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Episode reviews for Episode 7.12 - RDWRER (a.k.a The Winnebago Show)

Avg. Viewer Review: 83.9%
Number of Reviews: 9

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A wandering city mouse, May 16, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"RDWRER" is an unusual script in some ways, clearly taking its cue from the early success "Travels with Martin", but adapting the focus from the boys struggling to get to know their distant father to three men in a much more relaxed place with one another.

Perhaps this is why the episode - for all its qualities - is missing a little something. It's a cruising, genial episode of the show, really. Sure, Niles is accidentally kidnapped and David Hyde Pierce has great fun playing the frantic and triumphant variations of Niles (his inability to recognise what has happened makes sense given how DHP plays Niles' pride on driving the Winnebago) - but it's mostly a non-event. Instead, the feel is more of a sleepy road trip. The jokes are things that happen to our characters as they pass through. I really like this episode, please don't mistake me. But it feels less deliberately crafted and more of a vignette.

Particular highlights are: Martin's cheerful look when first driving RDWRER, Frasier's attempt to connect with a "beautiful, flawed human being", and Niles' jokes about Big Sandy at the final diner. I also appreciate the little touches, like the fact that Frasier and Martin clearly have an unspoken pact about letting Niles drive. One element of great sitcoms (and, I suppose, most great TV shows) is that each character pair creates different interactions. I think of many of the generic "Friends" clones that popped up over the years, and really you could pair any two characters in any storyline. Here, it really feels like each of our five leads has a distinct connection with the others.

I have to wonder why Daphne (and even Roz) couldn't have come along. Perhaps by making this truly a vignette piece with the four (or five) of them, the genial feel may have come across as more deliberate. Fans might be able to treat this more as an experimental piece like "Dinner Party" rather than being considered a second-rate "Travels with Martin". And the Austin Powers references date this episode more than any other (even if part of the joke is that they're already dated). Having said that, Martin's "shag me rotten, that's three hundred miles!" is still a grand joke.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't hold "RDWRER" up as a pinnacle of "Frasier" as either a comedy or a drama. But to be honest, in the DVD era, I see it as a little extra. A side-trip from the main narrative. In the final scene, the three Crane men dress in tuxes and drink champagne in the open air (Frasier even happily carries Eddie out of the Winnebago). It's an incredibly cute conceit, and it's something that these characters would never have considered back when we met them in "The Good Son". For that alone, "RDWRER" is worth it.

Rating: 85%


The Millennium Bug, May 16, 2011

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire

RDWRER (or The Winnebago Show, whichever you prefer) is an episode of a highly prestigious nature. Its the first episode of Frasier to ring in the New Millennium. With such a singular honour on its shoulders, RDWRER should have been an absolute laugh riot.

Episodes like these have such high expectations around them, its all the more disappointing when they don't deliver (You can probably see where I'm going with this). RDWRER is sadly a missed opportunity. Its one where I should have been rolling in the aisles with laughter. Instead, I wasn't even on the edge of my seat.

The idea is a good one. Frasier and Niles want to celebrate the New Millennium in a spectacular fashion. They were planning to go to the exclusive Chez Henri, but when it burned down (thanks to a too enthusiastic centrepiece) they settle for a party hosted by their wine club. But its being held at a venue 650 miles away. So they set off in Martin's Winnebago (the title derives from the motor home's personalised license plates) on a chaotic road trip.

Road trip stories usually follow a similar pattern. The characters are trying to reach someplace, but disasters descend on them like the plagues of Egypt. I suppose they have to because if they go from Point A to Point B with no trouble at all then there's no story. RDWRER (short for Road Warrior) dutifully provides us with plenty of problems for the Crane Men. When they stop off at a diner, Niles decides to take a nap instead. And goes aboard an identical Winnebago. The couple who own it drive off hundreds of miles in the wrong direction, with no idea Niles is in the back.

When they stop off at another diner, Niles thinks he's been kidnapped and calls the police. So first Frasier and Martin have to deal with a state trooper (there's a cute gag where Martin and Eddie "spread em" against the Road Warrior) while Niles waits for them to pick him up. And then when they do an illegal U-Turn on the Interstate, that same state trooper pulls them over yet again.

By the time they arrive to pick up Niles, its too late to ring in the Millennium. Luckily for them, they're only 45 minutes away from Pacific Time, where its still 1999 for another hour. Even though the Road Warrior's low on petrol, they trundle across the border, just in time to see in 2000.

Although its easy to compare RDWRER to Travels With Martin (even if it recaptures none of the things of that classic episode), RDWRER reminded me more of The 1000th Frasier. I felt the same sense of nagging disappointment. That such a hallowed episode left me wanting. RDWRER should have been a sidesplitting adventure, one that had you in tears watching fate conspire against Frasier, Niles and Martin. But it never got out of the gate.

Another problem is slack pacing. This is an episode where you should have felt like the clock is ticking. Where you don't want the Cranes to miss the Millennium. But there's no suspense from the offset. In fact the episode is one long, extended flashback with the outcome already revealed to us in the first few minutes.

And why are Daphne and Roz not a part of the adventure? Shouldn't they have played a bigger role, especially for an episode that will never come again. RDWRER could have done with a slightly extended running time. Unless NBC have a policy where they allot one per season, and gave it to Something Borrowed, Someone Blue instead?

The sad truth is Frasier always seems to mismanage these anniversary episodes. RDWRER, the 100th and 200th episodes of Frasier are all enormous disappointments. We came to them with (perhaps unfairly) high expectations and they failed to deliver on what we wanted. I wanted a classic road trip that snowballed into a sublime comedy of errors (like the Thanksgiving comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles). But what do we get instead? Martin cracking cringeworthy puns from the Austin Powers movies. Frasier trying to make embarrassing small talk with a farmer. Niles somehow being too stupid to realise he's climbed aboard a different Winnebago.

And I felt like I should have cared more about the finale. That after such an ardous trip, they deserved a happy ending (again like PTA). But the episode is so dull that by the time the Millennium came, I didn't care anymore. And since its a once in a lifetime thing, it does blunt the impact on future viewings. They pretty much nailed this scenario with Travels With Martin (although the back-projection's improved since then), and even if it was unfair to expect lightning to strike in the same place twice, its hard not to feel cheapened by an episode that should have seen in the Millennium with far better, and far funnier results.

Rating: 48%


RDWRER, Nov 26, 2009

Reviewer: Ben from Isle of Wight

One of my all time favourites episodes from all eleven series it delivers brilliantlys and works fantastically as a situation comedy as well. Perfect as the millenium episode, it has such a great plot and is funny to the end.
100% 10/10 ***** 5 stars

Rating: 100%


RDWRER, Feb 08, 2009

Reviewer: BJ L. from Rockwall, TX USA

A Funny episode, argubaly the best in season 7. Love when Martin says"We rolled back into Idaho!!" Just absolutey fantastic.

Rating: 95%


Fantastic Episode, Oct 21, 2007

Reviewer: Josh Stevenson from Seattle, WA USA

I thought this episode was fantastic, hilarious and one of the best Frasier episodes I have ever seen.

Rating: 90%


Why Hasn't Anyone Given This a 90?, Apr 05, 2007

Reviewer: Frasierholic from Liverpool, England

Personally, I think that this one deserves 96 percent because it lifts series 7 off the ground, and after some frankly dissapointing episodes, this one revives the relationship between Frasier, Niles and Marty. The explaining of the numberplate is hilarious and the final scene is touching

Rating: 96%


Eddie Saves this one, Oct 11, 2006

Reviewer: Jeff from Pensacola, FL USA

I saw this episode before Travels With Martin so I didn't have the comparison. I found this episode pleasing and enjoyable, nothing extraordinary, until......Eddie spread-eagled, hanging his head in shame on the side of the Winnebago. Once again a laugh out loud moment that makes me give this episode a B plus

Rating: 87%


Something different, Sep 07, 2006

Reviewer: Citystreets from England

As the unusual title may suggest, this is a bit of an oddity of an episode. If you took the travelling Winnebago story of 'Travels With Martin', the confused to-and-fro of 'Ski Lodge' and subtracted some quality, you might end up with 'RDWRER'. It's a real Crane men episode, as (to no disadvantage) Roz and Daphne are left behind.

There are some amusing moments: Martin's hilariously corny rendition of even-more-dated-now-than-then Austin Powers, Niles' childlike call for help when supposedly kidnapped, and the Crane brothers' amused disgust at the restaurant menu. The problem is that the situation becomes overwrought and confused: there's a situation involving Frasier and an 'ordinary' man that could have been improved on, Frasier and Martin are pulled over twice by the police, another Winnebago containing another couple going back and forth, the Cranes also going to and fro, confusion as to what time zone they're in, etc. By the time the Millenium is about to hit, you might just want them to pull over and enjoy the event even if they are a bit early. Or late.

Rating: 76%


'RDWRER' review, Aug 05, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A second example of Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil reworking a plot line from an earlier 'Frasier' episode, this time 'Travels With Martin' - here given a Millennium twist. While this episode isn't quite as funny as that Season 1 classic, it's still a thoroughly enjoyable adventure as the Cranes find themselves boarding Martin's winnebago to travel to Sun Valley intending to see in the year 2000 at Frasier's wine club, only for their plans to go awry when, stopping at a diner, Niles decides to take a nap but walks into the wrong winnebago which is then stolen. Niles is the undoubted star of this episode, with his calling up Frasier on his mobile phone when sitting at the back of the vehicle and also his panicky behaviour when being 'stolen', while Martin annoying Frasier with his Austin Powers impressions proves quite amusing. The ending is rather lovely too, as the Cranes don tuxedos (including, rather adorably, Eddie!) to sing 'Auld Lang Syne', only to rush back into the winnebago on hearing the howling of a wolf! Sadly, NBC rather missed the point of this episode when they belatedly aired it on January 6th 2000, thus lessening the impact.

Rating: 78%