Friday, December 7, 2012

Secrets and Lives

Funny F*ckin' Friday

Veridian's new search engine reveals Veronica's secret life as a magician's assistant; meanwhile, Linda sets Ted up with her friend Rebecca and grows jealous.

The review for "Jabberwocky" can be read here.

Veronica (Portia de Rossi) has always been hesitant to let herself get closer to people, even her own family, but here she learns the value of giving everything she is to the person she loves most. Certainly, she struggles with her identity as her subordinates question her ability to maintain her authority, but in accepting who she wants to be she learns that she becomes more herself than she had ever dreamed.

Rarely taking any time to unwind, it makes perfect sense that Veronica would cut loose from time to time with an activity completely opposing how she presents herself in the office. Being the assistant to magician Mordor (Mark Deklin) allows Veronica the chance to let loose with no responsibility beyond pleasing the man she loves, taking orders instead of giving them and having a captive audience that is genuinely happy to see her before them. Working under the name Athena, Veronica worries letting her employees see her act will undermine her authority, very seriously considering not going through with it until finally deciding to do the show out of love for Mordor. What Veronica learns in the end is that she can lead both lives simultaneously, having greatly impressed her employees with her skills and transitioning them to the office, using magic tricks in meetings to make a point and finally becoming a whole person.

Through the company's new search engine, Phil (Jonathan Slavin) finds a perfect doppelgänger of himself, noting that the other him is far more successful in what he does. Studying the pictures of his better half, Phil decides to try living his life as the doppelgänger would, eventually getting punched in the face for his efforts and deciding instead to just live as he normally does. What's interesting about Phil's story is that he sees the potential that he had had to be greater than he is, to be happier and richer in friends, and it gives him hope for a future. Naturally, Phil being Phil, that hope is soon crushed, but for a brief second in time he was willing to do anything to chase his dreams and that's an aspect of his personality that I would very much like to see again.

Linda (Andrea Anders) sets Ted (Jay Harrington) up on a blind date with her friend Rebecca (Rachelle Lefevre,) despite being well aware of the unresolved tension between she and Ted and knowing that her attraction to him is still great. Rebecca later becomes aware that Linda's only using her as a placeholder, having had feelings for Ted and not yet being ready to let him out of her grasp, and it begs the question whether or not Linda had really just placed her desire to eventually be with Ted over the well-being of her friendship with Rebecca. Worse yet, knowing that Linda was still hung up on Ted, Rebecca then accepts another date with him, and the entire nature of their friendship becomes questionable as neither seems to take the other's feelings into account. Rebecca had also been shown to be quite straightforward, and while it would only be speculation to assume that she had revealed to Ted the reason why Linda had set them up in the first place, that possibility also brings up the fact that Ted might have asked Rebecca out on a second date with the knowledge that Linda still has feelings for him. It's an awkwardly set up love triangle between the three of them, and it doesn't even appear to have a place for Linda's current boyfriend.

During their date, Ted states that his daughter Rose (Isabella Acres) has been grounded from the internet because she had bought a boat, causing Rose to complain that her father was forcing her to sell it back. The issue here is that Rose has been shown to be incredibly intelligent, not only scholastically but socially, and for her to have bought a boat without considering the financial ramifications of such a purchase is unrealistic given how she's been written previously. Any other child on television and I would believe it, but Rose has always been wise beyond her years and the joke falls flat because of it.

There are no complaints in this episode regarding the acting, and the majority of the cast is great as they excitedly line up in the front row to watch Veronica's magic performance. Deklin is great as magician Mordor, playing up the ludicrousness of his act without letting on that his character knows how insane he appears, and de Rossi is fantastic as his assistant, really shining in her more comedic moments and making the episode one to remember.

Director Michael Spiller sprinkles a series of small gags throughout the episode that really add up to make a hilarious episode, and the visuals of Mordor's act are especially wonderful. The randomness in the photos of Phil's doppelgänger, doing daredevil acts and dressing as a cowboy, give Phil an aspiration model that he really shouldn't be trying to attain, and watching him make a fool of himself in the hope of making a better life is great comedy. For me, one of the most entertaining aspects of the episode is Veronica's reaction to everyone that displeases her, which, at first, is to slap everyone, and later, when she's found her center, to perform a simple magic trick to calm her nerves and then threaten them.

There are a lot of things to like about the script written by Dan O'Shannon and Mike Teverbaugh, though Mordor's new assistant Kristi (Jennifer Landa) isn't one of them, proving herself incapable of understanding anything about his tricks and thinking that he's actually magic in a joke that simply doesn't pan out. Rose, on the other hand, is given a storyline where she lashes out against Rebecca for the sole reason that she's not Linda, not taking issue with the fact that Ted's trying to find a replacement for her mother, but instead being more than willing to accept a new woman into the long as it's Linda. Rose's reaction is very realistic, and it's refreshing to see a child written as accepting of her parents attempts to date and also to have a reason beyond an unlikely reunion between her parents to want to put a stop to a date.

Linda breaking up with her boyfriend leaves her open to pursue a relationship with Ted, but, as Ted has started dating Rebecca, it's unlikely to happen in the immediate future. There also will likely be some changes to the way the office runs with Veronica having found a new style with which to live her life, and it should be interesting seeing the new Veronica interact with the business world around her.

The Overview for season 1 can be read here, and the review for "Love Blurts" can be read here.


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