The Sixth Season
For those unfamiliar with the series, Frasier was a spin-off from another popular sitcom Cheers. Over the years, Frasier has proven to be one of the best sitcoms on television. It is highly celebrated, holding many awards for acting performances, writing, and as an overall comedy series. The show is about Frasier, a neurotic radio psychiatrist, and joining him are Dr. Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce), his brother and fellow neurotic psychiatrist, Martin Crane (John Mahoney), Frasier's father and retired police officer, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), Martin's physical therapist, and Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin), Frasier's radio producer and longtime friend. Basically, each episode takes a look into their daily lives and interactions. The quirky behaviors of each character are what make this series really stand out. For instance, both Frasier and Niles seem to have more problems than the people they treat, which make for some sticky situations that are worth a laugh. Another wonderful aspect about the series is how a character can incorrectly interpret a situation, blowing it way out of portion. There is also a long running joke about Niles' obsession with Daphne or Roz being a very 'friendly' first date. In general, there is quite a bit to love about this series. It is easily one of my favorite sitcoms. For more detail about this series please refer to my reviews of season two, season three, season four, season five, and the final season.
In the last season of Frasier, our favorite sitcom hero Frasier let his ego get the best of him, which sure isn't anything new. In the end of season five, Frasier got himself and all of his work buddies at KACL fired. The station's owner decided to change the format to Salsa music, no thanks to Frasier's ego. Without jobs, without anything to do, the first half of the season looks at Frasier's jobless life. Instead of seeing him with Roz in the station, they're at the coffee house or some other venue trying to get a new job or simply coping with the fact they lost their jobs. For instance, the first episode of the season "Good Grief" is about Frasier coming to terms (he goes through denial) with losing his job and his status as a local Seattle celebrity. How he chooses to deal with his grief is worth a bunch of laughs. Once he starts going for job interviews in episodes like "Frasier's Curse", there are some pretty funny mishaps. The kinds of things happen to Frasier that we can only pray never happy to us. Fortunately midway into the season everyone at KACL gets their jobs back.
Another big story for this season continues from the season five, Niles is in midst of a divorce with Maris. She ran off with the couple's therapist they were seeing. In "Secret Admirer", Maris tries to win Niles back by leaving him gifts and of course, egotistical Frasier thinks they are for him. This episode introduces a messy divorce for Niles and later in "How To Bury A Millionaire" he has to move out of his beloved apartment in the Montana to a place it's hard to imagine Niles would live in. Midway into the season in episode "To Tell the Truth", this story introduces a new reoccurring character Donny Douglas (Saul Rubinek). After it comes to Frasier's attention that Niles' attorneys are taking advantage of him and letting Maris walk all over him, he pushes Niles to a new divorce attorney. Their meeting is classic because Donny has a completely different personality than Niles.
After the Niles/Maris story starts to move to the backburner, Donny still stays in the picture. He and Daphne start dating and things get serious, to the point Niles will do almost anything to break them up. "Decoys" is a great episode dealing with this. In a way it is like the absolutely hilarious episode "Ski Lodge" from season five. Both are set in cabins and have nearly everyone chasing after someone else. But it's not quite as silly. In this episode Niles tries to get Roz and Donny together (they used to date) so he can be with Daphne. Of course the romantic evening he planned for Roz and Donny gets spoiled when Frasier and Martin show up at the cabin earlier a day early. It's a lot of fun to watch Niles and Roz try to get rid of Frasier and Martin.
As always, dating plays a big fixture for this season. The episode "First, Do No Harm" has Frasier dating a character played by Teri Hatcher. Hatcher's character suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and probably would have made a better match for Tony Shalhoub's character in Monk. The episode is pretty funny, because Frasier believes she is only dating him to get free psychological advice. Why pay for therapy when you can get it for free? As always, Frasier lets his ego get the best of him. In "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz", Frasier is setup on a blind date. The woman playing matchmaker with her daughter Faye (Amy Brenneman) mistakes Frasier for a Jewish man. The story leads to Frasier, Niles, and Martin all trying pretending to be Jewish, despite all of the Christmas décor in the apartment. Faye also makes a three more appearances in this season. Those episodes are quite hilarious. In "When A Man Loves Two Women", Frasier tries to juggle Faye and the beautiful publicist from KACL. The dating story concludes with a bad tone for Frasier in the two-part episode "Shutout in Seattle". This two-part episode also has Niles changing his lifestyle and dating a young hip girl named Kit and Roz with Bulldog of all people.
There are also a couple of episodes where Frasier and Niles' elitist behavior gets the best of them. In "Hot Ticket" the Crane boys go to hottest play in town featuring the soon to be retired performer Sir Trevor. Everyone who is anyone will be there. On the night of the play, the Crane boys find out their tickets were for an earlier showing. They go head over heels trying to get into the play and make all of their snobby friends think they are still in the right social circle. "The Seal Who Came to Dinner" also follows along these lines. Niles has been having some financial and social problems, which are rooted to his divorce with Maris. Wanting to grasp some dignity, he and Frasier try to host a dinner party for Niles' dinner club. The best host wins the Golden Apron, something Niles covets. Unfortunately for the Crane boys, a dead seal might spoil their plans. The way this episode unfolds is just a riot. Continuing on with dinner parties, the episode "Dinner Party" has Frasier and Niles trying to cohost a party for a new snobby Seattle couple. While making phone calls, another party accidentally says too much. Frasier and Niles are left with the thought that they are always together and it is weird.
Other fun episodes include "The Show Where Woody Shows Up", where longtime Cheers cast member Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson) is reunited with Frasier and the two try to relive their glory days, "Dr. Nora", where Frasier helps a woman get hired to do a show on KACL who turns to be a complete tyrant, and the "Good Samaritan", where Frasier gets arrested for being with a prostitute. Overall this season is very entertaining. Some important things happen to the cast like the stories about Frasier and KACL, Niles and Maris, and most importantly, the Donny/Daphne story. The latter story has a pretty huge impact on the entire cast. The episodes are pretty funny and even seeing them before (and knowing what was going to happen), I still found the experience a lot of fun. With so many great stories, superb dialogue, and well-developed characters, it's really hard not to enjoy this show. This season is a great addition to the series.
1. Good Grief
2. Frasier's Cruse
3. Dial "M" For Martin
4. Hot Ticket
5. First, Do No Harm
6. Secret Admirer
7. How To Bury A Millionaire
8. The Seal Who Came To Dinner
9. Roz, A Loan
10. Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz
11. The Good Samaritan
12. Our Parents, Ourselves
13. The Show Where Woody Shows Up
14. Three Valentines
15. To Tell The Truth
17. Dinner Party
18. Taps At The Montana
20. Dr. Nora
21. When A Man Loves Two Women
22. Visions Of Daphne
23. Shutout In Seattle
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is rather good and only suffers from minor compression artifacts. However, there are a few occurrences of low frame rate, where the picture gets slightly choppy and there are also some hints of edge enhancement.
The audio track in this release is an English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound track. The audio in this release comes off fairly flat. However as found with most TV on DVD releases it's not necessarily bad, since the majority of the audio is spoken dialogue. As for the stereo setup, there is little distinction between left and right channels. This release also supports closed captioning.
There are no extras included with this release.
Right from the start of this season, I knew I was in for a treat. The first episode "Good Grief" was full of hysterical moments. As I sat and watched the remaining episodes, I couldn't help but laugh more. Season six turned out to have some hilarious episodes and fun stories about the characters of Frasier. Without a doubt this season does the series justice by keeping the great pace and tone together. This season should make you laugh, cry, and want more.