One of the things the latest version of the Frasier series does well is weave the history of its characters into the current storylines, and Frasier Season 1 Episode 9 is a wonderful example.
Let's unpack the entertaining psychology of this latest installment, which includes scheming to impress women, or at least not scare them off, as well as the relationship between fathers and sons.
We'll start with the funniest moments.
I didn't expect Frasier to go along so willingly with the story Freddy was fabricating, and that made this skit all the more comical.
Frasier really does understand how challenging it can be as an adult to explain why you're living with your parent. He's been there plenty of times as he navigated dating and living with Martin.
Freddy: It’s just, you have no idea how hard it is to explain to a woman that I’m a grown man living with my Dad.
Frasier: Right. I couldn’t possibly imagine what that’s like.
So, despite having gone out hiking and bird watching for the weekend, Frasier readily took on the persona of a doddering old man to help his son's potential romance.
The flaw here is that if the relationship with Nicole has a future, Freddy would have to confess to the lie, which makes his goals with Nicole appear focused on the short-term.
Or perhaps he just takes after his father, who despite being a brilliant psychiatrist, has ignored the long-term consequences of many a scheme in his time for the possibility of immediate romantic success.
Yes, jokes about dementia might be considered distasteful by some, but the humor here really works, especially if you recall the ridiculous ruses Frasier took part in during the original series run, many of those included his father, Martin, who, as Frasier later points out, was always there for him.
Oddly enough, that's become a bit of a stumbling block for Frasier and Freddy.
Freddy: You won’t let me do anything to help out around here. I mean, you pay the bills, you cook half my meals.
Frasier: Which I am happy to do. You’re my son.
Freddy: But I’m also an adult. I spent a long time on my own. I’m used to pulling my own weight. I don’t need you stocking the fridge with pudding cups.
Frasier: You eat those.
Freddy: Not the butterscotch.
Freddy is willing to live with his father, but he wants to feel like more of an equal partner in this living arrangement.
But Frasier's guilt over not being a bigger part of Freddy's life goes deeper than anyone might have expected.
He feels like he owes Freddy for all the years he wasn't around, and he's trying to make up for it now, even if it's not what Freddy wants.
But Frasier isn't completely wrong. Lilith did the heavy lifting as a parent while Frasier pursued his career on the other side of the country.
Because of that, as we saw during Frasier Season 1 Episode 7, Lilith knows their son well, while Frasier feels like he's trying to catch up.
Frasier: Whatever I did for my father, it wasn’t enough because whatever I did, I could never repay him.
Alan: And you don’t want to burden Freddy because, in your eyes, you weren’t there for him either.
This is where Alan and Frasier's relationship shines. Alan is both a sounding board and manages to offer solid advice.
Frasier can't look at his and Freddy's relationship as a series of checks and balances. That will never work, and it will make them both crazy.
Because as much as Frasier thinks he's doing the right thing, he's actually driving his son further away.
Frasier is smart enough to realize that, but not before calling in Roland, the plumber, to do the work that Freddy began when trying to find the possible leak.
Frasier's motives are a little murky here. Did he call the plumber because Eve's story scared him and he didn't want Freddy tearing apart their home or because he didn't want to burden his son?
Eve: Oh, he will find every single problem. It’ll be months and months of holes and tarps and dust everywhere, so much dust. There’s bound to be a critter or two, but once he’s done, you’ll know it was done right.
Either way, guest star Andy Daly as Roland, the plumber, is fantastic as he's dragged into doing improv as Frasier tries to fool his son.
Then, Roland got to be a part of one of my favorite Frasier quotes from this episode.
Frasier: Oh, it’s my knee. An old polo injury.
Roland: Water or horse?
Frasier: Neither, I slipped trying on a pair of chinos at the Ralph Lauren store.
But it's David who finally gets Frasier to see the light.
As Alan has lost another teaching assistant, Olivia hires David for the job.
After Anders Keith's stellar performance in Frasier Season 1 Episode 8, I'm thrilled to find David taking on a role that might allow him to be a part of more storylines.
Frasier: You know he’s taking advantage of you, don’t you?
David: Oh, I know.
Frasier: And you don’t mind that?
David: Are you kidding? I don’t know if you know this about me, but growing up, I was a little coddled. I have yet to eat an intact grape. But Dr. Cornwall is the first adult to trust me with any real responsibility.
Frasier: You don’t resent him in spite of all you’re doing?
David: No, no. The work may seem menial, but it feels good to be valued.
As grapes are one of the number one choking hazards for toddlers, I can just picture Niles cutting them into pieces for his son.
And hearing David reference his childhood made me long to see Niles and Daphne visit their son at Harvard.
But it was hearing Frasier talk about Martin that really made my heart ache.
During the pilot episode of the original series, Frasier wasn't thrilled to have his father move in with him.
Martin was cranky when he arrived at Frasier's new home. He was understandably unhappy that a gunshot wound rendered him using a cane and in need of help.
He also came with a duct-taped easy chair and a dog. It clearly wasn't the fresh start Frasier had hoped for when moving to Seattle.
But as time went on, Frasier grew to appreciate the opportunity to help his father, and he doesn't feel he's earned that from Freddy.
Martin left big shoes to fill, and Frasier is struggling to fill them with his son, but he's beginning to realize that their stories are different.
I doubt anyone could live up to Martin's legacy, especially in his family's eyes. Frasier needs to forge a new path with Freddy, not try to recreate the one he had with his dad.
And Freddy has turned out to be a great guy, even if he does gloat when he's right. At least he seemed willing to take Eve's critique to heart and try to do better.
On a side note, kudos to Freddy for pointing out that Eve needs to lock her door. Why is it that no one in sitcoms ever locks their front door despite usually living in major cities?
Hey, by the way, you could really lock your door. We live in Boston. They literally named a strangler after us.Freddy [to Eve]
So, TV Fanatics, with only one episode left in Frasier Season 1, what do you think so far?
After a bit of a shaky start, I feel that the series has really found it's footing with the last couple of episodes. I'm looking forward to seeing what the finale has in store, but also hoping we'll get a Frasier Season 2.
Now it's your turn. Hit that SHOW COMMENTS button below to share whether you'd like to see another season of Frasier. Then check back in for our Frasier Season 1 Episode 10 review.
New episodes of Frasier air Thursdays on Paramount+.
C. Orlando was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.