blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Frasier (1993) s07e05 – The Dog That Rocks the Cradle

This episode’s a sequel to the previous season finale, a two-parter where one of the subplots had Peri Gilpin sad about dating and ending up in bed with Dan Butler. The story resolves with Butler leaving the radio station—fired for bad ratings—saving Gilpin from having to address her seemingly growing but decidedly unwanted feelings for him.

Months later, Butler delivers a pizza to Gilpin and Kesley Grammer. They’re working late, she doesn’t have a babysitter, her love life hasn’t improved, but she’s finally got a date. Butler’s not doing well but tries to play it off, so Gilpin hires him to be her babysitter.

And Butler’s great babysitter, he’s just also sabotaging all of Gilpin’s dates.

It’s story editor Bob Daily’s first writing credit, and it often feels overly “Frasier”-y. Grammer and David Hyde Pierce have really funny snob moments; John Mahoney gets to be gruff and put the boys in an awkward spot; Jane Leeves gets mostly reaction shots but good ones.

But the Gilpin storyline—which started last season finale about her loneliness—gets kicked down the road once again. The show emphasizes it and ends on it, but seemingly just making it part of Gilpin’s ground situation, not an active plot in her life. Instead of dealing with her, it centers the story on Butler and his motivations. Again, there’s some hilarious stuff because Butler and Gilpin are great, but it’s a little too slight. Especially taking it being a follow-up episode into account.

Matt Roth shows up for a couple quick scenes as one of Gilpin’s potential love interests, which is nice. Always nice not to see him being an asshole.

Grammer doesn’t really get an arc outside the family one—he and Hyde Pierce want Mahoney to make arrangements for his departure from this mortal plane, which Mahoney finds morbid, but then realizes might not be best left in their hands.

Good direction from Pamela Fryman throughout. The resolution for Butler and Gilpin’s arc gets a little draggy, but the two punchlines—comedy and emotional—pay off. Unfortunately, they just don’t have any idea what to do with Gilpin once those bits’re done.

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