By Ashley Amon and Andrew Daar
Season 2, Episodes 15 and 16: “You Scratch My Book…” and “The Show Where Sam Shows Up”
Original airdates: Feb. 14, 1995 and Feb. 21, 1995
Ashley: It’s amazing how sex can be an effective motivator for some and for others be more of a compulsion. This week’s Frasier episodes are pretty much entirely about sex and they both include Frasier. “You Scratch My Book…” includes Shannon Tweed as Dr. Honey Snow, a pop psychologist who has the power to make Frasier purr. Meanwhile, we get to see Ted Danson make a cameo as Sam Malone and Tea Leoni as his (similarly sexually compulsive) fiance in “The Show Where Sam Shows Up”.
Frasier takes his psychiatric abilities seriously and one would think nothing (and no one) could get in the way of that. Unless of course it’s Dr. Honey Snow, an intelligent and beautiful psychologist who writes books Frasier hates at a professional level. Watching Frasier nearly throw his ethics under the rug to ensure any form of sexual congress with this woman was incredibly fun to watch. He tried to get around writing the forward to Honey’s book, agreed to do it, couldn’t commit to its legitimacy (her advice sounds awful, by the way), and finally feels ethically compelled to tell her he can’t write it. And it seems to work for a second actually.
Niles on the other hand, and I’m so looking forward to your viewpoint on this, has a similar problem with Daphne. Having taken a chunk of Daphne’s savings on her behalf for investing purposes (and then losing all of it), Niles takes to lying to Daphne that the stock she purchased doubles. And she showers Niles with affection at the sight of the dividend. This sends the two brothers into an argument about who is actually in the wrong.
In “The Show Where Sam Shows Up”, Sam arrives in Seattle under the ruse that the Mariners are trying to recruit him as a pitching coach (I love the jabs at how awful the Mariners are). I liked watching Sam and Frasier interact when it came to lying to women. That seems like an odd statement but the two of them had a system: while on the phone Sam would hold up fingers in a numerical value which denoted which horrible lie to tell to the woman on the phone. Then, Frasier panics and lies to Sam about sleeping with his fiance, Sheila (Leoni).
Sadly, due to my lack of watching a majority of Cheers, my knowledge of Sam’s dalliances are pretty minimal. I just know he’s a charmer, he was with Diane and Rebecca, and he was a former baseball player. I didn’t realize he was a sexual compulsive in group therapy. Knowing that you haven’t seen that much of Cheers yourself, Andrew, did you know this about Sam? He’s a lothario, sure, but I wasn’t aware he was actually diagnosed with a legitimate addiction to sex.
Andrew: I don’t know if Sam was diagnosed on Cheers as a sexual compulsive, but he certainly a player. His little black book was full to bursting, and he was an incorrigible flirt. He is good looking and used to play baseball, so he never had to try very hard to get what he wanted with women. The idea that he might get married is so shocking because he could never commit to just one woman. Not even to Diane Chambers, a woman he supposedly loved.
I really enjoy “The Show Where Sam Comes Back”; Frasier’s line reading of “WELL BLOW ME DOWN,” a phrase I would never have associated with Frasier, alone is enough to make me love the episode. Even though I didn’t watch a lot of Cheers, the references are great (that Sheila sleeping with Cliff is Sam’s dealbreaker is wonderful), and it has fun lampshading some of the discrepancies that resulted when certain Frasier characters were created. Frasier has some fun finding ways to explain away the fact that Frasier told Sam that his father was a deceased research scientist and that he was an only child. But the episode also does a great job pointing out Sam’s fundamental sadness: he has such a hard time making connections with people. When Frasier questions him about Sheila, he says he was supposed to marry her the day before in a tone most people would use to apologize for missing a movie showtime.
Really though, many of the characters on this series have trouble relating to the opposite sex. While watching Frasier again for these reviews, I still find it very funny, but a bit troubling. Just look at “You Scratch My Book…” Frasier initially wants nothing to do with Honey Snow (what’s her doctorate in by the way?), distancing himself from her psychiatric drivel. It isn’t until he learns that she’s a knockout that he wants to be in the same room as her. Frasier, who seemingly values intelligence, ethics, and proper psychiatry, throws all that out the window to have the chance at having sex with her. And really, that’s pretty much all he’s after. When he realizes he can’t in good conscience write the foreword, he laments that he’ll never get to sleep with a combination of attractive body parts. Seriously, he lists off her attractive features, rather than expressing longing for who Honey is.
In the same episode, as you pointed out, Niles is willing to lie to Daphne about stock prices and pay her out of pocket to keep her happy. While this is no doubt disturbing and indicative of Niles’ inability to engage properly with someone he is attracted to (if he truly respected her, he would be honest), I’m going to surprise you by saying that I enjoyed the subplot. It was so ridiculous and clearly was meant to show how pathetic Niles can be. Furthermore, Frasier’s method of putting a stop to the shenanigans was great. Either Niles can admit the truth, or he can keep up the ruse and pay Frasier tens of thousands of dollars as a result.
Ashley: I believe Honey’s doctorate is in psychology, sort of a precursor to Dr. Phil. Frasier does put Honey on a pedastle and yes, laments at the chance to “sleep with absolute perfection”. I don’t think he was interested in dating her for the long term. Can you imagine if for whatever reason they managed to forge a true relationship? What on earth would they talk about? All the Crane men thought she was a looker and Martin couldn’t even form full sentences when she spoke to him (kind of like Daphne with Sam).
It’s good to hear that you enjoyed Niles’ little subplot with Daphne’s failing stocks. His “Walt Disney version” of the oldest profession, paying a woman for physical affection, was so much fun to watch. For one, Daphne loved her new fortune and pranced around in a coat and Niles did look happy when she was. Secondly, when it gets out of hand Frasier involves himself and Martin does as well. But yes, Niles was totally pathetic and would rather pay off Frasier than disappoint Daphne.
Sam’s womanizing ways seemed a little inflated, but I see why it was for the sake of comedy. Like you said he’s charming and his past as a former pro-athlete appeals to some. He whispers something to Niles about using a car battery and whipped cream to put a smile on Maris’ face (still rolling that around in my head as to how those two things work together) and watching him interacting with Roz was great. How those two didn’t realize they were soulmates is beyond me. His attempt to get married is admirable, but once he admits to Sheila that he slipped several times during their relationship and stands her up the day of their wedding, he just seems a little ridiculous to me, and rather cold.
It also struck me as odd that Frasier, for all his ethics and inability to lie, was able to keep it to himself that he slept with Sheila.
Andrew: My favorite part about Frasier sleeping with Sheila is that, while she also bedded Cliff Clavin, Frasier was her rock bottom.
I am by no means a Cheers expert, but Sam’s characterization seemed overly simplified. He was always a Casanova on Cheers, but like you alluded to, he was all about sex in this episode. To the point that it was hard to see how Frasier could be his friend, as there was little else about him. He was friendly, but everything he did or said was filtered through his sexual compulsion.