03x16 - Look Before You Leap

Skyline: A helicopter rises above the skyline.

ACT ONE

Scene One - Frasier's Apartment - Morning
Daphne is setting the table for breakfast. Martin comes out.

Martin: Hey, Daphne! You seen Eddie?
Daphne: No, I haven’t.
Martin: It just doesn’t feel right to start the day without him
licking me awake.
Daphne: Well, don’t look at me.

Frasier comes in the front door with Eddie.

Frasier: Morning, all. Daphne, I got treats!
Martin: What the hell are you doing with him?
Frasier: We went for a walk.
Martin: I’m talking to Eddie.
Frasier: When I saw what a beautiful day it was, I headed for the park.
Of course, the only people in the park at this hour of the
morning without dogs are winos and that guy in the harem pants
that washes his hair in the fountain. He says hello, by the
way.
Daphne: It is sort of nice out, isn’t it?
Frasier: Sort of nice? My God, haven’t you people noticed this? It’s
incredible! Dad, you should feel this. It’s eighty degrees
outside and it’s the middle of February!
Daphne: Oh, it is beautiful, and in the middle of such a terrible
winter. Oh, I love nature’s little aberrations: warm days in
winter, four leaf clovers, Australians...
Frasier: Yes, it is glorious. It defies you not to take a moment to
acknowledge the power that created it.
Martin: [out the window] Thank you, global warming! Hey Frasier,
think your guy down at the liquor store could send a bottle
of Scotch to my buddy Jimmy in Montana?
Frasier: Sure, Dad. What’s the occasion?
Martin: Today’s his sixteenth birthday.
Frasier: Oh well, you’ll want to throw in a hooker too, won’t you?
Martin: No, don’t you get it? It’s February 29th.
Frasier: Hmm.
Martin: It’s a leap year.
Frasier: Right.
Martin: He only gets a birthday every four years.
Frasier: I get it, Dad.
Martin: He’s really sixty-four.
Frasier: I can do the math.
Martin: Jimmy’s having a big shindig tonight. A lot of guys from the
force fly in for it. Everybody drinks a lot of beer, and then
they have a contest to see who’s got the biggest scar. You
know, this year I had a real good chance of winning it now
that “Shark Bait” O’Reilly’s finally died.

He takes his coffee to his chair and opens the paper.

Daphne: So, why aren’t you going?
Frasier: Yeah Dad, you should go.
Martin: Ah, Montana’s too far away.
Frasier: Well Dad, his birthday only comes around once every four
years. As a matter of fact, this day only comes around
every four years. You know, it’s like a free day, a gift.
We should do something special, be bold! It’s leap year,
take a leap!
Martin: You know, I was just about to say the same thing to you.
Daphne: Your son’s right. You shouldn’t be afraid to shake up your
routine a little bit.
Martin: Hey, I don’t see you taking any big leaps today.
Daphne: If there was something I wanted to do, I would do it.
Martin: Well, you’re always whining about wanting to change your hair.
Daphne: [whining] I don’t whine!

Martin gets up and goes to the kitchen.

Martin: [imitating] “I’m so sick of me hair. Do you think I should
get it cut like Princess Di? Ooh, do you think that’d make
me cheeks look too fat? That reminds me of the craziest thing
me Grammy Moon used to say!”

[N.B. John Mahoney is an Englishman by birth. In fact, while Jane
Leeves is actually from Essex, in southeast Britain, Mahoney was
born in the northwest county of Lancashire, adjacent to Daphne’s
Manchester.]

Martin: I’ll pay for the damn haircut if you stop yakking and just do
it.
Daphne: Yes, well I’ll pay for you to go to Montana. [aside to
Frasier] That’s not the one next to New Hampshire, is it?
Frasier: No. And Dad can pay for his own trip.
Daphne: All right, then. And I can pay for me own haircut.

Martin comes back and sits at the breakfast table.

Frasier: All right, Dad, back in your court. Are you up to the leap
year challenge?
Martin: Ah...
Frasier: Dad, Jimmy’s already sixteen. How many more birthdays is he
going to have?
Martin: [smiles] You know, I would kind of hate not being there when
Jimmy brings out the big ham. Oh, all right, what the hell,
I’ll go. I’ll call the airlines after breakfast.
Frasier: That’s the spirit!
Martin: Hey, what’s your big leap year challenge?

The doorbell goes.

Frasier: Well, have you forgotten? I’m singing “Buttons and Bows”
tonight at the P.B.S. pledge drive.
Martin: You sung that same stupid song for the last three years.
Frasier: Yes, but I’m doing something remarkably fresh and different
with it this year!
Martin: You’re just blowing smoke, aren’t you?
Frasier: Like a ’56 Rambler!

He opens the door to Niles.

Frasier: Good morning, Niles!
Niles: Good? It’s glorious, heaven-sent! And you know why? Maris
called! She wants to get together with me this evening.
Frasier: Oh Niles, that’s wonderful news! It’s high time you and Maris
sat down and talked through your problems.
Niles: She doesn’t want to talk. When she says “get together” she
means in the “You wear the crème fraiche, I’ll lick it off”
sense. She’s cleared her schedule from seven till seven-
thirty, that means foreplay AND cuddling!
Martin: [gets up] You know, Niles, remember when you were a kid and
your mother and I wouldn’t discuss the Cuban Missile Crisis
in front of you because we knew it’d give you bad dreams?
Niles: Yes.
Martin: It’s a two-way street.

He exits.

Daphne: Breakfast, Dr. Crane?
Niles: Uh yes, thank you, Daphne.

She goes to the kitchen as Frasier and Niles sit at the table.

Frasier: Niles, I don’t mind telling you, I’m a little bit concerned
about this. Maris claps her hands, you come running?
Niles: Oh well, don’t forget there’s a little something for me in
this too. I haven’t had s*x in six months.
Frasier: Oh, surely you’re exaggerating, you’ve only been separated for
three.
Niles: And your point would be?
Frasier: You really want to sacrifice your self-respect for a roll in
the hay?
Niles: Substitute a 16th-century giltwood fainting couch for hay and
watch me roll!
Frasier: Niles, you and Maris have not sat down and discussed your
problems. As a psychiatrist you know that s*x will only cloud
the issues.
Niles: You don’t realize how desperate I am. Ever since our
separation, I’ve been paying women to touch me.
Frasier: Oh, Niles...
Niles: Manicurists, pedicurists, facialists. Whenever you see a man
who’s well-groomed, you can bet he’s not getting any.

He gets up.

Frasier: Well, will you at least think about what I’ve said?
Niles: I can’t. She’s leaving for Europe in the morning, so I have a
very small window of opportunity.
Frasier: Niles... you know I’m right.
Niles: [frustrated] You just don’t want me to have s*x because you’re
not having any!
Frasier: [shakes a finger at him] I most certainly am too!
Niles: [grabs his hand] Your lips say yes, but your cuticles speak
volumes.

Frasier, miserable, turns around and sits back at the table, sulkily
putting his napkin in his lap.

Frasier: Niles...
Niles: Oh, you’re right. I’ll tell her no. [he sits back down] It’s
not going to be easy, though.
Frasier: Of course not. Just don’t think about s*x.
Daphne: [o.s.] Would you like me to butter your buns for you, Dr.
Crane?

Niles’s hand shakes, rattling his coffee cup on the table. Frasier
steadies him.

Frasier: Grandma in a teddy.
Niles: [thinks, then] Thank you.

FADE OUT

NO, BUT I HEAR OLEG CASSINI
TAKES THAT BUS

Scene Two - KACL
Roz is setting up for the show. Frasier comes in the door, singing.

Frasier: You’re all mine in buttons and bows! [pushes the door closed
with his foot]
Roz: Oh God, it must be P.B.S. pledge time again.
Frasier: Mmm-hmm! Roz, it is a wonderful day. You know, I think the
entire city of Seattle is convinced it’s springtime. I was
walking down the street, I passed a pet store, and in the
window I could see two snakes doing a mating dance.
Roz: If you ask me, celebrating a dance that brings more snakes
into the world is like toasting a law school graduation.
Frasier: Well, I can see the unseasonable sunshine has done nothing to
improve your mood.
Roz: Well, how would you feel if you just lost the love of your
life?
Frasier: Well, alimony aside, I found it rather liberating.
Roz: My car wouldn’t start, so I had to take the bus. And we’re
all crowded on there, when suddenly I smell Lagerfeld, and I –
I look up, and there he is.
Frasier: Carl Lagerfeld?
Roz: His name is Gary. I don’t know his last name. Anyway, we got
to talking, and you know, we were really connecting. I started
to believe in kismet. And all of a sudden, all these people
want to get off the bus, and I’m in their way, so I get off to
let them out, and before I can get back on, the damn bus
drives off – out of my life, forever.
Frasier: I’m sure another one would have come along in ten minutes or
so.
Roz: I’m talking about the guy.
Frasier: So am I.
Roz: You don’t get it, Frasier. I mean, I really felt this guy was
the one.
Frasier: Roz, if you really want to try to find him again, you know we
do reach half a million listeners. Why don’t you just tell
your story on the air?
Roz: On the air? Oh, I couldn’t do that, it would make me look
pathetic. Oh, it’s too bizarre, it’s too needy.
Frasier: [looks at the clock] It’s two o’clock.
Roz: Oh my God!

She rushes into her booth, closes the door, and cues him.

Frasier: A glorious good afternoon, Seattle. This is Dr. Frasier
Crane. I’m thinking a lot today about leap year. Today is
February 29th, and although it isn’t an official holiday,
perhaps it could be looked upon as one in a metaphorical
sense. Just as Christmas reminds us to be generous of spirit,
so leap year reminds us to take a leap in our own lives. To
be bold, try something new. Too often we shrink from doing
things we really want to, held back by... oh, appearing
foolish, perhaps... Roz?

She looks up, surprised.

Frasier: Is there anything you’d like to say before we start taking
calls?
Roz: No.
Frasier: I’m reminded of a quotation by John Greenleaf Whittier: “For
all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It
might have been’”... Roz?
Roz: No.
Frasier: Did you know that a woman over the age of thirty has less
chance of getting married than of being killed in a terrorist
attack?

Roz looks alarmed, and grabs the mike.

Roz: This is to Gary. I was on the Number Seven bus around noon,
and you were a stockbroker with a tan briefcase and a cleft
chin, and the bus was really crowded and we both reached for
the hand strap and our hands touched and we laughed and you
said I had a really great laugh and I said you had a really
great laugh and we laughed at that...

Frasier taps on the glass and signals her to cut to the chase.

Roz: Anyway, uh, you asked me if I were free on Friday, but we got
separated before I could give you my phone number, which I
would have because I really liked you and I thought you were
cute.

Suddenly mortified, she claps her hands over her mouth and motions
Frasier to take over.

Frasier: So Gary, if you’re listening, please, please give us a call.
We’ll be right back after these words.

He goes to commercial.

Frasier: Oh my God, oh my God! How could I say “I really liked you and
I thought you were cute” – who am I, Marcia Brady?!

DISSOLVE TO:

Scene Three – Later
Frasier and Roz are still on the air.

Frasier: Well, we’ll be right back for more calls, and more on the
search for Gary, after this news break.

He goes to the news. Niles comes in, excited.

Niles: Good news! I’ve figured out a way I can have s*x and we can
all be happy!
Frasier: As I pause to make sure the “ON AIR” light is off, [Niles
looks at the light, mortified] continue.

Reset to: Hallway
Niles follows Frasier as he comes out and gets something from the candy
machine.

Niles: Well, I was driving down the freeway [glances at a passing
woman] trying hard not to notice the provocative decals
truckers have on their mud flaps, when I heard your little
speech about breaking out of familiar patterns.
Frasier: Mmm-hmm.
Niles: Well, sleeping alone has been my pattern! I’m ready to take a
leap!
Frasier: No, you’re not.
Niles: Okay, not a leap, but you’ve got to give me something. A hop,
a bound. [hopping up and down] Gimme a jump, oh God-!
Frasier: [grabs him] Niles, will you just get a grip!

Reset to: Booth
Frasier comes back in, Niles follows him.

Frasier: If you thought being with Maris was the right thing to do,
you’d be there with her. You know it’s wrong. That’s why
you’re here, asking for my permission.

Roz comes in with some papers.

Niles: Frasier, Frasier, what if we don’t have s*x? What if we just
snuggle?
Roz: Whoops, excuse me!

She drops the papers and returns to her booth. Niles follows her.

Niles: Roz... I never noticed what a perky little walk you have.

Roz dashes away and drops into her seat, with Niles following and
repeating “Roz... Roz...” as Frasier grabs him and pushes him back
into the other booth.

Frasier: Niles, get back! You just stop that! Get control. My God,
man, there are far more important things here than simple
immediate physical gratification.
Niles: You’re right, I... I just have to martial my self-discipline
and... and be strong.

Niles leaves the booth and starts to walk down the hallway, past the
glass. A woman passes him, and he turns around to follow her. As
Niles passes the door, Frasier opens it and throws a glass of water at
him. Niles turns back around.

Roz comes in with some more papers as Frasier takes his seat.

Roz: Fifteen seconds.
Frasier: Oh.
Roz: [looks down the hall] What is wrong with your brother today?
Frasier: Oh, ignore him. You know, human nature never ceases to amaze
me – how otherwise rational people can be turned into babbling
ninnies by their hormones.

A handsome man in a suit has appeared in the glass, holding a bouquet
of flowers.

Roz: OH MY GOD! IT’S GARY! OH MY GOD! IT’S HIM, IT’S HIM!

She runs out of the booth. Frasier goes back on the air, watching
happily as Roz accepts the flowers, then embraces Gary.

Frasier: Well, we’re back. You’ll all be glad to know that Cupid’s
arrow has hit its mark. Gary has just arrived in the hallway,
and has a big bouquet of flowers for Roz.

He turns back to the mike.

Frasier: You know, the truth is, I’m really quite delighted with the
way things have turned out today. It inspires me to take a
little leap of my own. As many of you know, this evening,
for the third year in a row I will be appearing on the P.B.S.
pledge drive...

CUT TO: Hallway

Gary: You know, I was getting a little nervous, the way you were
describing me on the air.
Roz: Why?
Gary: Well, my wife listens to the show.
Roz: You’re married?
Gary: Yeah, but it’s okay. I still want to go out with you.

Roz starts hitting him with the bouquet.

CUT TO: Booth

Frasier: So, instead of “Buttons and Bows,” I have chosen to sing a
very challenging aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto - something I
have never attempted outside the shower. I certainly hope my
little gamble turns out as well as Roz’s has.

He turns around and sees Roz attacking Gary. He turns back round.

Frasier: Or even better.

END OF ACT ONE


ACT TWO

Scene Four – Apartment – Night
Frasier is playing the notes of the Verdi aria, and singing it – badly.
Niles comes out, drying his hair.

Frasier: Oh, God!
Niles: Well, perhaps they’ll pledge to get you to stop singing.
Oh, and by the way, thanks so much for the cold shower tip.
Frasier: Did it work?
Niles: No, it did not. It’s clearly an old wives’ tail, because I’m
still thinking of my old wife’s tail.
Frasier: Yes, well I suppose it stood to reason being showered with
coldness would only bring Maris more to mind.
Niles: Keep making remarks like that, I won’t help you rehearse.
Frasier: Oh, I’m sorry, Niles. It’s just that I’m awfully nervous.
Niles: [pouring sherry] You know, as much as I admire your willingness
to take a leap, I did warn you that you were getting into a
dangerous “aria.” [wan chuckles] Oh God, I’m using humor to
mask sexual frustration. It’s high school all over again.
Frasier: Look Niles, I know it’s difficult, but Maris has got to learn
that you’re not just someone who can be ordered to perform at
will. Now sit, play!

Niles sits at the piano, and begins playing. Frasier begins singing,
again very off-key.

Suddenly, Martin storms in the front door, throws down his suitcase,
and slams the door. They stop and turn.

Martin: Next time it looks like I’m going to follow a piece of your
advice, shoot me in the head first!
Frasier: Dad! Why aren’t you in Montana?
Martin: Fifteen minutes out, a flock of Canadian geese flew into one
of our engines. They were the lucky ones!

He marches into the kitchen. Frasier and Niles, concerned, follow him.

Reset to the kitchen.
Martin grabs a beer from the fridge.

Martin: Next thing you know, we’re falling five thousand feet.
Smokehouse almonds are flying everywhere, people are
screaming and hugging each other. The guy in the next
seat grabbed hold of my hand, and you know what? I didn’t
pull it away!

Reset to the Living Room
Martin comes out, followed by the boys.

Martin: Then our pilot comes out. Our landing gear’s out, we’re gonna
have to do an emergency belly landing in six feet of foam!
So, five hellish minutes later, we’re bouncing across the
runway. Then the stewardess comes out and says we’re gonna
have to go down the emergency slide. So down I go, headfirst
into this sea of foam. Last thing I remember, this fat lady
from across the aisle comes barreling down the chute after me
like a polyester avalanche!
Frasier: My God, Dad, I am so sorry.
Niles: So-so, these stewardesses, were they also covered with foam?
Frasier: Will you stop it! Dad, if you’d like to talk about it, we’re
both here for you.
Martin: Boy, I tell you, times like this, you just... all you can
think of is your loved ones, and how you wish you’d spent
more time with them.

Beat.

All: Eddie!

Martin goes off to his room. Frasier sits at the dining table.

Niles: Well, let’s get back to work.
Frasier: Mmm-hmm.
Niles: [checks his watch] I need something to take my mind off the
fact that at this very moment, Maris is slipping out of her
frilly under-things and into a non-fat milk bath.

He sits at the piano, but notices Frasier’s thoughtful look.

Niles: Is something wrong?
Frasier: Yes, something’s wrong. Things turned out so badly for Roz
and Dad today, I’m just wondering if my little leap is ill-
advised.
Niles: Oh, now...
Frasier: Maybe this aria thing won’t turn out so well, either.
Niles: Just because theirs went wrong doesn’t mean yours will, too.
Frasier: Yeah...
Niles: They’re two isolated incidents.

Frasier gets up and stands behind Niles.

Niles: All right.

He plays the intro to the aria again, and Frasier begins to sing.

Suddenly the door slams again. They turn and see a tearful Daphne,
whose hair is flared up in a wildly frizzy crest.

Niles: Oh, will these infernal temptations never end?!
Daphne: Oh, tell me the truth. Is it as bad as I think it is?
Frasier: [stalling] How... bad do you think it is?
Daphne: [sobbing] Take a leap! Mr. Maurice hair-designer! Trust me!
Children pointing! Your fault!

She storms to her room.

Niles: Okay, that’s it. I can’t take it anymore, I’m leaving.

He gets up and goes to the door.

Frasier: No, Niles! You can’t leave me now, I need you more now than
ever.
Niles: Oh, give it up. No one who’s followed your little “take a
leap” philosophy has ended up even remotely better. I don’t
care what you’re saying, I’m going to Maris.

He guns down his sherry, then hurls it into the fireplace with a crash.

Frasier: You will rue the day!
Niles: I don’t care! Niles gotta have it!

He leaves, as Frasier sulks.

FADE TO:

HUH?

Scene Five – TV Studio
The P.B.S. pledge drive. There is a phone bank against one wall, where
several people, including Roz, are taking calls.

Next to a small performing stage is a piano, where Frasier is hovering
anxiously. He puts his sheet music down, when his accompanist, Pete,
arrives.

Frasier: Oh, Pete.
Pete: Hi, Doc. I hear you’re doing something new this year. [sees
music] Whoa!
Frasier: [hopefully] What, is it too hard for you?
Pete: Me? No, I’m-I’m worried about you. I can hit any note. [hits
high note] See?

Frasier looks extremely worried.

Angle on Roz on the other side of the room:

Roz: No, Lamb Chop’s not here. Big Bird isn’t here either. What
are you doing up so late? Oh. Do you have your mommy’s
credit card handy? [Frasier comes over] Have your mommy call
us back later, bye-bye.

She rises in her seat and smoothes Frasier’s tie.

Roz: Well, I guess your little aria must be coming up soon.
Frasier: Yeah - along with some Veal Milanese and a rather disappointing
Chardonnay. Oh, Roz, I hope you’re not still angry with me for
the way my advice backfired today?
Roz: Oh no, not at all! In fact, I’ve been meaning to tell you
how much I admire you for what you’re doing tonight. After
watching me crash and burn like that, you’re going to go out
and sing this very difficult song... in a foreign language...
under these unflattering lights, with your clothes soaked with
sweat, on live television...
Frasier: How long are you going to stay mad at me?
Roz: Until the day I get married.

Pete calls from the other side.

Pete: Yo, Doc, Doc! [Frasier crosses] Please, please, I’ve been
going over your music, and when we get to this section here,
either I can play really loud, or jab you with a pin, because
between you and me, you’re not hitting this note without a
pole vault.

The stage manager passes Frasier.

Manager: Ten seconds, Dr. Crane.

Frasier stands for a moment in agitation, then...

Frasier: That’s it! That’s it! I’m not doing the aria!
Roz: What? You’re backing out after you made all of us take those
stupid leaps?
Frasier: You bet I am! It may be an unwise man who doesn’t learn from
his own mistakes, but it’s an absolute idiot that doesn’t learn
from other people’s!
Roz: But you promised all your listeners!
Frasier: Oh, what’s the difference?! [a red light on the camera blinks
on] Who watches P.B.S.?!

Seeing the light, he switches to his suave radio voice.

Frasier: I’ll tell you who: discerning, cultured viewers, like yourselves.
Hello, I’m Dr. Frasier Crane. And like yourselves, I care about
quality programming, such as foreign films, classical music,
opera – which is why I intended to sing a rather challenging
piece: an aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto. But, who am I to
ignore the dozens of phone calls that have come in requesting my
signature piece, a rather charming little ditty that I first sang
three years ago on Classic Western Movie Week. So without
further ado, I give you “Buttons and Bows,” from Paleface.
Maestro, please?

Pete begins playing.

[N.B. There are two versions of what Frasier sings printed below:
Matthew Barr’s, as nearly as I can remember it, and the version
printed by the closed captioning on the DVD. I do this to emphasize
just how wildly unintelligible Frasier’s ad-libbing is.]

Frasier: [singing]
East is East, and West is West East is East, and West is West
And the wrong one I have chose And the wrong one I have chose
Let’s go where you keep on wearing those- Let’s go where you’ll keep on wearing those-
[forgetting words] [forgetting words]
Da da dahs, and boppa dohs, Da da dahs, and boppa dohs,
Things and buttons, buttons and bows! And things and buttons, buttons and bows!

Roz looks up, confused.

Don’t bury me, uh – lovely pea, Don’t bury me, the something “P”,
Something, la-la-la! Something, la-la-la!
Let’s all go to a... taco show, and Let’s all go to a... taco show, and
and a how I love, such and thrush, how a, such an impressive, blow my nose,
blow my nose,
You look great in buttons and bows! You look great in buttons and bows!

I love you in buckskin, I love you in buckskin,
la da-da da-da daaaa! la da-da da-da daaaa!

Continuing the song with unintelligible grunting, he turns around, and
wipes his brow.

Everybody! Everybody!

My bones denounce, the fearful trounce, My bones denounce, the fearful trounce,
and la-la la-la Moldic rose! and la-la la-la mole that grows!
Ba-da Seuss, a palm caboose! Bada souse, a pom capoose!
and a panda hop, and pantyhose and a penta hoss, and pantyhose
You look buppity, buttons and bows! You’ll look buppity, buttons and bows!

He blithely takes a bow. Roz smiles – she’s had her payback.

FADE TO:

Scene Six - Apartment
Later that night, Martin and Daphne (with her hair in a towel) are
sitting in the living room, watching Frasier’s TV performance and
killing themselves with laughter.

Daphne: Oh, I bet this is one leap year Dr. Crane won’t be sorry to
see the back of!

Martin bursts out laughing again.

Daphne: Should we rewind it, so we can watch it again?
Martin: No, no, not yet, let it finish first, this is the verse where
he REALLY loses it!

Both: [singing] Bippity-boppity, hippity-dos
Something and something, and buttons and bows!

They finish with a little arm jiggle similar to Frasier’s ending,
then fall back in their seats, busting their buttons.

Martin: Okay, now you can rewind it!

Daphne reaches for the remote, but Eddie grabs it and runs off.

Martin: Hey!

But Daphne and Martin sit back, very satisfied.

FADE OUT

Credits:

Frasier, wrung out after his humiliation at the telethon, opens the
door to Niles. Niles gives him a comforting hug, then Frasier asks
Niles if he crumbled and went to have s*x with Maris. Niles assures
Frasier that he didn’t. Frasier offers Niles sherry. As he goes to
the bar, Niles finds a dab of crème fraiche behind his ear and
hurriedly licks it off.