Frasier (1993) s02e22 – Agents in America: Part 3

Agents in America: Part 3 doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a very big episode, but then the last third or so is very big scale. The first two acts(?)—see, I probably should have learned the structure of sitcom plots, I’m sure there’s proper terminology—but the first two-thirds is mostly at the apartment.

The episode opens at the coffee shop with Frasier’s unstoppable agent, Harriet Sansom Harris, telling Kelsey Grammer he needs to feign illness to force the station to pay him more money. Turns out he’s their most popular show but he’s got a terrible contract because Grammer didn’t have Harris at the time.

The action then moves to the apartment and pretty much stays there as Grammer is “home sick” until the station agrees to renegotiate. John Mahoney and Jane Leeves are around, sick of Grammer’s company, and then Harris is popping in to check on him and getting everyone pissed off at her. David Hyde Pierce shows up, Peri Gilpin shows up. Everyone gets their time and their laughs—it’s a lot of fun watching the cast play off Harris, particularly Leeves—it’s just at the apartment.

So it seems like a small episode.

But then it gets really big—bringing in Dan Butler and Eric Lutes at the station in exaggerated cameos—because it needs to rise to a big enough scale for Harris to have room to really let loose. Harris didn’t win an Emmy for this episode, which is disappointing but she didn’t even get nominated, which is shocking. She’s so good. Director Philip Charles MacKenzie directs the episode with Harris not as the protagonist, antagonist, or subject, but the natural disaster in a disaster movie. She’s the unstoppable force, everyone else are the victims in her path.

Great little stuff from Hyde Pierce, strong lead stuff from Grammer. Mahoney’s got some excellent moments too. It’s just another great one.

Script by Joe Keenan.

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