Frasier: Season 8, Episode 12

The Show Must Go Off (6 Feb. 2001)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Frasier and Niles try to reawaken the career of Jackson Hedley, an old actor they saw perform Hamlet when they were young. When they see him perform again, however, they realize that he is talentless and will humiliate himself.



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Episode cast overview:
Daphne Moon (credit only)
Ray Porter ...
Stage Manager
Fire Marshall
Milan Dragicevic ...
Guy Fan


While shopping at a science fiction convention, Frasier spots Jackson Hedley, a Shakespearean actor whom he and Niles idolized as children. They try to re-start his career with a revival of the show Hedley performed in junior high, but their grown-up eyes reveal that he is a talentless ham. Rather than face public humiliation, they try to sabotage their own show, right up to the moment of curtain. Written by crouchbk

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Release Date:

6 February 2001 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Frasier and Niles say that Jackson Hedley (Derek Jacobi) defined Hamlet for them. Derek Jacobi has in fact played Hamlet several times. See more »


Dr. Frasier Crane: Let me be frank because an artist of your caliber deserves honesty. An acting performance is a journey of discovery. This brief rehearsal time that we've given you is - is far too short to reach... Parnassus, home of the muses.
Dr. Niles Crane: Forgive us for being so blunt.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the title "Frasier" (in apple green) and the usual silhouette of Seattle are on screen, several lights are being lit in the "windows" of the buildings. See more »


References Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) See more »


Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs
Written by Bruce Miller and Darryl Phinnessee
Performed by Kelsey Grammer
See more »

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User Reviews

one of the classic episodes
7 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most "Frasier" episodes are at least "good" (and even the "bad" episodes are funny), but this is one of the classics.

Looking for X-Men comics for his son at a fan convention, Frasier spots Jackson Hedley, whose acting inspired him and Niles as young men. Disappointed that such a fine actor has been reduced to playing an android on "Space Patrol", Frasier and Niles decide to produce a one-man show, in the hopes of reviving Hedley's stage career.

It's only after committing themselves to the show that they hear him act. Hedley's performance sets the platinum standard for overacting -- pretentious sighs, wheezy gasping, exaggerated emphases, inappropriate gestures, etc, etc, etc. Next to Hedley, William Shatner comes across as Max von Sydow. (It isn't clear whether Hedley is supposed to be a grotesque exaggeration of Shatner -- but it's hard to believe that an odious comparison /wasn't/ intended.) Frasier finds a video tape of an old Hedley performance, which confirms that he was always that bad. Niles and Frasier recognize that, 30 years ago, they just weren't good judges of acting.

The theater is packed on opening night, * and hoping to avoid embarrassment, they try every trick in the book to cancel the production. Frasier even sets off the sprinkler system -- which (the building being so old) clogs after a few seconds. Fortunately, Hedley slips in the puddle and injures himself. Unfortunately...

"Frasier" is likely the most-lavishly produced sitcom ever. The producers didn't hesitate to get A-list actors (eg, Eva Marie Saint as Roz's mother!). This episode not only has Derek Jacobi as Jackson Hedley, but Patrick Macnee as his father! One of /the/ classic sitcom episodes (for this series or any other), worth seeing just to enjoy Hedley's appalling skill at scenery chewing.

* The obvious question of why everyone else doesn't recognize Hedley as a miserable actor isn't addressed.

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