Remember when we didn’t see TV show episodes all the time? What were they called—electronic programming guides (thanks, Google). So watching Adventures in Paradise: Part 1 in fall 1994, you weren’t wondering why it was called part one. The episode’s got a somewhat strange pacing as writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs have to introduce guest star JoBeth Williams in a significant supporting part in just one episode.
So none of the regular supporting cast gets a lot to do. David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney bond over cigar smoking in a very small subplot. Peri Gilpin is entirely there for supporting Kelsey Grammer’s arc, which has him starting to date Williams after seeing her in a magazine feature on Seattle’s best and brightest.
Grammer and Hyde Pierce’s low-key coveting of the associated prestige provides a handful of really good jokes. The episode’s full of them. Even without a lot to do, the entire cast (save maybe Gilpin) gets some really funny jokes. Jane Leeves has an amazing few minutes and Hyde Pierce goes on a particularly good Maris rant this episode.
Even stranger, the first big set piece doesn’t involve any of the regulars or even Williams. She and Grammer are out on their date and there’s a blowup between the restaurant owner (Pierre Epstein) and his daughter (Jessica Pennington). It’s absolutely hilarious, but it’s got nothing to do with the story. Except giving Grammer a great opportunity to “I’m Listening” in public.
Then the episode skips ahead a couple weeks and Williams and Grammer make an impromptu decision to run off together for a week and take things to the next stage. There’s some “Frasier fretting,” which also allows for some more on the cigar bonding subplot, but then it’s off to Bora Bora and the surprise cliffhanger.
Everyone’s really good, even when they barely get anything to do, and Williams is a nice match for Grammer. And the cliffhanger is rather hilarious.
It’s a really good episode, especially considering it’s just a setup for the next one.