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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 3 -> Episode 3.19

Crane vs. Crane
Episode Details

Written by: David Lloyd

Directed by: Philip Charles Mackenzie

Original US airdate: 9th April 1996

Original UK airdate: 15th November 1996

Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Guest Cast
Harlow Safford .... Donald O'Connor
Mr Giroux .... James Winker
Judge .... Neil Vipond
Bailiff .... Baron Kelly
Guest Callers
Beth .... Mrs Debbie Fields

Episode Synopsis

Niles has been asked to testify, on Court TV, against an old millionaire Harlow Safford. His son believes he is mentally unfit to run his own estate, and wants it handed over to him, citing Harlow's recent decision to sell some of his estate for far less than it's worth among a number of actions he has taken recently to prove his point. Martin is upset that Niles could take on such a case, but Frasier believes it's the fact that the case will be shown on TV that swayed Niles' decision to take on the case as he suspect Niles has always been jealous of Frasier's celebrity status - something that Niles, of course, dismisses.

After one of his radio shows, Frasier is approached by Mr Giroux who represents Harlow Safford, who wants Frasier to assess Mr Safford himself and hopefully represent Harlow at the incapacity hearing. Frasier is initially wary of taking on a case his brother is already on, but is persuaded into it, and finds Harlow to be a charming, if at times eccentric person, and sees no reason for him to be declared mentally unfit. Frasier is finally persuded to take on the case after a bitter argument between him and Niles when he tells him of being asked to represent Harlow. At the hearing, Frasier speaks first but is interrupted by Harlow who thinks the courtroom is a train station and goes round asking everyone for tickets - it seems Niles was right, after all, evn if he didn't get a chance to read his testimony out on TV.

Episode Title Cards
  • Second Opinion
  • If Only I Had Worn My Cotton Chinos
  • Another Reason To Keep Cameras Out Of The Courtroom

Episode Highlights

- Martin wonders what will happen to his stuff after he dies:
Frasier: Niles and I have decided to donate all your things to charity. We're donating your clothes to the blind (!)

- Mr Giroux tries to convince Frasier to see Harlow Safford:
Frasier: You sound like my father - a man who believes burial is a form of age discrimination!

- Frasier tries on Harlow Safford's firemans hat:
Frasier: It is sort of fun, isn't it?
Harlow: Not on you.

- Martin settles down to watch a video of a boxing match:
Martin: The fight was last night on pay TV. One of my police buddies has a pirate antenna so he taped it for me. Then it was messengered to over to me in an envelope marked "Official Business".
Frasier: Another inspiring tale of our men in law enforcement (!)

- Niles refutes Frasier's suggestion he is wearing make-up for the cameras:
Niles: This is medication - something my dermatologist recommended for me.
Frasier: Dr Revlon (?!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

Even a series as good as 'Frasier' has it's off days, and this episode is sadly one of them. It's central storyline has some good points to make about whether being eccentric is a sign of mental incapacity but the script contains too many weak jokes and is completely let down by it's ending of Harlow launching into his railway conductor routine. This is an ending that would suit a mediocre sitcom as it is obvious the episode has been setting us up for a fall by making us think Frasier is right, but being disproved at the last minute, something I didn't think the writers would sink to using. The episode also throws away the promising idea of Niles being jealous of Frasier's celebrity, leaving us with a disappointing and dull episode in what is a rather good season. Shame.


70 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 68.0%
Total Number of Reviews: 4

Weak but not THAT weak, Dec 06, 2011

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Crane vs Crane" is probably the weak point of season 3, it's true.
Yet I don't think it's unmemorable - like, say, season 1's "Call Me
Irresponsible" or this season's "The Friend". Nor is it poorly
conceived: the issue of whether Harlow is insane or eccentric is a
touching and contemporary one which could've been dealt with
on, say, "Boston Legal". Nor is it badly cast: Donald O'Connor is a

It's a tribute to this series that there's nothing approaching a bad
episode anywhere in the first three seasons (probably the first
seven seasons, really!) but "Crane vs Crane" just seems
undercooked. The issue is that the plot doesn't really have
enough business to last 22 minutes, and neither are the
characterisations very keenly observed (unlike the recent success
"Chess Pains"). This is because the episode simply doesn't live up
to the implications in the title. Not much time is actually spent with
the Crane brothers going head to head. (Fair enough, in an
episode featuring such a high-profile guest star.) The courtroom
business feels like something of an afterthought, redeemed only
by Niles' attempts to become a Clarence Darrow/Daniel Webster

Instead, things just potter along. The central idea is interesting
but never really sparkles, and what could have been an enjoyable
character study or an issue-based episode becomes just a
throwaway experience. By virtue of being early "Frasier", it keeps
the attention for its running time. It's just that, afterward, all you
can think is "Wait... was that it?"

Rating: 60%


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