Season 2, Episodes 19 and 20, “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Breaking the Ice”
Original airdates: Mar. 28, 1995 and Apr. 18, 1995
Simran: Let me start this new year with a declaration: I’m a fangirl.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already well aware of this fact.
That being said, Frasier Crane is a successful, intelligent, good-looking celebrity in the city of Seattle, so it’s no surprise that he would have his share of “fangirls” (and I’m sure a number of fanboys as well).
Typically, they just swoon over him in Cafe Nervosa or in an elevator. However, some take it a step further.
In the episode “Someone to Watch Over Me,” he has an excessively enthusiastic fan named Kari.
Her mysterious phone calls and her ability to leave things in Frasier’s personal belongings (and even in his home in one instance) come off as rather creepy.
Intruding into someone’s personal space in the name of being an “adoring fan” is a bit too much.
It’s true that Frasier may have gone a tad overboard when he thought Kari was out to kill him, but I can understand his fear of someone constantly monitoring his every move.
This fear, however, morphs into outright self-absorbed paranoia, and he starts to believe that nearly every woman he encounters is Kari, and that they’re all out to get him.
He even begins to suspect (thanks to Niles planting the seed) that his bodyguard, Cindy, is actually his stalker.
In an attempt to confront his stalker, he ends up with more than he bargained for in a parking garage.
That scene, by the way, is a bit of a nightmare scenario for me.
On a lighter note, the episode “Breaking the Ice” takes the Crane Men out of their comfort zone and into the wilderness for ice fishing.
I absolutely love this episode: the Crane brothers are out of their element, and the witty jabs they throw at each other (the “Sgt. Niles of the Yukon” line always makes me burst into laughter) make this episode truly delightful.
It mostly takes place in one location and relies heavily on clever dialogue.
Their feeble attempt at male bonding involves Niles’ battery-operated wardrobe, a bottle of Jim Beam (“Niles, Beam me up”), and lost car keys in a fishing hole.
This entire comedic scenario unfolds because Niles and Frasier yearn to hear their father say “I love you” to them.
This sentiment is evidently so significant to them that they brave the frozen wilderness of the Great Northwest, sipping Jim Beam from sherry glasses all along.
Sidant: Let’s start with a minor observation: in “Breaking The Ice,” the initial title card reads “Roz Doyle and the Temple of Doom.”
However, she goes on to describe the “giant ball,” which we all know was in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” not “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
If we can’t rely on these writers to get that right, what can we rely on them for?
“Breaking The Ice” struck a balance between a sweet center and some sharp humor.
It was interesting to see how far Frasier would go to hear Martin say “I love you,” how determined Niles was to create a similar connection with his brother and father, and how Martin attempted to conceal his true feelings behind a facade of masculinity.
The witty banter among the Crane men added to the episode’s charm.
The main conflict revolved around Frasier’s insecurity about Martin never having said “I love you” to him.
He comprehends the reasons behind Martin’s silence, and he logically knows that Martin does, in fact, love him.
However, as he points out, there is no more emotionally charged phrase in the English language than “I love you,” and never having heard his father utter those three words must be painful.
What Frasier fails to grasp is that Martin’s reticence is partly a two-way street; both Martin and Frasier have erected barriers between them.
When Daphne prodded Frasier to go ice fishing with Martin and Niles, Frasier’s pride prevented him from simply asking to join after he had adamantly expressed his reluctance to go.
He had to make a big fuss about reluctantly accepting, which probably doesn’t make it any easier for Martin to express his true feelings.
Adding to the complexity are the attitudes of the two brothers. Frasier spends the entire trip complaining through sarcastic comments, while Niles pretends to enjoy himself; one brother is making the situation miserable, while the other is not being honest.
It’s only when the Cranes drop their defenses and facades that they can finally connect as a family. The whiskey probably helped too.
Unlike you, I wasn’t surprised it took Frasier as long as it did to become paranoid. Fandom has a dark side.
From Mark David Chapman to Mary Margaret Ray to John Hinkley, Jr., there’s no shortage of obsessed fans who have committed terrible acts in the name of their infatuations.
On the other hand, it makes complete sense that Frasier would revel in the narcissistic glory of having a stranger obsessed with him due to his intelligence.
His paranoia was somewhat justified, as Kari’s note sounded rather threatening, but it did lead him to make some rather unwise decisions.
What were your thoughts on Frasier and Martin’s reactions to Frasier’s bodyguard not being a big guy named Rocko?
Simran: I’m not surprised at all by their reaction to the female bodyguard. Cindy is clearly capable of protecting someone, as evidenced by her immediate restraint of Bulldog with a Vulcan-like death grip.
Frasier is a big guy, so I imagine he’d prefer someone larger than him for physical protection.
I suppose big guys are often tasked with protecting individuals like Britney Spears who need to be physically imposing to deter potential threats.
In Frasier’s case, he isn’t swarmed by fans and doesn’t require a human shield. I suspect this is the type of bodyguard Frasier had in mind.
However, she inadvertently fueled his paranoia by being a woman and confessing to being a huge fan of his.
Overall, I didn’t take offense to it as a woman, but I would never try to sneak up on Cindy, regardless.
Regarding the Indiana Jones mix-up, if you refer back to last week’s episode, “You Scratch My Book…,” Frasier actually pilfered Honey’s book.
They left the bookstore without paying for it after speaking with Honey Snow. So, take that, writers! We’re onto you!
I truly appreciate that Frasier and Niles were willing to brave the wilderness in search of an “I love you” from their dad.
Hearing Martin say “I love you/ya” to Eddie and Duke made it so important for them to hear it too. Frasier believed it had something to do with him.
However, you’re correct: both men had constructed barriers between them, making it challenging for either to attempt a genuine emotional connection.
One noteworthy detail: did you notice how it all unfolded as they drank? Alcohol certainly worked its magic.
Sidant: I was trying to delve into what Frasier and Martin’s reaction to Cindy’s gender reveals about them.
Why would they be so surprised at the idea of a woman providing adequate protection?
The stereotypical bodyguard is a large man, but I would assume that Martin, having worked alongside female cops for decades, should know not to make assumptions based on gender.
(The only aspect of Cindy that made me question her competence was wearing heels for her job; what if she needed to chase after Frasier’s stalker?)
Frasier and Niles accompanying Martin on an ice fishing trip illustrates how much they’ve evolved since the series started.
In the third episode, they could barely tolerate a cheesy restaurant that Martin enjoyed.
Now, their relationship with Martin holds significant importance to his sons, and reciprocally, a strong connection with his sons means a lot to Martin.
While they still have their differences, they are gradually realizing that their lives have more meaning when they are together.
Simran: That’s an interesting point about Martin, as it raises a question: did he ever work alongside female police officers?
He never mentions one throughout the series.
I believe one of the few women he mentions in the force worked in dispatch.
And I’m glad you noticed the heels because I missed that initially.
Speaking from a woman’s perspective, I can confirm that it’s possible to run (well, more of a brisk walk) in heels, although certainly not at a full sprint.
Depending on the style of the shoe, they can indeed be used as weapons.
If I recall correctly, a stiletto was used as a deadly weapon in the movie Single White Female.
Another aspect to consider about Cindy is that we never see her with a firearm.
I would assume a bodyguard should have a license to carry a weapon, which would certainly balance the physical playing field.
The Crane men have engaged in a lot of bonding during this season with activities like ice fishing, a basketball game, and participating in things that Martin enjoys.
It speaks volumes about the two brothers’ adaptability and willingness to spend time with their father.