blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s02e06 – The Botched Language of Cranes

There’s a really bad line in this episode—written by Joe Keenan, back after a big success with his first script a few episodes ago—about Kelsey Grammer not being willing to emcee a Catholic Church charity event but willing to do the “Miss Teenage Seattle” one.

So. Ew. Nineties. Also it comes up in a conversation with Peri Gilpin. Ew. Nineties.

Grammer is going to end up doing that Catholic Church charity because he puts his foot in his mouth about Seattle on air and pisses off his listeners. At one point John Mahoney is reading about the controversy in the newspaper—Grammer’s in a mood about the rainy weather—and reads from the “Derek Mann” column. Mann was a voice character last season and for a while I was hoping there’d be a rematch (Joe Mantegna did the voice).

Turns out there isn’t one, but it’s okay because it manages to go from bad to worse to more worse to even more worse, with Grammer articulately bumbling his way through the whole affair. It’s a Grammar-centered episode, with some great material for Gilpin and David Hyde Pierce (including together, so everyone’s taken notice of their banter).

The episode also has the first time Maris is on location, just not with the other characters. She goes to the charity and is trying to social climb—which comes with some great narration from Hyde Pierce—while not sitting at the table with the rest of the cast.

There are a lot of good jokes, especially at the charity, where Mahoney’s got a previous history with nun Helen Geller and Grammer’s about the make his own. Keenan comes up with a fantastic twist for the last Grammer foot-in-his-mouth section….

Jane Leeves doesn’t get much, other than ignoring Hyde Pierce sniffing her hair at one point (I barely noticed it because it’s so on brand for him), but she does get a fantastic monologue about ringing phones.

Two guest callers—Alfre Woodard and Sandra Dee—with Woodard being the one who ends up getting Grammer in trouble and then Dee reading him her version of a riot act.

It’s a good one. Keenan’s dialogue’s real funny. And David Lee’s directing is good too. He’s got a nice rhythm with the actors.

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