Mercedes Ruehl’s really funny. She’s been good on “Frasier” before and the casting is working out great, but this episode she’s occasionally really, really funny. Like they must’ve had this episode in mind when casting the part because she and Kelsey Grammer’s back and forth yelling is next level phenomenal.
They’re yelling because Ruehl’s frozen the salaries for the station staff—i.e. not the talent—which leads Peri Gilpin and her colleagues (specifically guest star Patrick Kerr) to near organizing. They back down when Ruehl yells at them; luckily, Grammer’s going to champion their cause and get the on-air talent to support them in a strike.
The moment where Grammer goes from being an opinionated, disconnected blowhard to committing to helping is a really nice one, courtesy credited writers Linda Morris and Vic Rauseo. It’s a little moment but a very good one, character development-wise.
There’s a great scene at the apartment where Grammer’s trying to rally the talent, with David Hyde Pierce showing up to feel uninvited, then Jane Leeves and John Mahoney getting to meet Edward Hibbert. Mahoney and Hibbert are perfect foils for one another, little bit less when Hibbert sneers at Leeves.
The organizing scene turns out to be a really good one, particularly for Mahoney, with some very deliberate pacing.
But the episode’s not even to the hook yet–Ruehl and Grammer’s distain for one another turning into lust. Here’s where the chemistry between Grammer and Ruehl really starts to pay off, their timing from the yelling banter working with everything else; great comedy acting from the actors.
There’s a “to be continued” tag—can Grammer successfully negotiate the deal given his new romantic predicament—but the cliffhanger nicely still allows for a great end credits sequence for Kerr.
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