Okay, I’d forgotten whether or not Janis Hirsch was a distinct new writer on the show. Or a distinct new writer to get an episode credit. She’s not. She’s new (Our Parents, Ourselves is her second credited episode), but she’s not distinct, which is kind of better.
The episode’s not bad. I mean, it wastes guest star Eva Marie Saint with a slight misogynist bent and turns John Mahoney into a callous horndog, but it’s not bad… for a nineties sitcom.
Academy Award winner Saint plays Peri Gilpin’s much-mentioned mother, a former attorney general of Wisconsin. She’s in town, and she’s annoying Gilpin, who just wants some time to herself. So Gilpin and Kelsey Grammer cook up a scheme to set Saint up with his dad, Mahoney, who’s apparently been single since he broke up with Marsha Mason last season. I can’t remember, but I thought he’d had a date since.
The scheme involves meeting at Mahoney’s favorite bar, which means we get some funny Grammer and David Hyde Pierce amongst the working class moments. Then there’s the setup with Saint and Mahoney, and the kids are outta there. Until this point, outside a well-executed phone call bit for the radio show—Gilpin has to pantomime a football play, so Grammer wins a therapy bet—the most amusing joke involves bar waitress Alice Playten’s faux pas when she meets Grammer and Hyde Pierce (Mahoney’s been awkwardly talking up his sons).
After the single parents set up, the action moves to Grammer and Gilpin sitting around his apartment waiting for Mahoney and Saint to get home. There’s some decent barbed banter between them as they get more and more concerned, but what stands out is Jane Leeves watching a beauty show and making shitty comments about all the women’s physical appearances and concocting excuses to slut-shame.
So, yep, Hirsch’s getting distinct.
It’s going to turn out while Saint’s all about Mahoney, Mahoney’s not all about Saint. There’s a pretty good comedy of errors Super Bowl, solidly slobs versus the snobs, though it makes Mahoney into a frat boy grandpa, and Saint gets zilch. The ending gives Gilpin and Grammer a lovely character-building moment.
The episode’s not bad, and it’s got some decent and better moments, but its shitty factor isn’t non-zero, and the jokes it does land are cheap and easy.
Pamela Fryman directs, which probably explains the reasonable success.