Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18, “Daphne’s Room” and “The Club”
Original Airdates: Feb. 28, 1995 and Mar. 21, 1995
Sidant: Frasier consistently grapples with the concept of status.
In the third episode, Martin calls out Frasier and Niles, branding them as classless snobs who disdain those of lower social standing.
Much of the humor arises from the contrast between the elitist brothers and their more down-to-earth, blue-collar father and friends.
The theme of status takes center stage in “The Club,” and while not as overt, it’s still a significant element in “Daphne’s Room.”
I’ve previously expressed my view that Frasier and Niles exhibit snobbish behaviors because they believe it’s how people with refined tastes should behave.
“The Club” provides ample evidence of this. The episode revolves around Frasier and Niles’ quest for membership in an exclusive Seattle club.
Although the club’s role or purpose remains somewhat mysterious, it seems to be a place where men (though not explicitly stated, it appears to be a men-only club) can establish power and escape from their spouses and the “common folk.”
Frasier seems more excited about the club’s amenities than the people it hosts. He doesn’t know any current members, so he has no acquaintances to socialize with there.
Moreover, he struggles to connect with the other club members.
However, the allure lies in the soft leather chairs, a private dining area, a planetarium, and an impressive selection of beverages.
Niles’ feelings are somewhat ambiguous—when Roz tells him that he’d fit in with the greedy, arrogant elite who disregard ordinary people, he doesn’t interpret it as the intended insult.
On the other hand, when he visits the club to confront the members for rejecting him, his words appear to contain more than just wounded pride; there might be some truth to them.
Both Frasier and Niles aspire to become members because it’s exclusive, and belonging to an exclusive club aligns with the behaviors of high-class individuals.
In “Daphne’s Room,” the issues related to status revolve around women in general and Daphne’s status within the Crane household.
When Frasier enters Daphne’s room without her consent to retrieve a book, she feels violated and affronted by the intrusion of her privacy.
She perceives Frasier as viewing her solely as a servant with no right to privacy.
In contrast, Martin attempts to explain to Frasier that men and women have different approaches to privacy.
While Frasier shows more sympathy toward Daphne’s viewpoint than Martin’s, his ultimate solution to the problem is to buy her silence.
This action appears to reinforce her lower status, suggesting that she requires financial assistance and is willing to endure privacy violations in exchange for money.
Kriti: Two of my favorite episodes. These are undeniably hilarious and filled with snobbery.
In “Daphne’s Room,” I feel that Frasier’s curiosity got the best of him when he entered to retrieve his book.
It’s akin to the stories of guests peeking into your medicine cabinets when they use your bathroom.
Frasier seemed to be doing just that: initially innocent, but then he lost his composure (and his manners) as he began snooping around Daphne’s room after finding his book.
Would I be upset if someone entered my room without permission? Absolutely, but I’m an extremely private person.
Growing up as an only child, since my brother is significantly older than me, I’m not accustomed to having people invade my personal space.
I live alone now, and I’ve had roommates with multiple siblings whose notion of ownership was rather flexible, which didn’t sit well with me (no, you can’t use my $150 hair straightener without my permission).
Personal space is a significant concern, especially for Daphne, who grew up with her eight brothers and now resides in a house with two men.
Frasier exacerbated the situation when he got stuck in Daphne’s room just as she was about to undress for a shower.
I don’t believe Frasier intended to offer Daphne money (or a newly decorated bedroom and a new car) to reinforce her role as a servant.
Consider Niles: Maris is wealthy, yet he bought her a Mercedes.
I don’t think either of the Crane men was “bribing” the women in their lives. They made gestures, albeit rather expensive ones.
The rivalry between Niles and Frasier over membership in the Empire Club is somewhat perplexing to me.
I say this because I don’t comprehend the desire to join an exclusive club where you must strive to impress people who need to accept you into their inner circle.
Nevertheless, watching them compete in front of the club members (Niles being young, fit, and in love with an anarchist, after all) was tremendously enjoyable.
Sidant: I consider Niles’ and Frasier’s “gestures” as bribes because they opted for the path of least resistance rather than putting in the effort to nurture their relationships.
In the case of Maris, this approach makes sense, given her shallowness and materialistic nature, leaving little room for building a genuine connection.
However, when it comes to Frasier and Daphne, their relationship transcends the typical employer-employee dynamic.
Despite Frasier’s occasional mockery of Daphne’s psychic abilities (which have gradually faded from mention) and Daphne’s playful jabs at Frasier’s pomposity, they genuinely like each other and derive enjoyment from each other’s company.
The first time Frasier entered her room, he had a semi-valid reason for going in, although his decision to stay and snoop was questionable.
On his next visit, he opted not to admit his mistake and instead sneaked back into her room. During his third visit, he was attempting to avert a disaster.
Rather than simply throwing money at the problem, he could have tried having an open conversation with Daphne about his intentions, acknowledging his errors, and expressing his understanding of her perspective.
The allure of the exclusive club lies in its symbolic representation.
Similar to a Mercedes or a Rolex, the power resides in the symbol itself, not the tangible benefits it offers.
Frasier and Niles aspire to be able to proclaim their membership in the Empire Club.
Their goal isn’t to visit the club to socialize with friends; they desire it as a means to be acknowledged by the “right people.”
This is precisely why the brothers fiercely compete to secure admission.
It’s insufficient for them to attend as their brother’s guests; they strive to become the actual members, the ones who possess prestige.
Kriti: By the third time Frasier entered Daphne’s room, along with Niles, Martin, and Eddie, words seemed inadequate.
No matter how much he explained, it felt like there were no English words that could justify his actions.
It became even more perplexing why he ventured into her room and why Niles followed suit.
For once, I find myself aligned with the “Weird Niles” perspective; discovering that a man was interested in me and had been in my home without my consent would genuinely creep me out.
Regarding your point about Daphne’s threat to leave and the potential appearance of a bribe, I concur that a simple “I’m sorry” wouldn’t suffice, although a car seems excessive.
In the case of “The Club,” I understand the allure of exclusivity, but I’m left questioning what the Brothers Crane hoped to gain from their membership.
In a tenth-season episode titled “Roe to Perdition,” Frasier and Niles receive compensation for subpar caviar in the form of opera tickets and lavish parties.
I assume this mirrors the appeal of the Empire Club: the acquisition of material possessions and power.
However, from my perspective, I can’t help but think, “Who cares?” They already possess substantial wealth and prestige; why do they need this club, which essentially pits them against each other?
Sidant: Welcome to Camp Weird Niles. We’re a group with mixed feelings.
(He’s frequently quite humorous, and his antics often involve slapstick humor, earning him playful mockery from Frasier and Martin.
However, his eccentricity can be a bit much at times.
For instance, he once asked Frasier to sketch Daphne in the nude to see if she resembled his idealized image of her.)
The pursuit of material possessions and power holds significant importance for many individuals in the upper class.
This is precisely why Frasier and Niles desire membership in the Empire Club.
What they currently possess is never sufficient, and they are continually seeking the next level, that older, more exclusive port that remains just out of reach.
The Empire Club serves as a gathering place for the most influential individuals who come together to network and do favors for one another.
While Frasier and Niles likely wish to utilize these connections to boost their own importance, numerous opportunities abound.
Consider the circumstances that led to only one membership becoming available: a member was reinstated after being cleared of extensive white-collar crime.
When Frasier asserted the man’s innocence, the individual he spoke to made it evident that he was, in fact, guilty, and everyone was aware of it.
Nevertheless, the club reinstated his membership. His guilt is irrelevant; he is considered an “important” figure.
One might expect Frasier, with his unwavering ethics, to sever ties with the club. However, its allure proves irresistible.
When no one is around, Frasier bangs out Little Richard on the piano.
Frasier was trapped in the closet long before R. Kelly.
Niles was young, firm, and in love with an anarchist.