Friday, May 16, 2008

FRASIER: Room Service

David Isaacs and I wrote seven episodes of FRASIER. This is my favorite -- "Room Service". And this is my favorite scene. Directed by David Lee and featuring Bebe Neuwirth, David Hyde Pierce, Kelsey Grammer, and a superb cameo by John Ducey as the waiter.

30 comments:

Ben in Melbourne said...

It is mine, too Ken. You were at perfect pitch when you wrote that. Also, what a coincidence, I was just thinking of sticking on the dvd of this when I saw this post!

A question: what makes just this bit a scene? The hotel room shenanigans went on for longer, and there was no transition in time. Shouldn't all of that be the same scene?

Robert Konigsberg said...

The world's largest bathroom.

Ken's Damn Friend said...

"My God!"

"My goddess!"

The four funniest words ever delivered.

Gnasche said...

"in Arkansas"? I guess I just don't care for the stereotype, even though I've never even been to Arkansas. Specifics are better, although I can't think of an appropriate one for that. I guess I would have gone with "on General Hospital", or something.

The rest of it was great.

Nat G said...

This is the episode that I point to when trying to describe the sitcom form at its best, because not only is there plenty of fine ha-ha in this episode, by the metric ton in fact, there is also some really seriously great depiction of humanity.

Great writing, an amazing comedic acting team running lock clockwork... and oh yes, one of the few reminders we had over the years that Lilith has some serious gams.

Anonymous said...

Lilith would never sleep with Niles in a million years! What character assassination.

ShowPerson said...

I love the ep and that scene - one of my very favourite!

What did that wonderful waiter go on to do?

Show Person: the DHP Forum

James said...

I'M IN A BATHROBE YOU JACKASS!!!

I'm not a big fan of Fraiser, but that line made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite Frasier episodes and this scene is a wonderful payoff for all that's come before. But, you cut it off before my favorite lines. I can't remember in its entirety, but Niles gives *his* psychological analysis of what happened - something about persons tortured by huge super-egos finding their ids. "Call me an old softy, but that's how I see it," - I love that line, no doubt partly because of the way DHP delivers it.

And John Ducey is wonderful.

Judith

Sebastian said...

Damn it you turned me into a fanboy geek today.

This is my all time favorite episode of Frasier. I hate you. Before I was just enjoying the great posts, knowing you wrote some (to me) unknown episodes of Frasier. Now I have proof that you are one of the reasons why I love(d) Frasier so much.

:-)

Only Roz' big-nosed in-laws and the exploding foam in the guest bathroom come close to this one here.

A. Buck Short said...

The best terlet flush timing since All in the Family.

I did have that feeling about the size of the bathroom, but then, since the room apparently came with at least three robes (assuming Newirth hadn’t brought her own), I just accepted it was the West Hollywood equivalent of one of our Texas polygamous compounds. The razorback slur may yet have become the accepted tired stereotype in the rest of the nation. I’m guessing it was the late 1990’s, the Clinton-Paula Jones-Lewinsky thing was probably just coming out (and, from what I hear, bending slightly to the left). Arkansas was only then replacing Appalachia and America’s sexual Cleveland.

About the great lines, I can understand the additional inference that makes “Hawk on a titmouse” work so much better than a hawk on virtually anything else.But why does “I’m in a bathrobe” work so much better with “you Jackass” than with virtually any other pejorative? I know part of it are the beats. Oh never mind, I just realized we’d be stumbling into one of those academic exercises explaining why 12 in a funny number all the time, and 5 is only funny some of the time.

Ian said...

Ken - If I could write five minutes of material that was half as funny as that, I would die a happy man. That was BRILLIANT, very much like some wonderful 1930's screwball comedy, and helped along by four terrific actors. I'm sure I will return to that clip again and again for inspiration.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Was this also the first time the lines 'are we alright?' 'no, but we're going to be' were used? It was the first time I noticed them as a writer, seeing what a perfect non-happy end way it was to close a scene on some sort of happy end. I've seen it used since then many many times until it's now almost a cliché.

Annie said...

Oscar Wilde would be proud. Or maybe jealous. Beats, beats, beats...so lovely when writing, direction and acting all come together.
Anyone see David Hyde Pierce in Norman Lear's short series THE POWERS THAT BE? He was incredible there as well.

Dave Williams said...

I've seen this episode many times and it gets more impressive from every aspect.

More importantly -- it's funny as hell every time.

Michelle said...

Best episode ever. One of my favorite all time sitcom scenes. I don't think I've ever posted here but I really enjoy your blog.

D. McEwan said...

It wasn't until the first time I saw this episode, which I've since seen many times, that the idea of "Food in the bathroom" as a no-no ever occurred to me. A hot bath with a tray of snacks and a cool drink is a form of relaxation I picked up from my dad. His dad used to use the family bathtub to make beer during Prohibition, so booze at least was a bathroom staple when he was growing up. It's nice to know that I'm still not as fussy as Niles.

As regards the giant bathroom: some years back, on a visit to Europe, and after a week in Paris, I went to Stratford-on-Avon. At the lovely hotel in Stratford, the gargantuan bathroom was larger than my entire hotel room, including the bath, had been in Paris.

But now I have a craving for Eggs Benedict, so I'm off to the kitchen, and then the bathroom.

Dana King said...

I can't believe you ended it there!! I hadn't seen that episode, and now I'm suffering from comedus interruptus.

Also, "Arkansas" is the line to use; it's the kind of thing Niles would say. Trimming all potential offense is what has given us politcis as it exists today, which no one is in favor of.

Besides, how many Arkansans would really be offended?

Max Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric L said...

I've wondered the same thing about "special guest stars." To me a special guest star is a name actor playying a role on a TV show, but lately I've been Tivo-ing Frasier reruns on Lifetime and I notice that the actors who play Donny and Mel are both given "special guest star" credits and with all due respect to both actors (who are great in their roles) I don't know of anything else either actor has done so I'm not sure why they got said credit.

D. McEwan said...

I imagine they got that special credit due to good negotiating by a tough agent.

Could that agent's name be Bebe?

sjwoo said...

Those two "Okay" lines spoken by Ducey are just perfectly delivered!

Randy Skretvedt said...

This is a wonderful scene--so doesn't it drive you crazy that the audience's attention is being diverted by all of those ridiculous banners and pop-ups? "You're Watching FRASIER!" (Yes, I know--there he is in the scene.) "Next Up--FRASIER!" (No, next up is me getting out of the chair and wanting to throw my television out a window.)

I don't watch TV anymore, only DVDs. Now you know why. I wish programmers would figure out that they won't retain viewers when they do everything they can to distract them.

kevinbroom said...

Who wrote the wordlessly hilarious opening sequence in which Niles set fire to Frasier's apartment while trying to iron his suit pants?

jbryant said...

randy: most annoying is the USA network. You'll be watching say, a House rerun, and all of a sudden a tiny Vincent D'Onofrio will stroll up in a corner of the screen and glare at you while a banner pimps Criminal Intent. Creeps me out.

Nonchalant Savant said...

This is also one of my favorite episodes. And might I say, Lilith never looked sexier! I gained a newfound perspective on the very talented Ms Neuwirth after seeing this episode.

Dhppy said...

You, me and Ben in Melbourne seem to have been having a collective psychic moment. I was thinking of this scene (particularly John Ducey's "okay") at the time of your post. It's great stuff.

It's a shame that Ducey never got past these bit parts. He should have had a hit sitcom by now.

Jayne said...

Room Service is my second Frasier episode ever. (Sorry, but nothing will ever top The Adventures of Bad Boy and Dirty Girl for me).

Room Service has forever made me utter "Ohh kayyy" in the Room Service Waiter style!

Truly a classic.

Amin said...

Classic Episode here, one of the best Frasier scenes ever. I still watch this often and it's one of the episodes I use when introducing people to Frasier (which they get even without all the previous Frasier/Lilith/Niles storyline)

tramp394 said...

Right from the very first episodes, 'Frasier' proved that it had enough style and substance of its own to become a TV legend. It has nice storyline, characters, ideas and plot. Overall its a great tv show...