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Episode reviews for Episode 11.17 - Coots And Ladders

Avg. Viewer Review: 82.5%
Number of Reviews: 4

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Unchanging as Grandpa's whiskers, May 30, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

A cute little episode that doesn't quite soar after the last few episodes, but still gets the job done. By now, the series knows how to get the auxiliary parts of a script underway so smoothly. Frasier's day going from bad to worse is slickly done, as is Roz's overtaking of the calls at KACL (foreshadowing her own breaking free of the cocoon), a neat guest call from Helen Mirren, and the way the siblings fight over Frasier stealing a handkerchief and who is going to play what role in the un-thieving. It's all cleverly done by the cast and writer. Similarly, although I was initially suspicious of the narration conceit (wondering if it meant the episode didn't work well in production and had to be edited), it was actually very smartly used, particularly with Niles taking over the narrative. (My favourite line reading this week has to be David Hyde Pierce with "I remember it as if it were four hours ago.")

I'm not as down on the surprise party as some critics. Estelle Parsons puts in a lively turn as Opal, aided by fun guest stars Jack Laufer, Linda Gehringer, and "Cheers"' Vera - Bernadette Birkett. It is of course a very unlikely turn of events that leads the party to desire the exact medal Frasier stole. Similarly, the ladder heist seems like the Jenga tower has only been piled to three-quarters height before knocked down. There's something missing from the farce, and I suspect it's that the idea of Frasier needing excitement and thieving is not satisfactorily wrapped up. I mean this partly because of the increasingly serialised nature the season will take (with this thread being the focal point of next week's "Match Game") but also in that the escape from the party is the end of the farce, rather than the moment before the final twist. "Coots and Ladders" is not quite top-shelf "Frasier" but it's an enjoyable half-hour that promises our lead character will get the royal analytical treatment in the remaining few episodes.

Rating: 84%


Coots And Ladders, Jan 21, 2009

Reviewer: Tom M from Cumbria, England

Back in 2005 and 2006, I regularly posted reviews up for this site (under the name "Tom"). It was back then I hadn't seen all the episodes and, for whatever reason, this episode seemed amazingly brilliant to me!

Now, 2-3 years later, I can see it certaintly isn't "one of the greatest episodes of Frasier". Don't get me wrong there are some great scenes, particularly Niles' jumping to conclusions and attempting to overcome his "fears".

However, the story is rather trivial and just fizzles out at the end with a bit of an anti-climax.

This is a still a very good Frasier episode, but there are better.

PS, For the record, to distinguish between my old reviews and my new ones, I now post under "Tom M".

Rating: 80%


Coots & Ladders, Jan 05, 2006

Reviewer: Tom from Cumbria, England

'Coots & Ladders' is one of the greatest episodes of Frasier. It does what Frasier does best: takes a simple thing and lets the whole thing spiral oout of control. Pure slap-stick comedy! When Frasier wants to get a buzz out of life he decides to steal something from an apartment on his floor. He soon feels gulity and enlistes Niles' help in returning the object. They get into the apartment fine, but then a whole party of guests arrive!

The best part about this episode was when Niles' has to overcome his "fear" of spiders, heights & crowds in one go!! Hilarious!

Rating: 94%


'Coots And Ladders' review, Nov 09, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A peculiar episode which sees Frasier appearing to follow his brother's belated attempt at rebellion in 'High Holidays' when, following a call into his show from kleptomaniac Babette (Helen Mirren as the show's last ever guest caller) and numerous comments that he's become too set in his ways, he decides to take drastic action by stealing a trinket from his neighbour, Opal, that turns out to contain her bronze medal from the 1936 Olympics. The first half of the episode borrows a device from Season 3's 'Shrink Rap', with Frasier narrating his tale to Niles, who keeps wrongly guessing what happens next, although for the most part I found the episode more reminiscent of Season 8's 'Sliding Frasiers' in that the script doesn't live up to the promise of the idea and so ends up feeling gimmicky for the sake of it. While the flashbacks in the first half are quite amusing, the episode falls apart once the brothers attempt to return the trinket to Opal's apartment and find themselves gatecrashing her surprise party, with the ludicrous coincidence of Opal's family wanting to take a photo of the stolen medal seeming as lazy as it is contrived. The scene with Frasier directing Niles up the stepladder also feels very forced and brought to mind the rather strained humour of one of writer Heide Perlman's Season 10 episodes 'Door Jam', although it does contain a funny sight gag when Niles, aloft on Frasier's shoulders, twice bangs his head on the top of the door. Perhaps the best part of the episode is the ending with Martin reassuring his son that something special may be just around the corner, which nicely sets up the next episode's introduction of an important character in Frasier's life, but overall this is one of the less successful Season 11 episodes.

Rating: 72%