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Episode reviews for Episode 10.09 - Don't Go Breaking My Heart (3)

Avg. Viewer Review: 77.7%
Number of Reviews: 3

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I got shot by a gun, and you ate a bunch of cheese, May 25, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


A neat little episode that rounds off an unusual arc for the series. Niles' health problems leapt out of nowhere and destabilised the very ground the series is based in, delivering us a couple of episodes that are almost "bottle" shows: focusing exclusively on the core cast. While they retain the autumnal feel of season 9 (which I think has otherwise dissipated throughout season 10), they've allowed the writers to explore new facets of the characters. I honestly think part of this grew out of a desire to avoid the creative fatigue that set in in the latter third of seasons 8 and 9 (and even occasionally season 7). For the writers, it was another challenge, while it was also a chance to reward the actors who, I believe, had just signed on for this season and two more years (that wouldn't actually eventuate). This was also a season filmed very much out of order, which admittedly was partly due to issues with some episodes (like the upcoming "Door Jam") and partly due to casting requirements for recurring cast members like Bebe Neuwirth, Millicent Martin, and (soon) Felicity Huffman. Still, I think it was partly because the network was pondering ways to keep the series vital, and playing around with the airing order much more than they had usually done. (Not that "Frasier" generally requires strict attention to production codes, but it's still an indicator of the network's nosy interest in how the series was doing in the ratings.)

Like the previous two episodes, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is another stellar character piece. Niles and Daphne by now have an effortless chemistry which plays well here, leading to a cute finale. Niles and Martin have an intensely beautiful scene toward the end that helps to cap off the entire arc but also reminds us just how beautifully drawn the character interactions have been. And it's another bravura episode for Gertrude Moon, a character disliked among fans for a small number of episodes in which she is written as a harpy, but who actually provdes a fair dose of humour and insight over the course of the series. (For the most part.) I'm not 100% convinced about Frasier's pact with God, largely because I've never seen Frasier or Niles as believers in religion. Still, any port in a storm, I suppose, and the fact that his religious logic is so spurious (likening it to a double booking) as well as his need to identify himself each time he prays, suggests that we're not supposed to take his belief seriously, so much as his misplaced desire for Niles' healthy recovery.

But the other thing about Frasier's pact is that it restores the comedy to the character episode. I'm not as down on seasons 8 and 9 as others, but it's certainly true that those seasons often sacrificed comedy in their meatier episodes, which was something that early character pieces like "Moon Dance" managed to intertwine. It's still not a laugh riot, but I enjoy Niles' addiction to soap operas, and the various interactions throughout. Some of the 'soysage' humour is a little '90s (perhaps out of date even by the time this aired?) but it's good to know that Daphne's brother Billy has finally come out. "Well, sharing a cell helped." A solid wrap-up to an intriguingly placed arc.


Rating: 79%

 

DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART, Nov 13, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


I was very pleased to see that the grim and rather melancholy atmosphere of the previous episode had all but gone, and that the ‘Niles heart surgery’ story arc was able to conclude, in this the third episode in the saga, in a very funny and humorous manner. Although I still think that this episode had several noticeable flaws, it manages to remain constantly entertaining throughout, but do feel that it fits into the predictability niche that the previous two episode of this arc fell into, and felt that much of the events in this episode were very obvious, and as a result I felt this episode was missing something. It was nice to have Niles back, out of bed and recovering from his operation, although his character changes tremendously in this episode, which (along with Frasier’s reactions to his brother’s new found optimism) are probably the highlights of this episode for me. The first lines were very funny actually in this episode, when Roz inquires about Niles surprise party and if they should turn the lights out and jump out on him – Frasier replies: ‘Yes, let’s startle a man who’s just had open heart surgery!’

The episode zips along at a rather lively pace and the best parts were Frasier’s difficult restraints from bickering or cursing his brother, due to the fact that he made a pact with God that if Niles pulled through, Frasier wouldn’t shout or quarrel with his brother. This threw up some really good scenes, most noticeably when Frasier is doing his KACL talk show, and Niles calls in to explain to a patient who feels he never expressed his love to a deceased relative that (having looked death in the face himself) the deceased person would know how the caller felt. Frasier’s reaction to Niles’ advice is hilarious, as he senselessly beats an inflatable clown punch bag, which demonstrates some great physical comedy. Frasier however soon realises that Daphne also made a pact with God regarding Niles operation (before he did, mind!) and decides that his pledged vow no longer counts and he feels justified to ‘shout’ at his brother! The scene in the elevator where Frasier mulls this problem over with God works well, and although this plotline is somewhat of a strange road to embark upon, I think this episode just about pulled it off.

Elsewhere we get another appearance from Mrs Moon, and although she’s not half as annoying as she was during her appearances in Season 9, her bossy character still grates on me. Martin and Niles heart-to-heart (pardon the pun) was nicely executed, with both father and son discussing their brushes with death, and Martin explaining to his son the best way to handle it. This pulls the strings of the episode together nicely, because just as Frasier arrives all worked up and ready for a blazing argument with his brother, Niles has decided to revert back to his previous way of life, which makes Frasier’s argument very baseless and sees Frasier feeling most annoyed – at God?

So in conclusion then, this episode proved a much-needed tonic for the deeply depressing events on ‘Rooms with a View’ and managed to pull off a rather funny little episode, that rounds off this story arc (which I definitely think has run its course now) in a reasonably funny way. Although I still don’t think the Niles heart surgery episodes have been among the show’s finest drama based episodes, but they have made for interesting, somewhat humorous and at times rather emotional episodes, that the writers and actors (particularly) pulled off with aplomb and dignity.


Rating: 75%

 

'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' review, Oct 06, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


The final and most humourous part of the heart surgery trilogy makes for some welcome light relief after the events of the previous episode. With Frasier having made a pact with God that he would never argue with Niles again if his brother pulled through the operation, the episode sees Frasier's patience tested to the full when he's constantly confronted by Niles' insufferable behaviour, as he can't stop talking of his near-death experience. The funniest of these moments comes when Niles keeps on phoning into Frasier's radio show, causing Frasier to use an inflatable clown as a punch bag! I also liked Martin putting his son's brush with death into perspective ('You ate a bunch of cheese!') by comparing it to his having been shot in the hip, which is followed by a great scene outside the elevator where Niles thwarts Frasier's attempt to finally tell his brother what he thinks of him. The ending is also very amusing with Daphne dressed as 'Nurse Naughty' and a screaming Niles accidentally jumping into bed with Mrs Moon. Overall, these three episodes have proved well written and performed, although I can't help wondering what the producers' intentions behind this storyline were, as it would have no bearing on any future episodes in the series.


Rating: 79%