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The 25 best "Frasier" episodes

If anybody ever tries to knock spinoffs, just point them in the direction of “Frasier.” The iconic sitcom is as popular as the show that spawned it: “Cheers.” Built around Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane, the sitcom took the snooty psychiatrist out of the bar in Boston and dropped him back in his hometown of Seattle. “Frasier” ran for 11 seasons and 264 episodes, winning 37 Emmys in the process, the most ever for a sitcom. There are so many great episodes to choose from, but we’ve still put together our 25 favorite “Frasier” outings. If you have any complaints, well, unlike Frasier Crane, we aren’t listening.

 
1 of 25

“Deathtrap”

“Deathtrap”

“Frasier” loved a farce, though as the years went on the stories often got stretched gossamer thin. However, “Deathtrap” is largely able to avoid that. It’s a crazy premise: Frasier and Niles find a skull under the floorboards of their childhood home and forget that it was part of a production of “Hamlet.” It's a lot of fun.

 
2 of 25

“Agents in America, Part III”

“Agents in America, Part III”

Frasier’s agent, Bebe Glazer, is maybe an acquired taste; her ruthlessness is certainly polarizing. However, in the world of “Frasier,” she’s often a delight, and this is one of her first chances to show her stuff and just how far she’ll go for a client, as she convinces Frasier to hold a "sick out" to gain a pay raise.

 
3 of 25

“The Seal Who Came to Dinner”

“The Seal Who Came to Dinner”

Frasier and Niles crave standing in the upper crust of Seattle. Despite being wealthy intellectuals — and Frasier is a local celebrity to boot — they always want more and more. This often leads to a frantic desire to avoid admitting anything is amiss, like when they try and deal with a rotting dead seal on the beach right outside the house where they are hosting a fancy meal.

 
4 of 25

“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz”

“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz”

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas sitcom episode? This is the most famous of “Frasier’s” holiday episodes, but it isn’t tops on our list. Still, it’s a lot of fun. Frasier is dating a Jewish woman and goes to great lengths to hide from the titular Mrs. Moskowitz the fact that he isn’t. Her seeing Niles dressed as Jesus certainly didn’t help.

 
5 of 25

“Crane vs. Crane”

“Crane vs. Crane”

Sometimes Frasier and Niles work together, but just as often they clash. The stakes are as high as ever here, as the two Crane boys find themselves as expert witnesses on opposite sides of a court case that is going to be nationally televised. (This was when Court TV was a channel.) Both brothers get a chance to look like they are on the right side of things, though naturally in the end things don’t work out well for either of them.

 
6 of 25

“Frasier’s Imaginary Friend”

“Frasier’s Imaginary Friend”

Frasier seems unable to win when it comes to dating. Granted, this is a man with multiple divorces, but like in so many ‘90s sitcoms Frasier Crane has to suffer many a dating indignity. This time he’s actually dating somebody great. His new girlfriend is a supermodel who is also a zoology student. Of course nobody believes him, and he has a hard time proving she is real to his friends and family.

 
7 of 25

“A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream”

“A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream”

Maybe because it could build off “Cheers,” “Frasier” was really good basically right from the beginning. There are even a couple of great first-season episodes. That includes this one, where Daphne is stuck at Niles and Maris’ mansion, with Maris out of town of course, due to a storm. Frasier, so worried that Daphne and Niles will give into carnal desires, does whatever he can to get to the house to break up any potential tryst.

 
8 of 25

“Hot Pursuit”

“Hot Pursuit”

Frasier and Roz, his producer, have a great dynamic. Sometimes they fight, but mostly they are friends. On occasion, the show teases they could possibly be more than that. It never took that plunge, to its eternal credit, but “Hot Pursuit” features Frasier and Roz sharing a hotel room, creating tension for the two that crackles.

 
9 of 25

“The Life of the Party”

“The Life of the Party”

No show had more parties than “Frasier.” Granted, they weren’t raucous affairs, given the snooty proclivities of Frasier and Niles. This party at Niles’ place doesn’t go great, but the episode ends on a sweet note as Roz, whose water breaks during the event, gives birth to her daughter, Alice.

 
10 of 25

“Chess Pains”

“Chess Pains”

Frasier is an intellectual snob. His father, Martin, is a blue collar everyman. It is the essence of their dynamic, and it fuels dozens of stories. Such was the case in “Chess Pains,” when Frasier becomes obsessed with the fact he can’t beat his dad, the man who just wants to watch TV with his dog, Eddie, at chess.

 
11 of 25

“Crock Tales”

“Crock Tales”

Near the end of the show’s run, “Frasier” tried its hand at an ambitious flashback episode. We don’t get just one flashback, but several, and they aren’t merely clips. That means they had to recreate the looks of the characters over the years and also get us back into the world of whatever was going on at the time in the show. It’s a lot to juggle, but “Crock Tales” nails it.

 
12 of 25

“Roe to Perdition”

“Roe to Perdition”

Yes, this episode is totally goofy. Frasier and Niles get into the black market caviar game. It’s a very sitcom-y plot. It also features Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce shoveling caviar down their throats to try and destroy evidence. Simply put, it’s hilarious physical comedy.

 
13 of 25

“High Holidays”

“High Holidays”

There’s some stuff in this Christmas episode about Frasier’s son, Frederick, being goth, and that’s all well and good. However, the reason “High Holidays” is on this list is for two marijuana-related plot points. Niles plans to get high for the first time, but Martin accidentally eats his weed brownie and replaces it with a normal brownie. That means Niles think he’s high but isn’t, and nobody realizes Martin is high, not even Martin himself.

 
14 of 25

“Author, Author”

“Author, Author”

A lot of the early episodes were about Frasier clashing with the family members still newly back in his life. That’s not just Martin, of course, but also Niles. Frasier and Niles try and write a psychiatry book together, and naturally it doesn’t go great. Still, their bickering is hilarious.

 
15 of 25

“The Show Where Diane Comes Back”

“The Show Where Diane Comes Back”

We first met Frasier Crane as the psychiatrist for and later fiancé of Diane Chambers on “Cheers.” Eventually, Diane would jilt Frasier, and their dynamic would never be fully healed. As such, Diane’s appearance on “Frasier,” — several “Cheers” characters showed up over the years —is fraught with tension. It’s also just nice to see Shelley Long in the role again.

 
16 of 25

“Moon Dance”

“Moon Dance”

For years “Frasier” had an ongoing storyline about Niles’ affection for Daphne, Martin’s live-in physical therapist and housekeeper. Eventually Niles would get divorced from Maris and end up with Daphne, with the show ending with them married and having their first child. In the early, flirty days of their dynamic, no episode captures it better than “Moon Dance.”

 
17 of 25

“A Lilith Thanksgiving”

“A Lilith Thanksgiving”

Lilith is the best. Frasier’s ex-wife, played by Bebe Neuwirth, is always a welcome presence. While she was a regular, and Emmy winner, on “Cheers,” her appearances on “Frasier” were infrequent. They were always delightful, though, including in this Thanksgiving episode where they have to work together for their son’s benefit.

 
18 of 25

“Ham Radio”

“Ham Radio”

Frasier has great taste and a flair for creativity. Just ask him. When he is asked to bring an old radio play back to life for a one-time special, he’s happy to take on the task. Of course then his ego gets in the way, and by the end of the episode he’s alienated just about everybody at his radio station and also his brother, Niles.

 
19 of 25

“Room Service”

“Room Service”

When Lilith shows up in Seattle fresh off a divorce — the Crane boys and Lilith were all unlucky in love and marriage — you may think she would end up in bed with her ex-husband. Instead, something worse, and much funnier, happens. She ends up sleeping with Niles, and the aftermath is a disaster for both of them and also Frasier.

 
20 of 25

“Dinner Party”

“Dinner Party”

Not to be confused with the excellent episode of “The Office” with the same name, there isn’t really much of a dinner party in “Dinner Party.” It’s mostly about Frasier and Niles trying to plan a party and also deal with their dynamic and the way the world at large sees them. It’s a low-stakes episode but a funny one that keeps moving.

 
21 of 25

“Goodnight, Seattle”

“Goodnight, Seattle”

It’s always a relief when a beloved show nails its series finale. “Frasier” definitely did that. This is a fitting farewell to the show and all its characters. It’s funny and heartwarming, and it ends with Frasier leaving Seattle for an uncertain but promising future. Frasier’s life isn’t over, even if the show’s run is.

 
22 of 25

“My Coffee with Niles”

“My Coffee with Niles”

Only a show like “Frasier” would end its first season with a riff on “My Dinner with Andre.” The episode is basically just Frasier and Niles having a conversation in Café Nervosa, their favorite coffee shop, centering on the lingering question of whether Frasier is happy after having been back in Seattle for a while. Other characters flit in and out, but mostly it’s about a meaningful conversation between two brothers.

 
23 of 25

“Guns N’ Neuroses”

“Guns N’ Neuroses”

This is Lilith’s curtain call, as it’s her last episode in the series. It’s a great showcase for the relationship between Frasier and his ex-wife, who is also a psychiatrist in her own right. The former couple is fixed up on a blind date by two friends, but they never find that out. They keep hanging out, waiting for their dates to happen, just talking and interacting. For all the turmoil they’ve faced over the years, as Lilith leaves the show they part on good terms, which is nice.

 
24 of 25

“Look Before You Leap”

“Look Before You Leap”

“30 Rock” had a Leap Day episode, but no Leap Day episode can equal the one “Frasier” did. After all, it’s the second-best episode in the show’s history. Frasier convinces everybody to take a bold gamble on Leap Day to celebrate, which ends disastrously but gets Frasier to decide not to go through with his big plan: to sing a complicated aria on PBS. Instead, he goes with the simple song he always sings, “Buttons and Bows,” but ends up messing it up terribly anyway.

 
25 of 25

“The Innkeepers”

“The Innkeepers”

The farce level is extremely high in “The Innkeepers.” Frasier and Niles decide to purchase and run a French restaurant they love. Are they in over their heads? You’d better believe it! Is it a hilarious Swiss watch of comedy? Absolutely! Just when you think the action can’t get even more frantic, it does, and you laugh even more. This is the perfect encapsulation of what made “Frasier” so great.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.


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