blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s03e15 – A Word to the Wiseguy

Is the “member of the Italian-American social club” visits a WASP-y sitcom a trope or just does seem like a trope? I feel like every sitcom with a sufficient number of episodes is going to to get to it eventually… at least when you still could make Godfather and GoodFellas dialogue references. Not sure anyone’s out there trying to work The Irishman into banter.


Not Italian-American Harris Yulin is the guest star. He’s apparently a local mobster who knows enough dirty Seattle cops and D.A.s he can get Maris’s warrant cancelled. She got busted for unpaid parking tickets and ran to David Hyde Pierce (proverbially and obviously offscreen) for help, probably assuming he was going to ask ex-cop dad John Mahoney for help.

Hyde Pierce tries, but Mahoney doesn’t think the law should apply differently for cops’ families because there was never a better time to be a naive liberal sitcom writer than the nineties.

Peri Gilpin knows a guy who knows a guy, who turns out to be Yulin. He can take care of Hyde Pierce’s problem, but he’s going to want something in return. And thanks to Kelsey Grammer going along to the meet, Yulin thinks he’s got the radio psychiatrist in his pocket too. So when the favor comes a-knocking, what will Grammer do?

It’s a funny episode—decent material for the regular cast, including Gilpin, who gets some more screen time when the action returns to the radio show—and Yulin is fine. He’s seemingly alternating between a Christopher Walken and a Marlon Brando as far as his voice goes. Or his Brando just sounds like his Walken. The end punchline is really good.

It’s just a bit of an easy episode.

Also, see The Irishman if you haven’t had a chance.

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