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Episode reviews for Episode 10.05 - Tales From The Crypt

Avg. Viewer Review: 84.2%
Number of Reviews: 5

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I am getting dead from you, but I'm not getting undead, May 25, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


A delightfully funny episode in an increasingly inventive season, "Tales from the Crypt" more than makes up for the fact that its writer wrote my least favourite episode of (at least) the first nine seasons in "The Wizard and Roz".

The issues with that script (and some others of that era) were that the situations arose out of misguided or outdated conceptions of the characters. The prank war at KACL is great fun precisely because it sets the characters against each other in ways that seem perfectly apt. Frasier's plan is so ridiculously long-form (and I'll admit, the idea that he actually devised his plan on paper is a little sitcom-absurdist for this show) that every little reveal becomes funnier. Frasier directing the zombies is a quintessential scene, and the script perfectly captures how Frasier's ambition and lack of practicality blind him to what makes a great joke. In this case, the show twists against us: not only does Frasier's scheme work, but it really goes too far! The climax of practical jokes verges on the silly side, but I don't find it too unlikely that - in the moment - someone could be convinced by it, particularly not a wimp like Kenny or even a (tough but) older guy like Martin. It's just enjoyable to see an episode with so much energy in an era of the series that has sometimes felt deliberately languid, trading in farce and absurdity but at the same time keeping Roz and Martin around to comment on just this fact. And take note of the opening scene with Bulldog and Kenny describing Frasier's nightmare situation: it's an example of how telling CAN be as funny as showing!

(Alright, I have a few minor issues. Some of the jokes border on sitcom "trunk jokes", like Frasier taking a rake to the beach. And I can't really understand why Bulldog, who we know has public popularity, is still working in the archives since even Kenny seems to like him now. Is it just because they could only get Dan Butler once a season and didn't want to get him back onto the airwaves?)

Meanwhile, the second plot is full of joys itself. On rewatching, I've really enjoyed the character of Mrs. Moon, and her performance by Millicent Martin. While "The Ring Cycle" started to lead her down the path to hellish shrew, this episode makes great use of the more playful side of the character. Her disdainful attitude to Daphne and Niles fighting is very amusing, and she's the only character I can imagine having such a clever prank war with a child. From his snarky little cake con to Gertrude's hilariously cruel "Mummy, I Need to Tinkle" Doll, it's bliss, particularly when the script reminds us that this has actually had life ramifications for poor young Jason! The resolution - that the pair join forces against their elders/youngers - is more cute than an hysterical cap, but I enjoyed it. (A quirk of casting though: this little boy used to live in Frasier's building in "Room Full of Heroes". I guess his family moved...)


Rating: 93%

 

Solid effort, Aug 11, 2011

Reviewer: Matt from UK


I find the later seasons of Frasier (8-11) to be extremely weak
compared to the first seven seasons, so it is a pleasure to come across
the occasional episode - such as Tales From The Crypt - which
sparkles.

We have two plots in the episode - Frasier attempting to set up an
elaborate joke, and Gertrude's ongoing prank war with an antagonistic
kid. Both plots are strong, and benefit greatly from the reunion of the
KACL crew (Bulldog, Kenny, a nice cameo from Noel) and the
presentation of a decent story (at last) for the talented Millicent
Martin to get her teeth into.

There are a few things that keep the episode from being excellent.
Firstly, Niles and Daphne are given pitifully little to do; had they been
fully involved, then it would have been a proper ensemble piece
reminiscent of Ham Radio. Secondly, for an episode that is engaging
from start to finish, there are surprisingly few laugh-out-loud
moments; it kinda bubbles along at a comfortable chuckle level rather
than produce any outstanding witticisms. Finally, and perhaps
crucially, the denouement of the prank just seemed...silly. I found it
unbelievable that Martin and Roz would fall for it, and it seemed a
very weak effort compared to the pranks played in previous episodes
which were genuine howlers.

Overall though it was a pleasing, easy-watching episode. Nothing
special, but certainly a joyful episode compared to some of the
tiresome soap opera drama we saw in the later seasons.


Rating: 75%

 

TALES FROM THE CRYPT, Nov 08, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


When the credit ‘written by Saladin K. Patterson’ appeared on the screen, my heart sank. Up until now Patterson’s efforts during Season 8 and 9 have been some of the most poor and feeble scripts the show has ever produced; so it was understandable that I was convinced that this episode would be a failure. However I was pleasantly surprised, and this episode stands head and shoulders above anything Patterson has written for the show, and although it does contain several noticeable flaws, it is a very enjoyable Halloween episode none the less. Another bonus from this episode is the return of Dan Butler as the larger than life Bulldog, who hasn’t been seen on the show for some time now; and it was great to see him up to his old tricks again and playing pranks on Frasier.

The opening scenes are very entertaining, if a little silly and immature but ultimately fun. Frasier, after being publicly humiliated by Bulldog, who had Frasier’s precious BMW towed and replaced with a replica model that was all smashed in is livid and seeks revenge. The best scene in the episode demonstrates Frasier’s renowned and typical obsessive nature, and takes place in Café Nervosa when Frasier explains the details of his plan to Roz. The notion he devises is so ridiculous, its funny. Frasier plans to attach a red balloon to the antenna of Bulldog’s car every time his beloved Seahawks lose a game. He is convinced that gradually the sight of a red balloon will get into his psyche, and he will be forever haunted by this sight.

Elsewhere Mrs Moon finally gets some good material to work with, and despite the fact that I still find her character tremendously annoying and synthetic, the trick or treat storyline was pretty good. However it did seem a little unlikely that Daphne’s mother would embark in a feud with a small child, but there were some lovely touches such as when the boy, Jason White worked up a huge cake bill in Nervosa and when Mrs Moon got a kid’s doll delivered to his school, explaining that ‘she wets herself too’, which although silly works well. This plot is resolved nicely with Mrs Moon and Jason working together to pull one over on Niles! Meanwhile Frasier puts his plan of revenge into play, and after a day spent in the company of zombie actors (I want you to write a paragraph about what kind of person you were when you were alive and how you died) and (The Royal Zombie Company) Frasier is ready to give Bulldog a fright of a lifetime. My favourite quote from this scene is from Frasier: ‘Take off that baseball cap, you’re undead not uncouth!’

The conclusion to this episode is okay and sees Frasier and Bulldog work together in order to fool Martin and Roz. Noel Shempsky tied to the back of the closet door, impaled with blood is a marvellous sight but all in all the ending wasn't too great, but Frasier did prove to his family that he could do practical jokes. Although this episode was very entertaining in general, it did suffer several weaknesses. The humour felt very stupid in places and there was very little for Daphne or Niles to do in this episode. Of course this episode still draws unfavourable comparison with the Season 5 masterpiece Halloween, and the prank storyline has been executed twice before in ‘Leapin’ Lizards’ from Season 3 and Season 7’s ‘Radio Wars’. In conclusion then an above average episode that proved to be a very entertaining watch.


Rating: 79%

 

'Tales From The Crypt' review, Oct 02, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


Another return visit from Bulldog, another Halloween episode and another (following 'Leapin' Lizards' and 'Radio Wars') bout of practical joking - not just from Frasier and Bulldog at KACL but also between Mrs. Moon and obnoxious youngster Jason White (previously glimpsed in the previous season's Halloween episode 'Room Full Of Heroes'). I was very apprehensive before watching this episode as it's writer, Saladin K. Patterson, was responsible for Season 9's ghastly 'War Of The Words' as well another three rather poor episodes before that. However, while this does suffer from some of the same drawbacks as the author's previous work (i.e. childish, simplistic humour with little base in reality) it does manage to quite enjoyable throughout. I liked Frasier's sketch pad containing his elaborate plan for exacting his revenge on Bulldog by tying a red balloon to his car everytime the Seahawks lose, while the subplot featuring Mrs. Moon's spat with the bratty Jason is quite fun, especially the moment where an embarrassed Niles refers to Mrs. Moon as their 'daughter' in front of Jason's parents. The whole zombie prank and the many twists and turns at the end feel a bit overdone though and John Mahoney still seems to be delivering many of his lines on autopilot, but the always welcome presence of Dan Butler makes this considerably livelier than any of the previous episodes in this season.


Rating: 74%

 

brilliant!, Aug 18, 2005

Reviewer: mary from coventry, england


one of my favourite frasiers ever!


Rating: 100%