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Episode reviews for Episode 6.18 - Taps At The Montana

Avg. Viewer Review: 78.0%
Number of Reviews: 4

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Daphne, smell her beak!, May 16, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Coming in a particularly awesome little run of episodes, "Taps at the Montana" takes its cue from "To Kill a Talking Bird". In fact, it's basically a sequel, killing off one recurring character from that episode, and bringing back others - the frumpy Larkin couple. It may seem a little odd for the series to do a sequel to that triumph only two years later, but this episode is so smooth and really showcases the impressive teamwork built up on the show by this point.

The episode has fun in devising little stories for all the characters - Martin escaping a flirtatious loon, Roz becoming increasingly the brunt of everyone else's joke - while keeping the main thrust of the story around Niles. The guest characters are good fun (I adore the seriousness of "You're a menace, Crane. You always have been") and it's particularly funny how Frasier's stalling of the party comes across to his audience as just typical Frasier postulating.

Perhaps unlike "To Kill a Talking Bird", by this point we're so used to the nature of a "Frasier" farce that the show smartly reworks some of its existing jokes. We know Mr. Probst has died, for instance, before the characters realise it. After all, we've watched TV before. The rest of the scene, then, is played with a kind of ironic knowledge as Frasier refuses to accept what happened and Roz gradually cottons on.

The character work of the earlier farce is perhaps not as prominent in this one, but this is still very entertaining.


Rating: 84%

 

Bye Bye, Birdie, Dec 03, 2010

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire


In the previous episode, Frasier and Niles were only planning a dinner party. In Taps At The Montana, they throw one. Niles manages to get his apartment back at the Montana. After giving the tap-dancing doctor living there the old heave-ho, his joy is shortlived when the tenants board threatens to give him the old heave-ho as well, thanks to all the noise in the apartment during Niles' absence.

Desperate to smooth things over with them, Niles throws a party. But things go pear-shaped when Niles' pet parrot croaks after she swallows one of Daphne's earrings. And she isn't the only casualty, when one of the guests dies as well!

Like many episodes of this season, something seems missing from Taps At The Montana. The pieces are all there. And the players are engaged. But there's a tiredness. We've seen this kind of thing before. And done better. It could almost be a sequel to the Season 4 classic, To Kill a Talking Bird. Both episodes are about dinner parties ruined by Niles' parrot, Baby. It seems apt that her demise should happen at one.

But unfortunately, as is often the case of sequels, they seldom live up to their predecessors. It doesn't have to be that way. Joe Keenan proved that when he wrote Out With Dad. After tackling gay humour in The Matchmaker, Out With Dad ran with it, and took it to more satisfying heights. In that regard, I think Out With Dad has a slight edge over The Matchmaker.

But not Taps At The Montana. It throws in a few new spins. Death is certainly a touchy subject for a sitcom to tackle. Especially when used for comedy. I quite agree with Jocelyn. She compared the scenario to the Fawlty Towers classic The Kipper and the Corpse. But both episodes are polar opposites.

Disposing with a dead body is an idea ripe with possibilities. The Kipper and the Corpse was masterful the way it explored it, and put the screws on poor Basil. I wish I could say Taps At The Montana did the same, but David Lloyd cruises in neutral for far too long.

I'm also reminded of an earlier S6 episode, The Seal Who Came To Dinner. Where it has all the elements to be a great episode, and doesn't quite deliver on it. Once the poor unfortunate Mr Probst bites the big one, David Lloyd does very little with it. All he comes up with is shuffling the party guests into the kitchen, while Martin calls an ambulance to have the body removed. That's it. What the episode needed was some of the manic developments of The Innkeepers or Ham Radio. The two greatest farces Lloyd ever put on paper.

This type of situation cries out for cruelty. Someone who knows how to keep a scenario turning with ever more sadistic twists. Lloyd seemed to understand that in the above episodes. But appears to have forgotten it here. Even Decoys, another one of Lloyd's weaker farces this season was more lively than Taps At The Montana. And that's an ironic statement considering the episode's subject matter!


Rating: 67%

 

Taps At The Montana, Aug 15, 2010

Reviewer: Norm, Jr. from Somewhere, CA


Another disastrous dinner party, another bunch of haughty guests. 'To Kill A Talking Bird' re-hash finds Niles returning to the Montana, but in need of smoothing over his sublet's noise infractions. So, many of the folks from the above-mentioned episode pop back up for hijinks where yet another death occurs. This one is to a human, and Frasier is pressed into distracting guests by engaging them in a grating 'whodunnit killer' type game. The first half of this ep is better than what follows, as most of the proceedings clang on, with the ep taking it's 'plot' too seriously.


Rating: 78%

 

'Taps At The Montana' review, Jul 24, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


This episode offers the welcome sight of Niles returning to his home at the Montana as he decides to hold a party to impress the members of the tenants board, who became greatly annoyed by the noisy behaviour of the tenant who lived there in Niles' absence. It's nice to see the Larkins again for the first time since 'To Kill A Talking Bird' and while this episode is certainly reminiscent of that Season 4 classic, the main influence here seems to be 'Fawlty Towers', and in particular that series' classic episode 'The Kipper And The Corpse' as Frasier and Niles find themselves having to deal with the body of Mr Probst, who dies during a game of 'Murderer'. Elsewhere, Niles' pet bird Baby suffers a similar fate after swallowing Daphne's earring and as with Niles and Yvonne in 'Beware Of Greeks', David Lloyd includes some more unwanted amorous attention, this time between Martin and so-called 'shrinking violet' Mrs Latimer. In all, this is another example of it's author's knack for inspired farce and, with the exception of the jarring sequence with the tap dancing tenant, makes for a delightfully black humoured episode.


Rating: 83%