I’m feeling a little like the boy who cried wolf, on the lookout for “Frasier”’s inevitable, impending fall; the show’s two episodes away from the “mythology” two-parter, and those two episodes have been excellent. This one’s all about Kelsey Grammer going overboard while composing a theme song for his show. Station manager Tom McGowan wants something simple, a catchy jingle. So, of course, Grammer’s got a full orchestra, choir, and David Hyde Pierce on hand to perform some spoken word. All on Sunday overtime.
It’s mostly a Grammer episode. There’s some ensemble work in the build-up, with Hyde Pierce helping Grammer with the initial composition, dad John Mahoney offering a much better idea and being ignored, and then Jane Leeves finally going after the icky old chair with a super-powered vacuum. Peri Gilpin gets to hang around at the beginning since it’s a radio episode. Eventually, she’s just in the audience, too; everyone’s there to watch whatever Grammer’s going to do.
There’s a lot of good banter—the script credit goes to David Lloyd, who’s had his name on numerous great “Frasier” episodes—and the finale even brings it around to Mahoney and Grammer having a father and son moment. Mahoney, Leeves, and Gilpin all get a little in their audience portion of the episode. Gilpin’s latest boyfriend is an unemployed musician, Leeves knows Mahoney’s song is good, and Mahoney’s confused about the free donuts. Then Hyde Pierce gets a lot of material, but it’s all in reaction to Grammer and his magnum opus writing. There are lots of smaller guest parts (the orchestra members) who only interact with Grammer, usually with excellent banter.
It’s also nice for McGowan to get a little more than usual. He sticks around for most of the plot this episode, whereas he usually gets a scene and then disappears.
David Lee does a fine job directing. It’s just a really good episode. If I’d been watching it at the time, I’d have thought they had their impending big changes all figured out. Little would I have known….