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A Mid-Winter Night's Dream is the 17th episode of Season 1 of Frasier.


STORMY WEATHER -- Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) braves the elements to help his brother control himself. During the thunderstorm, Niles (David Hyde Pierce) is left to comfort a broken-hearted Daphne (Jane Leeves) in Niles' Gothic mansion, with no power and no Mrs. Niles Crane around.


Daphne runs into Frasier and Niles at Café Nervosa when buying coffee beans. When she and Eric, a clerk, take an obvious liking to each other, Niles becomes incredibly jealous. Frasier suggests that his obsession means he and Maris are having relationship problems, which Niles admits to. Niles becomes even more frustrated when Daphne sets up a date with Eric, instantly smitten with him. Niles proceeds to ask Frasier for advice on how to spice things up in the bedroom, but his elder brother has nothing. At KACL Frasier consults Roz, who suggests roleplay.

Niles in his piratical costume

Frasier is awakened late at night when Niles shows up at his door, dressed in a full pirate outfit. When Martin wakes up too, Niles recounts how he left a treasure map in the house for Maris to find and hid in the bedroom closet wearing only an eye-patch (though he wasn't wearing it on his eye at the time). Unfortunately, the upstairs maid found him and started screaming and Maris found them, misunderstood and threw him out. Frasier and Martin have Niles spend the night on the couch in their apartment so he and Maris can work things out the next day. As he is about to fall asleep, Daphne comes home from her date with Eric and kisses him goodnight, causing Niles to start sobbing.

The next morning, Daphne is constantly talking about Eric. Niles announces that Maris has gone to a spa in Arizona to "contemplate the future of [their] marriage from a mud bath". While Frasier suggests intensive couples' counseling, Martin tells him to just let Maris know he loves her and take her out for a dinner. Since their chef has walked out in sympathy with Maris, Daphne offers to cook for them before her own late date with Eric. On the night of the dinner, a thunderstorm is raging over Seattle.

Power failure

At Niles and Maris' mansion, Daphne arrives, soaked by the rain. Sobbing, she tells him that Eric broke up with her, allegedly because he wanted to commit to his music (though she suspects it was an excuse, having heard his music). Niles then receives a phone call from Maris, who tells him that the storm has grounded her flight. Just afterwards, the storm puts out the electricity.

Daphne and Niles in Maris' mansion

Niles' realizing what Daphne is wearing

When Frasier learns that Niles has been left alone with Daphne "in a Gothic mansion on a rainy night", he drives off with Martin, fearing that Niles may succumb to his infatuation and Daphne, heartbroken over her breakup, may let him. Back at the mansion, Niles starts to contemplate the same things and tries to reach Frasier by phone. He and Daphne begin talking relationships. When an old Glockenspiel he and Maris bought on their honeymoon, and which has been broken for years, suddenly reactivates, Niles realizes that he really does love Maris and talks about their relationship, and then he compliments Daphne on her good qualities. As they are in a friendly embrace, Frasier, having gotten out of his car and rushed to the house in the rain, sees them from the patio and cries out. Believing them to have kissed, he is panic-stricken until Daphne sets his mind at rest. He tries to change the mood by suggesting they start a singalong by the piano. He checks up on Niles, who assures him that everything is okay ("Frasier, my Glockenspiel is working again!").


While Frasier, Niles and Daphne are singing and playing the piano, Martin appears outside the patio door and tries to get their attention - and in from the rain.


Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane
Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon
David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane
Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle
and John Mahoney as Martin Crane

Guest starring

Dean Erickson as Eric


  • It is revealed that Maris and Niles went on their honeymoon in Zurich, Switzerland.
  • The melody played by Niles' glockenspiel is Chopin's Polonaise in A-Flat Major.
  • The music Niles plays on the piano is Beethovens sonata No.23 - the Appassionata.
  • The piece that Frasier begins playing at the end of the episode is Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K. 448, however it can only be played on 2 pianos and Frasier and Niles are sitting at a single piano.


  • A play on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as the episode incorporates numerous elements of The Bard. There may also be aspects of "A Winter's Tale", since that takes its form from a line within the play, "A sad tale's best for winter". Mid-Winter is of course, technically, December 21 or 22, depending on when the solstice falls.


  • This is the first episode in which any of the main characters verbally address Niles' infatuation with Daphne. Frasier is the first to speak of it.
  • After Maris kicks Niles out, he shows up at Frasier's wearing a pirate outfit. The shirt is the same "Puffy Shirt" that Jerry Seinfeld wore in an episode of Seinfeld.
  • This is the first time that the Crane Mansion is shown.