The episode opens with Dan Butler—who’s a regular per the opening titles this episode (but not last; he wasn’t even in the previous episode)—on the phone breaking up cruelly with his latest romance. And, it turns out, her sister as well. It’s dated—at least I hope it’s dated—but, you know, it’s just Butler being Bulldog. I wonder if he was out at this time, which always made Bulldog seem less harmful and more absurdist, having an out gay guy play him. It was the nineties. If you were out and gay, you rarely got work.
Oh, wait. It hasn’t gotten much better, has it.
Suzanne Martin wrote the script, which is the rather funny tale of Roz (Peri Gilpin) trying to set up Kelsey Grammer on a blind date with her friend, Jennifer Campbell (who’s only in one scene but is good). But then Butler crashes it and starts arguing with female golf pro Campbell about golf being a real sport so they run off to fight it out at the links, leaving Grammer alone.
The episode’s already established it’s been a while since Grammer’s had female companionship—it’s a great recurring gag—so he mopes around until he has to step up and be a good male friend for Butler, which gives Grammer a wonderful chance to flex. And David Hyde Pierce a great reacting opportunity.
The episode’s a lot more balanced too—Hyde Pierce has got a subplot about him needing to advertise his psychiatry practice with unexpected snafus while Jane Leeves and John Mahoney go on an odyssey to find shoes. Most striking about their subplot is much of it taking place outside. Like on location exteriors. Can’t wait to see if they get out more this season.
It’s a really funny subplot though the punchline manages to date just as poorly as the opening with Butler.
Gilpin gets the least amount of time for the regular cast, but it’s balanced between her and Hyde Pierce—they have a great interchange as one exits so the other can enter—and the material she does get is a funny showcase.
Butler gets quite a bit to do, including showing some (comically) emotional range and he’s excellent. “Frasier” is already a full show but they seem—if Martin’s approach is an indicator—to be working harder on the balance between regular cast than they’ve previously done, especially for Leeves. She and Mahoney are so good together.
The handful of problems are problems but the episode makes a fine case for the addition of Butler as a regular.