Friday, November 2, 2012

You Are the Boss of Me

Funny F*ckin' Friday

Linda uses the death of Veronica's driver as an opportunity to befriend her, meanwhile Ted follows Phil and Lem to a Medieval Fight Club.
The review for "Get Happy" can be read here.

Thinking that it could bring good things, Linda (Andrea Anders) tries to get closer to Veronica (Portia de Rossi) and is surprised to find that her new friendship with her boss is more upsetting than anything else; meanwhile, Phil (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem (Malcolm Barrett) have always desired a closer friendship with Ted (Jay Harrington) but know enough to keep him out of certain aspects of their life, which is why they are so hesitant here when he expresses an interest in Medieval Fight Club.

Linda's need to be liked by Veronica, either to make her work life easier or out of a sense that Veronica is lonely, is made very apparent as the two drink well into the night, culminating in the moment when Linda states that she's "absolutely fit-shased," and Veronica's completely sober. Veronica then explains that she doesn't process alcohol like other people, and immediately passes out, waking only to tell Linda that she had had her grandfather deported, and had never told anyone. Linda worries that Veronica might think she'll tell the secret, and even tells Veronica that this is a concern, which then makes Veronica think she, too, should be concerned about such a possibility. Linda reassures her that it's not going to happen, and Veronica uses it as a chance to tell Linda all of her secrets, including the fact that she used to feed her sister in her sleep so she'd never be skinnier than Veronica. Veronica's social-ineptitude is displayed fantastically here, and she takes such delight in having a friend that she shows off an entirely new side of her character without becoming someone else entirely.

There are a few good reasons why Phil and Lem are hesitant to allow Ted into Medieval Fight Club, and while both would love to have Ted be a part of their personal lives, they feel that MFC is not, perhaps, the best fit for him. At first they worry that the nerdy nature of their activity might turn Ted off, killing any urge he has to interact with them, but as Ted works up the ranks of MFC, he knocks both Phil and Lem down the ranks to court jesters, making them bitter about his participation in the sport. While glad, at first, that he was enjoying himself, Phil and Lem very quickly realize that Ted's athleticism translates all too well to their world, and the event becomes more about Ted than it ever was about Phil and Lem, and, in turn, an event that was very much a part of who they were instead becomes another thing that Ted excels in.

It would have been nice to see Ted do really poorly at MFC, as he very rarely fails at anything he tries, and I imagine that this release of control, this lack of ability, might have been a nice change of pace for him. If Ted could have learned to enjoy his failure, lived as the court jester for a week, it would have been a more interesting storyline. Instead Ted gets really into it because he's the most skilled, and even moves an AA meeting so that MFC can happen two nights in a row. Not realizing that Phil and Lem have come to resent him, he starts giving the pair insane work deadlines in order to blackmail them into staying in the club. In the end it's clear that he's taking out his anger against his ex wife on the other participants, but it feels like just another reason for his underlings to idolize him.

At the close of the episode Phil and Lem inform Ted that the club had taken a vote and made Ted the new king, and then immediately afterwards took another vote and decided that he had died gloriously in battle and could never return to the club. Were we shown that anyone other than Phil and Lem had come to dislike Ted's presence in the club, this decision would have made sense, but instead it just seems like a lie from the two scientists.

Everyone is absolutely hilarious in this episode, and Harrington's war cry as he rushes into fake battle is definitely one of the highlights, though Anders, too, delivers a good moment in the final seconds of the episode. Anders and de Rossi play off of one another incredibly well and make an excellent duo, rivaling the chemistry that Slavin and Barrett have developed with each other.

Michael Spiller is very apt at directing smaller moments that work as sight gags as well as continuity nods, most especially when Veronica's talking on the phone and silently feeding her sister in her sleep. The montage of revenge that Veronica takes against Linda, not allowing anyone to hold the elevator for her, decreasing her cubicle size and framing it as the next employee over having earned a larger workspace, and mentioning, off-hand, that she had cancelled Linda's dental plan.

Written by Dan O'Shannon, this episode has a lot of backstory on Veronica presented in a very matter-of-fact manner, with Veronica stating that her grandmother had died earlier in the week, and following that with a mention of how her driver was dead. The other characters assume that there were two deaths, only to learn that Veronica's grandmother was her driver, and, as Linda later learns, also her house keeper. The more that Linda learns about Veronica the less she wants to be in her life, but the harder it is for her to escape, and when she finally asks for some space Veronica treats the situation as though it were a break up, freezing Linda out and refusing to let anyone acknowledge her in her presence. Linda finally explains to Veronica what real friendship is, talking about the give and take of information, listening to the other person's troubles, and helping to deal with potentially upsetting situations. Veronica agrees to try it out, but after hearing Linda complain about one thing decides that friendship is not for her, and she opts instead to resume her life of solitude.

I imagine there will be some repercussions for Linda's rejection of Veronica, whether those play out in a subtle manner where Veronica uses her power behind the scenes to screw Linda over, or if it will all be in Linda's head, where she only thinks that Veronica's being vindictive when, in fact, Veronica has moved on and completely forgotten her week with Linda. This episode also could mean an upcoming appearance from Ted's wife, which could also act as another interference in the romance between Ted and Linda.

The review for "Bioshuffle" can be read here.


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