‘Frasier’: Was Niles’ Obsession With Daphne Inappropriate?

Frasier, much like other 1990s sitcoms, employed the “will-they-won’t-they” storyline to keep fans interested. Friends did it with Ross Geller and Rachel Green and Frasier used Daphne Moon and Niles Crane’s potential romance to keep fans engaged. While Niles and Daphne end up together in the long run, Niles’ unrequited feelings come across a little bit creepy. So, was Niles’ obsession with Daphne bordering on inappropriate? Some fans think so.

Niles is obsessed with Daphne from the word go

Hopeless romantics would call it love at first sight, but realists might call Niles’ initial attraction to Daphne creepy. Let’s look at it honestly; Niles knows absolutely nothing about Daphne when he first meets her, other than the fact that she’s attractive, smells good and she’ll be working with the family. Even still, he’s immediately taken with her. In fact, he’s so taken with her that within the first several months of knowing her, he becomes obsessed.

Niles’ obsession is so intense that he is even jealous of Frasier’s son, Frederick Crane, when Daphne entertains his crush. Frasier manages to call him out on the behavior, but he remains undeterred. The obsession grows deeper in Season 1, and Niles is even caught videotaping Daphne while she sleeps, points out one Reddit user. While Frasier and Martin seem to find Niles’ behavior to be harmless, any true mental health professional would question his motivations and why he’s behaving the way he is.

No one seems to notice that Niles is married during his infatuation

Perhaps its because no one ever gets to see Maris Crane, but everyone seems to forget that Niles is married during the majority of his deep obsession with Daphne. His feelings even continue after he gets involved with Mel, whom he meets because of Maris. While feeling attraction to others while married isn’t a crime, the way Niles goes about expressing those feelings is pretty inappropriate.

Sam Johnson as Reno Officiant, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane and Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon
Sam Johnson as Reno Officiant, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane and Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

In Season 3, for example, Niles tries to prevent Daphne from dating Joe because he wants her for himself. He makes up a lie about Joe before he’s forced to relent and tell her the truth. Eventually, Daphne and Joe begin dating, much to Niles’ chagrin. During it all, Niles is married to Maris and doesn’t seem to be planning his escape from the loveless marriage, either. In fact, he continues to pursue Maris after he’s kicked out of the house, regardless of his feelings for Daphne.

How did Daphne not notice?

Frasier was a flawlessly executed show. In fact, there seem to be very few plot holes during the show’s 11-season run. One problem that fans have noticed, however, is Daphne’s apparent obliviousness. Is it really possible that Daphne had no idea that Niles was into her the entire time? To hear Daphne tell it, no, she apparently had no clue, but that hardly seems possible.

Daphne lived inside the Crane apartment for years and Niles was a regular fixture. It seems unlikely that someone who claims to have psychic abilities would have never noticed all of Niles’ leering and mildly stalkerish behavior. Is it possible that Niles’ behavior made Daphne uncomfortable and she just ignored it? That would be an exciting plot twist, but it was never explored.