blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s05e04 – The Kid

This episode picks up the morning after last episode, with Kelsey Grammer having to apologize to Peri Gilpin—who’s already decided she’s keeping the baby—for telling a party full of strangers about it. Grammer’s supportive, but thinks Gilpin needs to tell the dad.

Skip ahead to the apartment and David Hyde Pierce is also apologizing—him for being blotto at the party and making absurd accusations—before Gilpin comes over for dinner. There’s a short running gag about the Crane boys making Jane Leeves answer the door even though she’s cooking them dinner and a little about John Mahoney freaking out over Gilpin being unmarried, but pretty soon the supporting cast is out of the episode and it’s all Gilpin and Grammer.

Specifically it’s Gilpin, who’s got to tell the completely unawares dad-to-be (guest star Todd Babcock), with Grammer around for support. Babcock doesn’t react particularly well, which leads to some dramatics before the episode gets to a solid resolution. It’s easily the most Gilpin-focused episode of the series so far (fifth season and she had to get pregnant, but at least it’s not a disappointing Gilpin-emphasis episode like before).

The episode handles the friendship between Gilpin and Babcock exceedingly well, enough to make up for Grammer’s sort of baby steps into the dramatics of being a supportive friend. Grammer handles the parenting-to-be conversations fine (including a solid Lilith joke), though getting there isn’t easy. There’s an awkward eavesdropping on Gilpin and Babcock at the cafe sequence involving Mahoney; it’s actually a repeated gag from earlier (where it’s done a lot better).

The other big highlight is Gilpin getting to prank Dan Butler, which starts iffy but ends up glorious.

It’s an excellent episode for Gilpin, dramatically speaking, it’d just be nice to see her get a more comedically minded showcase as well.

The script credit is to Jeffrey Richman and Suzanne Martin (who got solo credit on the first episode in the pair); Jeff Melman directs. Not flashy direction from Melman but good and thoughtful, sort of like the script. The episode handles the seriousness of the situations well, even if they’ve rife with comedic potential (like what makes Babcock a peculiarity in Gilpin’s dating life), and emphasizes the character work first.

It’s a very successful episode. Even if it makes Mahoney seem way too old fashioned with the “getting herself a husband” stuff.

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