blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s03e11 – The Friend

It’s the first Kelsey Grammer-centric episode in a while, with Grammer realizing he doesn’t have any friends outside his family and ending up stuck with annoying new bestie Griffin Dunne, who Grammer can’t dump because Dunne’s in a wheelchair and what if Dunne thinks it’s about the wheelchair. Kind of wants to turn ableism inside out. Or outside in. It was the nineties, wheelchairs were still sight gag.

The script’s from one of the show’s co-producers, Jack Burditt, and it’s his first time with a script credit. There’s still a lot of funny stuff, but the hook has to do with Grammer getting two tickets for the track and David Hyde Pierce not being able to go with him.

To the track.

To watch the ponies.

It leads to a Maris joke, which might’ve been the point, but it’s a long way to get there and a very strange detail. Especially since Grammer apparently does not take Dunne to the race track. After their first meeting, the action jumps ahead two weeks. Maybe they went to the race track. Probably should mention it.


Hyde Pierce has a fun subplot about trying to make new friends too. John Mahoney and Jane Leeves both get solid jokes. Peri Gilpin gets an awesome couple scenes—totally as backup to Grammer—so Burditt does give everyone something, even when the focus is on Grammer and Dunne.

It’s a funny episode. It’s an easy sitcom, but it’s definitely funny, and well-acted from Grammer and Hyde Pierce in particular. Dunne’s fine. It’s fine. Just not particularly special.

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