blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s04e13 – Four for the Seesaw

It’s such a good episode. Clearly season four is where “Frasier” hits its stride, but even so, Four for the Seesaw is a really good episode. It starts with Kelsey Grammer getting his flu shot on air and it not going well to the point he faints—giving Peri Gilpin time to flirt with shot administering doctor, Andrew Heckler, which is important because when it’s time for Grammer and David Hyde Pierce (great Gilpin and Hyde Pierce banter too) to find a table at the café, Gilpin begs the single free one off them to meet him. It leaves Grammer and Hyde Pierce in a conundrum about what to do (for a second it seems like they might actually go somewhere besides Nervosa). Instead, Grammer talks a very nervous (no pun) Hyde Pierce into asking a couple women if they can sit with them while they wait for another table to open up.

The women, played by Lisa Darr and Megan Mullally, agree and the quartet sets about making small talk. Darr and Mullally are positive the brothers won’t be interested in their profession, but it turns out it’s right up their alley and they hit it off. There’s great writing—David Lloyd gets the credit—and directing (Jeff Melman), but Darr and Mullally are also key.

After coffee they go to dinner, then back to Grammer’s apartment to meet the fam, have some drinks, and suggestively flirt. John Mahoney’s very happy to see Grammer and Hyde Pierce with women he can stand. He also offers Grammer a cabin in the mountains for the weekend because he won’t be using it (it’s not the previously established fishing cabin they had a season ago). After some back and forth, Grammer decides to keep going with spontaneity and suggests they all head to the cabin for the week. Darr and Mullally agree, but Hyde Pierce is hung up on his separation from Maris… until Grammer reminds him it’s never happened attractive women have been willing to run off with the Crane boys for the weekend and maybe he should embrace it. Between Grammer’s persuasiveness and Mullally finding Hyde Pierce hilarious (in such a perfect way), Hyde Pierce agrees and it’s off to commercial break then the cabin.

The cabin sequence is going to end up funnier than anything before it, which is an achievement, as Hyde Pierce and Grammer’s separate (and individual) neuroses plague them as they try to ascertain their dates’ intentions. The episode’s got two perfect resolutions, first for the quartet, then for Grammer and Hyde Pierce (in the end credits tag). Grammer’s far more sure of the situation than Hyde Pierce, which leads to some valid conflict, internal and external, as well as some great scenes for Hyde Pierce. There’s also a very interesting contrast between Grammer and Hyde Pierce.

Mahoney and Jane Leeves get a follow-up to the flu shot opening scene which is hilarious too. It’s a brief aside, but wondrous.

It’s a hilarious, well-acted, well-written, extremely well-directed episode. Darr and Mullally—and Grammer, for that matter—don’t end up with a lot to do in the last few minutes, but they’re all just right.

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