Friday, September 28, 2012

Through Rose Colored HAZMAT Suits

Funny F*ckin' Friday
The employees of Veridian Dynamics deal with minor adjustments made to their routines in order to accommodate the presence of Ted's daughter Rose.

The review for "Heroes" can be read here.

The unresolved attraction between both Ted (Jay Harrington) and Linda (Andrea Anders) comes to a head in this story while Veronica (Portia de Rossi) remains determined not to muddy the waters when it comes to her own office romances.

One of the episode's highlights is the intense awkwardness in the interactions of Linda and Ted as they try to retain a professional friendship whilst also navigating their blossoming feelings for one another. As Ted reacts with shock at the fact that Linda has an ex-boyfriend, she shoots back with "I have tons of ex-boyfriends, Ted. Well, not tons. Enough. A few...just the right amount," and it's clear that she's trying to get across the fact that men find her desirable without making it seem as though she's been around the block so often that Ted might lose interest.

Veronica's discovery that Ted's daughter Rose (Isabella Acres) could be used as a business tool is very in-character for her, and the bond that grows between them throughout the story is very well-done. Watching Veronica use a child in an effort to control people's emotions is quite funny, and her later dependence on Rose adds a nice soft side to the ever-cold character.

The characters here seem very quick to turn against one another in the name of comedy, with Lem (Malcolm Barrett) and Phil (Jonathan Slavin) determined to prove the other is a terrible boss, and nearly forcing the other to abandon his hazmat suit during a potential disaster. Linda's attempts to make Ted jealous by using her ex-boyfriend's devotion to her make the character seem petty and manipulative.

As much as I enjoyed the joke, I have to ask how the woman in the payroll department, that had been relocated to India, had found out about Linda's time in the hazmat suit, since there would have been no one to report it outside of Linda herself.

The acting in this episode is, once more, largely fantastic, with every actor well aware of how to inhabit their character. Barrett and Slavin play off of one another well as Phil and Lem climb into a single hazmat suit, and Harrington and Anders play the potential final moments of their characters with very real emotion, balancing a great deal of comedy with a very serious moment of terror and attraction. The only questionable performance is by the young Acres who seems occasionally slow on Rose's reaction time, conversationally speaking, but otherwise adds to the cast quite well.

Michael Fresno direction of the hazmat scene, with the kissing through their helmets and the romantic music gearing up in the background, is absolutely perfect. Seeing Phil and Lem moving in tandem with one another to scratch their faces and adjust their glasses is a hilarious moment, offsetting the previous scene very well without detracting from the meaning it had had.

Writer Justin Adler's greatest strength in this episode are the small details that he adds in, especially the moments showcasing Ted's fatherhood. Ted's aside about focusing his anger at his ex-wife into love for his daughter, and his determination to create a "kid-friendly" atmosphere during a meeting about weapons testing, are both funny and heart-warming, displaying the love he has for being a father as well as the continued proficiency he remains determined to bring to his work. The idea of putting the children in the day care to work for the company, painting lines in the parking lot and doing simple chemistry experiments, provides a good sight-gag continued throughout the episode and a great moment at the end of Veronica's story.

The relationship between Ted and Linda grows ever-more complicated amid the chaos created by those around them. Perhaps the most promising hint that this episode has to offer is the potential return of Rose's mother and the wrench that that would likely throw into Ted's everyday operations.

The review for "Racial Sensitivity" can be read here.


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