blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s01e03 – Dinner at Eight

This episode features Niles (David Hyde Pierce) meeting Daphne (Jane Leeves) for the first time and it’s amazing. Also amazing is how Kelsey Grammer is on it from the start, initially bewildered at Hyde Pierce’s behavior. Grammer really gets across how predictable Frasier finds his brother. It’s so good.

Also, I think this episode has Grammer’s first booming, “Do you mind!”, which I’m pretty sure becomes a series soundbite.

The episode’s main story involves Grammer and Hyde Pierce inviting John Mahoney out to a fancy dinner—they realize he sacrificed himself at work in their childhoods so now it’s their chance to repay him with the culture he missed. It involves a sharkskin suit on Mahoney, which is hilarious, mostly thanks to Leeves. Leeves is just the right addition to the show. She’s not just a calming influence on Grammer vs. Mahoney, she helps humanize it all. While still being goofy enough to be a little psychic.

Great line about how Grammer and Mahoney have “decided to find [the psychic stuff] charming.” Lots of great lines in the script, from Anne Flett-Giordano and Chuck Ranberg; the Crane boys’ only similarity to Mahoney being their last name and “abnormally well-developed calf muscles,” Maris and her tanning bed (actually, everything Maris this episode)… oh, and the “great polyester dinosaur” description of Mahoney’s style.

Plus Flett-Giordano and Ranberg deliver on the final act thoughtfulness. The boys end up at a restaurant of Mahoney’s choice, a steakhouse, where there’s the snob vs. Regular Joe thing, but it’s about Grammer and Hyde Pierce learning not to be assholes.

It does date awkwardly though, as we’ve been through foodie culture and you have to wonder what Frasier and Niles’s problem is with steak. They never had steak at French restaurants?

Great performance from Mahoney.

Also dating it is again going to be Roz’s dating life. Peri Gilpin humorously recounts a bad date there’s a post-punchline slut-shame because she answered the guy’s ad. It’s like… uh. What’s the joke supposed to be here? Outside it being absurd Gilpin’s got to answer random ads to meet fellas.

But still pretty darn great episode. It’s James Burrows directing again so the timing is all perfect.

Guest caller this episode is Patti LuPone, who’s got a really funny call, and you can tell it’s someone recognizable so it’s got to be a treat for LuPone fans.

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