As usual, I regret not keeping better track of writing credits. Joe Keenan gets the credit this episode; he’s been writing “Frasier” since season two with numerous big successes, but based on Out with Dad, I’d have thought him a newbie. The episode picks and chooses plot points from outstanding—and memorable—episodes and mixes them a bit. Dad John Mahoney tells Mary Louise Wilson he’s gay, so she’ll stop flirting with him, and she sets him up with her… well, wait, Brian Bedford’s English.
So maybe her brother-in-law? Anyway, Bedford is Marg Helgenberger’s uncle, which is important because Kelsey Grammer’s interested in Helgenberger. Only Bedford’s interested in Mahoney, so Mahoney has to pretend he’s gay for the evening, except gay and unavailable. He can’t come clean about being straight because it’ll mess up Grammer.
People being confused about Mahoney being gay goes back to season one. And the family pretending they’re something other than cishet WASPs most memorably happened in the “let’s pretend we’re Jewish” episode, but I’ll bet there have been more. Out just stirs them together a little differently.
Oddly, it’s a Valentine’s Day episode too. Grammer ropes Mahoney into going to the opera because otherwise, Mahoney would be at home watching chick flicks with Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin. David Hyde Pierce was supposed to go with Grammer, but Jane Adams (who doesn’t appear) stayed in town special for him. Grammer doesn’t want to give up his seat (to Adams to go with Hyde Pierce) because he’s got the hots for Helgenberger, another opera-goer. When he and Mahoney get there, Mahoney waves at Helgenberger to be extra, but Wilson thinks he’s spotted her. Confusion and hijinks ensue, including Mahoney drafting an unlikely person as his romantic interest.
It’s an amusing episode; it’s just entirely redundant. There are some good laughs (and nice human moments, eventually, for Mahoney), but it’s an adequate episode for a sitcom in its seventh season, nothing more. And Helgenberger makes almost no impression, with first Wilson, then Bedford running all her scenes.
Solid direction from David Lee probably helps a lot. Again… fine, with asterisks.