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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 5 -> Episode 5.02

The Gift Horse
Episode Details

Written by: Ron Darian

Directed by: Pamela Fryman

Original US airdate: 30th September 1997

Original UK airdate: 16th January 1998

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
Sherry Dempsey .... Marsha Mason
Guest Cast Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

It's Martin's 65th birthday, and instead of competing with each other as they have always done over who can buy Dad the best present, Frasier and Niles decide to set a limit over how much they can spend this year, with Frasier deciding to get Martin a wallet and matching keycase while Niles gets him a subscription to a brewery that will deliver a different case of beer each month. However, when Niles reveals that his gift is $100 over the limit, Frasier can't believe what he's hearing, so Niles suggests he just put $100 in the wallet, and so the matter seems resolved. Meanwhile, Sherry has big plans for Martin's birthday party (even if it's Daphne who's doing all the work), and has found a picture of Martin back in his police days of him aboard his beloved police horse Agides, which Sherry intends to blow up to lifesize, with Martin recalling how much he used to love the horse.

The rivalry, however, between Frasier and Niles over the gift they are going to buy Martin escalates again when both Cranes return their gifts for something bigger. Frasier thinks he has won after buying an enormous TV complete with massive speakers that he hates, but knows Martin will love, but when Niles sees it, Frasier wonders why his brother is not twisting and writhing in jealousy. The answer is soon revealed - Niles has managed to track down Martin's police horse Agides and set him up on a stable for him to visit any time he likes! Frasier realises Niles has won, and the pair take their father down to the stables to meet Agides. At first he is overjoyed to see him, but Martin then becomes quite melancholy after a while, which seems to continues throughout his party too. After the party, Niles and Frasier discover their father down at the stables talking to Agides about the sadness of ageing, which causes Niles to graciously say that Agides came from himself and Fasier (as long as his brother gets rid of the big screen TV from his apartment!)

Episode Title Cards
  • Come Again When You Can't Stay So Long
  • Sure, But Can He Do Long Division?

Episode Highlights

- Frasier recalls Roz's last boyfriend kept calling him 'Frazer':
Frasier: How can someone not hear the difference betweekn 'Frasier' and 'Frazer'?
Roz: Yeah - that was what bugged me the most too (!)

- Roz surprises Niles by kissing him:
Niles: Everyone kisses better than Maris!

- Daphne fills Niles in with Sherry's meat-based plans for the food at Martin's party:
Niles: I assume these colourful balloons are for the between course angioplasty (!)

- After running Daphne ragged, Sheery fills her in on her latest plan for Martin's birthday:
Sherry: Don't you just love it?
Daphne: That depends - do I have to pick it up?
Sherry: By five.

- The sight of Martin's giant screen TV in Frasier's apartment

- Niles is aghast at the giant screen TV, but Frasier tries to persuade his brother it has it's advantages:
Frasier: Just think how a screen this size will enhance the majesty of the Metropolitan Opera, or the thrilling artists of the Bolshoi
Niles: You're quite a Bolshow artist yourself (!)

- Sherry just love the new giant screen TV:
Sherry: Wow, she's a beaut - Marty and I are gonna be spending a lot more time here.
Frasier: It's a gift that keeps on giving (!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

The rivalry between Frasier and Niles is taken to new levels in this entertaining episode as we see them do battle over finding the perfect gift for Martin's 65th birthday. Their rivalry escalates through a series of ever more expensive presents until Frasier buys a giant screen TV complete with enormous speakers, while Niles buys Martin's old police horse Agides. The giant TV is probably one of the best visual jokes in the whole of the series - I especially liked Frasier's attempts to adjust to it by putting plants either side of it before realising it's hopeless. Ron Darian's only episode for the show contains loads of brilliant little moments - like Roz kissing Niles, and Sherry getting Daphne to do all the hard work for Martin's party - and a rather touching ending, and although I was disappointed not to see Martin's 65th party after all the planning (there are only 22 minutes after all), it's a minor quibble in a funny and enjoyable episode.


82 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 92.8%
Total Number of Reviews: 9

Quite a Bolshoi artist yourself, May 11, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Everyone kisses better than Maris" -- Niles Crane

I really appreciate the character of Sherry Dempsey. I'm glad she wasn't a longtime choice, but she really fits perfectly. A great partner to Martin, and an interesting exploration of the psyches of Niles, Frasier, and Daphne. "The Gift Horse" continues to exemplify why season 5 is such a highlight. The chemistry between the characters is perfectly constructed. Roz forcing Frasier to kiss her at Cafe Nervosa would've been unimaginable in season 1. Martin coming around to the idea of encouraging sibling rivalry ("you only turn sixty-five once") would have been similarly unlikely. And Daphne is so well-placed in the family here; she's able to understand Martin and Frasier (and their relationship) in the way they're not yet able to appreciate each other.

What could have been just another in the long-running saga of Niles and Frasier one-upping each other instead becomes an hysterical but deep analysis of the three Crane men. Each of the brothers comes up with a great gift while pretending they didn't (how exactly they planned to save face when the birthday came about, I don't know), but amidst their bickering, they come to realise that there is something more important than their childhood insecurities. The closing scene at the stables, where Martin comes clean to his sons about his feelings of self-doubt, is perfectly modulated. And the cherry on top is that the horse and the memories it brings are not the only issues. Martin points out that there is more going on in his mind; this situation has just set it off. Few if any of the classic '90s sitcoms could attest to this level of character creation.

Two further thoughts:
* The script is restricted solely to the five main characters and Sherry, which reminds me of how much faith the writers had in the cast at this point in the series run.
* Do they even MAKE televisions that big?

Rating: 100%


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