Mourning Routine

Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when your routine gets disrupted, when someone shatters the peace and quiet of your morning?

You are going to watch the scene from a famous sitcom “Frasier“.

The context:

Frasier Crane, a psychiatrist, comes back to his hometown Seattle after his divorce. He is a host of a radio show where he answers the phone calls of the listeners and their questions on air.
He is a sophisticated and somewhat arrogant intellectual who rents a beautiful apartment and starts to enjoy his bachelorhood. Suddenly he has to take in his father, a retired police officer, who is recovering from the gunshot wound which crippled him. Frasier hires Daphne Moon a British physical therapist, who believes that she is a psychic. Daphne also moves into Frasier’s apartment to take care of his father…

Task:

Watch the episode without subtitles (if you can):

If you can not watch videos on youtube, you can download this clip here.

Now read the Transcript and learn the new vocabulary:

Martin: The half ‘n half’s curdled, and the garbage disposal’s jammed.
Frasier: [pouring his coffee] Good morning to you too, dad.

Half-and-half
Half-and-half is a blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream. It averages 10 to 12% fat, which is more than milk but less than light cream.
curdle
When a liquid especially milk curdles or something curdles it, it separates into solid and liquid parts
garbage disposal
Jam something (up) with something
to fill something with a large number of things so that it is unable to function as it should


Martin: Morning was two hours ago.  And close that barn door, we got a lady in the house now.
Frasier adjusts his robe, then tastes his coffee.  He is not amused.

Close your barn door
idiomatic: Barn door – zipper on one’s pants

Frasier: Hey, this isn’t my coffee.  Where’s my finely-ground Kenya blend from Starbucks?
Martin: That’s it.  Daphne put an eggshell and some allspice in it.
Frasier: [pouring it down the sink] Didn’t that just dress it up?
Martin: I like it.  Gives it a zing
.  Now, come on, sit down.  Your breakfast is ready.
allspice
ground dried berry-like fruit of a West Indian allspice tree; suggesting combined flavors of cinnamon cloves, and nutmeg.
Dress something up
to present something in a way that makes it seem better or different
a zing
a sharply piquant flavor; also an enjoyably exciting or stimulating quality

He leaves the kitchen with a plate full of fried food.

Frasier: [following] Oh, no, dad, dad, look, all I ever have is a bran  muffin, and a touch of yogurt.
Martin: Ah, girlie food.  Besides, I already fixed your breakfast.  Now, I made you “Eggs in a Nest.”
Frasier: Ah yes, the Crane family specialty.  Fried eggs swimming in fat, served in a delightfully hollowed-out piece of white bread. I can almost hear my left ventricle slamming shut as I speak.
Martin: You want cheese on that?
Frasier: No.  I’d like to leave some blood flow for the clot to go swiftly to my brain.

bran muffin
The basic components of a standard bran muffin are bran, butter or oil, milk, egg and sugar. Bran is the outer layers of the grain of cereals such as wheat, removed during the process of milling and used as a source of dietary fiber.
a touch
a little
ventricle
a chamber of the heart, having thick muscular walls, that receives blood from the atrium and pumps it to the arteries
clot
= blood clot – a lump that is formed when blood dries or becomes thicker, a lump of coagulated blood

[to himself] Can’t have my coffee, can’t have my breakfast, [sees Martin’s chair] Oh dear god, it wasn’t a dream.  I’ll get him for this. [to Eddie] And his little dog, too. [opens front door] Where’s my paper?  Who’s stolen my paper?  Mrs. Everly,  you old bat, I know it’s you!
Daphne: Yoo-hoo?  It’s right here, we brought it in for you.
Frasier: [to outside world] Sorry, sorry. [closes door and examines paper] Oh, wait a minute, this…  where’s the rubber band?  This paper has been read.
Daphne: Well don’t worry, we won’t tell you what’s in it.
Frasier: That is not the point.  Dad, dad?  Come and sit down please, would you?
Daphne: You’re going to give a speech, aren’t you?
Frasier: Oh, that’s right, I forgot, you’re psychic.
Daphne: Yes, but I think anyone could feel this one coming on.

psychic
a person who claims to have strange mental powers so that they can do things that are not possible according to natural laws, such as predicting the future and speaking to dead people
come on
(usually used in the progressive tenses) (of an illness or a mood) to begin


Frasier: Let us get something clear.  I am not a morning person.  I have to ease into my day slowly.  First I have my coffee – sans eggshells or anything else one tends to pick out of the garbage.
 Then I have a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast.  Finally, I sit down and read a crisp, new newspaper.  If I am robbed of the richness of my morning routine, I cannot function.  My radio show suffers, and like ripples in a pond, so do the many listeners that rely on my advice, to help them through their troubled lives.  I’m sorry if this may sound priggish, but I have grown comfortable with this part of myself.  It is the magic that is me.


Martin: [to Daphne, while exiting to the kitchen] Get used to it.

ease into something
to become or help somebody to become familiar with something new
sans
[sænz] – without
ripple
a small wave on the surface of a liquid, especially water in a lake, etc. ripple effect – a situation in which an event or action has an effect on something, which then has an effect on something else
priggish
feeling morally superior
  • Here is a short vocabulary test for you to check how you know your new vocabulary:

  • Watch the video again. This time pause it after each sentence and repeat it out loud after the speaker copying his sounds and intonation. Practice!
  • Record yourself reading the final Frasier’s speech. Act it out!
  • Post the link to your recording in the comments below. Let me enjoy them. 😉

13 comments

  1. When I first read your title, I thought your post was about death?

    And I didn’t mention that I am impressed by your ingenious use of the spoiler widget like this.  I would never have thought about using it that way.

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