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Episode reviews for Episode 10.16 - Fraternal Schwinns

Avg. Viewer Review: 88.8%
Number of Reviews: 6

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Well, someone's raising a real little show-off, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Fraternal Schwinns" is one of many episodes in season 10 that uses a plot I'm surprised it took them this long to reach. Of course Frasier and Niles struggled to learn the art of bike riding, and of course Martin has held this as a secret shame. Everything here makes sense, leading to a number of comic set-pieces. After an enjoyable KACL scene in which Frasier gets "the rubes into the tent" and we learn Kenny's cuss of choice is "cheese and rice!", Frasier and Niles set about learning to ride a bicycle. The scene in which the Crane brothers linger at a bike shop reveals Niles' true terror of the bicycle, which is such a natural element of the character. My favourite piece of dialogue:
Frasier: "Metal spokes. I like that."
Niles: "Guess you buy the horn separately."
Frasier: "That's good ridin'."

Niles' genuine admiration of Frasier's terrible bike jargon is perfectly sold, reminding us of how these two really remain big and little brother in so many ways. David Hyde Pierce falling apart is truly hysterical, and the sequence in which Daphne tutors the boys - set to the music of "The Barber of Seville", no less - is a great sequence. Season 10 has found wondrous ways to incorporate Daphne into a comic trio with the boys, and this is no exception. It's also neat that Niles is the first (only) one to master the art, since his willingness to be led by others contrasts with Frasier's inability to be taught by anyone. Perhaps after all these highlights it's inevitable that the final race wouldn't be quite a comic peak. Felicity Huffman is cute and funny as she taunts Frasier, and there's a neat gag from Alice at the race, though, so it's a well-rounded tale.

Meanwhile, I admit I was worried when Cora Winston spilled the beans on what happened. On this rewatch, I've been waiting for the moment when Gertrude Moon becomes a bad character, and I assumed this might be it. Instead, "Fraternal Schwinns" brings her character full circle, in a way closing off an arc that started a year ago. While there's plenty of comedy in Martin ignoring Gertrude, and delight in the way that Gertrude honestly thought she had convinced Cora she was a secret agent, this develops into a serious storyline. She's a woman finally realising places she has gone wrong, and although the series has used her frustrating traits to comic effect before, this show has always prided itself on remembering that every recurring character is a person too. "Fraternal Schwinns" is a nice chance for John Mahoney to play a justifiably serious version of Martin, but it's also a good time to see Millicent Martin's Gertrude as a woman out of her element and adapting to a late-in-life change she always needed but never wanted. I'll hold off further thoughts until I watch the remainder of the season, but it's pleasing to see the series approach this in a primarily comic but always complex manner.

Rating: 87%


No se montar en bici, May 26, 2009

Reviewer: David Marqués from Madrid, España

Es de los mejores de esta temporada. Es genial como se descubre que ni Frasier ni Niles aprendieron a montar en bici, por más que Martin lo intentó.
Es genial Martin cuando dice, "lo dejé por imposible después de que en el hospital me mirasen de manera extraña por llevar a mis dos hijos con tantos moratones".
Tiene momentos memorables, como cuando están en la tienda comprando una bici, y cuando están en el parque con Daphne aprendiendo a montar.
"Que me aspen si no me gustan unas ruedas bien hinchadas", "y una cadena bien tensa".
JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA,JA ... ... ... ... ...

Rating: 98%


Fraternal Schwinns Review, Jul 16, 2007

Reviewer: Daisy P. from London, England

Absoloutely brilliant episode, Niles on that bike actually made me cry with laughter. Frasier constantly crashing into the tree was just so funny.

Rating: 98%


Brothers Crane Cycle, Dec 07, 2005

Reviewer: Matt Horn from Marylebone, London

An excellent episode with plenty of lines to laugh at. Frasier's battle with the tree is great and his cry of 'Oh my God' off screen before he hits the Mail box at the end is pure Grammer.

Rating: 90%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

Ever since the programme began back in 1993, it is always been made very clear indeed that, although Niles and Frasier flourished academically, they were never too good at sports or physical activity or any kind. Therefore, an episode which sees the Crane brothers confront their fear of cycling and learn how to ride a bike is an inspired premise, and what follow does not disappoint. ‘Fraternal Schwinns’ succeeds in maintaining a constantly humorous script, with some scenes, most noticeably Niles and Frasier trying to ride their bikes in the park are great fun and supremely entertaining. The problem all begins really when Frasier, in an attempt not to look heartless and selfless in front of Julia agrees to attend the annual KACL bikeathon, and not for the first time his pompous snobbery leads him to something that he soon regrets. If that wasn’t enough, Frasier and Daphne also get Niles roped into the event, and so he and Frasier go to a bike shop to choose models, and ideally Niles wants one without frontal bars – a girls bike! A great quote from this section would be when Frasier informs Niles that any child of four should be able to ride a bike, only for Niles to respond desperately: ‘That’s what we said when we were six!’

I also found Martin thinking that the boys plan to purchase bicycles was based on sarcasism and as an antidote to cheer him up, because he found the whole thing so hard to swallow. There is also a great moment in the apartment, after the siblings have been out ‘practicing’ when Frasier reveals that Niles, who was being the teacher, hurled a stick at him in the hope it would encourage him to try harder. David Hyde Pierce puts in a really great performance in this scene, as he breaks down hilariously after blaming Frasier for making him believe that they could learn to cycle themselves. I loved his delivery of the lines ‘But NOOO! You – YOU said we could teach ourselves’ and also ‘… and blood everywhere!’. I also loved Frasier’s uneasiness and jealousy as Roz proudly reports Alice’s cycling progress ‘she did a wheelie!’ Very funny scenes throughout!

The best scene however, which is headed by the appropriately named cue-card ‘Cycology’ and sees Daphne attempting to teach Niles and Frasier how to ride their bikes in time for the bike-a-thon. We get a perfectly orchestrated montage of the two trying to ride their bikes, accompanied by the effective musical background of a piece called ‘The Barber of Saville’, which works brilliantly. There are some truly wonderful visual gags in this sequence, most noticeably Frasier’s cycling attempts continually being thwarted by a tiresome Sycamore tree, which he can’t avoid what ever he does. Its also a nice sight to have Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce in bike helmets, falling on to one another on their bicycles. I think it works so well because this plot is so unlike them, and its just brilliantly done. Another great visual from this scene is also Daphne guiding Niles along on his bike, and then they disappear behind some shrubbery and trees, and when they come back into shot, Niles has completely vanished.

The subplot was also rather good too, and sees Martin refusing to talk to Daphne’s mother, because Mrs Moon told his next door neighbour, who he dated in the Season 9 episode ‘The Love You Fake’ that she was a secret agent and had a licence to kill. It seemed stupid that Cora Winston would believe this, but Martin ignoring Mrs Moon made for good viewing I suppose. I liked it when he pretended to Daphne that she was dead, and how he kept slamming the door in her face. It was also funny when Roz sat next to him at Café Nervosa, for him to remark, ‘it’d be nice to sit next to a woman’. The bike-a-thon plot is rounded off with Frasier crashing into a garbage can straight away, and also Martin and Mrs Winston agreeing to go out to dinner together as Mrs Moon sets things straight. Although this episode doesn’t quite achieve classic status, nevertheless it makes for great viewing and is definitely one of the highlights of Season 10 thus far. Niles and Frasier learning to ride bikes was hilarious, and this is an episode I recommend highly.

Rating: 81%


'Fraternal Schwinns' review, Oct 13, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

Following the cringeworthy 'Trophy Girlfriend' comes this much better sports-related episode, which sees pressure from Julia and then Daphne resulting in Frasier and Niles belatedly learning to ride bikes in order to participate in KACL's charity bike-a-thon. While marred by some hammy overacting from Kelsey Grammer and (in particular) David Hyde Pierce in the scene where the brothers return from the bike shop, this plot plays out very amusingly and also benefits from the scenes with Martin's understandable anger towards Mrs Moon over her meddling in his relationship with Cora Winston. There's a hilarious scene at Nervosa where he keeps pretending that she doesn't even exist, while Mrs Moon herself is good value here with her tactless remarks about people of Frasier and Niles' ages not being able to ride bikes. The episode's setpiece - a montage of Frasier and Niles' attempts to stay on their bikes - might seem like an easy way to get laughs but is still very amusing to watch, with the accompaniment of a classical music soundtrack giving it a distinctive 'Frasier' edge, and culminates in a terrific sight gag where a triumphant Frasier is quickly overtaken by a tricycle-riding toddler, a pregnant jogger and a scooter-riding pensioner! After all these highlights the actual bike race feels a bit of an anti-climax, with Frasier crashing into a lamp-post bringing the episode to a rather sudden close but, nevertheless, this episode is certainly good fun to watch throughout.

Rating: 79%