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Episode reviews for Episode 11.07 - Maris Returns (1)

Avg. Viewer Review: 92.0%
Number of Reviews: 3

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That's not my real name., May 27, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Maris Returns" is the first of an excellent two-parter, which plays for keeps with the entire main cast as well as an overwhelming array of guest performers! Frasier's revolving door of patients is a good excuse for the series to play on its regular trope of guest callers. Sarah Silverman puts in one of her least-mannered performances ever as a patient who can't move past her personal connection to the doc, TR Knight has a cute cameo as a failed patient, Valerie Mahaffey is just effortlessly fun as Frasier's temp (who sadly we won't see again), Dan Castellanata puts in an unexpectedly sincere performance in a scene that is truthfully far more about Frasier, and Penny Johnson Jerald (then coming off three years of playing the cruel Sherry Palmer on "24") is adorably pathetic as a patient whose neuroses are further ruined by Frasier's horrible day. Having said all that, it's quite interesting that Frasier's return to private practice becomes really the "comic relief" of the episode. I suppose this is acceptable since we've already spent some time on Frasier getting to this point, but the series would usually pause to reflect on how much trouble he has adjusting. The problem, to my mind, is that he's lost the natural ability to listen and engage which Niles still has. By working ten years in radio, Frasier has become a kind of detective: his approach to his clients here is more like someone solving a puzzle, just wanting to get all the details out of a willing participant. Still, a fun time is had by all. Frasier's most disastrous encounter, with Shannon (Missi Pyle), is full of conceits - the strategic winking and growling - but ultimately works because it fits into this elegantly structured episode so well.

Meanwhile, I feel sorry for ragging on the series' treatment of Jane Leeves this season. The fact that she was actually pregnant may explain why the character of Daphne has been relatively sidelined (and explains why the series so quickly pounced on the off-hand mentions last season of pregnancy), so it's nice to see her get some more meaty material in this two party, both dramatically and comically in Daphne's very funny mood swings. "Maris Returns" perhaps gives a bit too much away in its title, but I like how the plot feels delicately structured yet always surprising. At first, this seems like a last-minute obstacle to Daphne and Niles' eternal happiness, and an excuse for the writers to pull out all the Maris jokes they've had to keep in storage since season 7. Then it becomes an honest look at marriage with Niles' fears that he shouldn't be keeping things from his wife (although Frasier's droll advice about lying to a pregnant spouse is well-delivered!). The idea of throwing a spontaneous baby shower also delivers some laughs, particularly from unwelcome guest Kenny and a very eager doorman. Getting everyone in the same room allows the jokes to come thick and fast, as Esteban De Rojo makes an unwanted appearance and Roz pursues him! (I have to assume that the writers intended Millicent Martin to make a final appearance at some point, and were burdened with scheduling woes. While it makes sense that she'd appear at the shower, it seems an ignoble farewell for one of the most prominent recurring characters of the last couple of years!)

All in all, then, "Maris Returns" is an episode that neatly juxtaposes a few different storylines in a consistently funny package, and ends with a surprising but exciting cliffhanger. Thankfully, the resolution will be just as solid.

Rating: 95%


Outstanding!, Oct 07, 2011

Reviewer: Jim from Washington Crossing, PA, USA

Frasier is funnier than ever here - his dive into private practice is increasingly funny by the patient, and the guest acting (each patient and Frasier's secretary) is tremendous. Unbelievably hilarious.

Daphne and Niles are very good here, but watch this episode for Frasier!

Rating: 95%


'Maris Returns' review, Oct 30, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

As the title explains, this episode sees the return of sitcom's greatest unseen creation when Maris calls Niles for advice about her philandering new lover, Esteban de Rojo. A great episode ensues, featuring a few one-liners about Maris' weight familiar from the show's early seasons, although perhaps the funniest part of this storyline is Daphne's hastily-arranged baby shower (featuring Mrs Moon's sole appearance in this season) where a case of mistaken identity sees Esteban giving Frasier a black eye and Roz showing her concern by running out the door after Maris' lover. However, most of the best laughs derive from Frasier's return to private practice. It's a shame his secretary, Peggy, didn't make a further appearance as I found her very funny in this episode as she looks on as Frasier experiences one disasterous session after another. The scene where he's trying to assemble his new chair only to tumble over backwards behind a slamming door is brilliant, although even better is the Whitehall-style farce sequence where an uncontrollable wink, an upset stomach and a loosened belt sees Frasier seemingly forcing himself onto an attractive patient ('It's just a trick I learned from my dad!'). Frasier's constant repetition of the same introduction also made me laugh, especially when he finally gets tired of it when visited by Brad - as played by Homer Simpson himself, Dan Castellaneta. The use of Castellaneta makes for a nice in-joke for 'Simpsons' fans as he and Kelsey Grammer had of course previously teamed up as Krusty The Clown and Sideshow Bob in that show. With a cliffhanger ending that reveals Maris is wanted for Esteban's murder, this first half of a two-part story makes for an eventful and consistently funny episode which ranks among the season's best.

Rating: 86%