Episode reviews for Episode 4.01 - The Two Mrs Cranes
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Number of Reviews: 31
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Little to add to what's been said., Aug 23, 2012
from Devon, England
Loved this farce, a great opener to Season 4! One of my favourite lines
was where Daphne turns to "husband" Niles and says pointedly how well
Clive is doing, and "still as handsome as ever". Niles says in a throwaway
manner "Well, send in the clowns", at the precise moment that Frasier
and Roz (playing Maris) appear from from the balcony. Whereupon Niles,
without missing a beat, adds "Don't bother, they're here"!!!
The first time I drove a Moon Crane..., Dec 06, 2011
Reviewer: Sammy J
from Melbourne, Australia
Poor Scott Atkinson. He has the bad luck to appear in one of the
most hilarious episodes of "Frasier" ever written, which means
that his atrocious accent sees him savaged all across the internet.
Look, yes, it's odd that the British-born folk in the cast didn't
mention this during rehearsal, but I don't think Atkinson is really
as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
And even if he is, he's about the only negative thing in this
episode. The script does take a bit of time to get going, but once
it's firing on all cylinders, there's no stopping the hilarity. I adore
the fact that all of the ensemble get involved (and the moment
when everyone ponders what they should name the dog), but
what makes it work even smoother than Keenan's previous hit -
"The Matchmaker" - is that everyone has a reason for acting the
way they do. Martin decides to revel in living out his fantasy, while
Daphne and Roz do their best to flirt with Clive, an act which has
become more important than the fantasy.
This episode sets the tone for what will be another bravura
season of 'Frasier' very well.
Ignorance is bliss (sometimes), Jul 16, 2011
Reviewer: Mark Horton
from New York and Mississippi
There are so many Frasier episodes that I think are great, several that
I think are brilliant, but only a couple that I think are incredibly
brilliant. This is one of the incredibly brilliant ones. It achieves farce,
which few American sitcoms can do.
One of its greatest strengths is the fact that it is a true ensemble
piece, with everyone having equally funny lines.
For the purists who cavil at Scott Atkinson's accent, remember that
the show was developed primarily for an American audience (at least,
I think it was) and, from my experience, we do tend to be rather
ignorant about true English accents. In fact, we can be rather
ignorant about various American accents. (I can't count the times I've
wanted to throw something at the screen when I hear someone
trying to imitate a Southerner.) Also, I've met many Americans
who can't understand a true Southern accent, so it seems reasonable
that we may not understand a true Manchester accent.
While I empathize with those who do know a true Manchester accent,
I have to admit that I went online to find out if Scott really was
British! (yes, yes, yes, I know...pathetic).
By the way, the only episode that I can think of that rivals this one is
when the Crane men take Daphne and her friend to a mountain
cabin, which they share with a live-in instructor named Guy -- but
that show featured both French and British accents, so it may be
wiser to steer clear of it for now.
A brilliant episode, Feb 20, 2011
Reviewer: Richard GM
from Gwent WALES
This was the first Frasier episode I saw, by accident (I have never been a soap fan). I cannot remember how I got to watch it, but I thought it hilarious, and greatly enjoyed its civilized humour. I've been a Frasier fan ever since.
Terrible Acting, Feb 13, 2011
from London, England. UK
Is it so hard to hire an actor from the UK? Like someone else
mentioned, Clive's (Scott Atkinson)'s acting is absolutely awful.
Where did they get him? Why can't they cast someone who is from
Manchester - just an idea, I hear they have actors there too. I
mean, they hired an aussie to be Daphne's brother and he too had a
cockney accent but is supposed to be from the same town as
Daphne, surely??? I think that episode was terrible mostly as a
consequence of this "actor" not from the UK.
Love When Daphne pretends that Niles is his wife., Jan 10, 2011
Reviewer: Carys Humphreys
I love when Niles comes in and says "Cheese Nips" and when Daphne says "No, no, not at all. This is my very dear old friend, Clive Roddy. Clive, I'd like you to meet Dr. Niles Crane... my husband".
I also love the part when Martin says "I was an astronaut" and I love the part when Roz brings the opra glasses back to Frasier and Frasier and Martain says "Wh-Who is it? Roz:Open up, Frasier, it's me What do you know, it's Maris! I love the parts half way from act two to the very last part and I also love the act during the credits.
An overrated, uneven episode, Aug 25, 2009
Reviewer: Sitcom Fan
Very highly regarded by many, Joe Keenan’s second farce is in fact an uneven mix of the inspired and the embarrassing. Taking ‘The Matchmaker’ as its template, Keenan utilises a 2 act structure, the first act setting up the situation which will then unravel with increasingly complexity in real time in act 2.
A step up in complexity from ‘The Matchmaker’, 'The 2 Mrs Cranes' does an excellent job of gradually increasing the level of complication and providing the twists and turns necessary to sustain the comedy, without which a farce can easily become dull, the form relying heavily on plotting rather than character, dialogue or traditional storytelling to sustain interest. Instead of the 1 misunderstanding of 'The Matchmaker', we have 5 characters assuming false identities or relationships. Each character is involved in, and responding to, the charade in different ways and for different reasons. For Daphne, it is all very serious, and a chore, she is dreading something will go wrong. Niles cannot believe his luck. For Martin, it is all a big joke, and he is enjoying getting back at his sons for suggesting he cannot handle the complicated situation by enjoying making everyone's lives more complicated, (Martin’s attitude to the whole thing is one of the joys of the episode, his pretence of being an astronaut surely thought up after the writers thought of Niles and Daphne’s hypothetical hyphenated surname!) And in some ways funniest of all, Frasier is reluctantly going along with it, growing increasingly quietly exasperated until by the end he really doesn’t care anymore ( see his reaction to Niles’ gleeful suggestion that he is impotent!). Grammer, given less to do than usual, excels in this more subtle progression of his attitude in this episode. All of this is very well performed.
Keenan expertly twists the situation when Clive reveals he is now a successful businessman. This livens up the latter half of the episode as Daphne changes her tune and now tries to win Clive rather than repel him, thus changing the dynamic of the episode for Roz and Niles too.
That’s the good news. However, 'The 2 Mrs Cranes' is also a frustrating episode in a number of ways. In 'The Matchmaker', the situation may have been simpler, but that was one of its strengths. It was 1 misunderstadning, which was so inherently funny in itself it sustained the episode beautifully. 'The 2 Mrs Cranes' does not have quite as funny a premise and thus needs more complexity to make up for this. 'The Ski Lodge’ arguably gets the balance between complexity and an inherently funny situation better than this one.
'The 2 Mrs Cranes' also takes longer to get going than 'The Matchmaker'. That episode was funny right from the start, whereas the early scenes here have some flat moments (the pointless ‘tweezing muffin’ moment, the silly and unsophisticated references to ‘Stinky’, the lazy ‘narcoleptic applying for air-traffic controller’ joke, Gil's unnecessary appearance, the silly joke about Clive’s ‘butt’ - Keenan was never the most subtle of writers, was he?).
The episode also ends too abruptly, the final fade-out always seeming incomplete somehow. In fact, as with 'The Matchmaker', a further final scene was written, which features Daphne, Niles and Frasier discussing the events of the episode. This cut scene is excellent, giving the episode some warmth and depth which it doesn’t have, and providing the sense of closure that it lacks as it stands, and its inclusion would have improved the episode no end. This scene could have been fitted by cutting some of the earlier, less funny material in act 1.
And finally, we come to the most glaring flaw of this episode – Scott Atkinson’s performance as Clive. For me, this is the single worst performance in any of the 264 eps of 'Frasier'. No matter how many times I watch this episode, Clive – who is a central player and has a lot of screen time – produces a constant wince. This flaw alone makes the episode uneven enough to prevent it from being a classic, even without the other flaws I have mentioned. Atkinson not only has an English accent to make Dick Van Dyke seem like a master of dialects, he also acts appallingly. Every line is delivered with a strange, unnatural bizarre intonation, he has terrible timing, and the whole performance is just so awful it distracts me, it prevents me from supending my disbelief, and virtually ruins the episode. I often wonder if they added Niles' line about him ‘having all the charm of a cricket bat’ during rehearsals – it does seem to be an attempt at an apology for this ghastly performance.
With another actor playing Clive, a stronger first few scenes, and the insertion of the cut final scene, this could have been a classic. As it is, it is an episode that combines the brilliant with the cringe-inducing , making it a frustrating watch for me and actually one of the most uneven episodes of season 4.
Hilarious!, Jun 13, 2009
from Denver, CO, USA
This episode is absolutely hilarious with everyone playing a role other than who they really are. This is one of my favorites!
Still the best, but some Bad Acting, Jun 02, 2009
Reviewer: Alfred York-Burley
from Richmond-Upon-Thames, United Kingdom
A very funny and clever episode, although it is a tad let down by the actor playing Clive, nevertheless, it is my favourite of all the Frasier episodes.
This is entirely too overrated, Apr 21, 2009
from Ontario, Canada
Not only have there been many better-done farcical moments in Frasier, but the actor who plays Clive alone is atrocious enough to eliminate any future episode re-watching desire I may have had in the first place.
Plain and simple, it's a good try, but considering how low some worthy episodes are rated here, this one probably deserves the title of Most Overrated Frasier Episode Ever.