MARCH 26, 2002- Today, I went to the final filming of this season of Frasier. I'm all a-twitter! Unfortunately, I was not allowed time to get autographs (though I was able to sweet-talk the guard into letting me speak to David long enough to say early happy birthday, and give him copies of my fan fic as a gift - " ... to return the favor of all the laughter and entertainment you've given me." He was very sweet, said "That's so nice of you, thank you, Nora, I really appreciate it." (Holy cheese, he said my name! *ahem* I'm cool ... I'm OK ... breathe, girl ... LOL!) I sort of became a babbling fool and said "I appreciate everything you do ... thanks." and got up and left, the last straggler. Real smooth, Nora.|
One of my Frasier buds requested a description of the layout and workings of the set, but as I am a layperson to specific technical terms, this is a vague telling at best. The studio was very nice, I expected the side-by-side layout of the sets [on this day it was, left to right, 1) Elliot Bay Towers lobby 2) Frasier's outer hallway 3) Frasier's apartment 4) Cafe Nervosa] and the part bleachers, part theatre-type seating arrangement, but at first, since the audience was full of VIPs, the dozen or so people in line with reservations had to sit in a booth, with a glass window, behind the audience, but clear over to our left, we had our faces pressed up against the glass trying to see the Cafe Nervosa set at the other end. As VIPs left, pages would come and seat us in the main gallery.
At the far left, up on the same level as the booth, was a live band, who helped the warm-up guy entertain between takes.
There were four 35 mm cameras, and up on the maze of catwalks was a jungle of lights and boom mikes and such. The boom mikes seemed to be controllable to swivel in any direction necessary. I believe the film magazines said Panavision on them, and partway through they changed them. The warm-up guy explained that since they were shooting movie-quality 35 mm film instead of video, the only way they could get feed to the monitors for the audience was each camera also had a little tiny video camera mounted on it so it sees what the camera sees.
They only lit the portion of the set being used at any one time, and brought down house lights for filming. We were told that the scenes of Seattle outside Frasier's window, day and night, were actual photos of Seattle blown up, and that the windows themselves did not contain glass (of course) but a fine black mesh.
The glass sculpture, by that Seattle artist Chihuli (sp?) or whatever, is the genuine article, in place since the beginning, on loan to the show, and worth $75,000 dollars. WOW.
You probably already know that Moose's son Enzo handles the job of playing Eddie ... I was unclear whether he is in full retirement or if he is still used sometimes, but they did say Moose is in retirement. What a cutie! One break, David spent time scratching Enzo's head. Yes, I had a tendency to stare at David irregardless of what was going on elsewhere.
They mentioned that the set would be taken down and put in storage, so that the studio can be free to film a pilot.
Flubs flew everywhere, John forgot his line a couple times, but so did David at least twice and Kelsey at least once. Kelsey and David both cuss when they flub, but it's actually cute.
David was practically having a hissy fit when he kept messing up this one bit, where they had to keep filming a flirty line and a kiss, and he acted like Jane actually had him a bit flustered ... he screwed up his line once by calling her Jane instead of Daphne, and then scrunched his face and squirmed like a kid as he said "SHIT!"
At one point, they were having trouble with the lighting and kept asking Jane to move slightly, and I guess she absent-mindedly had her hand on his butt, because in response to someone saying "Where she is won't work," David said, "Yeah, but where her hand is is great!"
OK, I know a lot of people don't like spoilers, so I won't go into detail about the plot (unless you ask me to) BUT I have to at least tell you this much, Niles spends the episode rolling around on one of those Segue thingies (sort of like a scooter), as part of an experiment by a friend. At one point he bumped into something with it, held up his coffee cup and blamed it on "drinking and driving." The scene they kept having trouble with was Daph tricking him off of it by telling him she was going to have a bath, and " ... could use a third and forth hand," then kissing him. Well, of course Niles is suddenly like "uh, wait for me, I'll light the candles!" and has to sort of put the thingie in park, but he kept having trouble with it. At one point he let out a tortured yell, then couldn't start it at all. He said "Oh, I've killed it ... maybe I just frightened it when I yelled?"
Oh, god, the best flub was down in the cafe set, so I couldn't see too well, but Niles was supposed to tell Frasier to relax, and David just trailed off with "... ya gotta, just, get out there, and ... dance!" Kelsey laughed and started singing " ... come on Germans," then David joined him, " ... go into your dance!" Everyone was dying laughing, who knew we'd get an impromptu performance of "Springtime For Hitler?" LOL!
Kelsey's delivery of the words "explanation please!" kept cracking up poor Jane, she was doubled over laughing hysterically with her face in her hands, twice.
Among the peeps from the show in the audience were the actress who plays Daphne's mum and the guy who plays Kirby.
And I guess I should have tried harder to go on my birthday, the warm-up guy introduced an 85 year old man from San Diego who was smitten with Jane Leeves and said it was his birthday. So Jane comes out and talks to him and presents him with a signed 8X10 of the cast. The warm-up guy was milking it, too ... funnin' the old fella by telling him that instead of getting married, Daphne is going to leave Niles for a guy in San Diego. (Don't even play, man!)
In one scene, Niles was wearing one of those British driving caps, ya know, ones with the part that snaps onto the bill in front? The warm-up guy was saying only a Crane would have the courage to wear one of those, and David put on a look of mock indigence and said "I brought this from home!" so the guy says "and you look quite fine in it, sir!" Damn right.
The warm-up guy and the band played a game where the band would play songs related to where out-of-towners were from. For someplace in Florida, they played "Hello, Dolly" and the warm-up guy asks what that has to do with anything. They inform him that the Salvidor Dali museum is there, and the tourists confirm it. He says that's why musicians need drugs, can't make connections like that sober.
- Nora Salisbury, a.k.a. Niles0phile
PS. The episode I saw filmed this evening will air on April 9, 2002!
PPS. I just recalled something I forgot before, at one point, the warm-up guy noted David's commitment to perfecting a scene: he told us that in "Hooping Cranes," David made the shot, no trick photography, then asked David how many takes it took, he answered "about 28 or something ... " then, at a prompting from a female behind him, " ... she says it was only 27." Hell, I'm still impressed, I was impressed with his form while making the shot to begin with.
Below is a SPOILER of the ep I saw, for those who asked (highlight it with your cursor if you wish to read it:
OK, here is my recollection of the story and dialogue, forgive me if my memory slips a bit ...
Now, going through security got us in a little late, so I didn't see the first scene, but it's likely Marty and Daph discussing Eddie's malaise of late and, from a line later, I take it Marty had a dream which included "a floating tile."
Next scene, Marty is trying to tempt Eddie with food, "What's this I found in my pocket? Tri-tip and peanut butter? Mmmm." but Eddie won't eat. Marty says "I'm just gonna have to eat it myself, then." Daphne says "Oh, that'll work, reverse psychology," but Marty's reply is muffled by the food in his mouth, "Whuddya mrean?"
Frasier comes in griping about a water leak he and a handyman have traced to Cam Winston's apartment, from a new washer/dryer installation. Daphne says "He's got some nerve, putting in an illegal washer." The handyman informs her that it's not illegal, all the units have hookups, and theirs is in " ... the closet where you keep all the hats." Daphne glares at Frasier, and he says "Now, first of all, I forgot about those hookups, secondly, I firmly believe that the Homburg is set to make a comeback," and then directs the conversation back to the offending leak. The handyman suggests asking Cam to not use the washer til the leak is fixed, but Frasier insists they go down to the basement to shut off his water, slipping him some cash, which he says " ... might get him down to 6." More cash is exchanged and they prepare to leave.
When Frasier opens the door, Niles rolls in, standing on one of those new Segue thingies (sort of a motorized scooter) explaining that a friend from a college has enlisted him to test the psychological effects of technology. Someone asked if it was fun, or did he like it or something, and he says "Walking is but a distant memory," as he cavorts about the living room on the device. Marty says "It's the floating tile from my dream," and requests a ride. Niles says "Nothing would make me happier, dad ... but no. One of the conditions of the study is that I can share it with no one, and that includes you, darling, I'm sorry." Daphne is miffed, and Marty says "Well, so I can't ride it, but we got a sick little dog here ... " Niles still refuses, and left shortly after.
Daphne answers a knock at the door to find Cam Winston, in a bathrobe with shampoo in his hair. Marty and Daph both greet Cam who asks where Frasier is, "Someone shut off my water, and I suspect his hand is at the spigot!" Both deny knowing anything, and in the middle of raving about Frasier, Cam stops to look at Eddie. "Is something wrong with your dog? He looks a bit glassy-eyed." Martin confirms that Eddie's been out of sorts, he needs to go to the vet, and Cam says "Well, my mother is a vet, and she's staying with me ... I suppose she wouldn't mind having a look at him, even though he is Frasier's dog." Marty says "Oh, no, he's mine, he can't stand Frasier." Daphne confirms it, "Oh, yes ... when he's well, he's always jumping on Dr. Crane's bed, chewing his pillows ... " Cam's face brightens into a huge grin as he says "Really? Well, we've got to get this little rascal back on his feet!"
I believe the next scene opened with Marty and Eddie playing on the couch, and Daphne folding laundry, relating to Marty that she's done some calculating, and figured she has carried 2 tons of laundry the equivalent of 150 miles (I think), and says " ... that's like carrying an SUV on me back to Canada." Cam's Mom comes over to check up on Eddie. Daphne says "I'm off to do laundry," and Cam's Mom says "You don't have your own washer hooked up here?" Daphne says "No, we have a hat museum," and leaves.
Marty and Cam's Mom (can't recall her name for sure ... Cora?) discuss how funny it is that their sons don't get along, as they're so much alike. I'm fuzzy on the sequence at this point, I recall Marty making coffee for the both of them, and Frasier coming out and interacting with them, then she leaves ... but there is an exchange between Marty and Frasier that culminates with Frasier saying "From this day forward, there shall be no Winstons in this, my house!" to which Marty replies "I wish you'd shut that, your piehole!"
Next, in the lobby of the Elliot Bay Towers set, we see Marty getting the mail, and Mrs. Winston coming in, Marty greets her. They discuss how they are each "banned" from seeing the other, and Marty makes the offhand comment that they should get married, that would teach their kids a lesson. As they are laughing about it, both Cam and Frasier separately come into the lobby, see their parents together, and try to coax their own kin upstairs, to no avail ... to mess with Frasier's mind, they hold hands so he can see as the elevator is closing, the look on his face is priceless. From this point on, the two conspire to create a scenario of them dating that will drive their kids crazy.
Next, they showed us "a rough cut" of a scene filmed in Cam's apartment (basically Frasier's apt. set with different furniture, I assume that's why they showed rough footage previously shot for those scenes), of Mrs. Winston letting Marty in and them sneaking into her room, so they can exit when Cam is there to see. He is none too thrilled. Then they repeat the performance in Frasier's apt. He isn't happy about it either. He asks how they slept, and Marty says "Like two logs," and Mrs. Winston says "More like two kittens curled up in a tight, fuzzy ball." Fras looks as if he'll pop a vein.
Mrs. Winston leaves as Daphne is coming out to the living room. Frasier bears down on Daph, ranting vehemently about her handling of the laundry, waving a sock in her face accusingly "Where is it's mate? My favorite pair of socks has been reduced to a single Argyle ... and anyone should have been able to see that I left here yesterday wearing two shades of black! Explanation, PLEASE!" If he were any more venomous, he'd be spitting on her. She just stares at him innocently "I have no idea what you're talking about." He accuses her of blackmailing him to get a washer/dryer put in, and finally she says "I'm going to do a load of your pinks." Frasier says "I don't have any pinks," and she says "You will."
Now I think they moved down to the Cafe Nervosa set, where Frasier and Roz discuss his problem with Cam, he sees Niles out the window and says "Oh, no, it's Niles and his show-up-Frasier contraption! Pretend you don't see him." when Niles rolls in, saying "Hello, foot people." Roz is impressed, but when she asks if she can try it, Niles says "No, go away." One of the clerks of the cafe brings him a coffee and something wrapped in foil to go, and Niles says "I didn't order yet," the clerk says "It's on the house ... we love the vehicle." Frasier does some more complaining about Cam as Niles leaves, so Roz suggests Frasier be the first one to make peace, so he'll be the bigger man. Frasier takes out his cell phone, saying "You make a good point Roz, seize the moral high ground." then his cell phone rings. It's Cam, who has beaten Frasier to the punch. "That sonofabitch is trying to steal my high ground!" (great line)!
I'm not sure of the exact place this scene occurred, but I think it was about here ... Daphne and Marty are seated at the table having coffee, and Niles is on the Segue, also drinking coffee. Daphne mentions that a film he wants to see is at the theater tonight, and he says he might go, but then says "Oh, but the people behind me wont be able to see." Daphne says she's just going to stay in and have a bath (she already has Niles' attention), and says "Too bad you have to stay on that thing, I could use a third ... and fourth hand," and kisses him, then flaunts her walk towards the bathroom. Niles stammers as he fumbles to park the machine, "Uh, Daphne, wait for me ... " then as he sprints for the bathroom, "I'll light the candles!" Daphne hangs back, and when he's around the corner, says "So long, sucker!" and jumps on the machine for a ride. Niles runs after her, saying "Darling ... darling ... please ... " and they run out into the hall. At some point further on, a shot of the hallway reveals she is still tooling around the halls, going "WHEEEEE!" with Niles still trying to regain his place atop the wheels.
Now we see some more rough cut footage of Frasier and Cam in Cam's apt, calling a truce for their parents' sake. They begin to list concessions and compromises they want from each other, making lists on legal paper, which starts piling up in crumpled balls around them. I recall Frasier balking at giving out his special bath blend (which made me question if he changed it after Carlos & the Chicken broadcast his old one to all of Seattle), but they do finally come to an agreement.
Frasier & Cam go to Frasier's place, where Marty and Mrs. Winston are together. They are delighted at the truce and Mrs. Winston tells Frasier he should take her place at the symphony with Cam, who notes "I don't want to get there late, I have to order my drink early," to which Frasier says "Oh, you don't have a standing order? Well, we better get going then." I believe Cam also notices an antique item near Frasier's phone that he recognizes, as Frasier was the one who bid it out from under him, unknowingly.
When the boys leave, Marty and Mrs. Winston decide to drop the act, but as he is seeing her out the door, she says " ... all good things must come to an end ... " and kisses him, a long tender kiss, then says " ... but who knows when?" and leaves Marty wondering what just happened.
In the tag for the end of the show, we see Daphne is still running about on the Segue, rolling out of the elevator into the lobby, with Niles behind her, and into the other elevator. Next Niles comes out on the Segue, with Daphne trailing behind, pouting, and rolls back into the first elevator. Finally we see both Niles and Daphne following another man (could have been the handyman? I'm not sure) who is now riding the Segue.