One of the highlights of the bitingly funny, cleverly-written sit-com Frasier was following the interpersonal relationships of its main cast. Though fans initially tuned in to watch the familial rows, romantic woes, and professional shenanigans of the fussy psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, they soon became enamored with the relationship between his younger brother Niles and his father's physical therapist, Daphne Moon.
The initial unrequited nature of their slow-burning romance provided a simmering sexiness to the series. Both Niles and Daphne went through various relationships before declaring their feelings for each other, inspiring all sorts of necessary tension. It was Niles' separation from his wife Maris that led him to enlist the services of divorce attorney Donny Douglas, who would become Daphne's major love interest. Donny was the opposite of Niles in every way, which made fans eager to determine who Daphne would end up with. Read on for 5 reasons why Daphne should have gone for Donny, and 5 for why Niles will always be The One.
10 DONNY: HE WENT AFTER WHAT HE WANTED
From the first time we meet Donny, we're told that he's a high-powered divorce attorney who goes for the proverbial jugular in the courtroom. He has the reputation of being able to get the most assets for his clients, no matter the nature of their divorce. When Niles goes to him regarding his divorce from Maris, he's euually in awe and intimidated by him.
Unlike Niles, who pined after Daphne for seven seasons, Donny never hesitated when it came to going after her. Used to getting what he wants, he didn't let any other suitor get in his way. If they had, he would have seen them as an adversary to be mercilessly crushed.
9 NILES: HE WORSHIPPED HER
From the moment Niles waltzed into Frasier's apartment and saw Daphne, it was like he had been struck by Cupid's arrow. It was only the third episode of the first season, and Frasier had begrudgingly hired Daphne on as a caretaker and physical therapist for his ailing father.
Niles had several conflicts of interest arise by pursuing Daphne; he was already married (however unhappily) to Maris, and he was technically responsible for Daphne's employment (he paid her salary in an effort to keep his father from living with him and Maris). That being said, he worshipped the ground she walked on from day one.
8 DONNY: HE DIDN'T MIND HER WACKY FAMILY
If you thought Daphne was an odd duck, you should see the rest of the pond. The Moons, hailing from Britain, were a clan of loud, boorish, opinionated people that were wont to take over Frasier's home while occasionally invading Niles'. Her brothers were all football hooligans who loved to drink beer and start fights, and her mother perpetually made herself a martyr to initiate Daphne's guilt complex.
Niles notably hated the Moons, finding their behavior reprehensible. Donny on the other hand, more of an average Joe himself, didn't seem to mind their raucous ways. He paid for their airfare to attend his wedding to Daphne, and often provided for them when they unexpectedly arrived in America.
7 NILES: HE WAS CULTURED
Our first introduction to Donny involves him eating a mustard and ham sandwich in his boxer shorts and a wife beater. He's in between court appearances and his lunch when Frasier and Niles find him in his office, and it's immediately apparent he has no scruples when it comes to hygiene or decorum.
Niles by contrast is a man of refinement and taste. He likes the opera, gourmet food, fine wine, and philosophical conversation. He is able to broaden Daphne's cultural palette through frequent five star dinners and elegant nights out at the theater.
6 DONNY: HE WASN'T PRETENTIOUS
Unlike Niles, who looked down on anyone that didn't go to a prestigious college or liked chain restaurants, Donny was not pretentious. Even being a successful lawyer, he wouldn't think of wearing the several hundred dollar suits that Niles wore, or refusing to dine at establishments that didn't enforce a dress code.
Donny would often surprise Daphne with take-out and tickets to see her favorite band. When she dated Niles, one of the concessions he had to make was eating at fast food restaurants she liked just to prove he wasn't a snob. Donny was never obsessed with his image nor social climbing.
5 NILES: HE HAD A BOOMING PRACTICE
Like his brother Frasier, Niles was a very successful psychiatrist. Unlike his brother, he didn't "sell out" to become a media personality, but preferred to maintain a private practice where his Jungian-inspired therapy was well-regarded in the psychiatric community.
While he did marry into wealth, his career made him affluent on his own. He was able to drive a BMW, shop at the best department stores, eat at the finest restaurants, purchase priceless antiques, and whisk Daphne away on stunning vacations.
4 DONNY: HE WAS A SUCCESSFUL ATTORNEY
Donny was one of the best divorce attorneys in Seattle, and though Niles initially scoffed at his law degree being obtained from the University of Las Vegas, he proved his mettle by successfully negotiating Niles' divorce from Maris. It was also a big win for Donny, because the case introduced him to Daphne.
Donny may not have presented himself in the impeccably opulent fashion that Niles did, but it didn't affect him being nicknamed "The Piranha" in the courtroom. He was able to ensure Niles got a large divorce settlement from Maris by unearthing the secret source of Maris's family fortune - urinal cakes.
3 NILES: HE'S CHIVALROUS
Beneath Niles' snobby and fastidious veneer beat the heart of a true chivalrous gentleman. In one notable episode, when he misheard that Frasier had gotten Daphne pregnant but didn't intend to marry her, he valiantly stepped in without hesitation to do what he felt was right to save her reputation.
When it turned out that the pregnant person was Roz (though not by Frasier), Niles had to pretend the incident was fueled by drinking too much sherry, but it demonstrated the level of sacrifice he'd be willing to make for the person he cared the most about.
2 DONNY: HE WASN'T INSECURE
Donny on the whole was a confident man, who didn't take no for an answer, liked sports, and was generally well-liked. Unlike Niles, he didn't have a laundry list of psychosomatic phobias and medical conditions which could have prevented him from living a stable life.
It took Niles losing Maris and an entire relationship with Mel, her successor, to finally develop a spine and stand up for himself. Meanwhile, Daphne had to stand by patiently, hoping to be put first. Donny never let his insecurities get in the way of his relationships.
1 NILES: HE LOVED HER FOR WHO SHE WAS
In Niles' eyes, Daphne could do no wrong. From the moment he met her and learned she was "psychic", he humored her "gift", even though he considered himself a man of reason and logic and didn't believe in it himself. He didn't mind that she could beat him soundly in pool, liked to smoke cigars, and was a better dancer.
He even failed to notice when she began to gain weight in later seasons, an obvious point of alarm for other members of the cast. He simply adored her for who she was, no matter how eccentric she (or her family) was, and no matter what size she was. Who wouldn't want a partner like that?