Frasier Online
home About The Show Episode Guide Merchandise Forum Reviews Gallery Contact
Episode reviews for Episode 7.08 - The Late Dr Crane

Avg. Viewer Review: 67.3%
Number of Reviews: 3

Write an online review and share your thoughts.

I'm not your marionette!, May 15, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"The Late Dr Crane" is an episode tasked with adding another piece to the Niles/Daphne puzzle as it enters the home stretch.

As Dr. Mel Karnofsky, Jane Adams is the perfect choice. Regardless of what they do to her down the line, the character of Mel in this episode is a clever choice. She's perfect for Niles - she's basically a combination of Frasier and Niles himself! From her first scene, Adams is dynamic and quirky but also very real. She plays the OCD elements of her character in a style similar to Hyde Pierce. Truth be told, we've very rarely seen Niles with someone who truly suits him. (Even the bond that has developed between him and Daphne revels in their differences rather than their similarities.) It's quite nice to see him spending time with a female who shares his tastes but is (probably) able to laugh at the more pretentious members of their set.

There are quite a few laughs in the Niles plotline (Maris' files taking up so many boxes is an easy gag but a good one) while the Frasier storyline again settles more for melancholy. The waiting room scene isn't particularly funny - the guest character has very little presence - and this seems like more of a character examination. I very much like these episodes in general, but this episode doesn't quite hit the heights. Martin seeing through Frasier's psychological mumbo-jumbo is well-written but routine. And I'm not sure that Frasier's last-minute decision really has any resounding focus for his character throughout the rest of the season. (Martin "absorbing the shock" is great fun though, and the return of Regan - even in name only - is a nice continuity touch.)

One last note: the idea of Frasier writing his own obituary is quite funny, and Daphne's amused disbelief at the situation is sold well by Jane Leeves ("Frasierland!"). Still, while I accept that Frasier has always wanted to learn more languages and write bestsellers, I find it a little hard to think that even this pompous man would truly believe he can solve perpetual motion or discover the Incas treasures. It's perhaps a point where the episode goes too far into hyperbole for my liking.

Rating: 70%


Wrong Foot In The Grave, Sep 10, 2012

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire

The first five seasons of Frasier were geared towards comedy more than anything else. Granted they introduced storylines that had an undeniable dramatic undercurrent, e.g. Niles and Maris' messy divorce, Roz's pregnancy, etc. But they're main aim was to keep audiences laughing on a consistent basis. Something they always pulled off.

Seasons 6 and 7 began to see a gradual shift away from that approach, with dramatic plotlines coming more to the fore in the shape of Frasier's unemployment, and the coming together of Niles and Daphne.

Where Season 6 faltered was after putting Frasier out of work, the writers seemed at a loss what to do with this development. It took them almost half the season to realise that without Frasier at KACL, the show was spreading itself too thinly.

Season 7 on the other hand had a clearer idea of where it was going. Instead of just springing Niles/Daphne's arc on us (the way Frasier out of work was), the writers built up to it in measured steps and gave it a magnificent payoff in the season finale.

Donny was introduced to us in the previous season and by the time of this episode, was already ingrained into the show's dynamic. The Late Dr Crane continues this by bringing in a new love interest for Niles, Dr Mel Karnofsky.

Its odd that Mel, considering how important she is to the rest of the season, gets such a low key episode to make her debut. You'd think she would have been put centre stage, like Donny in To Tell The Truth. But she has to content herself with a subplot for now, and wait for Whine Club to make her mark.

The main plot of The Late Dr Crane revisits a topic we've seen before in episodes like Death Becomes Him and Good Grief; the theme of mortality, or more accurately Frasier's mortality.

Frasier and Niles get into a car crash after fiddling around with the climate control. Niles emerged unscathed but Frasier wound up with a broken nose (thanks to Niles' fist softening the blow of the airbag).

While waiting at the hospital, Niles finds out one of the doctors is Maris' plastic surgeon Dr Mel Karnofsky. Mel is still picking Niles' pockets a year after his divorce for Maris' yearly Botox injections. When he decides to have it out with Mel, he's surprised to find that Mel is short for Melanie, and her fussy, fastidious nature is quite a turn-on for the like-minded Niles.

Even in her first appearance, we can see a few of Mel's character traits (flaws?); her dislike of dogs; obsessive cleanliness; thin disguised snobbery; if Mel had met Daphne we would have also discovered the way she treats the hired help but more on that later, etc.

More subtle is the way Mel controls and manipulates Niles, even at this early stage in they're relationship; like the way she gives him Botox injections to get rid of the wrinkles on his forehead (which sets up a funny running gag when Niles tries to furrow his brow on several occasions and he can't).

In retrospect, Mel isn't the most multi-faceted character we've ever had on Frasier. The writers made things easy on themselves when Daphne came to return Niles' affections by making Mel so unpleasant. Something that couldn't be said for Donny where they at least made an effort to invest him with a likable persona. Whereas there isn't much to Mel beyond these negative characteristics, and it was only the casting of the delightful Jane Adams that put Mel a slight step ahead of similarly caricatured Frasier women like Poppy Delafield or Mrs Moon.

One of the (valid) criticisms of Season 7 was the way the show began to delve into its own back-catalogue and dig up scripts from the past, hoping the writers could come up with something fresher and funnier. This only worked to intermittent success, with special mention going to Out With Dad, where Joe Keenan spun off an even more joyous run-through of The Matchmaker; the unquestionable high point of the seventh season.

The Late Dr Crane takes another stab at examining Frasier's obsession with (his own) mortality. The city of Seattle think Frasier died in that car crash, and prints a premature obituary. He's shocked at what he's failed to achieve. He goes through the same soul searching he did in Good Grief, putting together a list of things he wants to accomplish before he hits 50.

Although Death Becomes Him wasn't the funniest episode of Frasier ever written, it dealt with the same subject matter far more substantially. The fear of death is never likely to tickle one's funny-bone (and DBH certainly didn't), but such a lofty topic deserves a whole episode to itself. The Late Dr Crane never really knows what to do with the idea, except give Frasier more things to obsess over.

The Late Dr Crane is not exactly the most popular episode of Frasier. Aside from myself and the prolific Jocelyn, there's a lack of interest from everyone else. In fact if it weren't enlivened by Mel's subplot, The Late Dr Crane would surely rank as one of Season 7's most anonymous episodes.

Rating: 52%


'The Late Dr Crane' review, Aug 03, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

Opening with a scene where Niles accidently punches his brother on the nose during a car journey, this episode sees the pair visiting the local surgery where a case of mistaken identity leads to the announcement of Frasier's death, after which he decides to draw up a list of his life's ambitions. The most important part of the episode however is the first appearance of Maris' plastic surgeon Dr. Mel Karnovsky, played by the excellent Jane Adams. An inspired introduction to the character which sees Niles ready to confront Dr. Karnovsky about Maris' plastic surgeon bills only to discover that Mel is in fact a woman, and one who's intensely fussy nature he finds instantly attractive. His subsequent botched attempts to ask her out are perhaps the funniest moments here, as he instead ends up receiving numerous surgical treatments which leads to the hilarious scene where Frasier asks his brother to wrinkle his botox-filled forehead and Daphne picks up a mosquito which drops dead as soon as it comes into contact with Niles' head full of poison. Once again though, it's Martin who steals the show here, with his sabotaging of the condolence baskets as well his obvious delight at seeing his son walking with a cane, all of which makes for another very good Season 7 episode.

Rating: 80%