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Episode reviews for Episode 10.22 - Fathers And Sons

Avg. Viewer Review: 91.1%
Number of Reviews: 8

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Many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse, May 26, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


A clever episode that manages to combine satisfying laughs with an emotionally resonant storyline, one that builds on ten years of the series' history. (It was also the final episode filmed for this season, although I believe that had more to do with the recurring cast members who were needed for the next two episodes.)

The differences between Martin Crane and his sons are of course one of the founding pillars of the episode, and - like so much of this show's last few seasons - they're now being examined not just as traits, but as elements of a formulaic series. Much like Roz and Frasier wondering how they aren't in steady relationships and new jobs, Martin is now called upon to query one of the show's basic questions. John Mahoney has a lot of funny moments ("it was a biological pleasure!") but he particularly shifts into high-gear in the few dramatic moments toward episode's end. Hester Crane is the real thing that bonds the men she left behind, and it's a nagging worry that starts to tear away at Martin. The final revelations, and the way Martin and Leland bond over Hester, are particularly sweet. David Ogden Stiers is perfectly cast, and the episode has a very strong sense of catharsis. I think it's unarguably the strongest dramatic/comedic episode since season 7's "Dark Side of the Moon".

Yet, "Fathers and Sons" isn't just steeped in drama. From the cheeky scene where Roz first begins to suspect the similarities between Frasier and Leland run deep, the script has a lot of fun with both physical and verbal humour. The episode perhaps goes overboard in the references, with Leland so exactly like Frasier, and some hilarious-but-cartoonish humour like Leland helping Niles to walk, but I think it all works. The comic energy never lets up, with even Eddie getting in on the action (this is, if IMDb is correct, Moose's second last episode as the canine character). What could have just been a one-joke episode becomes something more, exploring Martin's fears and also the way in which the boys both bond and compete. (Niles: "Do you have a pun, Frasier?") It helps that it makes perfect sense for Martin to never before have doubted the boys' parentage. Even here, he approaches it in a hesitant sense, which makes things all the more believable.

The Daphne/Niles subplot is quite amusing because of the comic energy that Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce have found in their pairing. While I can appreciate the opinion that Daphne's character has changed considerably, I don't necessarily think it's for the worst. I agree she's less quirky overall, but I think that 10 years is a long time for anyone, and Leeves has found an enjoyable side of her character - often a little on-edge - since the wedding. There are some enjoyable moments, notably "The Big Book of Medical Professions", and Leeves' dry "Fong or DeShondra?" And the Ichabod Crane joke must be the most Seinfeldian thing this series ever did! Still, what's interesting about the baby-name plot is that the series is rather openly floating pregnancy as a possibility. Much like the other major developments in the Niles/Daphne romance - their initial coupling and then the wedding - "Frasier" seems less concerned in throwing out big surprises, or "sweeps" episodes. Instead, it wants to look at the ways in which a couple decides to have a child, meaning that we're aware the series is about to go down this route even before the characters are.

If I had to choose the best episode of the three "wilderness years" seasons, I'd probably take an out-and-out farce-cum-morality-tale like "Roe to Perdition". But this episode must be in the Top 5 of those seasons, combining as it does heart and humour with character depth and interaction. Lovely stuff.


Rating: 95%

 

My kids loved this one., Aug 22, 2010

Reviewer: John Yancey from Houston, TX


This is one of my favorite episodes of season ten. I liked Fraternal Schwinns and Roe to Perdition better, but this is a close third. I have always been a David Ogden Steirs fan and he does an exceptional job in this episode portraying the same mannerisms and body language as Niles and Frasier. I was watching this on a cable channel and the scene where Martin chimes in with his boys and Leland singing had them cracking up. I kept having to rewind it because it was so funny.


Rating: 90%

 

A personal favourite, Dec 19, 2007

Reviewer: Simon Macklin from Earls Barton, England


Aside from some of the obvious choices one could make from seasons 1-3, and less obviously from 4-7, I consider this episode to be one of the most consistently funny; intelligent and witty with occasional farce, it is comedy of the highest standard in all respects.

The character of Leland Barton adds so much, and fits so well with all the qualities that make Frasier so exceptional. It`s hard to find a fault, as each of the regular characters behave in exactly the way we would expect them to in the situations that confront them. Particularly Martin, who shows his softer side, and of course Frasier and Niles; the acting by Grammar and Hyde-Pierce is perfect.

What is so strong is that each scene is perfect on its own, but the thread throughout the episode isn`t lost - no filler material, just a great storyline, perfectly told. As good as it gets.



Rating: 100%

 

Up there with the best, Aug 13, 2007

Reviewer: Streetworker from Manchester, UK


I have the oddest feeling that if this episode had featured in season 1-7 it would be regarded as a classic and score 95% plus. But it came in the supposedly weak season 10 and therefore seems to rate only as "very good". But I have to say I think it's much better than that. While there are many laugh-out-loud moments, they are underscored throughout with an underlying poignancy. An absolute gem of an episode.


Rating: 95%

 

FATHERS AND SONS, Dec 16, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


Up until this point ‘Roe to Perdition’ has been far and away the best episode of Season 10, but I am delighted to say that ‘Fathers and Sons’ has stolen its crown. This was a truly great classic episode of Frasier, and I really don’t think that it would have seemed out of place in one of the brilliant early seasons, because the characterisation is wonderful here all the way through and John Mahoney really shines as Martin. I think of the Season 10 writers, Jon Sherman is the only one that seems to fully grasp and comprehend the characters correctly, because his script crackles with wit and fabulously well-written dialogue, which allows every member of the cast to make good use of their material. Kelsey Grammer’s direction is great too, and really I can’t praise this episode highly enough. I can’t believe the difference in quality between this episode and some of the stinkers I’ve experienced since Season 8. David Ogden Stiers made for a wonderful guest star as Hester Crane’s old research partner Leland Barton, and the plot that surrounded him was hysterical. Could he be the father of Frasier and Niles?

This question is the subject of the episode and as a consequence there are some truly great moments. Frasier and Niles do seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to Barton – same mannerisms, same allergies, a shared love of sherry and psychiatry. Roz seems to think its possible, which makes Martin extremely worried and he seeks her help. John Mahoney puts in a stunning performance as he tries to join in with Frasier, Niles and Leland’s rendition of ‘…and the square of the hypotenuse’ song. How many other sitcoms would be brave enough to feature character’s singing about mathematical equations, which is another reason I love this episode because it reminded me why Frasier was such a unique and special show. Although I also found it very funny, I found it also rather moving when Martin was trying in vain to make a fuss of his boys, who were a ‘biological pleasure’ to bring up! The scene between Martin and Leland in front of the elevator at the end was also nicely executed, as the two men discuss how closely they felt about Martin’s late wife. Martin’s fears are put to rest however, when he discovers that Leland is gay.

So now let’s look at the many stand out moments and highlights. There were some great visual gags in this episode, most noticeably the much welcome return of Eddie’s infamous staring, which is put to use in a very effective way indeed. It was great to see this again! I also loved Niles first baby steps and Leland reading Frasier a story, which Martin misinterprets as fatherly signs. I loved the scene also where a worried Martin questions Roz about the similarities between him and his sons, for Roz to reply that their all very ethical, very dismissive and very stubborn, in which Martin gets very haughty! I also really liked the fact that this episode treated us to more than a fleeting glance of Roz, and Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney, not only stole the episode but worked very well together in the scenes in which they both featured. The resolution was great too, in which Martin wistfully looks at his sons singing ‘Tit Willow’ on the piano, before going back to his beer, headphones and the television set, which wrapped up the episode fabulously. I thought that the subject matter for this episode was very interesting too, and was really intrigued by the possibility that Martin wasn’t their real father.

The subplot was funny too, which saw Niles and Daphne applying for a special private nursery school for a baby that hadn’t even been conceived yet because the waiting list is enormous. I loved Niles explanation of the pupils at the nursery; ‘The top 2% in colouring and putting away can pretty much write their own ticket’. What follows is the couple trying to decide on a name for their unborn child, and I found Niles’ dismissal of ‘Jack Crane’ very funny indeed. The ending was also great, in which we skip forward five years in time to see the school board considering the admission (which Roz filled out in the end) only for them to reject it because Roz has chosen the name ‘Ichabod!’ In conclusion then, this episode was an utter joy and kept me laughing from start to finish. I found the central plot quite moving in places, and found that Jon Sherman tackled a sensitive and interesting subject here, but succeeded in making it laugh out loud funny throughout. The best episode since Something Borrowed, Someone Blue at the end of Season 7; classic Frasier for me. John Mahoney was fantastic too, and this is an episode I can’t wait to revisit over and over again.


Rating: 88%

 

'Fathers And Sons' review, Oct 16, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


A delightful episode which features a fine guest performance from David Ogden Stiers as Hester's old research assistant, Leland Barton, who pays the Crane family a visit and appears to have so much in common with Frasier and Niles that Roz and later Martin begin to wonder if he could be their natural father. This provides a nice bit of continuity when Martin reveals to Roz that Hester had once cheated on him, which was first dealt with all the way back in Season 1's 'Beloved Infidel'. It also gives the episode a strong emotional core which is more than balanced by a generous helping of laughs; Frasier's childhood tale of his failure to attract girls with his pet fish (which sets up an amusing tag scene) made me laugh, as did Leland initially mistaking Roz for a post sex-change Niles ('You're a very handsome woman!') while it's great to see Eddie back to his old staring routine again, with the scene where he sits between Frasier and Leland and struggles to tell them apart proving very funny, and carrying strong echoes of 'Mixed Doubles' in particular. There are also a couple of great sight gags when Martin firstly walks in on Leland reading Frasier a bedtime story and then finds him seemingly helping Niles to take his first baby steps! Martin attempting to join in with Frasier, Niles and Leland's sing-song around the piano by singing 'the scary hippopotamus' is also amusing while the revelatory moment where Leland confides to Martin that he's gay is very nicely judged and followed by my favourite moment here where Martin walks in on his sons singing 'Tit Willow' which causes him to throw down his cane in disgust and don a pair of headphones to watch TV! Once again Jon Sherman proves himself a cut above the other writers of this period of 'Frasier' by producing an engaging and well-constructed episode and while the subplot of Niles and Daphne choosing baby names only produces a laugh out loud moment with it's clever futuristic ending, it still manages to thematically cohere with the main plot in an effortless manner. The best episode since Season 7.


Rating: 82%

 

An Old Fashioned Masterpiece, Jun 25, 2005

Reviewer: TheMurphy from UK


Fathers And Sons feels like a left over from season one and is all the better for it, easily standing out as the finest episode of season ten with a plot that runs smoothly, dialogue that is witty and intelligent and Daphne isn’t given as much screen time to look down her nose at the rest of the cast and whine. The obvious contrast between “regular Joe” Martin and “prissy snobs” Frasier and Niles has been the crux of the series since day one, which is why it is strange that an episode like this should appear ten years down the line. This is another reason why I think it was originally written for season one but got lost in a filing cabinet or something.

Best Moments Include:

Eddie’s confused looks at Frasier and Leland. (It was great to see Eddie’s staring routine brought out of moth balls)

Martin’s over enthusiastic attempt to join in with Niles, Frasier and Leland’s rendition of a Gilbert and Sullivan song.

Niles’s “baby steps” towards Leland and Martin’s stunned reaction.

Leland mistaking Roz for Niles.

There are a few things I didn’t like about this episode, which are so slight that they hardly make a dent in this marvellous show. Firstly, though not as loathsome as usual, Daphne still manages to be the fly in the ointment. It is really surprising to me how this once wonderfully warm and odd ball character could have become so cold and condescending. Although she had plenty of screechy moments in the past, Daphne never seemed to be quite so irritating as she is after season seven. Secondly, Martin and Roz’s scene at the cafe is a bit flat. Martin’s confession to Roz that his wife had an affair is nicely handled but the attempts at comedy straight after are just weak. I think this has to do with Roz being a much less engaging character than she used to be.

As the years went by, it was Martin who continually proved to be the most reliable character for being consistently funny and in this episode he is superb. The fact that John Mahoney manages to switch from being funny to sad within the blink of an eye is a great testament to this underrated actor.

Frasier really had little to do but Kelsey Grammer manages to make what little material he has both funny and engaging.

Niles gets a brilliantly conceived bit of physical humour and gets to be endearingly picky about his yet to be born child’s name.

So, despite any small criticisms, this episode is a solid gem that can sit along side the more recognised classics.


Rating: 90%

 

Review of Fathers and Sons, Apr 18, 2005

Reviewer: Beer Necessity from York, England


I've recently been watching season 10, and I'd forgotten just what a gem this episode is. I'd thought "Star Mitzvah" was the best of S10 on first viewing, but I found that much less funny when viewed recently. Without Frasier's Klingon speech (and Martin's hillarious camera!) the episode is only average at best. Patrick Kerr is guilty of some grating over-acting too. I think Fathers and Sons is that most rare of episodes - a Season 8/9/10 classic. It's possibly the only one out of those 72 episodes. I love the scenes where Leland is seen by Martin 'acting' as Frasier and Niles' father. Reading Frasier the 'bedtime story' had me laughing, but I had tears running down my face for the 'Niles' first baby steps' scene! That was superbly done. I love the ending as well when Martin comes back into the apartment after finding out Leland was gay to declare "Those are my boys" only for Frasier and Niles to launch into "Tit Willow"!

A wonderful episode, I'm glad to have rediscovered it.


Rating: 89%