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Episode reviews for Episode 5.09 - Perspectives On Christmas

Avg. Viewer Review: 90.7%
Number of Reviews: 7

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What are you, twenty?, May 11, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

I have to agree with the previous poster that this episode didn't strictly need its experimental structure. Having the five stories intertwined would've been just as enjoyable a script. But I can't say I'm complaining.

Martin's is perhaps the least of the tales, with the singing scene (one of a number of classic Crane trios) coming across as a bit twee. I guess it makes sense seeing the brothers from Martin's perspective though!

David Hyde Pierce has an isolated little tale mostly set in an elevator, where recurring co-star Brooks Almy has good fun, and he gets to indulge in some amusing physical humour.

Daphne's sequence is rather one-note, but I have to say it gets met every time. Martin gets a great number of unintended double entendres, and the moment where Daphne realises what is going on leads to an hysterical argument. Daphne and Martin have such a fun relationship of equals that it's always grand to see them going at each other.

Roz's storyline is my personal favourite, as Frasier unknowingly breaks the pregnancy news to her mother. The Nervosa sequence is perfectly modulated, with Gilpin and Grammer playing so well off of each other. And Roz's breakdown in the Santa display is one of the series' highlights in my mind. A great season for Gilpin all around.

It's ultimately a really pleasing little episode, tied together by Frasier's attempts to provide the perfect gift for each of his four closest Seattleites. (And their reaction to this gift? Priceless.)

Rating: 95%


Perspectives on Christmas, May 14, 2010

Reviewer: Norm, Jr. from Somewhere, CA

Unusual offering showcases a "re-telling" device of how certain events became misconstrued by Daphne, and Martin's involvement in a Christmas play. There's plenty of the customary Frasier "backfire" laughs as information leaked and the best laid plans don't work out, but the use of a flashback narrative distracted me somewhat. Only Niles and Daphne's viewpoints are seen, and it's not even featured until about midway into the ep. I don't know if this was to pad the ep, or the writers were in experimentation mode, but it really wasn't needed. Daphne remembering Frasier saying "We're fine" differently than Niles did, or Niles misadventure in an elevator, could've been told straightforward and been just as amusing. Instead we're given a backtracking motif that could've been omitted. Eh, I'm nitpicking. Watch and enjoy.

Rating: 90%


yes, great, Nov 16, 2007

Reviewer: Brenda from Oregon, USA

I really like this episode, seeing all of the different perspectives and how things can be taken wrong and everything that perpetuates misunderstandings. Poor Roz... They all do such an excellent job. I love this acting team!

Rating: 85%


Stage business, Nov 02, 2006

Reviewer: Emeline from Emporia, KS

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this episode, to me, is David Hyde Pierce's stage business at the beginning of the episode. When he takes Daphne's coat from Martin's perspective, you can see him sniff her coat subtly in the background before hanging it up. From Daphne's perspective, he just hangs up the coat. DHP's subtle touches really make Niles come alive.

Rating: 91%


Review for 'Perspectives On Christmas', Feb 14, 2006

Reviewer: Nick from North Wales, U.K.

An excellent instalment that is simultaneously ingenious and very funny. Each of the cast members recounts their experiences of Christmas as they have a massage and it's interesting to see their misinterpretations of the same events. The highlight of the episode must surely be Niles and Frasier attempting to teach Martin how to sing and once again it's nice to see Frasier put his foot in it by divulging to Roz's mum that Roz is pregnant. The show ends cleverly as well by revealing that after struggling to find the right gifts Frasier settles for Massages all round.

Rating: 90%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

In my humble opinion Christopher Lloyd is the best author on the Frasier writing staff, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Christmassy television, so you can probably guess why ‘Perspectives on Christmas’ appeals to me so much and why it ranks as one of my ten favourite episodes of Frasier ever. Frasier is renowned for having a very sophisticated and intelligent comedic content, and this Season 5 classic demonstrates both of the qualities written above, because this episode is really cleverly put together. The structure is genius and works really effectively, with four different viewpoints on the same Christmas holiday from Martin, Daphne, Niles and Roz respectfully. The reason this formula is so funny is because each character interoperates things in a different way, and therefore certain lines, gestures, etc mean totally contrasting things to different characters.

The first segment focuses on Martin, as well as setting up some plot points for the second segment, such as Martin coughing in disgust when Frasier puts paprika in his eggnog. The main theme addressed in this plot is Martin’s battle with a fiendishly difficult song he has to sing, because he’s agreed to play a Wise Man at a Christmas pagent and he is scared he’ll embarrass himself. For some reason I tend to get terribly excited when there’s singing involved, and Kelsey Grammer gets a chance to flex his musical muscles here; although poor Eddie is reduced to burying his head amongst the cushions at Martin’s terrible delivery of ‘Divine’ at the climax of ‘O, Holy Night’. There are some great moments in this scene, such as Niles and Frasier occupying different ends of the musical scale, one going up and one going down and Niles theory that Martin’s problem is purely psychological, which leads to lots of hysterical encouragement from his sons, only for Martin to still mess up the ‘Divine’ part of the song. Great festive fun.

The second segment works on a farcical level, and all the seemingly irrelevant plot-points established by Martin’s segment are given hilarious meanings, as Daphne believes that Martin is dying, hence the reason he has been going to church a lot, because she is unaware of the Christmas pagent. There is also a great moment here when Daphne confides her suspicions with Niles, who uses it as an excuse to give her a hug… twice. Martin’s spluttering and coughing fit caused by the paprika-eggnog seems to prove to Daphne that her worst fears are true, and these worries are only enhanced by Frasier assuring her, in sombre tones that everything is ‘fine’. What follows is a string of brilliant double meanings that only serve as further proof that Martin is dying such as (regarding the pagent) ‘What am I supposed to say when I see Jesus’ the first time?’ and after Daphne gives Martin an early Christmas present in the form of a sweater: ‘I can die a happy man now!’ There are loads more really funny moments like this, and the segment ends with the two engaging in a blazing row.

The third segment opens with Niles daydreaming about Daphne – only to be woken up to recount the disastrous events of Christmas. David Hyde Pierce gets the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to perform physical comedy, as he climbs up a Christmas tree in order to open the elevator, which has jammed. There are a strange assortment of people in the elevator, most noticeably a deeply neurotic and pessimistic man who informs everybody that it won’t be long until they run out of oxygen! This segment works so well, because it leads on brilliantly to the last segment, and really the whole episode is just so brilliantly written and structured; hence the various links, such as Niles’ suit for example. Although I find this the weakest of the four stories, it’s still really funny, particularly Niles crawling out the elevator soaked in grease.

The fourth segment sees Frasier put his foot in it when he accidentally tells Roz’s mother that her daughter is pregnant, unbeknown to him that Roz hasn’t yet told her. There is a great scene here where Frasier and Roz (dressed as Santa and Mrs Claus) have a fierce confrontation in the grotto, and I love the harsh way Roz treats all the little children – ‘beat it!’ The episode ends with the family all deeply depressed and arguing (as well as Martin’s tragic recollection of how Eddie ruined the pagent and was chased by the citizens of Bethlehem) and Frasier finally announcing his gift to the family; for he intends to sit them down and tell them how much they mean to him. I loved their unimpressed reactions, only for Frasier to suggest massages, which cheers everyone up immensely and rounds off this merry festive affair on a gloriously funny note. This is an episode I find I can watch any time of the year; and it’s so cleverly written and tightly plotted that there are jokes you appreciate more on repeated viewing. One of my favourite episodes!

Rating: 94%


'Perspectives On Christmas' review, Jun 24, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A brilliantly clever episode which shows four different accounts of the same period leading up to Christmas, as recounted by Martin, Daphne, Niles and Roz whilst having massages. Each story is highly entertaining in it's own right; Frasier and Niles helping their dad rehearse for his appearance in the Christmas pageant is a joy as Martin tries in vain to hit a particularly high note while Daphne misintepreting Martin's preparations for his performance as a sign he's about to die gives Christopher Lloyd an opportunity for misunderstandings galore. Niles' escapades in the stuck lift are also very funny while Roz's turn as a foul-tempered Mrs. Claus is also good value, as she fumes about Frasier having let slip about her pregnancy to her mother. But it's the way the stories manage to reference each other, often returning to the same point in time, that makes this episode such a special one with the closing scene bringing the episode full circle as Frasier offers everyone the gift of a massage. Superbly constructed and certainly the finest Christmas episode the show has ever done.

Rating: 90%