blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s05e16 – Beware of Greeks

I want to know who had the idea to give the Crane family Greek in-laws—well, Greek in-laws once removed or whatever (John Mahoney’s brother, John Mahon, is married to Patti LuPone). Was it David Lloyd, who gets the script credit? Because it’s an inspired idea. And years before My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Throwing Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce into a situation where they can’t mock people for not being WASPs? It’s awesome.

LuPone’s the fearsome matriarch of the Greek side of the family, which we learn about in the opening scene; they haven’t been mentioned before—Grammer tells Peri Gilpin and the audience—is because Grammer gave cousin Joseph Will some advice LuPone didn’t appreciate. Grammer told Will to follow his dreams of being a street juggler instead of going to medical school and LuPone’s banned the Crane boys since.

Based on Will’s age, these events presumably took place before “Frasier” started but after “Cheers.” It only matters it’s been long enough Grammer can quickly patch things up with LuPone in time to get invited to Will’s upcoming nuptials. He’s going to be marrying the very WASP Valerie Dillman, who LuPone adores.

Thanks to the reconciliation, Grammer, Hyde Pierce, Mahoney, and Jane Leeves get to go to the wedding—starting with the rehearsal dinner at the family restaurant (see, it really does seem like a Greek Wedding knock-off). There Grammer tries not to interfere with Will’s imminent wedding, even though Grammer suspects Dillman might not be the best match for his cousin, Hyde Pierce runs and hides from another, amorous cousin, Lori Harmon, who’s been after him since youth, Mahoney gets to reconnect with Mahon, and Leeves gets to be upset after LuPone assumes she’s Mahoney’s escort. The last plot point is initially somewhat unpleasant, until Leeves and Mahoney get wrapped up in a joint subplot about erasing a wedding video.

Hyde Pierce’s entirely playing hide and hide again with Harmon, Grammer happening across him as Grammer learns more and more from Will to suggest he needs to intervene. Only LuPone is hovering, waiting for Grammer to make a mistake.

It’s a really funny episode. It gives Grammer a chance to do his meddling thing, with LuPone a worthy de facto antagonist, and the end is great. Strong direction from Jeff Melman. It’d be nice if Hyde Pierce and Harmon had a subplot instead of a series of gags, but small gripes for a fine episode.

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