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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 11 -> Episode 11.14

Freudian Sleep
Episode Details

Written by: Lori Kirkland

Directed by: Cynthia J. Popp

Original US airdate: 3rd February 2004

Original UK airdate: 21st April 2004


Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Ronee Lawrence .... Wendie Malick
   
   
Guest Cast
Cable Woman .... Christina Cindrich
Fantasy Plumber .... Suzanne Stokes
Fantasy Martin .... Audra Lynn
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier is having a terrible day on his radio show with no one calling in yet again, leaving him no option than to persuade Roz to pretend to be a caller. His day gets worse when he is nearly run off the road by a driver who swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel and gets coffee spilt all down him. He is informed by his father that he and Ronee are off to a cabin in the woods at the weekend, but when Martin says to Eddie "Of course we wouldn't leave you behind", Frasier thinks it is directed at him and Martin finds his son invited on his and Ronee's trip too! Niles then comes over, and relates the tale of swerving to avoid a squirrel and getting a barrel of abuse from the person he almost hit - which Frasier informs him was him! Frasier raises the subject of the trip, to which Niles says he wouldn't dream of accepting such an obvious pity invite. However, when Niles drops in to the kitchen to hear Ronee suggesting in jest they should invite Niles and Daphne to the cabin as well, he gratefully accepts the invitation!

Up at the cabin, we get to see a dream Frasier is having in which he is married to Daphne and killed his brother (and Eddie!). Relating the dream to his brother, Niles dismisses it as very obvious as it shows he is envious of Niles' life. This is then followed by Frasier having to endure another bad dream, this time about his show where he hasn't had a caller in months. This is followed by Niles' dream about being a bad father ending with him dropping the baby, while Daphne's dream sees her continually getting fatter while Niles gets to fool around with a plentiful supply of women. The aftermath of all these dreams leaves Frasier, Niles and Daphne bickering with each other in the kitchen which means it's up to Martin to make the peace. We then see his dream - a jazzy rendition of "The Sunny Side of the Street" about adopting a positive attitude - and Eddie's too.

Episode Title Cards
  • My Brother's Reaper

  • Sweeney Tot

  • It's Enough To Wake The Dad

Episode Highlights


- Roz pretending to be "Susan", a caller to Frasier's show whose problem comes direct from "Thelma and Louise"

- After having a very bad day, Frasier comes home to be greeted with an empty sherry decanter:
Frasier: We're out of sherry - insults meet injury!

- Niles can't believe Frasier is going with Martin and Ronee up to the cabin:
Niles: I would never dream of accepting such an obvious pity invite!
Frasier: Well, you don't have to dream because they didn't invite you (!)

- Frasier reluctantly tells his brother about hisrather disturbing dream:
Frasier: I was married to Daphne, who was having our baby. You were dead and I killed you.

- Frasier's dream about his show that hasn't had a call in 6 months

- During Daphne's dream about her being blind to Niles sleeping with beautiful women:
Daphne: He's on top of everything around here!

- Martin solving everyone's problems

Frasier Online Episode Review

When I first saw this episode, my initial thoughts were "What the hell was that all about?" as it basically consists of some weirdly surreal dreams from Frasier, Niles and Daphne revealing anxieties about everyone's life. However, it is more enjoyable second time around but it still remains one of those episodes that will sharply divide viewer's opinions between those that love it, because it marks out yet again why 'Frasier' is head and shoulders above other sitcoms, and those that loathe it as it feels like the writers had a wacky idea for an episode and decided to put it on the air. While I don't think the episode is as good as some have made out (the anxieties are not particularly enlightening, although enjoyably played out), I still find it an bizarrely enjoyable, off the wall episode.

Rating

77 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 64.6%
Total Number of Reviews: 14


Ambition vs quality, May 29, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


"Freudian Sleep" is a delightfully controversial episode, dividing those who think it is an bold stab at surrealism for a show that was never afraid to do its own thing, and those who argue that a host of visual trickery and shallow observations like "Daphne fears becoming unattractive" do not an episode justify. I'm definitely not that negative about the episode, but I do ultimately see this as a failed experiment. Last time "Frasier" failed an experimental episode ("A Day in May"), I wanted my darndest to like it, but just couldn't. This time, my admiration for the idea somewhat makes up for my indifference.

Structurally, the episode is a bit of a mess. Ronee is back after a reasonably long absence (this episode was filmed 17th, so either they were being efficient with Wendie Malick's schedule, or they weren't quite sure early in the season if she would be the narrative endgame for Martin) and the first five minutes are quite fun as the older couple accidentally invite everyone on a weekend away. By making Ronee and Martin the protagonists, the episode suggests that we might be looking at the way these characters will approach family interaction in the post-series, "coupled off" lifestyle. At the same time, the series has convinced us by this point that these characters love each other dearly, so I suppose I'm glad we didn't get that. Instead the episode treats us to a series of dreams, elaborating on the characters' neuroses (and/or love of chicken). As others have mentioned, few of the dreams are surprising or edifying. Niles fears parental responsibility and spousal disdain, Daphne (Jane Leeves being back full-time after the birth of her second child) fears losing Niles and her figure, Frasier thinks he is losing popularity and is without romance, and Eddie likes chicken. Marty's dream is, thankfully, a surprise - bursting out into a jazz standard with Ronee!

Look, "Frasier" has always been a bold sitcom, even if it was willing to stay inside the box while doing so. This is definitely a "Frasier" episode. The production team clearly relish the task, particularly in the Niles dream and the KACL sequence (and whoever had the cheeky idea of dressing up a sexy female Martin Crane). For people working weekly in shades of beige, this must've been a joy. Similarly, the script does tie in to the series' concerns, which have been reflected in microcosm this season: the way Daphne and Niles have evolved as real people but can't forget their very different pasts; Marty's relinquishing of his former sadsack ways; Frasier's career flaws (which have come up consistently) and his romantic failures (which have been less prominent, but are about to become the series' raison d'etre). So, I respect it a lot. However, what loses the episode some points is - weirdly - that it's not abstract enough. I would have to assume the studio audience watched these pre-filmed sequences on video, because much of the humour is conceptual rather than guttural. Take Roz at KACL, telling Frasier "not that one, the black one!". That's not uproariously funny by any stretch, but it has a conceit to it that works. I understand that it would likely not have been an option, but if the episode had been filmed without studio laughter, and with perhaps more work on the script as a whole, maybe it would've been a series highlight: a more abstract piece that allowed them to really explore the dream. (Take the mystery of Frasier's dream about Gil many seasons ago. That justified the 22 minutes by being necessarily abstract. The only genuinely abstract moments here are Niles baking his baby in a pie, and Frasier repeatedly saying "I'll have Roz send you some flowers" - one of the most fascinating elements of how Daphne sees Frasier.)

But I'm not looking to rewrite "Frasier", so I'll just sum up what we have here. An episode that, when it comes down to it, is ambitious and well-realised by the production team. The script has flaws - an odd structure, a tendency to prioritise knowing smiles rather than belly laughs despite a clear desire to get a rise out of the audience, and a series of dreams that don't allow time to include much more complicated than cobwebs on the KACL control board. I ultimately can't speak too ill of this, though, because it's a laudable attempt to weave some more depth and closure into these characters only a few weeks before we leave them for good. In science, a failed experiment can still yield results that are just as important. That's the closest analogy I can come up with to explain "Freudian Sleep"


Rating: 75%

 

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