw both storylines meet and resolve in a satisfactory way leaving this episode on a semi-cliffhanger. This review probably appears very positive, but in fact I found this episode rather lifeless and lacking in laughs, So now is the time to elaborate on its many flaws. I wish there had been more for Niles (and Roz as usual) to do; why couldn’t Frasier have taken Niles to try out the new coffee bars with him? I didn’t much care for the scene in Avery’s apartment either, where Frasier confronts him over his affair, only for Julia, who was hiding in the closet to overhear. The biggest problem I have with this episode though is I can’t get that annoying ‘Kangaroo Down Sport’ song out of my head; its going to drive me crazy…

Rating: 73%


'Farewell Nervosa' review, Oct 16, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A poorly structured episode which features two British guest stars: actor John Hannah, who gives a decent performance as Frasier's old friend and accountant Avery McManus and singer Elvis Costello, who gives arguably the worst performance in the show's history as Ben, an annoying folk singer whose music drives Frasier and Niles out of Nervosa. The problem with this episode is that it tries to fit too many storylines into 22 minutes and so ends up a bit unfocused. The comic highlights are the scenes with Frasier and Niles checking out new coffee houses; I particularly liked the taciturn character of Steve ('Damn. Everytime I open my heart.') and the sight of Frasier sinking down onto a bean bag made laugh, as did Julia dismissing Niles as 'Emergency Frasier'. Perhaps the funniest moment is when Niles starts to dance to Ben's rendition of 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport' as a horrified Frasier walks in and tries to stop his brother from running out of the door, while it's certainly interesting to see Maureen Nervosa for the first (and only) time in the series. The subplot with Daphne having her physical therapy skills evaluated feels out of place though, while I found it hard to care much about the storyline concerning Avery's affair with Julia. The ending with Julia helping Ben get a job at the bank also feels very contrived, seeming like an unconvincing attempt to draw together two disparate plot strands and leaves the whole episode something of a mess; a sporadically funny mess, but a mess all the same.

Rating: 71%