After a couple professional episodes where John Mahoney and Jane Leeves are interactive scenery, Martin Does It His Way is an apartment episode. There’s a radio station setup—with some great work from Kelsey Grammer and Peri Gilpin—establishing Grammer’s aunt has died and he’s leaded to the lawyer’s to talk about the estate.
Cut to after the meeting, Grammer’s got to give the eulogy and David Hyde Pierce has got to dispose of the ashes. The dead aunt was a mean aunt, so the episode’s full of stories about her from Grammer, Hyde Pierce, and Mahoney.
Somehow the talk of the dead aunt’s final wishes leads to Leeves telling Grammer and Hyde Pierce about Mahoney’s hidden shoeboxes of unfulfilled dreams, then runs off to get them. It’s a great scene for Leeves even if connecting the two plots isn’t exactly organic. Writer David Lloyd correctly assumes the laughs will mask the tape.
Turns out Mahoney spent his years on stakeouts writing songs for Frank Sinatra, but never submitted any of them. Despite both having to work on their aunt’s last wishes, Grammer and Hyde Pierce decide they’re going to finish one of Mahoney’s songs. There are some really funny music-related jokes and anything to let Grammer sing.
The conclusion brings the plots together well—with some nice, wholesome family stuff—and some great Hyde Pierce physical comedy.
Season three “Frasier,” so far, is leaning heavy into its established successful types of episodes—last time it was Crane brothers, this time it’s Crane family. Even with a sort of silly A plot–Sinatra songs, but without any product placement—it works out. Just because there’s a formula doesn’t mean the results aren’t excellent.