Friday, November 16, 2012

Trust and Consequences

Funny F*ckin' Friday

Linda is blamed when the company's new perfume has unforeseen side effects, and her relationships are tested when her friends are torn between their loyalties to her and to the company.

The review for "Bioshuffle" can be read here.

Veridian Dynamics is not the happiest place for Linda (Andrea Anders,) and she has made no secret of this fact, but she continues to come to work, day after day, out of a loyalty and affection for Ted (Jay Harrington.) Certainly it could be said that she needs the job, that she relies on the paycheck, but it's Ted's presence in the office that gives her hope that things can truly change at the company, so when he turns his back on her, her light finally fades, and she allows herself to be taken advantage of in the way that she has struggled to avoid since getting hired.

One of the strengths of this story is the montage of depositions given by all the characters, showcasing the way they deal with being questioned in a manner that truly displays who they are as individuals. Veronica (Portia de Rossi) gives thought to the questions and chooses single word answers that not only circumvent the entire inquiry, but also provide her with the luxury of claiming to have fully cooperated. The investigative team grow more irritated with every moment as Veronica sits smugly knowing that they can do nothing beyond asking more questions, leading to an interaction that becomes more enjoyable the more heated it becomes, where Ted's deposition, and his full cooperation, lead him to being flirted with by both members of the inquisition. Veronica and Ted's calm and collectedness is played well against Phil's (Jonathan Slavin) complete breakdown, revealing, with little provocation, that he had lied on his resume about the university from which he had graduated, and devolving into a blubbering mess within seconds.

Having reported the issue and told her superiors about the potential consequences, it's only natural, in this series, that Linda would be punished, as she's the only one that did the right thing and followed the proper procedure. Linda is described as being the conscience of the company, but, Veronica declares, "Forbes doesn't make a list of the most conscientious companies," so instead Linda will be made the scapegoat. Linda fights against her position as the fall guy until speaking to Ted, and having him vehemently deny the fact that she had sent him any information about the situation, and immediately she loses faith in the company and in Ted. He was the only thing that convinced her that Veridian Dynamics wasn't completely corrupt, and, without anything left to believe in, all she has left is the promise of getting paid, and becomes more than willing to allow herself to be the face of the company's failure, despite the fact that she made every attempt to save them from this embarrassment. Aware that Linda is likely not to blame for what's happening, Veronica goes out of her way to provide Ted with the evidence he needs to clear her name, stalling the signing of Linda's confession to give Ted enough time to find the moment, in his and Veronica's sex tape, wherein he received Linda's e-mail and accidentally deleted it.

Veridian Dynamics has been presented as many things, most notably as an unfeeling and corrupt company whose sole focus is on making money, but, as a whole, the company has never been shown as stupid. Here it is revealed that they were well aware that their new perfume could attract hornets, and they had production carry forward anyway, and that makes no sense. Were there any danger of being sued, or a loss of revenue, there's no doubt in my mind that this company would have halted all production, so to have them claim here that they simply weren't willing to pay more money on research and development simply doesn't fly.

Ted, or, more accurately, Veronica, having accidentally deleted Linda's e-mail during the course of his one-night-stand seems very clearly conceived as another obstacle to separate Ted and Linda from starting a relationship. Were it not so plainly obvious through the struggle that Veronica's foot has in finding the delete key, twice, it might have played more genuine, but instead it's just a series of coincidences that seem almost entirely fabricated to facilitate an ending.

Comic timing on this series is, as always, spot on, and watching these actors in these roles is absolutely wonderful. de Rossi's dry humor as Veronica is hilarious, and she plays the role incredibly well, and Harrington makes a great straight-man in contrast to all of the insanity that plays out around him every day.

Lee Shallat-Chemel direct the character interactions in this episode with ease, maintaining a fantastic dynamic between these people as they go about their own stories. Every joke in this episode lands almost perfectly, and every note and plot point fall exactly where and when they should. Through flashback we see Linda working on her first project, her hair in a bun while Veronica's is down, and Veronica notes how strong a style it is, demanding that the two trade, thus revealing why Veronica always wears her hair up while Linda wears hers down. While the flashback itself is well done and funny, it's something of a retcon as we had heard Veronica state in an earlier episode that she had always worn her hair in a bun as a show of her authority.

Written by Mike Teverbaugh, this episode contains a great number of small character moments that really help add depth to the world created here. The flashback to Phil and Lem's (Malcolm Barrett) first meeting, at first absurdist due to their exaggerated costuming, is made clever and endearing as Lem states that it's unfortunate that his first day had to be during 60's week, explaining Phil's tie-dye shirt and Lem's giant afro. Teverbaugh's script doesn't take itself too seriously, and its self-awareness is one of its greatest strengths.

While Ted's past with Veronica is likely meant to hinder the possibility of a future with Linda, it very clearly won't, though how they finally will come together remains to be seen. Also likely to come into play is Ted making some kind of attempt to make Linda enjoy her work again, if only to curb the animosity she has toward the company.

The review for "Father, Can You Hair Me?" can be read here.


Post a Comment