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Episode reviews for Episode 11.13 - The Ann Who Came To Dinner

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

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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%


One of the funniest Frasiers, Jul 08, 2012

Reviewer: Harriet Wilson from Dalls TX

I thought this episode was hilarious! Ann was so annoying(she's suppose to be)I'm sure she reminded many of us of that horrible someone we know. This is one of my favourite Frasier episodes...I also love the ones with BeBe

Rating: 100%


The Ann That Came To Dinner, Jan 18, 2009

Reviewer: Tom M from Cumbria, England

The main plot featuring the eternilly irratating Ann Hodges was mediocore, with only a handful of comedic moments; however, the Maris subplot was brilliant!

Rating: 80%


Niles Crane, Pan God v.s. The Ann That Came to Dinner, Oct 07, 2007

Reviewer: Teresa from Algonquin, IL, USA

Frasier's insurance agent, a lovelorn, Ann, has a mayo mishap in his kitchen and injures herself. In Frasier's typical fumbling and stumbling attempts to stop her from suing him, she mistakes his attention for love. While this situation is comical and amusing, I much preferred the secondary plot line involving Niles, his ex-wife Maris, and the funniest television prop ever created for a television series. Niles hears that Maris is selling off items from her estate to finance her legal defense for accidentally killing her lover. He decides this is the perfect opportunity to retrieve the portrait of him she had hanging in her bedroom to avoid embarassment. When the painting is revealed, it is of Niles as the Pan God -- a furry goat man. Things get complicated as they hear the news of Maris' disappearance and fear the worse. Naturally things go from bad to worse when hot on Maris' heels, they get pulled over by the cops. Let's just say that Niles the Pan God got more exposure than he ever bargained for.

True fans will love this episode, the writing, acting, and timing are perfection, but as lovers of Frasier, that is what we've come to expect!

Rating: 100%


Wrong Name, Nov 06, 2006

Reviewer: De Worde from UK

The core plot to this is not Frasier and Ann, but rather Maris' flight and "so that's what our child would look like if I was a goat." It would have been better to scale back Frasier's date to a reference, and focus entirely on Niles' final Maris Moments. That said, any ep with Maris not-quite-in-it is a brilliant episode.

Rating: 78%


'The Ann Who Came To Dinner' review, Nov 05, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A somewhat disjointed episode made up of two distinct plots, the main one which sees the unwelcome return of insurance agent Ann, whom Frasier had a disasterous date with in 'The Placeholder' and here has him panicking when she breaks her leg at his apartment, for which he hasn't renewed the insurance. This storyline does throw up some amusing moments - Ann slipping on some spilt mayonnaise in the kitchen off-camera; the sound of Ann's awful trumpet playing; Frasier on his knees, begging Ann not to sue him - but in the end I found Ann just too unsympathetic a character to care much about and Julia Sweeney's screechy voice is hard to bear at times. Much more enjoyable is the second plot which brings to an end the Maris storyline from earlier in the season when Maris attaches her electronic tag onto a painting which Niles wishes to get rid of, depicting him as Satyr - half man-half goat God of fornication (hilariously revealed towards the end!). It's great to see Irene Olga Lopez reviving her role as Marta after so many years and there's a particularly surreal visual joke where a hiding Maris is drinking her milkshake through a straw only to then regurgitate it back into the glass! The ending with Frasier, Niles and Martin giving a toast to Maris by drinking a tiny drop of wine each seems strangely apt, with the poignant sense of closure only serving to underline that the end of the series is now clearly in sight.

Rating: 76%