Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Frasier and petitionary prayer

I'm watching an episode of Frasier, Don't Go Breaking My Heart (part 3), in which Frasier's brother Niles has just had heart surgery and Frasier has prayed to God to save him. At the cafe, Frasier explains to his friend Roz why he now cannot get into one of his typical arguments with his brother ....

Frasier: Well, it's a long story. Okay. When Niles was in the hospital and he was being wheeled into surgery [he shakes his head with foreboding] he looked so frail and vulnerable, so I ... I took my case to a higher power.


The scene fades to the hospital as Niles is being wheeled away. Frasier is shown alone in the room, thinking. We hear his prayer.

Frasier: [v.o.] Hello, God. It's me, Dr. Frasier Crane. Though I don't talk to you as often as I should, I want to thank you for all the times you've indulged me in the past - although I have yet to see the inside of the Empire Club. Just kidding. Anyway, today I ask you to look after my brother Niles Crane. I love him, even if I don't always show it, and I regret all the time he and I have wasted in petty quarrels. If you spare him, Oh Lord, I promise to cherish every moment we have together.

CUT BACK TO: Café Nervosa:

Roz: But Frasier, you don't think God is going to strike Niles down if you get in an argument, do you?

Frasier: Well, technically, the way it's structured, he'd come after me, seeing as I was the one who initiated the deal, you see.

Over the following weeks, Frasier gets more and more upset at the way his brother has been acting since his operation ...

Frasier: Roz, I can't eat. I can't sleep. I just lie awake in bed at night mentally arguing with Niles. And I win every time!

Roz: Frasier, this is insane. Do you really think something bad is going to happen if you break your deal with God?

Frasier: Oh, of course not. Well, maybe a little. I don't know. Roz, my brother could have died. I can't be ungrateful to whatever higher power may have spared him.

Roz: I just can't imagine that God would be upset ...

Frasier: Oh, he's God, Roz! Have you read the Old Testament? He can be ruthless!

Eventually Frasier finds out that Daphne, Niles' wife, also made a deal with God to save Niles, and since she actually made her deal first, Frasier believes he's off the hook and can once again fight with his brother. Things don't go quite as he's hoped, though ...

Frasier: Hello, God, it's me again. Dr. Frasier Crane. Listen, it seems that when we made our little arrangement, there was another deal in place. Now, I've had some experience with double-booking, and I know that the person who books first always gets priority. So, as long as Daphne keeps her end — which she is, to the letter - it seems our little arrangement would be rendered null and void. Ergo, I am now going to yell at my brother. [He beams.] Unless of course, you give me a sign.

He waits. There is no sign.

Frasier: Very well, then. This is going to be sweet.


Here's a clip from that episode that shows Niles at Frasier's apartment, talking to their father while waiting for Frasier to get home - they discuss soap opersa ;) ans then how they've both "cheated death". At 3:30 into the clip, Frasier has his second talk with God as he rides up to his apartment in the elevator ...


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