We can all agree that Niles Crane, Frasier’s younger brother from Frasier, played masterfully by David Hyde Pierce, is the greatest character in all of American literature. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some of his highlights.
He was really horny for a whole episode
Maris is withholding sex from Niles for some reason (Oh, Maris!) and it really gets to Niles. You’ll have to watch the episode to find out if he is eventually satiated, so no spoilers, but yes, he does yell “Niles gotta have it!” at one point. (Season 3 episode 16, “Look Before You Leap”)
He introduced us to his alter ego, Island Niles
The whole fam goes to Belize and while Frasier’s all wrapped up in some guest-star girlfriend drama, Niles gets in touch with his inner nudist, lets his beard grow, and Island Niles is born. He even tries to keep the vibe going back in Seattle with a visit to a nude beach, but Roz manages to screw it up. Roz!! (Season 9 episode 1, “Don Juan in Hell”)
He set Frasier’s couch on fire and passed out (twice)
This is a gorgeous silent tableau worthy of Charlie Chaplin. (Season 6 episode 14, “Three Valentines”)
He taught Frasier how to be Jewish
Frasier’s new girlfriend’s mother thinks he and the family are Jewish, so for some reason that means they have to take down all their Christmas decorations, freak out when Eddie the dog comes in wearing a Santa hat, and generally pretend that they literally don’t know Christmas exists. (The execution is flawed, but they’re pretending to be Jewish is the point.) Niles demonstrates an impressive fluency with Yiddish phrases and dumps a bunch of sugar in the pinot noir to make it taste like Jewish wine. Mazel tov, Niles! (Season 6 episode 10, “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz”)
He filled in for Martin at the 4th grade safety assembly
When Martin’s too sick to talk to the kiddies about safety, Niles puts on the police hat, introduces himself as Citizen Officer Niles, and tells the children he’s there to talk about “a different, yet no less important kind of safety: hygiene!” Does he win the crowd over with his graphic descriptions of the kinds of animal hair found in hot dogs? Watch and find out! (Season 10 episode 19, “Some Assembly Required”)
He spiced things up with Maris with pirate cosplay
He also left a map for Maris with clues to his hiding place, and wore an eye patch over an unrevealed body part. Fun fact: Niles’s pirate shirt is the same one Jerry wears in the famous Seinfeld episode The Puffy Shirt! (Season 1 episode 17, “A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream”)
He got super high
…or did he? Just as Niles is, objectively speaking, the greatest of all characters, the greatest of all Frasier episodes is season 11, episode 11, “High Holidays.” This is, that’s right, a Christmas episode; it features a delightfully nineties plotline about goth kids, some truly inspired Eddie work, and multiple characters acting very silly and/or high. Niles says “Mary Jane.” What more do you want?