Sunday, December 10, 2006

My favorite FRASIER script


Returned home just in time for a big rain storm. Thanks again to Peter Casey. I see my hits are way up. But now that I'm back on my own blog I can expect the traffic to plummet to normal levels.

For you FRASIER fans and new readers, earlier this year I posted an entire act of a FRASIER my partner, David Isaacs and I wrote -- "Room Service". It's the episode where Niles slept with Lilith and of the many FRASIERS we wrote it's my favorite. You've heard the story of FRASIER. Here's what a script looks like. It's longer than my usual posts but what the hell? I love this episode.

********

INT. LILITH’S HOTEL ROOM – MORNING

NILES AND LILITH IN BED.

LILITH

My God. What did we do? What did we do?

NILES

Well, first we –

LILITH

I know what we did. What do we do now?

NILES

Let’s just try to stay calm. These things happen. They happen every day. (losing it) Every day in Arkansas! Why did you have to look so damned bewitching all evening?

LILITH

Oh, so it was my fault, Mr. Sweet-and-Attentive? Why’d you have to drive me home and walk me to my door?

NILES

The way the moonlight bathed your alabaster shoulders –

LILITH

Your sensitive and manly touch –

NILES

Yours too.

LILITH

Take me.

THEY DIVE FOR EACH OTHER BUT THEN PULL UP SHORT.

LILITH

We’ve got to resist this. It’s wrong.

NILES

Of course it is. Last night was simply two wounded people acting out of loneliness and confusion.

LILITH

Not to mention four bottles of wine. But for whatever reasons we’re here, we must never let this happen again.

NILES

Yes, of course. (beat) But just to clarify…because of the ramifications of our indiscretion or, because, you know…?

LILITH

You were fine. My God, you Crane men.

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

NILES

(panicking) Who’s that?

LILITH

Don’t panic. No one knows we’re here.

NILES

I told Frasier I was driving you home.

LILITH

(now panicking) Why did you do a stupid thing like that?

NILES

It wasn’t stupid at the time. How did I know the minute we got inside this room you’d be on me like a hawk on a titmouse?

ANOTHER KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

LILITH

(sotto) Just be quiet.

LILITH GETS UP, THROWS ON HER ROBE, AND CROSSES TO THE DOOR.

LILITH

Who is it?

WAITER (OC)

Room service, Ma’am.

LILITH

(relieved, to Niles) Oh, that’s right. We ordered breakfast last night.

LILITH OPENS THE DOOR AND LETS IN THE ROOM SERVICE WAITER. HE ENTERS, ROLLING A BREAKFAST CART INTO THE ROOM. HE’S A CHIPPER FELLOW.

WAITER

Good morning, Ma’am, Sir.

THE WAITER STARTS TO SET UP BREAKFAST AT THE TABLE.

WAITER

I have eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine.

LILITH

Did you bring ketchup?

WAITER

Oh, No, I’m sorry. Let me go get that for you right now.

NILES

Ketchup on eggs Florentine?

WAITER

(Joking) Oh, your first breakfast together?

LILITH

Just get it!

THE WAITER EXITS. NILES GETS OUT OF BED AND SLIPS ON A BATHROBE.

NILES

Now I remember ordering this. It’s the breakfast I always order after a night of passion.

LILITH

Eggs Benedict…very rich.

NILES

Well, I only have it once a year. (then) Let’s dig in.

THEY SIT AT THE TABLE. THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

LILITH

That was quick.

LILITH CROSSES TO THE DOOR AND IS JUST ABOUT TO OPEN IT WHEN THEY HEAR:

FRASIER (OC)

Lilith, are you awake?

A STARTLED NILES AND LILITH SPEAK IN HUSHED TONES.

LILITH

It’s Frasier!

NILES

What do we do?

NILES NEARLY KNOCKS THE TRAY OVER GETTING UP.

FRASIER (OC)

Lilith?

LILITH

Just a second.

NILES

Why did you answer?

LILITH

I don’t know. I’m not very good at this. Hide in the bathroom.

THEY BOTH DART FOR THE BATHROOM.

NILES

No, not you!

LILITH

Here, take the cart with you.

NILES STARTS TO PUSH THE CART INTO THE BATHROOM. THEN:

NILES

Food in the bathroom?

LILITH

Go!

LILITH SHOVES NILES AND THE CART INTO THE BATHROOM, KNOCKING NILES DOWN.

FRASIER (OC)

Lilith? Lilith?

LILITH

Coming.

LILITH RUNS TO THE DOOR, FEIGNS COMPLETE INSOUCIANCE AND OPENS THE DOOR.

LILITH

Hello, Frasier. What are you doing here?

FRASIER

Surrendering, Lilith.

FRASIER ENTERS. HE HEADS TOWARDS LILITH AND TRIES TO KISS HER.

LILITH

But Frasier –

FRASIER

Oh, don’t punish me because I played hard to get last night. It took everything I had to resist you.

LILITH

But Frasier, this is wrong.

FRASIER

Who cares? Can you honestly say when you were lying in bed last night you weren’t thinking about me?

LILITH CONSIDERS A MOMENT.

LILITH

Yes.

FRASIER

Oh, drop the mask, Lilith. We both know why you came to Seattle. We both know why you dressed so enticingly last night.

FRASIER HEARS THE TOILET FLUSH.

FRASIER

Is someone in your bathroom?

LILITH

No, it’s a …defective toilet. Did that all last night. I’d better check it.

LILITH DASHES INTO THE BATHROOM.

INT. BATHROOM

NILES IS SITTING ON THE TOILET, ASLEEP. THEY TALK IN WHISPERS.

LILITH

Niles!

NILES

(startled awake)

Yes?

LILITH

You fell asleep and flushed the toilet.

NILES

Damn. Is he still here?

LILITH

Yes.

NILES

What does he want?

LILITH

He wants to make love to me.

NILES

Does the man have no scruples? He specifically asked me last night to keep him away from you and then the minute my back is turned he sneaks over here and yes, I’m aware of the irony.

LILITH

I’ll just ask him to leave.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

LILITH RETURNS. FRASIER HAS REMOVED HIS CLOTHES AND IS NOW IN A BATHROBE.

LILITH

Oh dear God.

FRASIER

Oh, drop this charade, Lilith – you’re not even convincing.

LILITH

I think I’m going to be sick.

FRASIER

Well, that had a ring of truth to it…

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

WAITER (OC)

Room service.

LILITH

Go away.

WAITER (OC)

I have your ketchup, Ma’am.

LILITH

Not necessary.

WAITER (OC)

Okay, but I need the bill.

LILITH

Later.

FRASIER

Let’s just take care of this.

FRASIER OPENS THE DOOR. THE WAITER ENTERS WITH A BOTTLE OF KETCHUP. DURING THE FOLLOWING THE WAITER NOTICES THERE’S A DIFFERENT MAN IN A BATHROBE.

WAITER

Sorry to disturb you. Here’s your ketchup… Sorry it took so long.

LILITH, WHO’S STANDING BEHIND FRASIER, SIGNALS THE WAITER NOT TO SAY ANYTHING.

WAITER

I’ll still need the bill. Where’s the cart?

LILITH

In the bathroom.

FRASIER

Why is the breakfast cart in the bathroom?

LILITH

Uh…I was going to take a hot bath while I ate.

FRASIER

Still, Lilith…food in the bathroom?

LILITH

Be back in a second.

LILITH GOES INTO THE BATHROOM.

FRASIER

This is a little embarrassing. My ex-wife. We’re sort of reconnecting.

WAITER

Yes, Sir. That’s wonderful.

FRASIER

And who knows? It might work out this time.

WAITER

Ohh-kay.

LILITH COMES BACK WITH THE BILL.

LILITH

There you go. There’s a generous, generous tip there for you.

WAITER

Thank you, Ma’am.

FRASIER

Listen, while you’re here, would you please bring me up some eggs Benedict? Silly for her to eat alone.

WAITER

Ohh-kay.

THE WAITER EXITS.

FRASIER

Now where were we?

LILITH

Look, I don’t think it’s a good time for this.

FRASIER TAKES LILITH’S HANDS.

FRASIER

Why not, my darling? We’re here. We’re finally alone. You need your Frasier.

FROM THE BATHROOM WE HEAR A LOUD CRASH AS THE BREAKFAST CART GOES OVER.

FRASIER

(crossing to the bathroom) What the hell was that?

LILITH

Frasier, stop. Don’t go in –

INT. BATHROOM

FRASIER OPENS THE DOOR. NILES IS LYING SPRAWLED ON THE TOPPLED BREAKFAST CART.

FRASIER

Niles!

NILES

(sitting up) Yes?

FRASIER

Oh my God!

LILITH

I’m so sorry. We didn’t mean for this to happen.

FRASIER

Oh my God!

NILES

She’s telling the truth. It was a mistake. A stupid mistake.

FRASIER

Stop it, Niles. I don’t want to hear how or why or – I just want to get out of here.

FRASIER EXITS THE HOTEL ROOM.

LILITH

Frasier! Frasier!

BUT HE’S OUT THE DOOR.

NILES

This is my worst nightmare.

LILITH

You have egg on your face.

NILES

That’s an understatement. I’m mortified. I –

LILITH

No. Actual egg. It’s in your hair, too.

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. LILITH OPENS IT AND FRASIER COMES BACK INTO THE HOTEL ROOM.

NILES

I knew you couldn’t stay mad at us.

FRASIER

I’m in a bathrobe, you jackass.

FRASIER BEGINS COLLECTING HIS CLOTHES AS SOMETHING DAWNS ON LILITH.

LILITH

I can understand your shock and – believe me, if I could erase everything that happened last night I would. But if you look at this rationally for a moment, we didn’t technically do anything wrong.

FRASIER

What?! You didn’t do anything wrong?

NILES

I’m a little unclear on that myself but I’m willing to go along with it.

LILITH

You and I are no longer married. Neither is Niles. I won’t say this is my shining hour but we’re not responsible to you or anyone else for our actions.

NILES

(jumping on the bandwagon) Right! And I’m frankly insulted by your outburst.

FRASIER

I can’t believe this! You’re actually defending what you did?

LILITH

Just listen. The past few days have been the worst of my life. I’ve never felt less self-assured, more in need of validation, both as a person and as a woman. And Niles was feeling the same thing.

NILES

Exactly. (realizing) Wait a minute.

LILITH

(to Frasier) Our physical reaction to each other was nothing more than a desperate attempt to reaffirm our own worth.

FRASIER

Very impressive, Lilith. But I happen to be a psychiatrist too. Let me tell you what really transpired. This is a passive-aggressive manifestation of the deep resentments that you both have toward me. You were punishing me for my notoriety. My successful adjustment after our marriage. It is this shared bond that brought you two to your palace of sweet revenge.

LILITH

Allow me to rebut: What a crock.

FRASIER

It is not!

LILITH

This is yet another example of your complete self-absorption and the reason we could not stay together in the first place.

FRASIER

I think I have a right to -- why am I defending myself?

NILES

If you ask me, you’re both off the mark. Last night was all about two people ruled by very strong superegos, tortured by them, who had a chance, however misguided, to break through and rediscover their ids together. Call me an old softy, but that’s how I see it.

FRASIER

(a beat, then) Okay, then… the three of us have certainly analyzed the crap out of this.

LILITH

Where does that leave us?

NILES

Yes. Where do we all go from here?

FRASIER

(after a beat) I don’t know.

THERE’S AN AWKWARD SILENCE. A CELL PHONE RINGS IN THE CLOSET.

NILES

Oh, that’s mine.

NILES GOES TO THE CLOSET TO SEARCH FOR HIS CELL PHONE.

LILITH

You realize if you had simply given in to me last night instead of this morning, the three of us wouldn’t be in this hell?

FRASIER

No, it would be the two of us in a whole different hell.

NILES

(into phone) Niles Crane… Absolutely not. We agreed on a figure… Well that’s too damned bad. I’ve been manipulated enough by you jackals. I’ll see you in court. (hangs up) The very idea that Maris would still think… (realizes) Hey, wait a minute… I’m not sleeping. By all rights the strain of that conversation should have caused me to go out like a light. And instead I feel alert. Almost invigorated.

LILITH

It’s not surprising. Your experience with Maris over the past few months has been emasculating. Last night may have gone a long way toward restoring your self-confidence.

NILES

Yes. And by the same token, you can give up the neurotic assumption that Brian left you because you’re not attractive. You’ve had ample evidence to the contrary.

LILITH

Yes, I have. To hell with Brian. If he wants a doting little wife he can keep Stan.

FRASIER

Well, this just worked out great for everyone, didn’t it? You two solved your problems. The waiter got a handsome tip. Come on, everyone, on my cue… a rousing chorus of “Oh Happy Day.”

LILITH

Please try to understand.

NILES

Yes, what happened was nothing more than –

FRASIER

Oh, stop it, both of you. Enough. It happened, and I’m going to have to deal with it. (then) I suppose in a twisted way there is one positive in this for me. You see, Lilith, I have never stopped desiring you, even though we are completely wrong for each other. But now, from this day forward, whenever I look at your face, I’ll see the back of my brother’s head, and that’s better than a dead horse any day.

LILITH

Well, I’m glad to hear that… I suppose. You know, Frasier –

FRASIER

Enough, Lilith.

LILITH

All right. Maybe I’ll just go have some breakfast.

LILITH GOES INTO THE BATHROOM. THERE’S AN AWKWARD SILENCE. FRASIER AND NILES DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO EACH OTHER. FINALLY:

NILES

Are we okay?

FRASIER

No, we’re not. (beat) But we will be.

NILES

Well that’s enough for now. (then) We’re an odd little family, aren’t we?

FRASIER

Yeah, like the one in Deliverance.

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

WAITER (OC)

Room service.

FRASIER OPENS THE DOOR. THE WAITER ENTERS WITH ANOTHER BREAKFAST CART.

WAITER

Here’s the eggs Benedict, and --

THE WAITER LOOKS AROUND AND NOTICES THERE’S NO LILITH, JUST TWO MEN IN BATHROBES.

WAITER

Ohh-kay.

AND HE TURNS AND EXITS, AS WE:

FADE OUT. THE END.

22 comments :

Ger Apeldoorn said...

A great episode. Did it win anything? And it was just people talking. Emberrasment as situation. No camera tricks. How old-fashioned.

And don't forget the end of the episode. The first time I ever heard the lines 'Are we okay with this?" "No, but we will be." But not the last time.

Ger A.

Mike Barer said...

Nothing like a wake up call to tell you that when it's time to move on, then move on!

William Gallagher said...

The full script of this is in one of the two collections of Frasier scripts published here in the UK (and I presume the US too) and it's a joy.

But I think my favourite moment is immediately before this excerpt where there's a great reveal that it's Niles in bed with Lillith and then there's a stage direction that goes something like this:

"And if that isn't an act break, we don't know what is."

Loved it,
William

donna said...

Definitely one of my favorites. A classic, very funny episode.

Bravo....

Gary said...

An old softy? I identify...

RAC said...

Probably the best way ever to end Frasier's lingering obsession with Lilith. Pure genius.

VP19 said...

Brilliantly bawdy. What else can I say?

Anonymous said...

Arkansan here who cringes everytime I hear another cheap inbreeding joke

Bill said...

A classic.

Diane said...

Brilliant - and so memorable that as I read it, I can hear each character saying the lines, but particularly so with Niles. DHP was my favorite actor among a great cast.

Kurt Busiek said...

>> Arkansan here who cringes everytime I hear another cheap inbreeding joke >>

Why, I'm sure Ken Levine and David Isaacs were paid quite well for that joke...

Frank Abe said...

I laughed out loud.. all over again. Brilliant.

Nat Gertler said...

The second half of this episode - the material shown here - is what I always hold up as an example when discussing TV at its most effectively human.

pseudonymous in NC said...

Fantastic, Ken. I've always considered Frasier as a cross between Noël Coward and Whitehall farce -- comedy of embarrassment, of a style that the British usually monopolise -- and that act demonstrates it.

Mary Stella said...

I can't believe I've never seen that episode. I have to search for it in syndication. If I laughed this hard reading it on your blog, I'm sure I'll tip my chair over laughing even more when I see the actors play the scene.

Thanks so much for posting this, Ken.

Tom Green said...

Thank-you. Brightened up a very dull afternoon in London.

Anonymous said...

I saw this episode in a rerun recently, and I thought it contained one of my favorite "Frazier" exchanges, when Frazier trotted out the 'what can we learn from this' and:

Niles: I learned if you kiss too quickly you get an ice cream headache...

Lilith: You also learned I have twice your upper body strength, so shut you pie hole.

Did they edit that out for syndication? Or did I wittily write it in my own head?

PS: My only disappointment with the final episode: I wanted Frazier to go back to Lilith in the end.

dhppy said...

Thanks for this. Lilith is one of my favorite television characters. I wrote one of my best specs around a Frasier/ Lilith face-off. The characters are so well crafted and acted, I found that the dialouge rolled out like Noel Coward with Tourettes.

Frodolpho said...

This is one of my favorite episodes as well - and the first one where I realized how uber-HOT Lilith really was.

Been a huge Bebe Neuwirth fan ever since.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymouse commenter who was asking about the pie-hole exchange - that was in a later episode. Basically they met for the first time since the incident described in this script, and it was all extraordinarily awkward until they went back to insulting each other (with the exchange you remember being one of the insults).

Don Gato said...

I love Frasier. So pitty that here in Mexico did´nt show the complete series. I´ve bought the seasons 1, 2 and 3 in DVD but the Paramount isn´t going to sell the 4...anyway...regards from Mexico City...I´ll beg you pardon, my english is not good...

Victoria said...

When I saw this episode, gosh did it have me in suspense and with so much laughter...this is one that should be seen if you haven't! I just love them all in Fraiser, real down to earth and an excellent quality show, especially for those who can relate to their profession, the talk, the psych/counseling language they use, I love it!!

-A true fan!