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Episode reviews for Episode 10.21 - The Devil and Dr Phil

Avg. Viewer Review: 68.7%
Number of Reviews: 6

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Faust was a moron! I'm gonna be a star!, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Season ten was the first year the show slipped out of the Top 20 in the Nielsen ratings, so it could be easily argued that bringing a daytime personality like Dr. Phil McGraw onboard was a blatant ratings grab. While that can't be denied, it must be said that networks sometimes foist these on to the writers, who have little say in the matter. And I think that, while some of the early parts of the episode feel gimmicky (notably Frasier's insistence that he is owed $200), the series ultimately finds a way to use this to its advantage. Roz's obsession with Dr. Phil is actually quite amusing as played by Peri Gilpin. McGraw is no actor, true, but - like John Glenn before him - he's used to the camera, so we're spared any kind of "real life person" awkwardness that could have occurred. The ultimate reveal that Dr. Phil is a co-conspirator with Bebe is actually very funny, and nice that McGraw was happy to play along. ("Just deal the cards.)

All in all, this is an average Bebe episode, largely because it seems to be playing on everything we already know about the character without adding anything new. It feels a bit like the series is stalling for time, and ultimately it is the narrative arc of the episode - Frasier being seduced into hiring Bebe back, and her quickly cancelling the Spokane deal that happened in season 9 - dominates over a comic plot. Still, the writers clearly remember how to write Harried Sansom Harris: "ambition? The world is candy to me!" It's not the most forceful of Bebe's appearances by any stretch but it's good fun. Bebe has always been a Mephistopheles, so it seems fair that her last regular appearance should play so openly with the Faustian myth that has always existed in her character. (Niles: "Bebe wants to have sex with a human male to bring about the apocalypse.") The hotel room scene is highly silly, but the presence of little elements like the madrigals still make me laugh every time. It's carried by the actors, and the barely restrained hamminess of Grammer and Harris, but by now, if you're not a fan of the Frasier/Bebe dynamic, you never will be!

The subplots are rather forgettable, stranding the remaining characters in what feel like one-scene jokes. The idea of the old book of one-liners could perhaps have been a running gag but instead we're treated to a variety of little "up all night" gags about Martin, ending in a vaguely amusing physical comedy sequence for John Mahoney. The Old Daphne/Old Niles plot is perhaps the most predictable, and disappointing since it isn't grounded in any depth for the characters, but the reveal of Old Frasier is quite funny. "The Devil and Dr Phil" is a rather workmanlike script at the end of the day. It's an episode that has its moments, but it's not exactly vintage "Frasier".


Rating: 72%

 

Doctor Phil is a dud, Bebe isn't., Jul 23, 2012

Reviewer: Zule23232 from Boston, MA


Yes, Doctor Phil is a dud in this episode, but Bebe is in her element. Bebe exiting the bathroom to a flood of mist, red lights, and an eerie choir is one of my favorite moments of the show.


Rating: 80%

 

The Devil and Dr Phil, Nov 24, 2008

Reviewer: Barney from Dallas, TX USA


This is an episode of Frasier that I can't stand, mainly because of Dr. Phil. I know that Frasier is a Psychiatrist but Dr. Phil just seems like a fake to me, and it seems like NBC was only doing this episode to promote Dr. Phil.


Rating: 30%

 

Bebe Is Back!, Jan 01, 2008

Reviewer: Dean Mather from UNITED KINGDOM


Frasier's sneaky agent Bebe returns and wants Frasier back on her.....books. I really enjoy episodes with Bebe and I wish she was in a lot more, shes merciless fun and a pleasure to watch(cept Season 9's poor Junior Agent). Will she be able to lure Frasier back, using her feminine whiles and another doctor called Dr Phil,watch and see. My fave scene has Frasier visiting Bebe at her hotel and opening the window for some air and choir music cascading through the window and Bebe appearing at her bedroom doorway devil like, bathed in red light.


Rating: 88%

 

THE DEVIL AND DR PHIL, Dec 14, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


It is always a joy to have the marvellously devilish Harriet Samson-Harris present as Frasier’s monstrous agent Bebe Glazer, but unfortunately I felt that this episode slipped into the same category that Season 9’s lacklustre offering of ‘Junior Agent’ did; although we were spared that horrible woman with the squeaky voice. The laughs just weren’t there; despite Bebe’s forceful, energetic and dogmatic persona and I felt that the overall result was an episode that was nothing more than average at best. However this episode has taught me two things about Frasier writers. I believe that Bebe is quite a difficult character to write for because her dialogue is always so cleverly scripted and sharp (a nun with a past for example) and (Bebe screws destiny to the wall) and I think in order to produce a successful Bebe episode, the writer has to be top class. Joe Keenan formed the character we know and love as he wrote all of her episode between Seasons 2 and 5 and they were all wonderful. Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil are clearly less experienced and talented writers, and it seems clear that they didn’t quite know how to put Bebe’s unique personality across successfully, and in my opinion this drags the episode down substantially. I’ve also learned that Chris Marcil and Sam Johnson write much better when they write out of their partnership; Marcil’s ‘Maris Returns’ and Johnson’s ‘Star Mitzvah’ were both great episode, but I feel that their co-written outings seem slightly flat; and unfortunately ‘The Devil and Dr. Phil’ is a disappointment really and Bebe deserved a better, meatier part.

I asked myself whilst watching the episode; do we really need the presence of Dr. Phil McGraw and the answer was no. The presence of Dr. Phil (which not only took up half of the episode title) seemed lazy, and he just came across as boring and a waste of space really. I found the plot to be of a very sluggish nature too – and thought that the writers could have come up with something more imaginative than Frasier and Bebe torn between whether or not they should rekindle as agent and client. The sad thing is, this plot could have worked if the writing had been better. On a different subject I really enjoy the very short cameo appearance from Mrs Moon in this episode (who is still working at Nervosa) and feel strongly that her character definitely works best in small doses. I thought it was very funny how she wasn’t sure which coffee Frasier liked, so she brought him black and white, which he thinks is thoughtful only for Mrs Moon to reply: ‘Well, you’re paying for both!’.

There was one genuinely funny scene that arose between Frasier and Bebe and that was the priceless moment, which is set in Bebe’s hotel bedroom. Picture the scene, Bebe dressed in devilish attire, the sound of choir music eerily floating up through the window, steam rising from the bathroom; I literally guffawed and this gloriously gothic scene is the saving grace of the episode, because it ties in wonderfully with the parallel links and allusions that have constantly been made between Bebe and Satan over the years. Frasier fleeing the hotel, screaming was great too. I felt though that this scene was the only true slice of great comedy in the whole episode, and the rest unfortunately fell flat. I did find Dr. Phil’s quip as Bebe entered at the beginning funny - ‘Who the devil are you?’, which once again was a clever subtle link between Bebe and Lucifer. The episode was rounded off in a very odd way I thought, with Bebe and Frasier predictably getting back together (because it turns out Bebe has been using Dr. Phil) and the episode rounds off with the very unfunny scene between Bebe and the latter playing poker.

The biggest travesty again though was the lacking presence of David Hyde Pierce as Niles, and any episode that doesn’t feature much Niles is missing something big. He was reduced to a very feeble and very brief subplot that didn’t amount to anything interesting, in which he and Daphne observed an elderly couple at Nervosa and wistfully imagined that that is how they would like to be when they grow old together. Martin’s strand of story was also rather weak too, in which he was put on the graveyard shift at work because he wouldn’t go out with his boss’s sister. This wasn’t really very amusing, but I did like his 1956 compendium of one-liner jokes. In conclusion then, this episode ranks as one of the weakest Bebe episodes, and I felt that Harriet Samson-Harris deserved a bigger role to sink her teeth into because Frasier’s Satan-esque, manipulative agent certainly wasn’t used to her fully potential. I think if Bebe had seen this episode, she’d have fired the writers! More than anything, as I said in my review for the previous episode – I want to see more of Niles though!


Rating: 70%

 

'The Devil And Dr Phil' review, Oct 16, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


Another Bebe Glazer episode and one which is an improvement on her Season 9 outing, but not by much. As with 'Farewell Nervosa', it's marred by relying on the novelty value of a non-actor guest star, in this case Dr. Phil, whose dull presence does little to lift a plot in which he's used by Bebe in another devious scheme to get back Frasier as a client. The obvious highlight here is the shamelessly contrived scene in the hotel room which gradually turns into a scene straight out of a horror movie, with Bebe emerging from red smoke to seduce Frasier causing him to run out of the room only to see that the number on the hotel door is '666'! - which sees Kelsey Grammer letting out a hilarious shriek of horror. The Niles/Daphne subplot with them imagining themselves as an older couple at Nervosa only really becomes amusing at the end when it's revealed the husband is having an affair with another woman while the collection of brief scenes showing Martin's boredom on his night shift, while little more than filler, is quite amusing to watch as he accidently starts a fire and shreds his tie, and goes someway to making up for the cringeworthy opening scene with Martin reading out corny gags from an ancient jokebook. Overall though, another pretty unremarkable late Season 10 episode.


Rating: 72%