Monday, February 24, 2014

Being Good at Being Bad

Niles (David Hyde Pierce): Will you listen to yourself?

Frasier (Kelsey Grammer): Oh, this is more than just sex, Niles. This is passion, kismet. A gift the gods bestow on only a chosen few. Wouldn't the real sin be to refuse it?

Niles: Isn't that your old second–piece–of–pie argument?

Frasier: Well, maybe it is, but I haven't had 'pie' in six months.

Aficionados of the Frasier series — and I like to think that I am one — became aware of the existence of Frasier's first wife (Nanny G, whom he met and married during his college years) when Cheers was still on the air.

The character made two appearances on Frasier, the first as part of a fantasy sequence and the second 10 years ago tonight.

In the latter, Nanny G (played this time by Laurie Metcalf) was in Seattle with her children's show. Frasier went with Roz and her little girl to get tickets from Nanny G — the show, you see, was sold out, and Frasier had offered to use his personal connection to get tickets for Roz.

The flame of passion still burned inside Nanny G, though, and Frasier, who admitted that he hadn't had sex in six months, was all too willing to comply — but there was a problem. Nanny G was married. It was a marriage of convenience — to her producer — but it was still a marriage, and that produced an ethical predicament for Frasier.

Nanny G was lonely, tired of the monotony of being a children's entertainer and loaded with sexual frustration. At Frasier's apartment, she tried to explain her situation to him.

"If you knew how bored I am ..." she lamented.

"You have a wonderful career," Frasier offered.

"But nothing ever changes," Nanny G replied. "Do you have any idea what it's like to play the same character for 20 years?"

Well, as a matter of fact ...

(That was a clever jab at Kelsey Grammer, who, by that time, had played Frasier on first Cheers and then his own show for about 20 years.)

After talking to his brother, Frasier had decided to resist temptation, and he offered to be a shoulder for Nanny G to lean on. When they went to the prop room to talk, Nanny G pounced, and Frasier gave in — and wound up accidentally being part of the show.

He wasn't naked — that would have been a completely different kind of show. Nanny G gave him a costume to wear, and he posed as her infant brother.

"Caught in the Act" received no nominations, not even for its guest star. That was really unfortunate because I thought it was one of the best episodes in an 11th season that, while good, wasn't completely up to the series' standards.