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Frasier makes his final broadcast
|Episode no.||Season 11
Episode 23 & 24
|Directed by||David Lee|
|Written by||Christopher Lloyd
|Original air date||May 13, 2004|
"Goodnight, Seattle" is the title of the series finale of the long-running American sitcom Frasier. It aired on May 13, 2004, in the 11th year of the series. In syndication, it is a two-part episode.
At the start of the episode, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) is on an airplane heading to an undetermined location, when he is surprised by the anxiety the woman sitting next to him suffers during the flight. The woman introduces herself as Dr. Anne Ranberg (Jennifer Beals), coincidentally also a psychiatrist, and after brief deliberation, Frasier decides to disclose what is on his mind, in hopes that it will help pass the time on the flight.
Frasier's girlfriend, Charlotte, is leaving for Chicago, leaving Frasier devoid of any current love life. To commemorate her leaving for Chicago, Frasier and Charlotte sleep together on her final night in Seattle, resulting in a problem as Frasier misses his regularly scheduled radio show, which results in station manager Kenny Daly taking over in a pinch who quickly starts to enjoy himself. Once Frasier arrives, he bumps into his agent Bebe, where he learns about a job opening on a San Francisco television network after a death occurs there, but Frasier quickly declines, citing his comfort with his present situation at KACL. In the meantime, his brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and his wife Daphne (Jane Leeves) are anticipating a child in the short-term, while his father Martin (John Mahoney) is set to be married to Ronee (Wendie Malick). In the process of Martin and Ronee's marriage, there is a mishap that occurs with the scheduling of the wedding, however, as Martin has accidentally scheduled the wedding on May 15, instead of July 15, a mistake he only realizes when he remembers that May 15 is Eddie's birthday. Frasier and Niles alleviate the problem, however, by promising the two that they will arrange for proper accommodations to make the marriage feasible, despite only eight days' notice.
As the two are frantically putting the wedding together, both Frasier and Niles encounter numerous difficulties. Three of Daphne's brothers, Simon, Stephen, and Michael, are in Seattle in anticipation of Daphne's child-birth. Frasier has arranged for a ceremonial cannon-firing when Martin and Ronee are officially declared married. However, the person Frasier puts in position has a heat stroke, making him unusable. Stephen volunteers to do the job instead and is told the cue from Frasier. However, Frasier and Niles also have to deal with finding a new flower girl, as the three brothers have accidentally intoxicated her, leaving them in search of a new flower girl as well. Roz (Peri Gilpin) allows her daughter Alice to do the job in the flower girl's stead, but upon receiving the same cue as Stephen was told, Stephen fires off the cannon, creating a havoc in the neighborhood. All the while, Daphne and Niles realize the wedding rings are missing, suddenly remembering the ring is in Eddie's dog bowl, from which he is now consuming, and eating the ring by accident. This leaves the group in need to take Eddie to a local veterinarian to have the ring extracted. Whilst at a local vet office, Daphne goes into labor, with her and Niles' child on the way. In a stroke of luck, the vet has plenty of experience in child birth. In addition, a nurse is at the office as well, and provides crucial assistance in the process. Frasier, Martin, and Ronee all hurry to the clinic, and after Daphne has given birth to the couple's first child, whom they have named David (chosen to honor the show’s creator, David Angell, who died in the September 11 attacks), Martin hatches the idea to have the wedding officially done in the clinic, as Daphne and Niles would miss the wedding if done in the originally planned location.
Later, a mover (the same from the first episode) returns to Frasier's residence to take out Martin's chair. Frasier calls Lilith to ask after Frederick. Afterwards, he finds himself with the peace and quiet he was once desperate for. However, with Martin having moved out and Niles and Daphne busy with their new son, Frasier soons finds that he isn't enjoying himself, but is actually quite lonely. As a result, Frasier has a change of heart about the job in San Francisco and decides to take it. The next day, while at Cafe Nervosa, Frasier and his colleagues learn that Kenny, who has decided to return to being an on-air talent, will be leaving his station managing job, an opening that is filled by Roz, Frasier's long-time producer. Later that night, Frasier invites his brother, father, Daphne, Ronee, and Roz to his apartment for a dinner where he will share his news about moving to San Francisco. However, before the dinner, Frasier begins handing gifts of significance to the attendees, having to leave briefly to retrieve his gift for Roz, when an ominous message, evidently from a doctor, reveals potentially bad news regarding Frasier's future outlook. Coupled with Frasier's demeanor and verbiage once he returns, this results in the attendees breaking down in tears one-by-one, fearing the worst. At last, Frasier reveals that the reason that he invited them over was to inform them of his impending move to San Francisco, where his new show will begin the following week. Later, during the celebration, Frasier reveals his reasoning for taking the job, citing that with Daphne and Niles' child, Martin and Ronee's marriage, and Roz's promotion, each of them have now begun a new phase of their lives, and that he now desires to do the same. Frasier then cites Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Ulysses", as noted below. As the hall is packed with his family and friends watching, Frasier reads the same poem at the end of his final show at KACL, where he thanks the staff and listeners for the past eleven years before closing, as ever, with the words "Goodnight, Seattle".
Frasier finishes his story as the plane lands - not in San Francisco, but in Chicago, where Charlotte has moved - and says to Anne, "Wish me luck."
Frasier’s farewell speech
The poem Frasier quotes in this episode is a shortened version of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s "Ulysses".
"It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And though we are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are—
[Scene shifts to Frasier’s KACL booth.]
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will;
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
I’ve been thinking about that poem a lot lately. And I think what it says is that, while it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took. And I hope that explains, at least a little, this journey on which I am about to embark. I have loved every minute with my KACL family, and all of you. For eleven years you've heard me say, "I’m listening." Well, you were listening, too. And for that I am eternally grateful. Goodnight, Seattle.
- Isenberg, Barbara (2004-05-09). "Cheers to Frasier". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Kinon, Cristina (2009-12-03). "The most watched TV episode of the decade was . . . the series finale of 'Friends'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Frost, Caroline (2003-01-24). "Frasier: Goodnight Seattle...". BBC. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Gumbel, Andrew (2004-05-13). "After 11 years on TV, Frasier says 'Goodnight Seattle' one last time". Independent. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
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- Waters, Darren (2004-05-15). "Frasier bows out of Seattle". BBC. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "Goodnight, Seattle. Hello, Windy City". Chicago Tribune. 2004-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Tucker, Ken (2004-05-13). "Goodnight, Seattle.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- TV's Most Unforgettable Finales - Aired May 22, 2011 on TV Guide Network