blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s06e04 – Hot Ticket

It’s an outdoor episode for the most part, with the main action being Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce trying to get into a play. So it’s the two of them outside the theater—presumably on location, though I suppose there might be a big theater exterior on the Paramount backlot—trying to avoid looking desperate for tickets and getting embarrassed whenever they see someone from society around.

The episode opens with what seems to be a narrative non sequitur about Jane Leeves getting photographed “mooning” (it’s punny because her character’s name is Daphne Moon) for the Seattle newspaper lifestyle column. Then it quickly becomes a Grammer and Hyde Pierce snob team-up episode. Only we’re in season six now and disappointed dad John Mahoney has gotten used to it and now offers them plot perturbing advice instead of shamed observations.

The talk of the town is the new play starring legendary actor Fritz Weaver—seriously, if society snobs and legendary actor tropes continue to age at current rate viewers in another twenty years are going to be wondering why there aren’t any guillotines in the episode—and so the boys need to see it. Not because they really care about the play, of course, but so Hyde Pierce doesn’t feel like he’s being left out of society even though he’s divorcing his society wife.

Grammer’s along because it’s funnier when they’re snobby together. The weirdest part of the episode comes when Grammer doesn’t try calling his talent agent to get tickets to the show, instead relying on vague connections so the script can make ablest, sexist jokes at offscreen women’s expenses. They’re not even easy jokes, just mean ones—Jeffrey Richman gets the script credit, which has the occasional lows (those jokes) but also some great material for the actors once they’re outside. There’s something even more magical about Hyde Pierce’s physical comedy off set.

Weaver’s solid for what he’s got to do as the actor (believably narcissistically pontificate) and there’s a nice small part for Natalija Nogulich. Francis X. McCarthy’s okay as her husband but he gets maybe three lines, all unimportant. They’re the society folks Hyde Pierce so desperately wants to impress.

Peri Gilpin shows up for a single scene (on par with Leeves) and it’s pretty good, until the script goes misogynist for the finish, which doesn’t play well outside in the “real world,” but the episode recovers.

Director David Lee has some bad choices—ditto editor Ron Volk—but he keeps a great pace to the episode; it’s another strong season six outing, definitely bumpier than it needs to be, but very successful when the sailing’s smooth.

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