Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frasierquest 4.17: Roz's Turn

Frasier, Daphne, and Niles help Roz make a demo tape.

Frasier: Well, it was just an offhand remark, how did I know how she'd react?

Roz: She's Bebe! If you had said you liked my eyes, they would have been on your desk tomorrow in a Tiffany box!

So I haven't timed this season's coverage right to get any appropriate holiday episodes ready for this time of year. That's too bad, but "Roz's Turn" is a great episode anyway so it doesn't matter. I always seem to like it when Roz gets some emphasis, if only because at this point in the series it's such a break from the routine, and this episode goes one better by throwing in Bebe Glaser. The result is an episode that never gets dull, and is a great lesson in building humor.

One of the personalities at KACL has left for the greener pastures of TV, and Roz is thinking about auditioning to take her place- she always wanted to do her own show, but got sidetracked by producing. She puts together a demo and seems to be the one to beat, but Frasier happens to mention to Bebe that he'd be sad to see Roz go, and soon enough somebody else gets the job. Wracked with remorse, Frasier confesses to Roz, and she demands that he fire Bebe as his agent. This proves difficult, because Glaser is willing to do anything to hold on to her clients.

The story really goes through three phases, the first revolving around Roz's potential show. Called "Love Matters", it's a dating and love advice show, and it provides some good opportunities for gags involving the other characters. Frasier does his best pirate voice, Niles and Daphne pretend to be a couple, Martin lays on some old school charm, and Roz… actually gives some poor advice, glibly recommending a girl dump her SO because his sex drive has diminished. She admits she's not doing well, and Frasier started terrible too, but it's an interesting touch.

A highlight of the episode is easily when Bebe shows Frasier her menagerie of stars, a bunch of second-rate gimmicky talents who are being schlepped around in a van. It points up the contrast between Frasier as a man genuinely helping people and Frasier as an entertainer- as good as he is, he's in the same world as people who can recite basic trivia off the top of their head. They are, to paraphrase Paul Freeman, a shadowy reflection of him.

As for Bebe herself, this episode really ramps up the demonic imagery, both with direct satanic references and just making her even more contemptible than in the past. Sure, faking a suicide attempt to get your client a better contract is one thing, but faking a horrific family tragedy from the next room over is so gloriously shameless it shows her total lack of boundaries. The best part of this scene is that Roz and Frasier don't buy the charade for a second, but the episode sticks the landing by having Roz join up with Bebe anyway, because, hey, she wants to get ahead. Can't blame her.

Looking back over the last few seasons, Roz is definitely a character who the writers had trouble giving spotlight time to. She's not part of the Crane family unit, she's a co-worker, so that excludes her from a lot of stories where Martin or Daphne are still welcome. I recall from many years ago that this was around the period where they started getting better at integrating her into the ensemble, and this episode is a good sign. In the meantime it actually manages some lasting plot development- Bebe is not Frasier's agent anymore, though she's far from gone- on top of being funny. All the more reason to look forward to Roz's next turn.

No Guest Caller
Written by Joe Keenan
Directed by Joyce Gittlin

Aired April 15, 1997

Daphne: I should think having a lady friend would make you exercise more, not less. I don't mean to be indelicate, but a man in your condition who wants to enjoy certain, shall we say, indoor sports, should take steps to make sure that cranky old Mr. Hip doesn't, shall we say, let down the team, if you get my meaning?

Martin: Don't you worry about me. I may not be the rookie of the year any more but I can still move around the bases!

[Roz enters]

Roz: Oh, hey, Martin.

Niles: Oh, look, a scout from the majors.

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