Frasier (1993) s06e02 – Frasier’s Curse

Jay Kogen gets the script credit on this episode; his name is quickly becoming a welcome sight. My rewatch of “Frasier” could be subtitled, “I should’ve tracked the writers,” but Kogen’s gotten to be memorable for being reliable. Frasier’s Curse is a very, very reliable episode. It again trades on the manufactured sympathy for star Kelsey Grammer—he’s out of work—and to great success. The episode opens with a wonderful terrible job interview where Grammer can’t stop offending radio station boss Scott Michael Campbell (who does really well in an absolutely absurd role) and then moves into a fretting episode, but a very snappily paced one.

Though it just occurred to me the previous episode was a Grammer fretting episode too. Maybe they’ve just perfected it with the unemployment story arc. Doesn’t matter, it’s hilarious (and they should be writing for the reruns here anyway).

See, it’s Grammer’s high school reunion time and he’s convinced he’s cursed to humiliate himself. At the last reunion he’d just divorced—kind of fast and loose with the show timeline but, again, whatever—and now he’s out of work. There’s a good recurring bit with Peri Gilpin going with him to the reunion, with David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, and Jane Leeves offering commentary and advice from the sidelines. “Frasier” feels more more focused on Grammer than it has in seasons, only they’ve got years of experience informing how to best leverage the cast. It’s real funny.

Fine direction from Pamela Fryman as well. She gets open the episode up—Grammer makes an ill-advised trip to the grocery store where he runs into an old classmate (an appropriately snotty Tim Monsion)—and keeps the great pace. There’s an abbreviated approach to the narrative, relying on Grammer to emote the results of missed scenes; same approach with Gilpin, who gets some good, justified rants.

Hyde Pierce gets the opening comic bit—which showcases Erika Christensen as a giggling teenager like her NBC show is starting in two weeks—and it gets a nice echo in the end credits.

It’s a really funny episode and the season’s off to an excellent start; I am curious if there’s momentum or just better fodder thanks to the laid-off story arc, but only on reflection. During the episode there’s too much laughing to think about that sort of thing.

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