blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s05e18 – Bad Dog

It’s time for the Seabees again—the Seattle broadcasting awards show where the cast can reliably have antics once a season—this time with Kelsey Grammer emceeing the event. We get a lot of exposition real quick—Grammer, Dan Butler, and Peri Gilpin are waiting for coffee. We find out Butler’s nominated too, Grammer and Gilpin don’t have a chance because emcees never win, and the reason there’s a line at the café is because Grammer had complained about sanitary conditions.

But then there’s an attempted hold-up—an attempted attempted hold-up—and somehow Butler comes through it the hero. Grammer, however, remembers the event occurring differently and after getting the advice of friends and family (though never Gilpin, who’s convinced Butler saved her from danger), the episode becomes a “Grammer obsesses about x” episode. In this case, he’s trying to get Butler to admit his dishonesty by guilting Butler’s conscience into acting.

To do so, Grammer uses the platform of awards emcee to bring in various people from Butler’s life who should produce honesty and remorse for lying. There’s plenty of good material for Grammer, Butler, and John Mahoney as everything Grammer tries fails and Butler gleefully keeps lying to everyone for his own benefit. Mahoney’s the primary advice giver in the supporting cast because David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves end up having a nice little subplot about Hyde Pierce getting nominated for an award too.

However, there’s not really room to focus on Grammer, Butler, and Hyde Pierce at the awards show, so Hyde Pierce has to go offscreen for a while (returning for the grand finale). Having Leeves help Hyde Pierce with his awards speech—just in case—leads to them having some private in-jokes later on and it’s a nice, deft touch. Hyde Pierce and Leeves getting material not based on him mooning over her is welcome character development.

The script, credit to Suzanne Martin, is pretty good. The punchlines have pay-off, even if Grammer’s obsessive arc is a little pat. Director Pamela Fryman’s got some weird montages but it’s also the Seabees so maybe they get a pass.

It’s a fine episode, just not particularly distinctive a Seabees one.

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