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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 7 -> Episode 7.07

A Tsar Is Born
Episode Details

Written by: Charlie Hauck

Directed by: Pamela Fryman

Original US airdate: 11th November 1999

Original UK airdate: 18th February 2000


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
Noel Shempsky .... Patrick Kerr
   
   
Guest Cast
Dr Myshkin .... Robertson Dean
Appraiser .... Neal Lerner
Stage Manager .... Grace Rowe
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier is in the doghouse with Martin because he and Niles told him they had a Therapist's Guild conference on the day of their cousin Dodie's wedding - but Martin found out that it doesn't actually exist. He is, however, looking forward to watching the Antiques Roadshow with Niles because Martin is going night fishing with Niles. When they arrive at Frasier's to watch it, they are dismayed to find Martin there. Frasier informs Martin that they want to watch their programme, but Martin wants to watch his gameshow - where people bring along their antiques and experts tell them how much it's worth. So for once, the Crane clan watch the same programme and enjoy it immensely. At the end of the programme, there is an announcement that the next Roadshow will be in Seattle, so the three resolve to go. Martin brings along an old family heirloom - a bear clock, that neither Frasier or Niles think much of. Martin, however, is overjoyed that they have chosen him to appear on the programme, but Niles and Frasier are more worried about how appearing with such a hideous artifact will affect their social standing so stay out of shot. They soon change their minds when the expert reveals that the bear clocks were only given to Russian royalty, and worth somewhere in the region of $25,000 dollars, and so Frasier and Niles shuffle into the view of the camera.

They are obviously most excited about the possible link to Russian royalty, and so try and see if Martin knows anything about it, and learn that their great-great grandmother was from Russia. This sets Niles and Frasier off on a hunt to discover the Crane family past via the Internet and the library. Martin wants to sell the clock, as someone has offered him $26,000 but Frasier and Niles convince their Dad to let them handle it as they say they could probably get 30,000 - and Martin agrees. Frasier also contacts Dr Myshkin, a consulate at the Russian embassy and an expert in Russian royalty, who informs Frasier he has some important information and so invites him round. Niles and Frasier have already learned the bear clock was last seen in Russia in 1859, exactly the same time that their ancestor left Russia. When Dr Myshkin finally arrives, he tells them the clock belonged to the daughter of Tsar Alexander II who had fallen in love with an American, so arranged for her maid to take all her possesions to the train station where she would elope with her beloved. When she got there, however, the maid and all her belongings had disappeared. Niles and Frasier are obviously over the moon at the thought of being descended from Russian blood, but their excitement is soon dampened when Dr Myshkin informs them that their ancestor was the maid and not the Tsar's daughter! Dr Myshkin then tries to leave with the heirloom, thanking them for returning it to it's rightful owners, but Frasier and Niles try to stop him leaving with it - until he reveals another of their ancestors was a New York prostiutute. Martin arrives as Dr Myshkin leaves, and he assumes the boys have sold it for $30,000, and the Crane boys let him think it as Martin reveals he just bought a Winnebago - much to Frasier and Niles' delight (!).

Episode Title Cards
  • A Tsar Is Born
  • Myshkin Accomplished

Episode Highlights

- Martin is describing the 'gameshow' he wants to watch:
Frasier: Are you talking about the 'Antiques Roadshow'?
Martin: Yeah.
Frasier: That's the programme Niles and I want to watch.
Niles: Excuse me - I'll just go outside and see if the world has ended (!)

- Daphne sees Niles, Frasier and Martin watching the same programme:
Daphne: Don't often see you three watching the same programme. What is it - Pavoritti jumping the Grand Canyon?

- Niles is impressed as Martin uses the phrase 'objet d'art':
Niles: It's as if the money I gave to that panhandler has granted all my wishes.
[Daphne enters wearing a very short miniskirt, top and veil]
Daphne: Would you marry me in this?
Frasier: [to Niles] How much did you give?

- After Frasier and Niles were excited about perhaps being Russian royalty:
Martin: I gotta go call Duke - but don't get too excited, he's not a real duke!

- Roz is apologising to Noel after accusing him of trying to set up a date with her:
Roz: Oh, I'm sorry.
Noel: How sorry?
Roz: Not that sorry!

- Frasier and Niles are entertaining Dr Myshkin:
Frasier: There's some caviar on ice in the kitchen - I think now would be an appropriate time.
Daphne: Oh, I am sorry - here I am doodling with the laundry, and it's 10 minutes into caviar time (!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

This is a little gem of an episode with a consistently funny script and a plot that flows very nicely - it doesn't feel laboured as some episodes have recently. There were some brilliant scenes along the way - all three Cranes watching the Antiques Roadshow, and the look Niles gives Daphne when he sees her in her wedding dress, for example. In fact, this episode felt more like an early episode from Season 1 or 2, and was all the better for it. A very enjoyable episode which keeps rather the high standard of this Season so far, and the first mention of the Winnebago which will feature a number of times during the rest of the Season.

Rating

82 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 80.7%
Total Number of Reviews: 3


We can go tubin'!, May 13, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


My general philosophy is that - after the transitional (and great) season 6 - the series begins to adjust its priorities. The characters have evolved so much from who they were six years ago, and this has a marked effect on their interactions.

"A Tsar is Born" evidences this fact when we open with Frasier and Niles actively refusing to go to a relative's wedding. In previous years, this would've been cause for disgruntled attendance; now, they're over it. Similarly, Martin Crane - be it deliberate change or simply development of the writers - is now the kind of man who would happily guilt his sons for weeks afterward. It's a classic, character-based setup. Family has always been important to Martin (or at least, family responsibility), and the idea that something as minor as the wedding's theme would keep people away? Impossible!

So, when the episode turns to Frasier and Niles' desire to convince themselves they are something "more" than just honest American stock, it makes perfect sense. The brothers' mutual self-delusion is enjoyably played by both men. I don't think the script for this episode is a classic - it doesn't have quite enough laughs and insightful lines for that - but it pivots on completely natural character traits for all three Crane men, and ends with Martin getting a Winnebago. So how can I complain?

Other observations:
* "Antiques Roadshow" really was a clever catalyst for this episode's plot. It genuinely strikes me as one of the few things that would interest all three Crane men.
* John Mahoney's "Martin on TV" voice and stature are impeccably comic.
* I enjoy the Noel fakeout on Roz's date, largely because of how Peri Gilpin plays that outburst. She's just a joy.
* The story of the Cranes' ancestry is quite silly, and all three times I've watched this episode, I've developed the feeling that it's missing one scene - for some reason, I always assume the Russian is a con artist... even though I know better!
* Jane Leeves looks, may I say, damn fine in that "wedding dress". The Niles who fell in love with quirky season 1 Daphne cared about her inside and out, but season 6 Daphne we can all understand!


Rating: 80%

 

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