In one of the episodes of Frasier (I cannot recall the exact episode number) the brothers are describing a difficult situation, using different words. I believe some of those were in different languages (I can only guess is French?).

The dialogue is fuzzy in my head but it goes something like:

Frasier: I find myself in a sort of [X], well maybe not [X], more of a [Y]. Or maybe more of a [Z].
Niles: Why, what happened?
Frasier: [explains]
Niles: That's not a [Z], that's more of a [A]!

What were those words and what do they mean?

1 Answer 1


You seem to mean this dialogue from the season 9 opener:

Frasier: Niles, listen, I didn't want to say anything in front of the others, but I find myself in a bit of a quandary. Well, it's not so much a quandary, really, it's more of a pickle. Well, not so much a pickle, but well, no more than a... cornichon.

Niles: What is it?

Frasier: I think I want to be with Lana, not Claire.

Niles: Forgive me, Frasier, but that's one big-ass cornichon.

Basically, 2 things are happening here:

  1. Frasier is trying to pretend he has a small problem, but as Niles suggests, it's actually a big one. His phrases are progressively diminutive: 'Quandary' is a difficult dilemma, 'pickle' is slang for a small predicament, and 'cornichon' is a small pickle, hence an even smaller problem.

  2. Frasier and his brother are often portrayed as pretentious. So when they converse, they're prone to use classy words like 'quandary' (instead of 'problem') and French foodie terms like 'cornichon' (The Crane brothers love French, gourmet food, and French gourmet food). This tendency is then humoristically undercut when Niles uncharacteristically says 'big-ass'.

  • 1
    often portrayed as pretentious your description is diminutive :P
    – cde
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 5:17
  • 1
    To be fair, Frasier was Flanderized in that respect as the show went on (but I think Niles was always like that).
    – Walt
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 5:28
  • 2
    aaand now I miss this show even more. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 14:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .