Episode Reviews (1)
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Superb acting from Bebe Neuwirth, Kelsey Grammer, and Rhea Perlman in this otherwise average Cheers episode.
This episode succeeds purely because of performance. There is nothing funnier on this show to me than the deadpan of Bebe Neuwirth combined with the quirkiness of Kelsey Grammer. The strangest couple of the series, they are also the most convincing. The scene near the end of the episode where Frasier uses an extensive vocabulary to show off his "suave" sophistication and exuberant intelligence only emphasizes his social aloofness, a point emphasized by Lilith time and time again. No wonder Ludlow wants a hamburger.
Ok, ok, what am I talking about? Carla's best and brightest kid Ludlow shows an interest in the arts and sciences, a fact quickly picked up on by Frasier and Lilith -- who are both interested in learning how well they are with kids (to determine if they would be suitable parents). So they take Ludlow to an opera, an artsy movie, fancy restaurants, etc. This makes Carla jealous and somewhat lonesome. She wishes she could be a better (and more intelligent) parent for her gifted son.
Sam encourages Lilith and Frasier to take Carla out with them to one of the exclusive restaurants in town. Frasier is not so enthusiastic, but Lilith believes they owe it to Carla. So the four of them enter the restaurant.
It becomes clear in the course of the meal that Frasier is not "father material", at least in Ludlow's sense. His desire to be socially elite and sophisticated come at the expense of Ludlow's enjoyment. Lilith and Carla pick up on this instantly. Lilith chides Frasier (Bebe Neuwirth is just terrific in this scene) while Carla (maintaining subtlety despite her growing impatience) prods Ludlow to leave with her to have a hamburger. Ludlow soon agrees.
Frasier concludes that he is not meant to be a father -- oh, but too late! Lilith reveals she is pregnant. Nice closer. Although not a funny ending, it sure is a whopper of a revelation -- and it begins a long story arc of some of the best Lilith-Frasier moments on the series -- something I still think is some of the best comedy ever committed to television screens.
Truth be told, this is not the funniest episode and far from the best from this one-of-a-kind series, but the performances from Neuwirth, Grammer, and Perlman are fantastic and make this episode well worth the watch. And the friendly Cheers ribbing (this time at Rebecca) certainly prompts a few laughs. That's good enough for me.moreless