Roz, a Loan is a peculiar episode. It’s ostensibly about Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) lending Roz (Peri Gilpin) some money since they’re still out of work. The episode opens in the cafe with Grammer and Gilpin thinking they’re about to go back to work at their original station—the salsa format hasn’t been working out ratings-wise—but then new cafe waitress Tricia O’Kelley dashes their hopes. She heard the station owner (sadly Miguel Sandoval doesn’t cameo) pish-posh the ratings and say salsa’s staying. So Gilpin’s bummed out because she’s not rolling in dough like Grammer, and he loans her fifteen hundred to tide her over for three more months.
Fifteen hundred dollars in 1998 money, incidentally, is twenty-five hundred in modern money. It also means Gilpin’s rent is something like a hundred and fifty bucks a month. The economics in sitcoms are fascinating and utterly depressing.
The A plot is then Grammer fretting over Gilpin misspending the loan as John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, and David Hyde Pierce all tell him to leave it alone, but of course, he can’t because it’s one of the character’s standard tropes. The B plot is them maybe getting their jobs back after all. The C plot is Hyde Pierce getting Mahoney to take him to a day spa; Mahoney has a gift certificate for two, but it’s got his name on it, so he’s got to go. There’s a profoundly “over his head” moment when Hyde Pierce whines he can’t afford to go to a day spa and whines to get Mahoney to take him. Grammer had just been complaining about similarly broke Gilpin going to the same day spa.
So it’s like seventeen minutes of Grammer ruminating on whether or not to be a rude jerk while everyone tells him not to be a rude jerk.
The rest of the time is O’Kelley playing oracle and then short (and funny) appearances from Dan Butler and Patrick Kerr since the radio station is kind of back.
Pamela Fryman’s direction holds it together, and the acting’s fine—Mahoney’s great with the spa stuff, ditto Leeves as she gets fed up with Grammer’s griping—but, again, it’s just about Grammer being a dick to good friend Gilpin.
Janis Hirsch gets the script credit—her first on the series.