Friday, November 9, 2012


Funny F*ckin' Friday

Ted is forced to share his office first with Linda and then with Veronica, creating an uncomfortableness between each of them as they get to know one another's more irritating habits.

The review for "You Are the Boss of Me" can be read here.

Veridian Dynamics has created a distance between its employees through use of their cubicles, having previously made experimented in togetherness through individualized work spaces, and quickly reverting back to the norm. This story is a good example of why the company's system of segregation works: when forced to share offices, the employees grow largely more insane, wasting far more time than they would have on their own if only to avoid the forced company of their peers.

Lem (Malcolm Barrett) shows an interest here in Lucy (Joy Osmanski,) pulling his attention away from his non-sexual life partner Phil (Jonathan Slavin.) Thus far throughout the series Lem has been largely focused on his work, on the company, on Phil's well-being, or on Ted (Jay Harrington,) so it's refreshing to see him putting his own desires first for once. It's also nice that Lucy is incredibly straight-forward, telling him that his joke is lame, but that she thinks it's really cute that he's trying so hard to impress her. Lem's date with Lucy provides him a storyline outside of the building and also creates more depth to his character when, before now, he had been the least featured of the main cast. Considering Lem's social phobias and inexperience with women, it's, at first, somewhat of a stretch that his date with Lucy goes so smoothly, but the short flashback as she leans in for a kiss with him sneezing in her face, resulting in her accidentally headbutting him, balances the scales once more, and their ultimately doomed relationship is a highlight of the narrative.

Having been trying to screw over the company for quite some time now, it makes absolute sense that Linda's (Andrea Anders) work habits would have devolved the longer she stayed with the company. In an effort to keep herself entertained, as well as staving off boredom, she creates a backstory for her goldfish MacGuiver, elaborating that he and the diver in his bowl are in a gay marriage. Her habits slowly work themselves out of control, driving Ted mad as she talks to her fish and sings to her work without actually managing to accomplish much of anything, stopping every now and again to ask Ted deeply personal questions in an effort to pass the time. What really sells the story, however, is Linda's admittance that her habits are largely out of control with prolonged exposure to Ted, and, due to their mutual attraction, the two agree to stop flirting with one another entirely and try to make an effort to keep things professional on work time.

It's completely in-character that Veronica (Portia de Rossi) would be unable to focus when her office mate's hair is out of place, and having her prune Ted's bangs as he types in an effort to keep herself sane is a funny moment. Later, Veronica barges into her office, takes a gun out of her desk, and repeatedly shoots a pillow, much to Ted's horror, and while this scene is comically solid, it's something of a stretch to imagine that Veronica would act in this way in her office. Were there a cutaway to her doing the same thing in her own home it might have seemed more natural, but considering how concerned she is in regards to her appearance at the company, it seems somewhat out of place here.

Lem grows steadily more jealous the longer he watches Lucy interact with her new office mate Brody (Tom Hughes,) and he dwells so much on the thought that Brody might steal her away from him that he has no time left to actually spend with her. Rather than casting aside his jealousy and taking Lucy out when the opportunity arises, Lem comes up with a plan to make Brody so sick that he'll be unable to continue working with Lucy. The plan ultimately backfires, making Lucy ill instead, and the result is that Brody takes her home and takes care of her, and in getting to know one another they begin a relationship. Had Lem never made her sick she never would have gotten together with Brody, and, alternately, had he taken responsibility for her illness and attended to her needs, Brody wouldn't have been able to, thus negating the possibility of Brody's relationship with her. In effect, Lem has sabotaged himself in this relationship, and it seems as though it was done merely for narrative consistency. It would have been nice to see Lem in a steady relationship, at least for a few episodes, and it seems like an opportunity missed since the two characters had a very good chemistry.

The success of this episode is largely dependent on the chemistry between the actors involved, and they all play off of one another so well that the script absolutely shines. While Harrington, de Rossi and Anders have all had time to create a healthy rapport, as have Barrett and Slavin, but even day-player Osmanski proves herself capable of infiltrating the regular cast and delivering a solid performance. These actors know each other's tics now and can react to them so well that their interactions here are absolutely hilarious, and a pleasure to watch unfold on screen.

Director Michael Fresco has a very clear understanding of how these characters relate to one another and how Veridian Dynamics views its employees as simply a means to an end, ready to replace them at the drop of a hat. Fresco shows the audience just enough of his characters driving each other insane to make it understandable that they would alienate each other without creating such a rift that it would be inconceivable to see them reconnect later.

Writer Michael A. Ross appears to have a working knowledge of office politics here, as everyone is forced to find their own work space, but no one is actually willing to share their space. While half the employees are begging others for a place to put their computer, the other half are claiming to have no space, determined to ride out the situation solo and imagining other employees as an excuse not to let anyone else in. Also telling is Veronica's take on Ted and Linda's relationship, and her jealousy over the fact that she may still have lingering feelings for Ted as well, stating that it's "like someone using [her] stapler, even if [she's] not using it, [she] doesn't like thinking about someone else pounding away on it."

While Ted and Linda claim to have put an end to their flirtation, there's no doubt in my mind that their relationship will change in later episodes, though Veronica's interest in Ted is likely to wane and be forgotten as time goes on.

The review for "Trust and Consequences" can be read here.


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