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Episode reviews for Episode 10.17 - Kenny On The Couch

Avg. Viewer Review: 74.0%
Number of Reviews: 3

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Therapy in the form of beer and fun, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Kenny has always been one of the least personable characters to recur on "Frasier'. Sure, that's partly deliberate but, in spite of Tom McGowan's excellent performance, it has sometimes seemed a surprise that Kenny is one of the longest-served characters on the show. "Kenny on the Couch" is not my favourite episode, although it's the second of the season to seriously analyse this character, after "Kissing Cousin". While I still think it would have been interesting if Kenny had followed his dreams in that episode, "Kenny on the Couch" suggests just how much a lack of change drives him. He's easily interested in giving up on self-analysis and on his problems, perfectly characterising that generation of men who almost don't know what to do after divorce, after leaving the stability of a predictable life. Interestingly, the episode's moral divides itself between two characters, with Kenny ultimately just needing to let himself have fun (the script acknowledges that Kenny needed to talk about his problems, but likely didn't have many lingering issues) and Frasier realising how much he has missed private practice (a development that sets up a fair amount of season 11). I'm very glad the series had this realisation, which again took 10 years give or take the occasional episode along the way. For a show that - at this point - intended to run for a while longer, it makes perfect sense to expand his life in this way, even if it would render KACL even more of an afterthought than it has been lately. McGowan has some great moments, particularly early in the episode as he struggles to get his wedding ring off and then falls apart on the doctor's couch. But the episode belongs to Martin and Frasier, whose argument about psychology is surprisingly serious - up until the beautifully-written final scene where Martin exposes Frasier's career as "an entire science devoted to Hitler and Sybil!"

The subplot with Alan Cumming as a yoga instructor feels quite tepid, but Cumming has fun with the different sides of his character, and David Hyde Pierce's "I broke my body" is an amusing little tie-up. All in all, this is a pleasant episode that explores some different sides of our characters. However, it doesn't leave a great impression on me, since the subplot is mild and the main plot splits its time between the characters without necessarily achieving much. Frasier's ultimate decision is credible and a good one, however the fact that Kenny's change is very minimal seems a shame after two episodes this season spending a lot of time on him. I appreciate the character more in this rewatch, but it seems like the writers are spinning their wheels, happy to keep him on the show but unsure of which direction to take him in.


Rating: 72%

 

KENNY ON THE COUCH, Dec 03, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


Earlier on this season, the writers had attempted to place Kenny into the centre of an episode in the form of the incredibly weak affair that was ‘Kissing Cousins’ but luckily this second effort to widen out Kenny’s character works a lot better, and although ‘Kenny on the Couch’ still isn’t among the finest episode of Frasier, it serves its purpose and brings Kenny into the limelight. I’ve always mildly enjoyed Tom McGowan as the somewhat hapless, overly generous KACL station manager Kenny Daily, but always found I preferred appearances from KACL staff members such as Gil Chesterton for example a lot more; and I think this episodes main weakness is actually the fact that it puts considerable emphasis and focus on Kenny’s character, because I just don’t think him that interesting to watch or that funny either; although this is not a reflection of Tom McGowan’s excellent performance. I just don’t think Kenny has got a very transferable personality or persona, and I find him hard to empathise with. Therefore although there were some nice moments and although I found this Kenny-based episode to be successful in essence, I found myself liking the scenes without Kenny much more.

I think ever since Frasier was fired at the end of Season 5 in ‘Sweet Dreams’ (which ironically was the first episode to feature Kenny), it has been somewhat of a rarity to have a humorous edition of Frasier’s talk show, as I have found the majority of the caller’s problems and the scenes set in Frasier’s radio booth to be a bit disappointing from Season 6 onwards. Not only is there little ground to cover left with listeners problems, but also the scenes at KACL seem fewer and fewer in the later seasons, so it was nice to have a funny opening scene, with a caller trying to juggle working in a catalogue store and getting her problem addressed by Frasier, only for Roz to start asking the caller about a cashmere sweater. The episode soon evolves to encompass Kenny, and his initial joy, then impending misery at the finalisation of his divorce, which Frasier grudgingly agrees to help him get over by giving him twice-weekly therapy sessions. I thought the first scene, where Kenny was laid sprawled out on the couch weeping about the time when his father ‘accidentally’ capsized the Checkers board the one occasion Kenny was winning, and how his mother was there with an extra slice of cake, very funny indeed, but found that the episode soon descended in quality. It transpired that Martin was hiding in the kitchen, afraid and affronted by Kenny’s display of emotion; but then he and Kenny go to McGinty’s for a drink, and Kenny terminates his therapy sessions claiming to feel a lot better.

It was somewhat predictable that Frasier would take offence at Martin’s interference and feel that Kenny was still in need of counselling. There are some nice moments peppered throughout the second half, most noticeably when Martin and Kenny come into Café Nervosa (or Party Hearty Marty and Sir. Shots-a-lot respectively). It was funny when Martin protested that he just wanted to show Kenny a good time, only for Frasier to snap: ‘I am not trying to make him happy. I am trying to cure his depression!’. The final scene in McGinty’s is also nicely played out between Frasier and Martin, as Frasier demands to know why his father thinks psychiatry and therapy are ‘mumbo jumbo’ before asking him who, in his opinion needs therapy; for Martin to reply ‘Hitler!’ The episode concludes nicely with Kenny getting a date, only it turning out to be a premeditated mugging plot, and him agreeing, under Martin’s advice, to continue the therapy sessions with Frasier, who is yearning to see more patients anyway.

The subplot involving Niles and Daphne didn’t work for me I’m afraid, although I liked the guest appearance by Alan Cunning’s as the yoga teacher. I liked how he spoke to Niles and Daphne in a very controlled, mellow and relaxing tone, but when his mother phones during the sessions, he adopts a completely different method of speaking! My problem with the fact that Niles and Daphne are now married is that the writers always seem to pair up these two for a subplot, and as a result the banter, rivalry and interaction between Frasier and Niles, which works much better is almost completely dispensed with. It also means that David Hyde Pierce gets pushed to the side a lot and doesn’t feature in the main story, which means that he doesn’t get the opportunity he deserves to show off his comedic talent. In conclusion then, this episode is a mixed bag of highs and lows, but even with a handful of funny moments and good quotes, I feel that this episode is only average at best. Having said that, this is a far superior episode to ‘Kissing Cousins’ and although Kenny doesn’t completely work for me as a character, it was a brave attempt to thrust him into the spotlight of this episode.


Rating: 72%

 

'Kenny On The Couch' review, Oct 14, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


Pushing Kenny into the spotlight failed miserably in 'Kissing Cousins' but proves rather more successful here in an episode which features some highly enjoyable competitiveness between Frasier and Martin, as Frasier decides to help counsel Kenny over his divorce but is left fuming when Martin takes over with his own brand of therapy - 'beer and fun!'. A competetive streak also informs the Niles/Daphne subplot with the pair being taught yoga (with Alan Cummings giving an amusing performance as the instructor) - pretty inconsequential on the whole but it does reach a very funny conclusion when Niles needs to go to the hospital, having 'broken his body'. The final scene featuring a showdown between Frasier and Martin is the highlight here, with Martin telling his son that just two people in history would have benefitted from psychiatry - Hitler and Sybil! - leading to a priceless reaction from a fuming Frasier. In a nice bit of continuity, Frasier's wish to return to private practice would finally reach fruition in the final season, which would also feature actress Laura Linney in a pivotal role - unlike here where she has to make do with an anonymous guest caller spot.


Rating: 78%