David Lloyd wrote a John Mahoney-centric episode last season so he seems the right fit for this episode, which is about Mahoney having to bury the hatchet with his ex-partner and best friend, Lincoln Kilpatrick, as both men have long retired and experiencing health issues. David Lloyd is father of fellow “Frasier” writer Christopher Lloyd (no relation to the other Christopher Lloyd) and the episodes both have Kelsey Grammer very much in the son role… I wonder whose idea it was to have Lloyd père do the father and son episodes.
The episode opens with a long radio bit—and Peri Gilpin’s sole appearance—and the final punchline is only for folks who know celebrity callers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who play a bickering couple, were a night club act, a Hollywood screenwriting duo, and Broadway lyricists. It’s a deep cut, especially when the show aired in 1994 and you couldn’t just Google.
The Mahoney plot line starts off with David Hyde Pierce asking for some emotional support; Maris is going in for some plastic surgery and would Grammer and Mahoney come along. When Grammer gets there, he discovers Mahoney’s old pal Kilpatrick, leading to he and Hyde Pierce figuring out how they can interfere; it’s pretty epical from there.
And quite good.
Mahoney’s great. It helps there’s a punchline to the conflict more than a reveal, even though it takes the combine nagging of Grammer, Hyde Pierce, and Jane Leeves to get it out of Mahoney.
Leeves has a great scene, Hyde Pierce has a great scene or two—lots of just letting Hyde Pierce do a bit but it’s such a good bit it’s a win—and Grammer’s very good at being sincere in his concerns while still annoyingly neurotic.
Nice direction from Andy Ackerman, who gives the episode a relaxed pace but never a slow one. It works quite well with the script.