“Frasier” has always walked a really fine line with David Hyde Pierce’s crush on Jane Leeves, never letting it get too creepy—usually keeping Kelsey Grammer around to rein him in or just to have Hyde Pierce and Leeves to have a sincere moment to eschew the romantic—but the joke in the end tag of this episode is Hyde Pierce is going to spy on Leeves while she sunbathes.
On par for writer Rob Greenberg, who either always goes for the cheap and creepy or just doesn’t ever do anything so I remember he doesn’t.
It’s an ick finish, particularly because it decidedly does not let Hyde Pierce back out of it or qualify it. He’s just going to spy on his brother’s employee, taking advantage not just of that situation but also Leeves’s canon regard for Hyde Pierce as a friend. Not all heroes wear capes.
The rest of the episode is about Grammer having a purely sexual relationship with guest star Lisa Edelstein, who’s playing a hipster artist. She’s also vegan but the term wasn’t in popular enough use for them to say vegan. Or Greenberg was too busy writing sexual predator jokes to look it up. The episode opens with Grammer telling Hyde Pierce about it and Hyde Pierce commenting on the unlikelihood of Grammer forming a substantial relationship with Edelstein because of their age difference.
Edelstein’s like eleven years younger than Grammer. Their window is sitcom regular, which the episode seems to appreciate later on when they keep bringing the differences up a notch. There’s some funny stuff, but it’s just okay. Similarly, Edelstein’s just okay. A lot of it is the part—everyone who interacts with her character comments on her flakiness, even before Greenberg’s got to keep upping the ante with her eccentricities. Would a better script help? Definitely. Could Edelstein succeed with a better script? Unclear.
Dan Butler (not appearing in the episode) directs and does an all right job. He does a lot better with the regular cast than with Edelstein and Grammer’s subplot, particularly with Peri Gilpin’s scene in the family apartment where everyone’s talking about their most extreme sex experiences (Hyde Pierce’s got a solid “when in Niagara Falls”-type tale, though it ties into the sexual predator stuff so sorry, no).
It’s got some decent laughs and Grammer’s clearly proud of his barrel chest—he spends the last scene with his shirt off—so go on, I guess. But it’s a tepid episode. And then it’s a very gross one.