Shelley Long is a very good guest star for “Frasier.” She irritates John Mahoney in a particular way he’s never been irritated before and it leads to some great expressions from him and some great one-liners too. Long’s also really good with David Hyde Pierce; they’re both snobs but he wants to be more of a snob so he’s on the defensive.
Long’s visiting because she has a new play coming out in Seattle and she’s there to work on the production. She comes to see Kelsey Grammer at the radio, prompting him to race across town for an emergency therapy session with Hyde Pierce. It’s an absolutely fantastic scene between the two, with writer Christopher Lloyd getting in what’s going to be a great recurring bit about Hyde Pierce’s notepad. See, Long left Grammer at the alter—“Cheers” season three season finale—and there’s unresolved hurt, which Grammer’s never told Long about. Presumably they didn’t talk about it during seasons four and five of “Cheers,” even offscreen.
So ignoring Hyde Pierce’s advise to confront Long and talk to her about the pain she’s caused,Grammer decides he’s going to show up Long—out snob her, out wealth her—and invites her over to the apartment. There we find out she got to meet Mahoney and Hyde Pierce back in the “Cheers” days, which leads to a good Maris joke.
Eventually, we get to see Long’s play, which suggests she has a very different recollection of “Cheers” seasons four and five than Grammer—it’s a very funny scene, but probably lost on anyone not versed in their “Cheers”—and they work toward some sincere human understanding. With some good laughs.
Really good direction from James Burrows—his first episode this season—and excellent performances from Grammer, Long, and Mahoney. And Lloyd’s script’s real good too, all the way through.