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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 8 -> Episode 8.09

Cranes Unplugged
Episode Details

Written by: Lori Kirkland

Directed by: Sheldon Epps

Original US airdate: 16th January 2001

Original UK airdate: 2nd March 2001

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
Frederick Crane .... Trevor Einhorn
Guest Cast
Jack Betcher .... Michael Philip
Hans .... Richard Gleason
Melody .... Caitlin Lara Barrett
Guest Callers
Cleo .... Melissa Etheridge

Episode Synopsis

Frederick, now 13, is coming to stay for the weekend and Frasier has lined up an exciting range of activities: they are going to see a play, visit the computer fair, and read and discuss 'Walden' by Henry David Thoreau. However, on returning home, the Frederick he meets seems to be completely unlike the one he remembers - this Frederick is now into pop music, prefers video games to reading and seems to have lost the intellectual capabilities he once had. Frasier tries to take it in his stride, but is struggling to make a connection with the son he once got along with so well. Visiting the computer fair with Frederick, where he tried to lose his father the whole time, is the last straw - Frasier decides that he and Frederick are going to go on a camping trip together - swapping TV and computer games for the delights of the outdoors, whether he likes it or not. He then forces Martin to go along with them as well, despite Martin's protestations.

Once at a cabin in the woods, Frasier hands out journals for Frederick and Martin to write down their thoughts during the weekend, but as soon as Frederick sees a nearby family who have a rope swing, he leaves Frasier and Martin on their own. Frasier is angry that Frederick doesn't even want to spend time with him, and confesses to Martin he wanted to achieve some special moment with his son but can't even see that happenning. Frederick returns to ask if he can have dinner with his new freinds in the next cabin but Frasier forces him to have dinner with them. Frederick then rushes off after dinner to see his friends again, leaving Frasier thinking this was all a big mistake and wants to leave the next day, but when Frederick returns later that evening he wants to stay as he has made plans with (and kissed) Melody, the girl from the next cabin.......Meanwhile, Roz's lament about her love life prompts Daphne to set her up with one of Niles' doctor friends but it doesn't quite go according to plan.

Episode Title Cards
  • Was There A Doctor In The House?

  • Why Does His Breath Smell Like Mortadella?

Episode Highlights

- Roz assumes Frasier has nothing planned this weekend:
Frasier: I have big plans this weekend.
Roz: Let me guess - you and Niles are playing your zithers again at the Country Fair (!)

- Martin being hooked on watching the raunchy videos on MTV.

- Niles returns from a squash game with Dr Betcher:
Daphne: You always smell so masculine after exercising.
Niles: Must be the mango-kiwi shower gel.

- Martin lets Frederick go play with the family with the rope swing:
Frasier: What the hell was that?
Martin: It's just a rope swing - wait until he sees the drying leaves. He'll come running (!)

- Dr Betcher had to rush off from his date with Roz:
Niles: It was an emergency.
Roz: What kind of emergency? Like he saw me and thought I was a dog emergency!

- Roz is ready to go home after having two men rush off from their date:
Roz: You two have listened to enough of my problems tonight. Oh look - 'Titanic's just started!

Frasier Online Episode Review

I really rather enjoyed this episode as it's full of great little moments - Frasier continually wanting to leave at daybreak, Martin reacting badly at having to be dragged along camping are just some of them. It was also nice to see Frasier and Frederick finally bonding at the end of the episode. The other plot of Daphne trying to fix up Roz with a handsome doctor was also good value with it's own share of amusing moments too. All in all, rather a good above-average episode.


78 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 81.0%
Total Number of Reviews: 5

We leave at daybreak!, May 17, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

Continuing on from the bumpy but analytical eighth season, "Cranes Unplugged" isn't quite a classic but it has a confidence in its direction that has been missing thus far this season.

It hasn't been all that long since we last saw Freddie, and he sure has changed a lot. Yet, the character as written and played by Trevor Einhorn has always seemed - although appreciative of his parents' intellect - not necessarily someone who would want to read "Walden" in the first place. This is a perfectly logical step for an 11-year-old boy, and I'm glad the series remembers past episodes. We've already seen Frasier trying to get to know his son. We've already seen Frasier facing off against the outdoors. Instead, we can look at the evolving relationship between the three generations of Cranes. Parenting is one area where Martin can genuinely provide insight for his son, and the cabin scenes - with just three actors confined in a small space - are very well written. (David Hyde Pierce also has fun in his little boasts about finally winning Daphne "over" Freddie.)

This is really Kelsey Grammer's episode. After roughly twenty years in the role, so many facets have been added to Frasier that it would seem impossible to play them all in the space of one 22 minute episode. Yet here we explore his loves and lusts, his psychological approach and his attempts at family connection... it's all very well done. "Cranes Unplugged" is perhaps by its construction a minor episode: it chooses to tackle one character problem rather than focus on farce or lengthy comic sequences. The drama is well done but very small scale. Still, the ending is quite sweet, with Frasier realising he does play a role after all. Perhaps this is something all parents feel: there are times when you are exactly what your child doesn't want. And other times when you are the only solution. It's about somehow being able to take the one with the other.

Meanwhile, Niles and Daphne try and fail to get Roz's dating life back up and running. Although the idea has been inconsistently handled, it makes sense that Roz finds it harder to date now that motherhood and work take up much of her time. (I don't think the Roz of season 1 would've spent so much time pursuing Simon Moon!) It's nice to see Peri Gilpin take the lead in a little farce. It's again quite lightweight stuff, but uses the characters well. This was the last episode Jane Leeves filmed before maternity leave (although obviously aired out of order), and it's clear that the writers are now content with the Niles/Daphne pairing. They could really already be married here.

Overall, a nice little show.

Rating: 78%


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