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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 8 -> Episode 8.11

The Show Must Go Off
Episode Details

Written by: Mark Reisman

Directed by: Robert H. Egan

Original US airdate: 6th February 2001

Original UK airdate: 23rd March 2001

Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Noel Shempsky .... Patrick Kerr
Guest Cast
Jackson Hedley .... Derek Jacobi
Cecil Hedley .... Patrick MacNee
Dwayne .... Ray Porter
Stage Manager .... Ben Livingston
Fire Marshall .... Jonathan Adams
Klingon .... Milan Dragicevich
Fan .... Alan Heitz
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Frasier drags Roz to a Sci-Fi convention to buy some comics for Frederick, and happens to spy Jackson Hedley signing memorabilia for fans. Jackson did a performance of his one-man show at Frasier and Niles' school and introduced both of them to the world of Shakespeare, so Frasier goes ove to speak to him. He finds out he plays a character in a sci-fi show on TV, leaving Frasier appalled that the man's talents are being wasted. Discussing the situation with Niles, they come to the conclusion that they can be the one's to save Jackson's career by mounting a production of his one-man show at a Seattle theatre. Hugely excited by having the chance to be theatrical producers, Frasier and Niles are horrified when they finally get a chance to see Jackson perform after all these years - he's an untalented disaster.

With only seven days till opening night, and tickets selling fast, Frasier and Niles despair over what to do - apparently, the stagehands now wear earplugs during rehearsals. Frasier has an idea - he believes that having worked on TV, he has lost the skill he once had when Frasier and Niles saw them many years ago, so he has managed to get a copy of his one-man show from some years ago and hopefully when Jackson watches it, he will see how good he used to be. Unfortunately, the video just shows that Jackson has been an awful actor for a long time, leaving Frasier and Niles no choice but to close the show and fire the director. However, Jackson then arrives and informs them he has fired the director, leaving Frasier and Niles trying to do everything in their power to stop Jackson going on in order to save their reputations.....

Episode Title Cards
  • Trotting The Bards

  • Curtains

Episode Highlights

- A Sci-Fi fan can't believe Frasier doesn't know Jackson Hedley was in a TV show:
Fan: Where have you been, man?
Frasier: I don't know ...... Reading, attending theatre, getting a hair cut (!)

- Noel is amazed to find Roz at the Sci-Fi convention:
Noel: That explains the heat between us.
Roz: There's heat all right - because I'm in hell!

- Niles and Frasier watch the video of Jackson's one-man show:
Niles: He's awful!
Frasier: The man has no instincts - just stinks!

- Jackson senses Niles and Frasier have worries over his show:
Jackson: Do you know, I've never worked with producers who haven't wanted to pull the plug before opening night!

- The Fire Marshall recognises Jackson from his TV show:
Fire Marshall: I've even got the 'Playboy' with Princess Alexandra.
Jackson: The one on the lava rocks? Yes, I've got that one too!

Frasier Online Episode Review

In pre-publicity, a lot was made of the guest star appearances of Derek Jacobi and Patrick MacNee, but I was left feeling underwhelmed by an episode that is a re-run of every Frasier/Niles collaboration - in other words, disasterous. Derek Jacobi proved good value as Jackson Hedley but it's disappointing that Patrick MacNee gets a very brief one scene cameo as Jackson's father, and wastes John Mahoney as the writers struggled to find something amusing for him to say in his one scene. There is some amusement from the lengths Frasier and Niles go to to try and get opening night postponed, but I felt this episode could have been a much better one than it was.


73 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 87.3%
Total Number of Reviews: 7

Sir Derek, May 17, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

Easily the best episode of season 8 to date (possibly of all), "The Show Must Go Off" has either too much plot or too little, I'm not sure which.

This episode feels like it could have stepped straight out of season 4 in many ways. Frasier and Niles are perhaps back to an earlier conception of the characters (Daphne is entirely absent this episode, which helps this transition) as they set about organising a revival for a Shakespearean actor they've idolised since childhood. Roz gets some good jokes at a sci-fi convention while Martin appears very little, but the crux of this episode is the relationship between producers Niles and Frasier, and their star Jackson Hedley, played perfectly by Derek Jacobi. As a Shakespearean idolater and actor myself, I've always had a love/hate relationship with Jacobi, so it's good fun to see him mocking the idea of a classical ham and doing it so well.

The idea that Frasier and Niles see their cause as so just elevates the stakes of the episode, and the revelation that Hedley is a bad actor is a scream, topped only by the revelation he was ALWAYS a bad actor - just filtered through their youthful idealisations. As we know from experience, the only thing funny than the Crane brothers planning an event is when the brothers must scramble to cancel or fix the problems, and the actors are in fine form here. Patrick Macnee puts in an amusing little guest spot as Jackson's father who probably would prefer to watch "Cats" than sit through his son's performance.

The episode perhaps ends far sooner than it should... or far later. One feels as if there were two ways for this episode to go. One is that the reveal of Jackson's lack of talent would be the climax or, alternatively, that the many ways in which the night falls apart would be the driving force of the closing scenes. Instead, things simply peter out. We already knew Jackson would ham it up onstage and the finale adds very little to this. Perhaps the writers were taking the audience's response as read - we don't need to see the night go wrong because we know it already. But it still sort of fizzles out in the last three minutes, which is a great shame. Still, "The Show Must Go Off" is a highlight of season 8, which has gradually altered the series' focus and perhaps even the conception of the characters as a whole. This doesn't make it a classic, but it's rewarding enough to stand out.

Rating: 85%


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