Becker (1998) s01e21 – Lucky Day

Earl Pomerantz did not write any “Becker” episodes previous to this one, which surprised me. His name seemed familiar—he worked on sitcoms for forty years, so no doubt I’ve seen it before—and the way he wrote “Becker” felt, sadly, familiar too.

He does the “Becker whines” approach. So the episode is Ted Danson bitching non-stop about how everything good happening to him in the day is actually going to rubber-band back and be terrible in the end.

Far more interesting—and better written—is Hattie Winston being angry with her husband and Shawnee Smith sticking her nose in. Winston’s fantastic. Smith’s okay. She’s just there to be a foil for Winston, so it’s all supportive. It’d be nice if there was a better balance but also… it’s nice to see Winston to get the spotlight long enough to excel.

The subplot’s also got a great punchline, which stands out even more when the resolution to Danson’s arc is so blah. It even fits the old pattern of Danson checking in with Terry Farrell, like it’s a contractual obligation for Farrell to get screen time but no story (she’s cleaning the diner to avoid the health inspectors, which requires a lot of set decoration but nothing else) before going off and finishing the episode on its own.

Coming right after the previous episode’s home run, Lucky Day is a decided disappointment. Even if there’s the seemingly unintentionally meta moment when Farrell jokes about the world revolving around Danson and Danson can’t find any fault in her logic, even if he can’t explain it. Because it’s his show. Almost neat.

Or would be if the finish weren’t so ugh.

There’s a subplot with a whiney patient, William Hill, who’s not good but it’s also just Danson being mean, which isn’t good either. But Hill comes back for the finish and it’s like… no, don’t bring back the weakest link of the episode.

Hill’s even worse than attractive Post Office employee Kaye Kittrell hitting on Danson as he berates her….

But, hey, Winston’s great.

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