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Episode reviews for Episode 11.22 - Crock Tales

Avg. Viewer Review: 79.5%
Number of Reviews: 11

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Sherry? What an intriguing idea., Jun 12, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Mel

As I look back on my reviews of this series, I hope the show's writers never read them and mistake my intention. Every episode of this series is, in some way, a marvel. After a writing period that is never long enough, each script is cast and prepared in a very short space of time. Sometimes guest stars are only cast in the days (or hours) before the first table read (as was the case of Scott Atkinson, whose accent in "The Two Mrs Cranes" was atrocious, but who was a great performer and was cast at the last minute). Then, in only one week, the cast and crew rehearse and film the entire thing. A pretty marvelous achievement. I've also warmed much more to the second half of season 11 on this rewatch. I've realised now that the reason it prioritises Frasier so much at the cost of the other 4 characters is because they've already reached their states of grace; he's still pining for a life he's longed for for so long.

With that in mind, and the finale just around the corner, "Crock Tales" is a purely indulgent episode - as reasonably meaningless to the current continuity of the series as "Detour" was to the show's themes. But after 11 years, this series has earned our indulgence, and it's great fun to take a trip down memory lane (or a reasonable facsimile of it!)

In 2003, Niles and Daph return from their honeymoon while Frasier squares off against Rosie Perez (the only guest star of the episode!). In 2002, Daph wears an odd wig but she and Niles prove delightful as frisky, post-coital lovers. In 1999, Kelsey Grammer looks hysterical as Uncle Sam and the sequence where the gang just hangs out on the balcony is very cute. In 1998 and 1996, we're reminded of so many of the series' long-forgotten running gags: Daphne's mother's phone calls, Niles and Roz bantering, Maris stories, and classic Frasier/Martin disagreements. Everyone gets to shine here, particularly David Hyde Pierce who enjoys playing up the more mannered elements of Niles' persona that he gradually evolved away from. He gets most of my favourite line readings, including his snotty little voice when whining about the Shangri-La, and the desperate, "I don't want air, I want Daphne!"

"Crock Tales" also plays on many of the series' common formulas: Frasier on a bad date, Frasier on a bad date he thinks is good ("You'd better get used to the name Evelyn Griebel"), mistaken identities and meanings, and the desperation of these characters in times of need. Like the poignancy of "Guns 'N' Neuroses", this episode will have minimal impact on first-time viewers, but has much resonance for those of us who have grown with the series. Whether it's seeing the characters as they once were - Daphne's horrible outfits, and the hairpieces of various degrees of success - or just enjoying the layered ironies of a line like 1993's "this is the last time I try to make a nice dinner for these people!".

There are a fair number of minor discontinuities throughout, such as Roz meeting Martin or the question of Niles and Daphne's sex life. But this episode isn't about reducing the characters to an online timeline. It's a truly sweet reminder of all the reasons we've come to love the extended Crane clan, and of why they still bring joy to our lives a decade later.

Rating: 87%


Wigs Galore., Apr 06, 2013

Reviewer: Anne-Marie from Oakland, CA

I actually liked the episode, but the entire time I was distracted by the
truly horrible wiggage. Seriously. I fantasized about running through
the sound stage and pulling them off. The. Entire. Time. Instead of
thinking about the plot. Tape or glue? Tape or glue?

I doubt that's what the writers had in mind.

Rating: 90%


Crocked, Jun 13, 2012

Reviewer: Tid from SW England

Kudos to the team for trying something original for the penultimate
show, but for me it just didn't work. The gags weren't particularly
funny, and the constantly changing wigs of Daphne and Roz as the
show went back in time, were just silly.

The worst part of the episode was how it totally broke off the
narrative arc of Series 11, with Charlotte and Ronee not featured, as
if they didn't even exist.

Nor were other cast regulars featured, except for a hilarious moment
set in the early 90s where Kenny appears as a pizza delivery boy, and
mentions his interest in getting a job in radio only for Frasier to shut
the door in his face. It would have been good to work in Gil, Noel, and
Bulldog, who provided many of the show's most sublime moments.

On the whole - and especially when you compare it to the way
'Cheers' built towards the end of its equally long run - a

Rating: 45%


Crock tales, Nov 24, 2009

Reviewer: Ben from IOW

One of the best in the whole season, its clever backtrack through the years is cleverly written (though with some mistakes) and brilliantly peformed by the cast. This episode just remind us why we came to love this program in the first place it is just magical.

Favourite moment: The entire episode

Rating: 100%


The Penultimate Frasier, Sep 22, 2009

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire

As the show draws to a close, it falls to Jon Sherman and Bob Daily to pen Frasier's penultimate episode. And its a vast task. Where most sitcoms would content themselves with a clip show, Frasier takes the same premise and cleverly reinvents it.

We get a trip down memory lane alright. Except they're all new ones. Sherman and Daily revisit familiar moments from the last 11 years, and work in all new gags, puns and farcical situations. Its a refreshing and rewarding experiment.

Wisely, Jon Sherman and Bob Daily put the focus where it belongs. On the core cast. The people who've been with the show from the very beginning. It was a good idea to let Ronee and Charlotte rest (Charlotte particularly) until the series finale, because the penultimate ep really should be about Frasier, Niles, Martin, Daphne and Roz. They're the heart of the show.

Beginning in 2004, Frasier is preparing dinner for the family. A broken crock pot opens a floodgate of memories for Frasier from the past eleven years. We jump to 2003 (S10), where Daphne and a sunburned Niles return from they're honeymoon. Roz has set Frasier up on another one of her blind dates. An obnoxious woman called Lizbeth.

To digress a moment, the actress playing Lizbeth, Rosie Perez was initially considered to play Daphne. One cringes at that notion. She would have been detestable in the part. But she fits the bill quite nicely as Lizbeth. In a very funny sequence that recalls Frasier handcuffed to Officer Nasty in Season 7's To Thine Old Self Be True, Frasier glues himself to Lizbeth through a handshake, because he handled the crock pot Martin was trying to glue back together.

Even funnier is Frasier's codeword to Roz, "enchante". Which he'll say out loud if Lizbeth isn't his type. He says it within seconds of meeting her! And in a nicely subtle pun, Lizbeth keeps saying "Super". Her codeword for Frasier! You get a bit of an idea here what the show might have been like during S8-10 if Christopher Lloyd & Joe Keenan had stuck around for it.

Onto 2002, and its Roz's birthday. Its also just after Niles and Daphne slept together for the first time. The chronology's a bit off in this segment. They first slept together in Season 8, but the year puts this closer to Season 9 or 10. That's only a minor quibble. Niles and Daphne's individual stories about they're sexual adventures is amusing especially when they go off to the bedroom, and a fireworks display starts over the Seattle skyline.

Next up is 1999 (S6 or 7). And Frasier's dressed as Uncle Sam for the 4th of July KACL Parade Float. Seeing Frasier in costume will bring back pleasant memories of Season 5's Halloween. And the fact that Martin's chair has duct tape on it means this is his original chair. Before it went off the balcony in Jon Sherman's S9 classic Bla-Z-Boy. Speaking of the balcony, Frasier, Niles, Daphne and Roz are locked out on it, and Martin can't hear them because he's wearing headphones. Only amusing. Much funnier is watching Niles lust after Daphne in silence. It was great to see that again.

Into 1998, and Season 6 with Frasier and Roz out of work, and Niles living at the Shangri-La, going through a very messy divorce from Maris. Which is spot on. Sherman and Daily really did they're homework. There are a couple of faults here and there though. Niles plans to tell Daphne how he feels about her, and Roz acts like she knows all about it. But she didn't learn that until later. Again a minor quibble. Only a steadfast Frasier fan would know that. It still throws up a funny moment when Daphne thinks Frasier's going to fire her. Much funnier is the godawful wig Peri Gilpin has to wear to make her look like a younger Roz.

Then we get to 1996, and Season 3. Probably my favourite one. Niles is still married to Maris so we get to hear some new Maris jokes. Frasier asked her "Why the long face?" Now she's on the phone to her chin retractor in Zurich! We get Niles & Roz sniping at one another. I really miss that from the old days. And we witness the tail-end of another of Frasier's doomed relationships.

And finally 1993, so Season 1. Eddie stares all day at Frasier. A crotchety Martin doesn't like living with an uptight Frasier. Niles fumbles over a dippy Daphne. And Roz is caught in the middle. (Kenny camoes as a pizza man!). I saw this scene in an advert on Paramount years back and thought it was a S1 episode!

The episode comes full circle with the five of them sitting down to dinner. Showing how close they've grown over 11 years. A hugely enjoyable episode. I like all the little details. The changes to Frasier's apartment from season to season. Martin's old cane. The different hairstyles (which provide a lot of the laughs!). The references. The performances. Crock Tales takes us on a wonderful journey through some of Frasier's best chapters before it leaves our screens forever. A warm, touching tribute to one of TV's finest sitcoms. One that will never be replaced.

Rating: 90%


Crock Tales, May 23, 2007

Reviewer: Anon. from Anytown, AT 55555

A brilliant episode showing us never before seen clips going through Frasier history. The wigs...well...were terrible, but all the same a great penultimate episode.

Rating: 93%


Wigs, toupes, weaves and falsies!, May 08, 2007

Reviewer: lozzy73 from UK

Fantastic! I am a huge fan of the wit of this show but I was in absolute stitches at the subtle and ingenious slapstick humour injected into this sentimental, penultimate episode with the different, deliberately wrong hair-pieces.

Thank goodness for syrup of figs!! lol!

Rating: 95%


Thanks for the Frasierful Memories, Nov 06, 2006

Reviewer: De Worde from UK

Congratulations to Frasier for not giving in and doing a clip show to spark our interest in the show, but to do original material instead. While it's obviously in-jokey, it's hilarious to see the actors pretending to be younger than they really are, and to fill in a few gaps, as well as including a few of the Best Daphne and Niles moments, from unrequited passion to that one moment in Season 8 that actually rang true for me, the one where Daphne and Niles finally go wild.

Thank God that Frasier recovered after a few lacklustre episodes.

Rating: 85%


CROCK TALES, Nov 19, 2005

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

I suppose Crock Tales just demonstrates the longevity and genius of Frasier as a sitcom and proves that (after over 250 episodes) that the show can still take gambles, and come up with new and very original material. The premise of this episode is fantastic, and luckily the script and performances don’t let it down, thus ensuring that the penultimate episode of Frasier is far from disappointing. Instead of embarking down the obvious road of using clips and flashbacks to symbolise Frasier coming to an end, we get a brand new collection of brand new flashback sequences, each representing a particular year and a particular period in the show’s history. The show starts with Frasier cooking dinner for his family, and on picking up a broken crockery pot, it triggers several interesting recollections.

The first flashback takes us back in time to 2003, presumably during Season 10 and witnesses Daphne and a very sunburnt Niles returning from their honeymoon. A great link is created here as we see Martin attempting to fix the pot (seen in the opening scene) with superglue, and also Roz dropping by to try and set up a date for Frasier with a friend called Lisbeth. Frasier and Roz have agreed to use a codeword if Frasier isn’t interesting ‘enchante’, which proves to be a great source of hilarity, because Frasier says it immediately! Lisbeth’s voice is grating, but in a very humorous way, and Frasier and Lisbeth getting glued together was a real treat; and wrapped up this most enjoyable segment excellently.

Our trip down memory lane continues with a clip from 2002, during Season 9 then I imagine, which sees Roz coming over to celebrate her birthday (Niles giving her the crockery as a hasty last minute gift) and Daphne and Niles obsessing over their first evening of ‘sweet carnal delights’ which throws up some great lines. Most noticeable is Roz’s disbelieving and incredulous ‘Frasier’s brother Niles?’ as Daphne explains the routine. The employment of fireworks is a great visual gag, and Roz’s ‘Wow, he really is good’ is hilarious.

We’re back in 1999 (during Season 6 or 7) and this scene, although my least favourite of the six flashback sequences, shows Frasier dressed as Uncle Sam for the 4th July celebrations. Of course, we’re back in the days pre the Niles and Daphne relationship and it's great fun to see Niles pining after her again, and when I first watched this episode I realised just how much I’d missed that. Although I didn’t find the plot of everyone, bar Martin (who can’t hear anything because of his new headphones) trapped on the balcony that amusing, it did throw up the great line, as Frasier notices the banner on his balcony is drooping unevenly. Daphne says: ‘You’re not going to send me back to the space needle again with a pair of binoculars and a walkie talkie again are you?’

Continuity is kept up brilliantly as we return to the year 1998, and as was true for the first half of Season 6, both Frasier and Roz are out of work. I think it’s a credit to the writers, Jon Shermon and Bob Daily that you actually believe you’re watching an earlier episode, and not the penultimate one; that is if you can ignore the terrible black wigs that Daphne and Roz are wearing throughout! We’re at Thanksgiving in this segment, and Niles (gloriously reminiscent of Season 4’s Mixed Doubles) is determined to express his true feelings for Daphne, whilst Daphne herself is terrified that Frasier is going to give her the sack. This is another very funny scene.

Way back now to 1996, and the best thing about this scene was definitely the return of the Maris anecdotes, which have in my opinion been the biggest loss from the show since the never seen comedy monster was written out of the show, after she and Niles divorced. The best line of the episode is when Niles recounts how Frasier asked Maris why she had a long face, for Niles to reply ‘now she’s on the phone to her chin grinder in Zurich!’. This sums up the context of the times perfectly (and even though he’s happy with Charlotte in the present day), Frasier is insisting he’s found the woman of his dreams. I also loved how the cheese pot made its appearance; the label reading spreadable (only for Niles to say): ‘Isn’t that what yours says, Roz?’

The final segment takes us right back to the beginnings of the show, and perfectly captures the tension between Martin and Frasier that played such a big part in Season 1. Having Kenny make an appearance as the pizza delivery man was inspired, as was Frasier’s original insistence that Martin move in with Niles in six month’s time. Who would have thought father and son would stay together and form a great relationship over the next eleven years? I'm pleased they did; and for this reason I was rather moved. There are lots of subtle references and in-jokes scattered throughout this episode, and using the pot as a linking device was great. Fabulous penultimate episode, that leaves you hungry for the finale.

Rating: 88%


'Crock Tales' review, Nov 14, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

The penultimate episode of 'Frasier' is a clever spin on the usual clip shows which sees Frasier in the kitchen preparing a meal for Martin, Niles, Daphne and Roz, only to break an earthenware crock pot which triggers off a succession of memories of the past 11 years shown in reverse order. The start of each flashback sequence always smartly references the end of the previous one but, while there are some liberties taken with chronological accuracy, the real joy of this episode is seeing the attention to detail paid to each of the character's changing fashion sense and hairstyles - even if Peri Gilpin's wig in the 1998 segment must rank among the most unconvincing ever seen on TV. I found myself enjoying each sequence more the further back in time they went and there are some good laughs to be had along the way, especially Martin picking up Roz's mobile phone only to be questioned by one of her sex-chat clients. The final 1993 segment (which features a neat appearance from Kenny as a pizza delivery guy) is perhaps the best one overall, perfectly recapturing the early characterisations - Niles (or rather, 'Miles'!) fumbling nervously around Daphne, Martin's grouchiness towards Frasier - which only serve to demonstrate just how far everyone has developed over the years. Seeing Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce with their Season 1 haircuts is very funny and even though they look noticeably older, they recreate their early personas perfectly. With a nice return to the present day at the end with everyone turning up for dinner, this is an episode which will most likely prove baffling to the 'Frasier' novice but makes for delightful viewing for those loyal fans who had stuck with the show for the previous 11 years.

Rating: 82%



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