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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 10 -> Episode 10.16

Fraternal Schwinns
Episode Details

Written by: Sam Johnson

Directed by: Sheldon Epps

Original US airdate: 25th February 2003

Original UK airdate: 14th April 2003


Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Crane .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Kenny Daly .... Tom McGowan
Gertrude Moon .... Millicent Martin
Julia Wilcox .... Felicity Huffman
Alice Doyle .... Ashley Thomas
Cora Winston .... Emily Yancy
   
   
Guest Cast
Bike Clerk .... Mario Prado
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

KACL is organising a bike-a-thon in aid of AIDS research, which Frasier has no intention of taking part in and will instead be making a donation. When Kenny asks Julia if she is taking part, she at first says she isn't but then admits she is pulling Kenny's leg and will be taking part - saying that anyone who isn't doesn't have a heart. This provokes Frasier into changing his mind, something that Niles has no hesitation of making light of which backfires on him when Daphne suggests that she and Niles take part as well. The problem? Neither Frasier or Niles ever learnt to ride, something they try to cover when they go to the bike shop to buy a bike. Frasier suggests he and Niles go off to a parking lot that night and not come home until they can ride a bike, an idea which goes disastrously wrong as Niles' bike gets ruined and Frasier keeps falling off.

The next day at Cafe Nervosa, Daphne arrives with horrible news - someone has stolen her and Niles' bikes which leads to Daphne learning that her husband and Frasier have never really learnt how to ride a bike, and how Niles hid their bikes in the boiler room. To overcome one of their childhood demons, Daphne suggests she take Frasier and Niles to the park and teach them how to ride, something which is not as easy as she though it might be as Niles struggles to find his balance and Frasier can't seem to stop bumping into one particular tree. Will they be ready for the bike-a-thon.......? Meanwhile, Martin bumps into Cam Winston's mother Cora and wants to know why she never phoned him. It seems that Mrs Moon told Cora that she was his girlfriend and was a British secret agent, so Cora should leave him alone. Martin is as angry as hell and refuses to even talk to Mrs Moon but will they be able to resolve their problems?

Episode Title Cards
  • Cycology

Episode Highlights

- Frasier tells his listeners he will be at the bike-a-thon and mentions there will be some surprises too:
Kenny: So what are the surprises?
Frasier: First of all - I'm not going!

- Cora tells Martin that Mrs Moon had warned her off him:
Cora: Because she was in the British Secret Service and had a licence to kill!

- Martin tells Mrs Moon that someone told him she had been warned off by Daphne's mother:
Mrs Moon: Is she the woman from the bookstore?
Martin: Nooooo...... The bookstore!

- Frasier and Niles can't believe that they can't ride a bike:
Frasier: If a child of 4 can ride one then so can we!
Niles: That's what we said when we were 6!

- Mrs Moon says she found 2 bikes behind the furnace in the boiler room:
Niles: What were you doing behind the furnace anyway?
Mrs Moon: Drinking!

- Martin reveals he tried to teach his sons to ride:
Martin: I tried to teach them but I had to take them to the hospital so many times, social services started looking in!

- Daphne offers to teach Frasier and Niles in the midst of Martin trying to ignore Mrs Moon:
Martin: You're a good wife, Daphne - and I bet you were a good daughter when you're mother was alive (!!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

After a number of somewhat average episodes, this is something of a return to form with an episode blessed with a great plot - Frasier and Niles confronting another of their childhood demons and finally learning how to ride a bike. This gives rise to some great scenes such as the Crane brothers returning from a disasterous attenpt to teach themselves to ride, and Daphne's lesson in the park. There is also a great subplot in which Martin finds out that Mrs Moon warned Cora Winston off him by saying she was a secret agent with a licence to kill, which leads to a very funny scene in Cafe Nervosa when Martin pretends that Mrs Moon doesn't even exist. This all adds up to a highly amusing and memorable episode.

For those, like me, who didn't know what the word 'Schwinn' means, it is the name of a very popular brand of bike in the US.

Rating

80 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 88.8%
Total Number of Reviews: 6


Well, someone's raising a real little show-off, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


"Fraternal Schwinns" is one of many episodes in season 10 that uses a plot I'm surprised it took them this long to reach. Of course Frasier and Niles struggled to learn the art of bike riding, and of course Martin has held this as a secret shame. Everything here makes sense, leading to a number of comic set-pieces. After an enjoyable KACL scene in which Frasier gets "the rubes into the tent" and we learn Kenny's cuss of choice is "cheese and rice!", Frasier and Niles set about learning to ride a bicycle. The scene in which the Crane brothers linger at a bike shop reveals Niles' true terror of the bicycle, which is such a natural element of the character. My favourite piece of dialogue:
Frasier: "Metal spokes. I like that."
Niles: "Guess you buy the horn separately."
Frasier: "That's good ridin'."

Niles' genuine admiration of Frasier's terrible bike jargon is perfectly sold, reminding us of how these two really remain big and little brother in so many ways. David Hyde Pierce falling apart is truly hysterical, and the sequence in which Daphne tutors the boys - set to the music of "The Barber of Seville", no less - is a great sequence. Season 10 has found wondrous ways to incorporate Daphne into a comic trio with the boys, and this is no exception. It's also neat that Niles is the first (only) one to master the art, since his willingness to be led by others contrasts with Frasier's inability to be taught by anyone. Perhaps after all these highlights it's inevitable that the final race wouldn't be quite a comic peak. Felicity Huffman is cute and funny as she taunts Frasier, and there's a neat gag from Alice at the race, though, so it's a well-rounded tale.

Meanwhile, I admit I was worried when Cora Winston spilled the beans on what happened. On this rewatch, I've been waiting for the moment when Gertrude Moon becomes a bad character, and I assumed this might be it. Instead, "Fraternal Schwinns" brings her character full circle, in a way closing off an arc that started a year ago. While there's plenty of comedy in Martin ignoring Gertrude, and delight in the way that Gertrude honestly thought she had convinced Cora she was a secret agent, this develops into a serious storyline. She's a woman finally realising places she has gone wrong, and although the series has used her frustrating traits to comic effect before, this show has always prided itself on remembering that every recurring character is a person too. "Fraternal Schwinns" is a nice chance for John Mahoney to play a justifiably serious version of Martin, but it's also a good time to see Millicent Martin's Gertrude as a woman out of her element and adapting to a late-in-life change she always needed but never wanted. I'll hold off further thoughts until I watch the remainder of the season, but it's pleasing to see the series approach this in a primarily comic but always complex manner.


Rating: 87%

 

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