01x11 - Death Becomes Him

ACT ONE

Scene One - Apartment
Daphne and Niles come out of the kitchen.

Daphne: No, really. I've never had a serious boyfriend. No-one's
really been interested.
Niles: Men can be such pigs. [starts making a swan out of the napkins
Daphne is sorting out]
Daphne: It's not that people weren't trying to fix me up. Back in
Manchester my mum was steering me toward Reginald Glower,
the butcher’s son. Pasty little thing. Never did take to
him. I suppose I like my gents more on the manly side.
[Niles flattens the swan] Was that a little swan you made?
Niles: No, it was a B-52.

Frasier comes in from the bedroom.

Frasier: Well, Dad's done it again. That was Dr. Jennings’s office on
the phone. He's skipped his physical again today.
Daphne: Why, that little devil. No wonder he didn't want me to go
with him.
Niles: Frasier, you know Dad's intense aversion to doctors, you
should have seen that he got there.
Frasier: Yes, well I didn't see you volunteering this afternoon.
Niles: Well, I couldn't. I had my “fear of abandonment” workshop
today, and I've already been a no-show twice.
Daphne: Wait 'til your father gets here, I'll give him such a piece
of my mind.

Eddie comes bounding out of the bedroom, bounces over the furniture
and sits by the door.

Frasier: If only we had some way of knowing if he was about to arrive.

Martin enters.

Martin: [to Eddie] Hey, how ya doin', boy? Yeah, glad to see you too.
Frasier: So. How was your exam today?
Martin: Oh, you know. Everything’s pretty routine.
Frasier: EKG?
Martin: Perfect.
Niles: Blood pressure?
Martin: Textbook.
Frasier: Hope they took a full blood panel.
Martin: Oh, yeah. Told them to take two. They're small.
Daphne: Ooh, let's have a look. [Martin rolls up his sleeve] Ooh, look
at this. A nice, big Band-Aid. [she rips it off his arm] Nice
try!
Martin: Ouch! What did you do that for?
Daphne: Dr. Jennings's office called to reschedule your appointment.
You never showed up today.
Niles: Dad, this is ludicrous. Why do you keep avoiding the doctor?
Martin: Because I feel fine. I'll go to the doctor when I don't feel
fine. Besides, I don't like Dr. Jennings. He's got a model
of a colon on his desk, he keeps his tongue depressors in it.
Frasier: Well, all right Dad, fine. If you don't like him, why don't
you go to see my doctor, she's one of the finest gastroenterologists
in this city.
Martin: She? Oh ho ho, no no. No way. If a doctor's gonna have me
bend over, I want to look through my legs and see wingtips.
Daphne: Now now, we'll have none of that. We women have been poked
and prodded by male doctors for centuries. I say it's high
time you gents went to see a doctor of the opposite s*x.
See how you like waiting in that room - sitting there all
naked and helpless and goose-bumpy.
Frasier: Niles, surely you could recommend someone?

Niles is staring at Daphne, in a warm, happy world of his own.

Frasier: Niles!
Niles: I'm sorry, my mind was somewhere else. Rec... OH! I know
who you should see - Dr. Gary Newman. His office is in my
building, he has a very successful practice, I saw a
Lichtenstein hanging in his office.
Frasier: Ooh, Lichtenstein. He sounds perfect.
Martin: Alright, alright. I'll make an appointment, I'll go see him.
Frasier: Oh, now just hang on a second there, mister. I will make the
arrangements and I will escort you personally.
Martin: Wonderful. I can't wait.
Daphne: Oh, stop grumbling. It won't be so bad. Well, unless you
have to parade around the office in one of those gowns where
your little bum peeks through the back.
Frasier: So Niles, what's Dr. Newman's number?

But Niles is tuned out again.

Frasier: ...Niles? NILES!
Niles: I'm sorry, I must have drifted off again.

FADE OUT

Scene Two - Dr. Newman's waiting room.
Frasier and Martin are waiting, along with an elderly lady.

Martin: My appointment was supposed to be half an hour ago, how much
longer are we gonna wait for this guy? Come on Frasier, let's
get out of here.
Frasier: Dad, Dad, just relax. Read a magazine. Oh, here, here.
Take the Cosmo quiz.
Martin: [reading] "Are your nipples sensitive?"
Frasier: Would you mind doing that quietly, it's not an oral exam.
Martin: You haven't seen the second question. Did you used to keep
your patients waiting like this?
Frasier: Oh, just the compulsives. It was part of their therapy.
Relax there, I'll take care of it.

He goes to the receptionist’s cubicle.

Frasier: Yes, my father Martin Crane had an appointment thirty
minutes ago?
Receptionist: Yes, I'm sorry. The doctor's running a little late this
morning, but you'll be first up when he gets in.
Frasier: When he gets in? My God, where's he coming from, Spokane?
Receptionist: Actually he has a long drive in from his weekend house at
Lake Shalonne.
Frasier: Lake Shalonne? Ooh, this guy must be terrific!

He goes back to Martin.

Martin: So?
Frasier: Dad, relax. He'll be here any minute. [looking around] You know
Dad, I was just struck by one of life's little ironies. I
remember you taking me to the doctor, and now here I am taking
you.
Martin: Yeah. I remember when I took you for your first tetanus shot,
you were about five or six.
Frasier: Oh boy, was I scared. I remember you holding my hand.
Martin: Yeah. Bent over that table, dropped your little drawers.
When the nurse gave you the shot, you took your mind off it
by reciting the names of all of Puccini's operas. Right then
I knew you'd never be a cop. Look, I'm serious. I'm not
staying any longer, let's go.
Frasier: All right dad, look, I'll check and see if there's someone
substituting for him.
Martin: [to lady] What are you here for?
Lady: Lately I've been having this overall sluggish feeling. It's
hard even getting out of bed in the morning. Not to mention
the cold weather. It's really making my joints hurt. I've
started to notice flaking spots on my skin. What about you?
Martin: [who wishes he hadn't started this] I have sensitive nipples.

Frasier comes back. He is the bearer of bad news.

Frasier: Dad? I'm afraid the doctor won't be able to make your
appointment today.
Martin: Oh, that's just great. These big-shot doctors, they keep you
waiting for an hour and then they don't even have the decency
to show up! What, play a little slow on the golf course today?
That arrogant, inconsiderate jerk!
Frasier: Dad, Dad, Dad – Dr. Newman is dead. He died an hour ago.
Martin: I'm sure he was a good man.

FADE TO:

WELL, I'M LOUSY AT TENNIS...

Scene Three - KACL
Frasier is talking to Roz.

Frasier: I mean, there he was, walking down his walkway this morning
and, he bends over to pick up his newspaper and BANG! - he
drops dead of a heart attack. It's just... God, you know?
I pick up my newspaper every day. And the Sunday Times is
very heavy, I'm thinking of canceling.
Roz: Well? These things happen.
Frasier: “These things happen?” Roz, how can you say that? My God,
this was not an old man, he was my age.
Roz: What am I supposed to say? I guess I don't think of these
things like you do. Guess it's because you're forty-one and
I'm... [laughs] not.
Frasier: Don't you ever think about you're own mortality? Don't you
ever think about dying?
Roz: Well, not me dying, but you know what I have thought about
lately? I've been dating this older guy, and what if... you
know? [Frasier doesn't] We were in bed together and he dropped
dead? Well, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Sometimes he starts breathing very funny and I don't know if
he's having a good time or if I've overexcited him to some
dangerous level.
Frasier: Someone certainly has a very high opinion of herself.
Roz: Everybody's good at something.
Frasier: Why is it that every time we try to have a serious discussion,
we end up talking about your s*x life?
Roz: Because I have one.

FADE TO:

A FAMILY MEETING

Scene Four - Apartment
Martin and Daphne are there. Frasier opens the door for Niles.

Frasier: Niles, thank you so much for coming at such short notice.
Niles: Hello Dad, Daphne.
Daphne: Hello, Dr. Crane.
Niles: Yes, I came as soon as I could. [for Daphne’s benefit] I was
in the middle of my workout, but, I can always pump iron
later.
Daphne: Well, I'll just pop into the kitchen and fix us a snack.

She exits.

Frasier: [taking a large folder over to the table] Pump iron? Niles,
you don't even pump your own gas.
Niles: All right, all right. Now what is all this nonsense about
getting your affairs in order?
Frasier: Well, it's this: Dr. Newman dying at such a young age really
threw me for a loop. I was trying to figure out why, and I
finally realized that I hadn't made the proper provisions for
my own death.
Daphne: [entering with a bowl and a jar of peanuts] Here we go.

She has trouble opening the jar.

Niles: Oh! Here, allow me.

He takes the jar but has even less success. Frasier distributes
files to each person.

Frasier: First, the pertinent information. I've prepared copies for
each of you. The location and numbers of my bank accounts;
[Niles is still struggling with the jar] my safety deposit
keys; the number for my attorney... Niles, what are you doing?
Oh, give me that!

He takes the jar and opens it.

Niles: [to Daphne] I loosened it for him.
Frasier: Now, the distribution of my personal possessions.
Daphne: Oh, I really think this is a matter for family only.
Frasier: No, no Daphne, please, I'd like you to stay. I'll come to you
later. Dad, Niles, I'd like you to put your names on these
stickers, [hands them over] and place them on any object you'd
like bequeathed to you.
Martin: This is crazy. I'm not going to start putting my name on your
stuff.
Frasier: Dad, what happens if I die tomorrow, you and Niles end up in
an argument about... well, that African mask, for instance?
Martin: It'll never happen. Niles, you can have it.
Niles: I don't want it.
Daphne: Well, don't look at me. I throw a towel over that thing when
you're not home.
Frasier: Okay, fine. Now we come to the issue of... my remains.
Martin: Oh, jeez.
Frasier: I've arranged every detail in this easy-to-read binder. [gives
binder to Martin]
Martin: Oh, this is taking it too far, would you look at this? [reads]
“Burial; Casket; Caterers”?
Niles: Who are you using?
Frasier: Michaelson's.
Niles: Oh, they're very good. Excellent.

They start discussing the wonder that is Michaelson's. Martin tries
to get a word in.

Martin: Excuse me. Excuse me! Are we about done?
Frasier: Well, there is just one more duck to put in the row. I've
done some research and I've discovered that most unexpected
deaths occur in the home. And Daphne, this is where you come
in, the actual finding of the body.
Daphne: Ooh, save the best part for me, eh? Well, that's all right.
I'm a health care provider. I've had my fair share of patients
Die on me.
Martin: That's a comfort.
Frasier: Well, perhaps dad's right. Maybe we should just drop the
subject. Well, thank you. This meeting has actually made
me feel better, I think I can handle my mortality a bit
better now. Well, enough talk about death. [produces a
bottle of wine] Let's celebrate life with a bottle of
Chateau Certair '75
Niles: Oh no, not the '75, I can't let you do that, that's far too
good for the likes of us.
Frasier: Well, perhaps a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau would be more
appropriate.

He goes to find the bottle. Niles takes the bottle of '75 and puts
a sticker on it. Martin glares at him.

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

Scene Five - Apartment
Frasier is lying on the couch with his eyes shut and his fingers in his
ears. Eddie is watching him. Martin enters.

Martin: Eddie? Ah, there you are. Come on, boy. Frasier, what are
you still doing up? [no answer] Frasier!
Frasier: Dad, please, shh. I'm trying to listen to my heartbeat.
Amazing thing, the human heart. You know, it can pump
eighteen hundred gallons of blood through it each and every
day, but the tiniest tear in the tiniest part of the tiniest
artery and “poof,” you're gone.
Martin: I thought you were all okay about this stuff now.
Frasier: Oh, so did I. What is the matter with me? I guess I thought
that putting my affairs in order would help me to deal with
this thing, but it hasn't. I... I can't seem to get over the
feeling that no matter how remote the possibility, something
could happen to me. Jeez, I'd miss so much. I'd never get to
see my son hit his first home run. It'd be a terrible thing
for a father to miss.
Martin: Tell me about it. Look son, let me tell you something. There
was this time, a while back, seven or eight of us were on this
drug bust. We get the order to go through the front door, and
the first guy took one. He was dead before he hit the ground.
When you're a cop, you've got to be able to handle things like
that, but I... I just couldn't get over it. Every time I had
to go in a blind alley, or in a dark building, I just froze.
And I knew if I kept being afraid to die, I'd never be able to
do my job.
Frasier: So what did you do?
Martin: I just forced myself to forget about it.
Frasier: Just like that?
Martin: Just like that. Next time I came across one of those doors,
I went right through it. [then] The fact that I got shot in
the hip was purely coincidental.
Frasier: You were this close to helping me there, Dad.
Martin: Look Frasier, just because some doctor dies doesn't mean
you're gonna die.
Frasier: Yes, but he was just like me. Highly educated, sophisticated,
at the top of his profession; I saw a picture of him in a
medical journal, he even looked like me. Same determined
chin, sweater vest and ever-so-slightly receding hairline.
Martin: Look, what do you know about this guy? You don't even know
his medical history.
Frasier: Actually, you're on to something there, dad. Yeah, yeah.
For all I know he could have had high blood pressure, popped
pills, drank like a fish...
Martin: There you go, it could have been any of those things.
Frasier: I'm gonna find out what caused his heart attack. That's the
only way I can disassociate myself from him. There's got to
be some reasonable explanation. [heads towards bedroom] That's
great, dad. Actually, I do feel better now.
Martin: Frasier, you've got something on your bathrobe.
Frasier: [discovers it's a sticker] Niles... the vultures are circling.

FADE TO:


KRUGEL, FRAS, AND ALLEN

Scene Six - Dr Newman's House
All his family are there, dressed in black. The door is open.

Frasier: Hello? Hello. [he attracts the attention of one of the guests]
I called earlier, someone said Mrs. Newman would be here?
Allen: Oh, of course, please come in. I'm Allen Freedman. Gary was
my cousin.
Frasier: Dr. Frasier Crane. My sincerest condolences. So, I didn't
think Mrs. Newman would have company.
Allen: Oh, the family are sitting Shiva.
Frasier: Excuse me?
Allen: You're not Jewish, are you? It's our version of a wake.
Frasier: Oh – oh, yes. Oh, of course, of course. I didn't realize
that Gary was Jewish, you see.
Allen: You're kidding.
Frasier: Uh, well no. Ah, well, you know, we were pretty close friends,
spent a lot of time together – well, never on Friday nights,
of course - but ah, you know, maybe I should come back another
time.
Allen: No no, please. I'm sure Julie'd love to know that you came.
She's right over there. [points]
Frasier: Oh, she looks busy. I can wait.
Allen: Of course. If you'll excuse me? [goes back to table]

Frasier notices a black drape hanging over a frame, and lifts it to
discover a mirror underneath. An older woman, Aunt Bobbie, sees him.

Bobbie: May I help you?
Frasier: Ah. I didn't realize this was a mirror, I thought that maybe
you were having an unveiling later.
Bobbie: You're not Jewish, are you?
Frasier: No, no. My, my ex-wife is, though. And, ah, so and thus my
son is. Which makes me, ah, sort of... well I guess you could
say... [gives up] No, I'm not Jewish.
Bobbie: We always cover mirrors at a Shiva. So those grieving don't
have to be concerned with their own appearances.
Frasier: Ah. Ah well, you look very nice.
Bobbie: [relieved] Oh, thank you. It's been driving me crazy.
I'm Bobbie, Gary's aunt.
Frasier: Dr. Frasier Crane. My deepest sympathies.
Bobbie: You're the doctor with the radio show, aren't you?
Frasier: Yes, yes.
Bobbie: Did you know Gary well?
Frasier: Well, yes. Yes, yes I did. Well I, there's so much more
I wanted to know about the man. You see, ah... well oh,
I don't know, ah... how was his health before he died?
Bobbie: Excellent. He was never sick.
Frasier: History of heart disease?
Bobbie: Oh, no.
Frasier: High blood pressure?
Bobbie: No.
Frasier: High cholesterol?
Bobbie: No.
Frasier: Do you know what his HDL was in comparison to his LDL?
Bobbie: No.
Frasier: I'm sorry. I'm asking too many questions. You know how
doctors are, always looking for the answers to the mysteries
of life.

A woman enters, carrying a cake. She's been crying. Bobbie greets
her.

Bobbie: Oh, Gail.
Gail: Aunt Bobbie. [they hug]
Bobbie: I know, I know. Gail, I'd like you to meet a friend of Gary's.
Dr. Frasier Crane.
Gail: Dr. Crane? From the radio?
Frasier: Yes. I'm sorry for your loss.
Gail: I love your show. [re: her tears] Oh, I... I'm sorry about
this. It's just, ah, when I went to pick up this linseed
tort I thought of Gary and...
Frasier: Oh? So Gary had a fondness for fattening desserts, did he?
Gail: Oh. You didn't know Gary very well, did you? If he knew
I brought this here, he'd kill me.
Allen: Yeah, Gary was a total health fanatic, a strict vegetarian.
I used to play basketball with him every Sunday.
Frasier: Oh. Oh, so he was sedentary all week, then he was burning up
the court on Sundays. Well, that can be very straining on the
heart, you know...
Bobbie: No, he played at least four times a week. That is, when he
wasn't at the gym working out.
Gail: Gary was in phenomenal shape.
Bobbie: He didn't smoke, never touched caffeine...
Allen: Did you know he had less than 10 percent body fat on him?
Frasier: My goodness. Has anybody checked to see if he's really dead?
[this does not go down well] I'm sure they did check, those
people are very thorough. Oh my, is that Krugle? Excuse me.

Frasier escapes. He wanders round the room, offering his condolences
to people and finds himself standing beside Mrs. Newman.

Frasier: I'm Dr Frasier Crane, I was a friend of your husband’s.
Newman: Dr. Crane? From...?
Frasier: Yes, the radio.
Newman: Gary never mentioned you.
Frasier: Well, we weren't actually friends. He had an office in my
brother’s building.
Newman: And you took the time to come down here. His own partner
didn't even stay fifteen minutes. That's really sweet of
you.
Frasier: Well, actually I... there's a reason I came to talk with you.
Newman: Which is?
Frasier: It's about Gary. About how he, er...
Newman: Yes?

Frasier realizes this whole outing has been a bad idea.

Frasier: Look, I'm sorry I've bothered you. Ah, I really just came to
offer my sympathies.

He starts to get up.

Newman: Oh no, wait. Um, Dr. Crane? I listen to you all the time,
and uh – well, maybe you can help me? What would you tell
someone who called into the show and said they can't get over
why someone died? I keep running this over and over in my mind
and... I just can't understand how someone like Gary, who did
everything right, can just die. I can't make any sense of it.
Frasier: Mrs. Newman, I... I know you'd like me to come up with some
grand answer to this whole thing. But I, I don't have one.
There are none. Someone who consumes nothing but cigarettes
and cheeseburgers all his life can live to be eighty-three,
and someone who takes care of himself can die at forty-one.
It's unfair. Believe me, there's no explanation for it.
Believe me, I've checked. But, I suppose the best we can do
is live for the little joys and surprises life affords us.
You can't spend your life being obsessed with death.
Newman: You're not Jewish, are you?
Frasier: No. No I'm not. Well, thank you for letting me be here
today.
Newman: Oh, thank you for coming, Dr. Crane.

He starts to leave.

Bobbie: Oh, Dr. Crane? It was very nice what you said about living
life for the little joys and surprises it can give us.
Frasier: Yes.
Bobbie: Thank you.
Frasier: [quietly, to himself] If only I believed it myself.

He goes to the door, but is stopped by an attractive woman.

Woman: Excuse me? Um, this is clearly the most inappropriate thing
I've ever done in my life, but... I was watching you, and um,
I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to see you again, and
something about you tells me that I'd like to. Here. [gives
him her card] If you'd like to get together sometime, give me
a call. [moves off]

Frasier leaves, his spirits lifted.

End of Act Two.

Credits:

Daphne is folding some ironing, looking very uncomfortable.
She takes a towel from the basket and throws it over the
African mask.