Sunday, June 06, 2010

Frasierquest 2.9: Adventures in Paradise, Part II

Frasier, Lilith, and Madeline meet.
Lilith: I’m here on a layover. And, judging by Frasier’s trademark mangoes-on-a-stick, so are you. If you want, I could come back in ten minutes.

And so the pale white bombshell has been dropped. Frasier’s run of good luck is at an end, as demonstrated by the surprise appearance of his ex-wife, and now the cosmos seeks to right itself by screwing over our protagonist, something he himself participates in. Brutally unfair, perhaps, but it’s not just a parade of misery; “Adventures in Paradise, Part II” takes another step in the development of Frasier and Lilith’s post-marriage relationship, and in fact their dealings with each other are much more mature than usual. Not that this is saying much.

So Lilith is in Bora-Bora too, at the same resort, and why not? She and Frasier went there together once. So she’s come with her boyfriend Brian, a handsome and brilliant man who seems as fit for her as Madeline is for Frasier. Frasier can’t handle this, and an attempt by him to impress the next door neighbors sends Madeline packing early. Back in Seattle, Frasier goes on the air to try and win her back; she gives him a second chance, but unfortunately, Lilith’s not quite out of his life yet.

The spectacular downturn of Frasier’s fortunes is the focus of this episode, and I do have to say the sad part is losing Madeline. By nature something like 90% of Frasier’s girlfriends are one-or-two-episode guest stars who are far too busy to commit to a recurring role; it’ll be a while before we get any steady girls. It’s not so much that Madeline leaves as that she’s driven away by circumstance- Lilith shows up at the wrong moments, and Madeline decides the situation is too complicated for her.

But maybe it’s not just circumstance. Frasier and Lilith are still recently divorced, and just last season they were on the verge of getting back together. Even though legal and custody issues seem to have been worked out offscreen, there are lingering emotions to be settled, and with Lilith ready to marry again, Frasier has to push past another barrier. Will he be bitter about her success, or wish her well?

That he does the latter ultimately, I feel, gives the episode a positive tone. He does his best to win Madeline back, almost succeeds, but when he loses, he works past his frustration. We can chuckle a little at his misfortune, and he rants amusingly when he sees Lilith has chased off his girlfriend, butat the end feel that he’s an okay guy and maybe things will work out.

This is far from the funniest Lilith episode, mainly because she’s not in it as much and is on fairly serious business, but it’s not always about the laughs. The maturity with which their relationship is portrayed continues to surprise me as I revisit the series- they throw barbs at each other and he dreads her appearance and she occasionally gives Daphne psychic migraines, but in the end they’re two decent folks who just didn’t work out together. I’ve probably said that before, but it’s worth restating as we go along. Frasier and Lilith’s marriage is over, but their relationship continues.

Guest Caller: Kevin Bacon as Vic

Written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs
Directed by James Burrows

Aired November 22, 1994

Niles: Just wonderful, when's the happy occasion?

Lilith: Tomorrow, in Las Vegas.

Niles: [laughs] Oh, Lilith, how delightfully kitschy! It's your second marriage, so you've decided to poke fun at the institution by getting married in the tackiest place you could possibly choose!

Lilith: Brian's family lives in Las Vegas.

Niles: Well... isn't that convenient? You'll have someone to show you the museums.

(From the transcript by Mike Lee at

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