blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s06e03 – Dial M for Martin

It’s another great episode. Even with some often very iffy directing from Ken Lamkin. Rob Greenburg gets the writing credit on the inspired story. The episode opens with Kelsey Grammer and John Mahoney bickering—a lot more knives out than usual; they’ve gotten sick of each other since Grammer’s been out of work. Once again, greatest thing to happen to the show about a guy where his job is a major focus of the show—fire him!

Mahoney happens across Peri Gilpin (in her single appearance in the episode) and she suggests he try living with other son David Hyde Pierce until Grammer finds work. Hyde Pierce isn’t down for it until he finds out physical therapist Jane Leeves will be coming with. Or will she—turns out if Mahoney can get around Hyde Pierce’s staircase-heavy apartment, he’s well enough he doesn’t need a physical therapist.

So while Leeves is trying to find another job and dealing with the emotions of leaving the family and Grammer is desperately trying to make a date with model Laura Harring (having his apartment to himself at long last), Mahoney’s freaking out thinking Hyde Pierce is trying to hurt him to keep Leeves around. Lots of great physical comedy from everyone—including Grammer, who’s got a whole process to go through whenever he’s trying to start up date night after interruptions.

Season six is on a definite roll at this point; the episode structure—particularly the feint with Leeves’s impending departure—is now classic “Frasier” but there’s a renewed vigor about it. Despite Lamkin’s sometimes odd directorial choices, the cast has a fantastic pace together. Mahoney gets to do more physical comedy than usual, while Hyde Pierce and Leeves both get to play with their subconscious urges. And then Grammer gets to ham it up as a Lothario. It’s a wonderful mix of talent.

The script deserves a lot of the credit for the episode’s success as well. Not just the plotting or the pacing, but the dialogue jokes are all really good too. I’m getting more and more excited about this season.

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