Frasier (1993) s02e21 – An Affair to Forget

Writer Chuck Ranberg and Anne Flett-Giordano turn in one of the instant “Frasier” classics. It involves the show’s reliable standards—Maris jokes, the radio show, David Hyde Pierce’s physical comedy–and hits spectacular heights with all three, but most impressively the Hyde Pierce stuff. The episode ends with a fantastic sword fight with Hyde Pierce versus Brian Cousins as they tear through Hyde Pierce’s extravagant living room. There’s even some sword fighting on staircases; not quite Robin Hood or Scaramouche but closer than not.

Hyde Pierce is a singular physical comedian. The way his timing scales from micro-expressions to actual big stunts here is breathtaking. It’s awesome to watch.

The story has Kelsey Grammer become convinced Cousins is the cheating fencing instructor husband of a caller (an unrecognizable until you see her name in the credits Glenne Headly, at which point it becomes immediately obvious and another reminder Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 2 probably would’ve been better than the original thanks to her) and he’s cheating on Headly with Hyde Pierce’s ever unseen wife Maris. Grammer gets some great scenes as he butts in—after dad John Mahoney tells him to sit it out and we miss seeing Peri Gilpin’s response once she’s got the whole story.

We get to see Gilpin’s reaction to Grammer acting like a jackass on the air as he panics and starts yelling at Headly, which is great and has an outstanding punchline, but Gilpin doesn’t stay involved with the plot as it continues. It’s okay because it’s great but it’s also a bummer not to get to see what they would’ve come up with for Gilpin to do.

Another foil—no pun, but there’s an amazing line from Mahoney about fencing foils before I forget, just an inspired one liner (the episode’s full of them)—is Hyde Pierce’s maid, Irene Olga López. López is excellent.

Great direction from Philip Charles MacKenzie.

It’s another standout episode, which is kind of great era “Frasier”’s thing; all of the episodes are classics, all of the episodes are standout.

It’s so good.

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