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Episode reviews for Episode 4.21 - Are You Being Served

Avg. Viewer Review: 91.7%
Number of Reviews: 9

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Hot and foamy, May 11, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Another good instalment of "Frasier", although I don't see it as quite the highlight that many do.

This episode is another in the Niles/Maris arc, with Maris sending divorce papers and Niles agonising over whether to sign them. Frasier and Martin attempt to offer advice, but they can't deny their own bias in the situation. What's important here is how well David Hyde Pierce plays his various stages: grief over the initial news, his weak-willed desire to have Maris back, and then his gradual anger and righteousness as he decides not to give in. And then, of course, the inevitable return to Maris. (Hyde Pierce's reaction to Maris' painting is a particular highlight.)

I enjoy this episode, with the highlights being the scene at Maris' home and - of course - Frasier and Niles' discovery of their mother's research diaries. Hester Crane named her children after her lab rats: another unexpected touch!

Still, I find the structure of the episode a little odd, with a token Nervosa scene, a KACL farewell party that exists primarily to start a running gag about Frasier's inability to hug, and a hoary subplot for Daphne and Martin involving gadgets from infomercials. It feels a little bit like someone writing a "Frasier" episode from a blueprint, even if the second act is redemptive.

The climax is filled with energy though, and does feature the explosion of Martin's Hot & Foamy, so I can't fault it too much!


Rating: 89%

 

Hot and Foamy, Oct 10, 2012

Reviewer: Eleanor from Oxford, London


That one line sums up the entire episode. I cry with laughter every time
I think of that scene. Best. Episode. Ever.



My hot and foamy must have gone off!

He was a detective you know!


Rating: 100%

 

Are You Being Served, May 07, 2010

Reviewer: Norm, Jr. from Somewhere, CA


A good "Niles defining" entry has him regretful about finally putting his signature to divorce documents. Frasier continues to try and convince him -- based on a misleading work journal of their mother's -- that he has exhibited a lifelong cowardice in regards to females. The wording and ultimate revelation of her words are a little too preposterous, but provides adequate laughs. There's also some sub-business with Frasier being adverse to hugging people, which seems to be shoehorned for punchline's sake, seeing how he never experienced this problem on 'Cheers.' The exclamation point on this ep has become one of the signature moments of the series, and one of their best blooper reel bits (if you can track those down). Though it does provide more head-banging frustration for Niles and Daphne 'shippers, who again, must endure Niles blind devotion to the witch (Maris, not Daphne, heh).


Rating: 90%

 

Are You Being Served?, Oct 21, 2008

Reviewer: Tom from Atlanta, GA USA


This is my favorite episode of Frasier. When Niles came out of the bathroom covered in foam I was crying. This is an absolute need to see episode.


Rating: 100%

 

Its like David Hyde Pierce doesnt even act!, Jul 15, 2008

Reviewer: Kat from Australia


I love this episode, my favourite of the Season 4. As the Title here, i believe that David Hyde Pierce isnt even acting! He is excellent throughout the whole episode and i love it when they find out they were reading a journal about lab rats. Classic frasier moments throughout this episode.


Rating: 100%

 

"My hot n' foamy must have exploded!" , Nov 16, 2007

Reviewer: Brenda from Oregon, USA


"He was a detective you know" - Daphne says as Martin points out the obvious...

haha! I love the scene in which the hot n' foamy explodes and everyone thinks Niles has done something dreadful... hehehe, hilarious... and he's covered in foam! so dramatic and so funny at the same time! Like when someone stubs their toe really bad and you don't want to laugh, but you can't help yourself because it is too hilarious!


Rating: 75%

 

Are You Being Served?, Apr 07, 2006

Reviewer: Amz from Wiltshire, UK


I felt so sorry for Niles in this episode, a)he got served with divorce papers and b)he had an encounter with Martin's Hot'N'Foamy! The scene where he actually signs the papers, is sad, as you feel it's an end of an era with Niles and Maris. I was in fits of laughter at the scene when Niles goes into the powder room and we hear a 'gun shot' and Frasier opens the door revealing Niles covered in shaving foam. Then to top it off, we have Daphne's hilarious sarcasm when Martin says "You know what must of happened? My Hot'N'Foamy must of exploded!" and Daphne says "He was a detective you know!" I've said this on nearly all the episodes I've reviewed, and I'll say it again, a must see episode!


Rating: 93%

 

'Are You Being Served?' review, Jun 16, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


A tremendous episode in which, following a chance reading of his mother's journal which seems to reveal his childhood spinelessness, Niles finally decides to stand up to Maris by signing the divorce papers. There's a great scene where Frasier and Niles break into Maris' mansion only to be chased by the vicious guard dogs, with Niles' lame attempts to throw them meat particularly funny. Nothing, however, beats the final scene with Frasier and Niles realising that their mother named them after rodents and therefore that Niles has based his decision to divorce Maris on vermin! This is followed by the hilarious 'hot and foamy' sight gag, something made all the funnier by the dramatic nature of Niles' situation and which is also brilliantly tied in with the earlier plot concerning Frasier's aversion to hugging. It's simply one of the funniest scenes in the show's history.


Rating: 88%

 

ARE YOU BEING SERVED, Jun 11, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


This episode is most certainly a memorable, funny and in some places rather moving piece of television, but I have to say it doesn’t stand up very well on repeated viewing. I remember about six months ago this episode was my favourite, but having watched several times since it has gone down in my expectations and enjoyment somewhat. Having said that though, it still makes me laugh uproariously, and writer William Lucas Walker has most certainly created a script to be proud of. It’s a landmark episode because it marks the inanition of Niles and Maris’ divorce proceedings.

The first scene is at KACL and raises the issue of Frasier’s inability to ‘hug’ for every occasion. I also liked his goodbye radio broadcast to Leo, the Happy Chef, which he filled with food related puns such as ‘whisk yourself away’, ‘stirred us with your passion’ and ‘tar tar for now!’. We only got a very brief appearance from Roz in this one, which is a shame but all in all the opening sequence is reasonably funny.

Café Nervosa is the setting for the next scene, which sees poor Niles receiving divorce papers from Maris. You can’t help but feel terribly sorry for him, which goes to show the strength of the writing and the perceptiveness and power of the character’s performance. Frasier is very tactless when a waiter comes to ask them what they’d like to order, to which he replies ‘We’ve already been served!’. Back in the apartment the two brothers find a journal in an old junk box belonging to Martin written by their mother. They seem to think it's about them and are increasingly worried about some of the things that are written:
NILES (reads): Frasier never seems to get enough at meal time. He’s nearly twice the size of Niles and often when he thinks I’m not looking steals his brothers food.
Niles and Frasier quickly realise that these so-called childhood observations cut very close to the bone, which confirms in Frasier’s eye about his hugging phobia and Niles that he has continually allowed himself to be dominated by females, Maris!

The two go round to Maris’ creepy gothic mansion, to remove a begging forgiveness letter Niles had sent her. There are some nice jokes in this scene, most noticeably the dogs, (NILES: Hello Gestalt! Hello Gerhardt!’, only to discover Maris has replaced them with different dogs, who as Frasier puts it are ‘toying with us!’. The pill infested meatballs also work well, especially when they land in the Koi pond, as does Maris erasing Niles from a specially commissioned painting to replace him as a skunk. The ending of this scene is rather poignant as Niles finally plucks up the courage to sign the divorce papers, because he is sick of being treated like dirt as he realises that Maris’ whole abode is a monument to his spinelessness and a shrine of apology gifts.
NILES (referring to a candelabra): What better way to apologise for the time I attempted to grow a moustache

The last scene at the apartment is priceless and remembered as perhaps the funniest and most famous scene in ‘Frasier’ history. Martin is trying to convince Daphne that his old gadgets are useful and plugs in a machine in the bathroom to demonstrate. On realising that their mother’s journal was about her lab-rats, Niles begins to regret his decision. ‘My reasoning was based on my mother’s obsession with VERMIN!’. He then goes into the powder room to calm down, we hear a loud bang and Niles emerges covered from head to food in hot shaving cream. This sight is fantastically funny, and perhaps the best physical gag ever. The audience reaction is stupendously loud as they erupt with laughter at the sight. The joke was set up, but it is still an unexpected surprise:
MARTIN: You know what must have happened, my Hot ‘n’ foamy must ‘o exploded
DAPHNE: He was detective you know (!)

The episode ends in the perfect way with Maris phoning to say the divorce papers were a bluff, and Frasier finally conquering his fear and giving a shaving foam covered Niles a hug, which works brilliantly and gives the episode a perfect resolution. In conclusion then, a superior episodes that’s only downfall is that it doesn’t seem quite as funny on multiple viewing. Otherwise a tour-de-force episode, of which David Hyde Pierce excels as Niles. His performance is sublime: moving, funny and pulled off with total conviction. Another superb episode from the magnificent Season 4.


Rating: 90%