Daphne's bra of futility
Ins and outs of the early-mid-1990s
“The Matchmaker,” a 1994, Season 2 “Frasier” episode I saw the other night on Pluto, a free streaming service that will be the end of me, revolves around a simple misunderstanding: Frasier is trying to set his handsome new boss up with Daphne, but the boss thinks Frasier himself is seducing him… and is more than game. Everyone at the office knows new boss is gay. Everyone except for oblivious and narcissistic Frasier, that is. He figures that since the new boss is an Anglophile, Daphne’s a sure bet. He figures wrong.
Because this is happening on “Frasier” and not a soap opera, there’s remarkably little drama when, at the end of the episode, all is revealed. There’s an extremely funny moment when the word “gay” is used in reference to the boss, I forget if by Frasier or the boss, and you see Daphne quickly pivot from entering the room to leaving it and, while doing so, deftly removing an uncomfortable strapless push-up bra that she had, to much discussion earlier, worn specially for him.
It is all a great big nothingburger. No hard feelings, but also remarkably little awkwardness, considering that this man is Frasier’s boss. There are occasional references to workplace romances as a bad idea, but no one seems especially concerned.
What’s also striking is the treatment of gayness in the episode. 1994 is just one year after 1993, which is when the “Seinfeld” episode that brought us the catchphrase, “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” first aired. And yet it is, somehow, a different world. On this “Frasier,” is entirely normal that someone at work might be openly gay, and speak of a difficult breakup with a previous partner. There’s no hinting at someone being a little, you know. It’s just spoken of plainly: boss is gay.
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