Frasier Online
home About The Show Episode Guide Merchandise Forum Reviews Gallery Contact

Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 4 -> Episode 4.04

A Crane's Critique
Episode Details

Written by: Dan Cohen & F.J. Pratt

Directed by: Jeff Melman

Original US airdate: 22nd October 1996

Original UK airdate: 1st August 1997

Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Guest Cast
T.H. Houghton .... Robert Prosky
Bar Patron .... Steven Rotblatt
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier and Niles are out shopping with their father when they spot a famous - and famously elusive - writer,T.H. Houghton, as he's dropping into a neighbourhood pub. They race over there with their father, but he is too worn out to chase him any further and stays put while his sons continue the chase. While in the pub, Martin makes friends with a guy whoshares the same interests as he does - beer, football, etc - and they get along famously. When Frasier and Niles return to pick up their father, they are astounded to see their father sitting with T.H. Houghton. He ups and leaves at that point, leaving Frasier and Niles to question their father intensely about their conversation, but it seems they only talked about sports. Frasier and Niles then miss him again when he drops by the apartment while they are out.

They finally get their chance when Daphne mentions that T.H. Houghton is dropping by to pick up Martin for a game, leaving Frasier and Niles worried about what to finally say to a writer they have always admired - unfortunately, they are dumbstruck and come out with "Wow" and "Great". However, when he and Martin both leave, Niles notices that the writer has left behind the briefcase he always carries with him. They question whether to look inside, but when they do they find the manuscript for the writer's new, second book. Incredibly excited, the Crane boys settle down to read it and find it a truly magnificent book. However, the writer and Martin arrive back and find them quickly stffing the manuscript back into his briefcase. Although angry, he can't help asking the Crane boys for their comments.....

Episode Title Cards
  • In Another Part Of The Forest
  • Question: How Did Babe Ruth Change Musical Theater History?

Episode Highlights

- Frasier and Niles spy T.H Houghton across the road from Cafe Nervosa:
Niles: We're a stone's throw away from a literary giant.
Roz: Not the way you throw!

- Frasier and Niles return from the museum to find they've missed the author again:
Frasier: This from the man who spent 30 minutes staring at "Woman With Rectangular Head"
Daphne: Oh, was Mrs Foster in the lobby again?

- Frasier and Niles ponder whether it's worth going after T.H. Houghton and their father:
Frasier: I doubt it. They'll probably run into JD Salinger and Salman Rushdie, and go out for Margheritas!

- Niles arrives at Frasier's apartment just as T.H. Houghton is about to arrive:
Frasier: Niles, the wine shop just called - they're down to their last 2 cases of the '82 Chambolle-Musigny. Why don't you rush down there are snap it up?
Niles: Bless you, Frasier [Freezes] Hold it. You know very well that in '82 there was a drought in Bourgogne. The locals dubbed it the year of the raisin. And that wine wasn't sold by the case, only the bottle - T.H. Houghton is here !!

Frasier Online Episode Review

An odd little episode where the first half consists of Frasier and Niles continually missing T.H. Houghton, while Martin gets to know him, while the second half is them reading his new book which ends with the writer destroying it thanks to their comments, mainly that it seemed derivative. The opening scene is funny - where Roz can tell that a man is no good in bed if he blows on his coffee, only to see Niles do exactly that!. The rest of the episode is has it's fair share of amusing lines and moments - I especially liked the bit where Frasier tries to get Niles out of his apartment as T.H. Houghton is coming over only for Niles to twig that Frasier is trying to pull a fast one.


77 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 90.7%
Total Number of Reviews: 6

Classic season 4, Dec 11, 2011

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"A Crane's Critique" is nothing special: indeed, it basically just
checks the boxes of your standard sibling rivalry/snobby Crane
brothers story. But it does it so well, that the tension and humour
are reliably increased as the episode goes by.

The episode perhaps misses a chance for some true insight for
Frasier and Niles, who don't seem to even notice the fact that the
man they've admired since childhood is more like their father than
them. It might have been interesting to see them admit that one
of their idols isn't anything like them. But what we get is just as
enjoyable: Marty becoming fast friends with "Ted" is nicely played.
The episode uses the syncopated rhythms of Grammer and
Pierce's performances to perfection, as the brothers attempt to
one-up each other in their non-existent relationship with Mr.
Houghton, and then fall to pieces as they discover his unpublished

Thankfully, the episode doesn't falter. The closing moments, with
Marty's genuine anger, and Frasier and Niles convincing each
other they acted for the best, are perfectly earned.

Rating: 90%


Read more viewer reviews of this episode.

Write your own review of this episode and share your thoughts with other's.