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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 11 -> Episode 11.13

The Ann Who Came To Dinner
Episode Details

Written by: Sam Johnson & Chris Marcil

Directed by: Scott Ellis

Original US airdate: 13th January 2004

Original UK airdate: 14th April 2004


Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Crane .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Ann .... Julia Sweeney
Marta .... Irene Olga Lopez
   
   
Guest Cast
Caroline .... Lisa Thornhill
Policeman .... John Kapelos
Doctor .... Ossie Mair
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Martin joins Frasier, Roz and Niles at Cafe Nervosa wearing a jacket he hasn't worn for some time and to Frasier's horror, Martin discovers Frasier's home insurance renewal cheque in one of the pockets leaving him uninsured. He is immediately on the phone to his broker, who informs him that his premium has doubled. Frasier tells him he'll think about it, prompting Roz to suggest he make up with he insurance friend Ann (with whom Frasier had a spectacularly bad date with in The Placeholder) and get a great deal on his insurance. Frasier is initially reluctant but soon realises he has no choice, and invites Ann over to his apartment. The mood is decidely uncomfortable but soon Ann is inspecting Frasier's apartment to give him his quote when she slips on some mayonnaise Martin accidentally spilt while preparing a sandwich. This lands Ann is hospital having broken her legs, and as Frasier feels somewhat responsible - and with Ann threatening to sue the hospital if anything goes wrong - he invites her to stay with him for a few weeks while she recovers. So Ann brings her stuff (and her trumpet!) over to Frasier's where she slowly drives Frasier and Martin insane, before Roz takes the bull by the horns and presents Frasier with a legal document drawn up by her lawyer that would absolve Frasier of any responsibility if he can get Ann to sign it. Ann accidentally discovers the document and is upset by it - she realises Frasier only took her in to negate the possibility of her suing, and grudgingly signs it (but not before Frasier had to beg to get her to do so....).

Meanwhile, an out-on-bail Maris informs Niles that she is having an auction of all their stuff and he can come an collect anything he doesn't want auctioned. Niles uses the opportunity to take back a hated picture of his that depicts Niles as Satyr, the God of Fornication, but it soon transpires that Maris was even cleverer than they thought as her electronic tag has been hidden in the picture frame and Maris makes her escape to a South Sea isle free from prosecution.

Episode Title Cards
  • The Pan-American Highway

Episode Highlights

- Roz can't believe that Frasier describes his previous date with Ann as 'less than chivalrous':
Roz: You ate her ravioli, then hit on another woman in the same restaurant!
Frasier: Which is less than chivalrous!

- Frasier comes home to Martin eating a sandwich:
Martin: I made a sandwich from some of your cold chicken in there.
Frasier: Also known as quail!

- Ann wants to pick up her trumpet for when she moves into Frasier's:
Frasier: You play the trumpet?
Ann: Oh, I just started - it's really hard!

- Niles drops by Frasier's to return his escargot clamps:
Martin: Oh that's what those are - I've been using them to pull ticks off Eddie's coat!

- Martin doesn't think much of Niles' portrait as Satyr:
Martin: How did you stand to look at yourselves like that?
Niles: I didn't have to - it was in Maris' bedroom!

- Frasier wonders how Roz ever came to know Ann after she hands him the legal document:
Frasier: How did you become friends with Ann? I mean, she's not exactly your type.
Roz: Oh, we're not exactly friends - I rear ended her in 1989!

- Daphne finally gets to see Niles' portrait of himself as Satyr:
Daphne: That's what our son would look like if I were a goat!

Frasier Online Episode Review

The return of Ann Hodges, not one of my favourite chracters, prompted me to have mixed feelings about this episode. Frasier having to deal with the aftermath of Ann's accident after he invites her to stay with him was quite amusing, but the character is so irritating to begin with that it's hard fror me to care much about her. The Maris sub-plot was much more interesting and fulfilling and not only did we get to see Maris' house and Marta again (for the last time), it also led to the whole murder trial plot being resolved quite nicely although all the jokes about Niles' painting would have been a lot funnier if we didn't see it right at the end. Still, an above average episode though no classic.

Rating

79 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 86.3%
Total Number of Reviews: 6


That's what our son would look like if I were a goat., May 29, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


"The Ann Who Came to Dinner" is an episode I don't love, but one that I find more enjoyable on reviewing. Bringing back Julia Sweeney's Ann makes some level of sense, since she's a recent nemesis for the character, and - whether you find her too annoying or not - Sweeney is tailor-made for the role. She definitely teeters right up to the brink of obnoxious (the character, not the actress) but ultimately I think the script finds enough details of her character to warrant the return. I particularly like the reveal that Roz was never her friend, and the moment when Ann refers to Frasier as someone she "used to go out" with. Of COURSE she's the type of woman who retroactively makes one date into someone on her list of past relationships! I don't love the Ann plot, as I said, because of a long-standing divide about episodes where a guest character imposes on Frasier's life in a heavily-plotted way. Sometimes they work, primarily if the episode has a lot to say about Frasier as a character; other times - case in point, "The Great Crane Robbery" - they simply become excuses to run one joke into the ground. This episode has a foot planted in each camp. I'd ultimately argue that the Ann plot teaches Frasier little, and comes across as relatively inconsequential. However, it's nice to see the Crane men united against a common enemy, the small bits with Caroline (from "Sea Bee Jeebies") are very funny, and the confrontation scene allows Ann to be human while still being a walking terror. (As much as I love Kelsey Grammer's most explosive outrage, this scene is probably a true example of overacting...)

Two thoughts that struck me: first, Roz hasn't dominated an episode except for the season premiere, which I find very disappointing. I'm sure that Peri Gilpin often had material cut for time, due to the fact that her scenes sometimes take place outside the main plot, and I know that a final season is still a season of a larger tale, but it disappoints me a little - on a meta level - that much of the season has been devoted to guest characters while Roz and Daphne have been so thoroughly unexplored (even if the latter case was out of the show's hands to an extent). The second though is that this is the beginning of six episodes aired out of production order, which was not all that common for this show. I'd assume it was partly due to Jane Leeves' pregnancy and partly because of the recurring roster of ladies - Wendie Malick, Julia Sweeney and, soon, Laura Linney - who needed to be scheduled? (In fact, from Daphne's minimal role the last couple of weeks, I'd assume the scripts were written with a "get out of jail free" clause in mind just in case Leeves went into labour prematurely.)

Much more successful than the Ann plot is that of Maris Crane, who bows out gracefully. It's so much fun to see Irene Olga Lopez back one last time as Marta, and to "see" Missy Crane again. The milkshake gag is classic, and her plot to escape from the country - complete with return to the old Crane manor set - really brings back memories of my fond association with this show over the last decade. One rule of comedy is that talking something up as hilarious or embarrassing, and then showing it, will probably disappoint. (Exhibit A would be the writers' very smart decision never to show Maris!) And I think the first time I watched this episode, I was disappointed that the Satyr painting of Niles was revealed to camera. On reflection, I actually quite approve. Unlike other non-visual visual gags - Martin's nipple, Roz's flipbook of Frasier's hairline receding - this one isn't just funny in the telling. The image of Niles being photographed, gurning, next to his painting actually makes for a good laugh. It may play against Comedic Writing 101, but didn't so much of this series?

Things end up with one of my favourite scenes from the entire series: the boys toasting Maris. Watching the first episodes of season 1, no-one could have foreseen the emotionally complex, admirably realistic, rarely black-and-white, gag-filled path the character would take us down. "The Ann Who Came to Dinner" isn't perfect, and someone more erudite than I could argue that the two plots needed their own episodes, but it's worth it. It's only fitting to leave us with Maris' final words on the series: "Stay black, Cell Block D."


Rating: 84%

 

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