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Episode reviews for Episode 2.04 - Flour Child

Avg. Viewer Review: 88.4%
Number of Reviews: 10

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A great showcase for Niles, Nov 24, 2011

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


In a cast of greats, David Hyde Pierce is the sparkling gem of "Frasier", and season 2 was when the writers really began to service him well. "Flour Child" is his first great showcase of season 2, as Niles takes onboard a massive sack of flour to care for as a "child". The role of Niles is so wonderful for Hyde Pierce, allowing him to be dry-witted at times, yet also showcasing his gleeful, bouncy side, and his penchant for physical comedy. "Flour Child" encases all of these, and he works so well in conjunction with Kelsey Grammer.

The secondary storyline is more forgettable, but well-utilises the KACL staff. Like all good sub-plots centering on Frasier himself, the story - about his ignorantly signing a get-well card incorrectly, and then trying to cover it up - examines the character while also providing a great dose of humour.


Rating: 86%

 

Midwife Crisis, Aug 25, 2010

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire


After Joe Keenan gave us the sublime highs of The Matchmaker, Christopher Lloyd gives us a slice of inspired nuttiness with Flour Child.

At this point of the show, Christopher Lloyd was just content to write episodes that were funny but little more than that. It was the following season where his output became more ambitious. Where with Joe Keenan, it was obvious right from the start he would become one of the show's most successful writers. Christopher Lloyd took a little longer to find his stride.

He eventually did find it with Shrink Rap, a masterful narrative that told two overlapping versions of the same story. Something Lloyd would take to even greater heights with Perspectives on Christmas. And that is Lloyd's niche. Complex plots packed with laughs. He took it to a ludicrous extreme with Rivals, where he wrote a story that was certainly clever, but forgot to make it funny.

Flour Child has a plot millions of miles away from the complex intricacies of the above episodes. Its only really a one-gag episode. But thanks to a cracking performance from David Hyde Pierce, a sweet story emerges from a somewhat silly premise.

Frasier, Niles and Martin are forced to share a taxi after Frasier's (German) car broke down. The cab driver, Arleen, goes into labour and the Crane Boys are forced to play midwives until the ambulance arrives. (Niles: Should our meter be running through all this?)

Arleen gives birth to a bouncing baby boy. And the experience puts Niles in the mood for fatherhood. Although the idea of him having a child with Maris is a fairly horrifying thought (the act and the aftermath), Niles settles on something safer. He carries a ten pound bag of flour around as if it were a baby. To give him an idea of what parenthood is like.

Flour Child is an odd case of an episode defying a silly premise and emerging triumphant nonetheless. When I first read the plot synopsis, I did a literal double-take! This is an episode that could easily have gone horribly wrong if the actor weren't up to it. But since the actor is David Hyde Pierce, then how could it go wrong?

Pierce takes a potentially ludicrous idea and turns it into something quite fulfilling. After all, he's forced to carry around a bag of flour for the majority of the episode and treat it like a child. (An idea I had for a cue card was (Self-) Raising Flour!) Most actors might have been tempted to ham it up, or be just plain embarrassed by it. But the key to the episode's success is the way Pierce plays it so perfectly straight.

Even when it gets covered in plasters, Pierce remains so deadpan, it gives the episode an odd conviction. More importantly, a sincerity the episode needs to succeed. Flour Child could have gotten the best of many an actor. Pierce does wonders with it. The first where Pierce shows he can carry an episode on his shoulders.

The fact the flour takes so much abuse throughout puts things in a poignant perspective for Niles. He may not be ready for fatherhood just yet. But we mustn't forget the episode is also extremely funny. Niles' parenting is so inept, it gets funnier just watching the flour take more and more damage from falling, fire and eventually Eddie tearing it into itsy bitsys!

There's also a fun subplot. Frasier signs a get-well card for a co-worker. But thinking its a birthday card, he signs something completely inappropriate and tries to get it back before he reads it. He does. And re-signs an identical card (with an identical jingle). And then delivers it to the wrong patient! ("Make the music stop!")

It makes for a clever convergence at the end. While Frasier is replacing the card, Niles sees the babies at the hospital, and wonders if he is ready for fatherhood after all. He clearly isn't when he tries to hold Arleen's baby and makes a mess of it. But the wistful look from Niles at the end shows that fatherhood is a wish he's still interested in. Something Christopher Lloyd would fulfil for him in the very last episode.


Rating: 85%

 

Not as good as the reviews, Apr 22, 2009

Reviewer: AJ from Ontario, Canada


This episode is just not all that great.

From the moment that the taxi driver started going through labor, I knew Niles would just about faint. From the moment he took up the sack of flour (glad it wasn't an egg though) I knew it would end up with a tear, a burn, and eventually destroyed (although I failed to see Eddie as the ultimate culprit).
Yes there were some great lines in the episode, but if you can foretell everything that would happen in an episode THIS early in the shows run, that isn't good.


Apart from the quite nice moment between Frasier and Niles at the end where Niles realizes he is not ready for father hood, it just wasn't even close to a special episode.


And honestly from the moment Niles started considering fatherhood, the main thought that kept me entertained was "with Maris?!?! How??"


Rating: 72%

 

My Lost Frasier, Nov 21, 2008

Reviewer: Richard Garratt from London, England


I thought I had seen every episode of Frasier until, whilst unwell, I found this on DVD after watching The Matchmaker. In my state of ill-health I thought I had dreamed this episode, convinced of it by Daphne's great line and delivery: "that dingo's got your baby!"
Some of the reactions of the cast to Niles' entries with his self raised offspring looked so genuine, I felt it was a great fun show to have been part of.
I had overlooked this episode and it was all the sweeter after watching the later series to remember classic Frasier: ensemble cast, direction and writing; clever word play; interwoven tightly-constructed plots and twent odd minutes of pleasure.


Rating: 95%

 

Another brilliant season 2 episode , Sep 13, 2008

Reviewer: Robert Paulson from UK


This is a fantastically funny and well executed episode, even by the high standards that Frasier has set for itself. There are so many things I love about this episode that I can't list them all: The way Martin remains calm under pressure, followed by his less than eloquent attempt to explain the miracle of birth ("blob, person, blob, person"). Frasier remembering the birth of his son. Niles' "Flour Child" getting stabbed/burned and leaking flour. There is also a rambling and slightly hysterical Daphne monologue, and a scene where she wears nothing but a towel. (Which I enjoyed only marginally less than Niles seems to) The episode ends on a thoughtful note, and the sub plot with Frasier writing a hillariously inapropriate message in a get well soon card is also very funny.
Overall one of my favourite episodes.


Rating: 97%

 

JK77 on Flourchild, Sep 07, 2008

Reviewer: JK77 from Germany


Absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!! Great timing!!!!!!!! It is a "must see" episode.


Rating: 92%

 

I'm no tv critic but..., Jan 15, 2007

Reviewer: Ryan from Edinburgh, Scotland


This episode had me in stiches. Watching Niles trying to decide whether or not he's ready for fatherhood is funny but his affection for his flour child is comedy genius. The timing and delivery had tears running down my face, just how great comedy should be!!!


Rating: 95%

 

"Flour Child", Sep 28, 2006

Reviewer: Sonicology from Scotland, UK


I really like this episode, because we get to see a new aspect of Niles outside of his relationships with Frasier and Martin or Maris and Daphne. The Frasier plot with the card is amusing enough but the real joy is in watching Niles interacting with his "child", which provides some classic lines. Coming right after the excellent "The Matchmaker", these episodes combine to really get Season 2 going after a slightly weak start.


Rating: 91%

 

'Flour Child' review, May 24, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


Assisting at the birth of the baby of a taxi driver causes Niles to ponder on whether it's time for him to have a child of his own, so Frasier advises him to experiment with parental responsibility by carrying around a sack of flour for a week. This is the cause of some big laughs such as when the sack of flour becomes increasingly covered with sticking plasters, after which it's all but destroyed by a ravenous Eddie. This is nicely interweaved with an amusing subplot in which Frasier has to rewrite all the signatures and then return a get well card to a colleague who's laid up in hospital, although even then he manages to deliver it to the wrong patient! A good deal of very funny lines make this another fine episode which ends on a poignant note as Niles becomes resigned to the fact that fatherhood will have to be put on hold for a little while longer.


Rating: 83%

 

Flour Child, Mar 27, 2005

Reviewer: Sideshow Meg from Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK


Flour child is a wonderful episode in my opinion. the Crane men assist at the birth of their taxi driver Aileen and all the talk of babies leaves Niles feeling broody. Not sure whether he is ready for fatherhood, Frasier tells him of a social experiment that many teengagers do...care for a flour bag as if it were a child. This was a good idea for a plot IMO because it meant Niles' character could stretch further, because we have seen Frasier with Freddie, and of course Martin with the boys. Niles soon gets in little catastrophes with his 'child' and delivers some wonderfully funny lines. The subplot about Frasier and the Get well card tied in nicely, although the episode really did belong to David Hyde Pierce. Overall, i thought the episode was excellent. very funny yet poignant in parts


Rating: 88%