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I guess I just like liking things

This episode does two things that I like very, very much, and the first one happens right away: Rose comes to Veridian and meets Veronica. Thanks to great writing and Portia de Rossi’s wonderful depiction, we already have a good sense of who Veronica is. We don’t know much about Rose yet, but we do know her mom left the family and Ted is very protective of her. One of my favorite Rose lines is from a previous episode (the first one, I think) when Ted is asking her if she’s done her homework and then asks her a math problem. Her reply: “Yes, that was one of the questions.”  The kid is too smart, but not obnoxiously so, like many (most?) sitcom children. Seeing Veronica and Rose interact is one of the highlights of a show filled with highlights.

The other wonderful thing doesn’t happen until the end of the episode, so we’ll get to that in a bit.

This is the first episode that doesn’t start with a Veridian commercial, but it does have one.  It’s used later to underscore and sort of offer a rebuttal to all the family nonsense going on here. This one starts with Ted bringing Rose to work with him because the nanny is sick and it’ll take a day or two for Ted to line up some after-school childcare. Veridian has a daycare center, so it seems like an easy fix… until Ted learns that the children are put to work while there – actual work, like painting the parking lot lines, not just busywork, like fingerpainting. Best line in the scene, when Ted realizes what is happening: “That seems a little…” the daycare worker cuts in with “Innovative?”

So Ted takes Rose with him to work, even though the team is working on a not-kid-friendly project.  But first he runs into Veronica, who tells him there’ve been too many false contamination alarms going off in lab and it wastes too much time when the lab techs put on the hazmat suits every time, so could he tell them to stop doing that? Of course he will not, on the off chance one of the alarms is real (even though they almost always aren’t). Then Ted introduces Rose to Veronica, who says “You’re always welcome here, daughter of Ted,” which leads to a whole names thing, which leads to Veronica exasperatedly saying, “I know everyone’s name,” which is a much better line than it looks like typed out here.

We’re off to the meeting room to talk about a deadly new weapons system, but because Rose is present, they have to use kid-friendly terminology, like “bunny” for “bomb” and “snuggling” and “cuddling” for killing. It backfires a little, since Rose is horrified that they would drop a bunny from 30,000 feet. When the meeting’s done, Phil is stocking up on sandwiches to take with him, and Lem tells him not to, leading Rose to ask if Lem is Phil’s boss now, which leads to the other major storyline here, where Lem and Phil have a power struggle over who’s in charge of the lab. eventually this leads to them designing a system where one of them is in charge for ten minutes, and then the other for the next ten minutes, since they discovered by trial and error (science!) that ten minutes was the longest either could go without the system breaking down.

Now we get to see Rose interact with Linda, and it goes about how you’d expect: very well. They get along so well that one of the pictures Rose has drawn is of Ted, Rose, and Linda all holding hands, leading Linda’s great line: “”Kids: God’s little awkward-moment machines.” Of course, this just makes Ted think more about the possibility of starting a relationship with Linda, and it’s put into even sharper light by the fact that Linda is going to meet an ex-boyfriend (Don) for lunch, but wants it to be clear to Ted that she’s still interested in him. She does this by using language that would clearly qualify as sexual harassment, but since this is a sitcom and Ted’s maybe-sorta-interested, no one gets put on probation or has to go to any mandatory meetings (yet!). All I can say is that I think Rose needs her hearing tested, as she’s barely a few feet away but doesn’t seem to hear any of these goings-on.

Ted needs someone to watch Rose while he goes down to the lab to see what’s going on with Phil and Lem. “I can wash Rose,” Veronica says. “I said ‘watch’ her, not ‘wash’ her, ” Ted replies. “Hmm. Even easier!” says Veronica.  I absolutely love that little exchange. Rose is okay staying with Veronica because Veronica “looks friendly enough.” “Thank you! I am friendly enough!” replies Veronica.  This whole scene is gold, I tell you!

And now we come to this week’s Commercial:

Veridian Dynamics. We’re a family, just like yours. But we don’t waste our time throwing leaves around. We put our family to work. We mean real work, not just eating mush. Our Veridian Dynamic family works for every member of your family, even the dead ones. And we’re working to bring them back and copy them, in case you lose them again. We love our family, which is why we work nights, weekends, and major holidays, because that’s when families should be together… Veridian Dynamics. Family. Yay.

One of Veronica’s bosses comes in to inform her that they’ve found out the false alarms in the lab have been set off by “a couple of idiots in her department.”  (The boss is played by Richard Fancy, better known as Elaine’s boss Mr. Lippman on Seinfeld.) Veronica uses Rose to defuse the tense situation with her boss, and it goes so well that Veronica decides to take Rose along with her when firing the two idiots. When the first firing (Jerry) goes well, Veronica says that Rose should do the next one. Rose uses advice from her dad to decide that, yes, she should fire Hal (the second guy) – “My dad is always telling me to try new things.”

Ted’s down in the lab checking on things and he asks Lem about his office affairs, still trying to figure out if he should go ahead on things with Linda. We find out that Lem had two at the same time, and it nearly killed him. “So you’d advise against multiple office affairs,” Ted concludes. “Who said that?” replies Lem.

Linda comes down to the lab to talk to Ted, and while they’re talking, a contamination alarm goes off, so they get into hazmat suits. This leads to them talking about how they feel, which leads to them hilariously “kissing” through the faceplates of their hazmat suits. The romantic music swells – this is the big romantic payoff we’ve been waiting tw0-and-a-half episodes for! – and then Ted decides he’s in, he wants to do this and he starts taking off his hazmat suit. The music abruptly stops and Linda says, “Well, now I’m feeling all self-conscious, like I’m being pressured to take off my helmet.”

Before anything further happens, Hal wanders in to get a donut, sans hazmat suit. He admits that it was a false alarm and that he and Jerry have been setting them off to get more break time. Ted finds out that Veronica has Rose firing people (and doing a great job of it, admits Hal), so he needs to get up there and take care of that. On his way out, he finds that Phil and Lem are in the same hazmat suit because there was only one available, and figuring out that solution helped them to understand they work better as a team rather than each other’s bosses. They’re buds again!

Veronica has done Rose’s hair in “power hair,” which “feels weird,” but is part of Veronica teaching Rose about being a woman in a man’s world. Rose tells Veronica she’s had a good time, and Veronica says she’ll miss Rose, saying she’s “a very useful little girl. “You are a very useful little girl,” V tells Rose. “Do you have a card or something you could leave me?”

The next day at work, Ted is realizing two things. One, a multinational corporation is no place for a child (“I’m learning a life skill,” says the kid janitor who comes in at this point to empty Ted’s trash). Two, his one office affair rule is dumb – he likes Linda, Rose likes Linda, let’s do this thing.  he strides purposefully to Linda’s cubicle to tell her, only to find her frustrated because Miriam in payroll is counting Linda’s time in contamination alert as break time. Linda reveals that when she’s frustrated, sometimes she wants to run away from it all, to a cabin in Oregon, and during her speech about how great the cabin is, Ted realizes he can’t bring another person into Rose’s life who might abandon her like her mom already did.

This is the second thing I really like about this episode. Ted’s reason for not wanting to date Linda up to this point has been a business decision, based on something he figures make sense. When he finally comes around to realizing that the logical choice doesn’t always make sense, he’s given an actual solid reason why he can’t date Linda, and it’s a reason we can get behind – he’s being a good father, and he’s making the tough choice. So many sitcoms have made so many lame excuses for the leads to not get together, and it’s refreshing to see a real reason.

He tells Linda they can’t date, but doesn’t tell her why, saying just “It can’t happen right now.”  Honestly, I get a little sad for both of them in this scene. Ted’s just had to come to a difficult decision, and Linda is expecting something completely different and is thrown this curveball.

The episode ends with Veronica down in child care looking for a Rose replacement, but none of the kids are exactly right. “Sorry,” says the daycare worker. “It’s just what you see. But we do get new ones in every day.”

Ideas/Inventions mentioned in this episode:

  • Deadly new weapons system
  • Line of diet foods that involves a green putty

Coworkers named/seen:

  • Jerry and Hal – the idiots who set off the alarms and get fired
  • Miriam in Payroll, who wants to count Linda’s time in hazmat as break time. Miriam is in India
  • Unnamed daycare worker – at least, I didn’t catch her name. IMDb says her name is “Lisa”

Next week: S01E04 – “Racial Sensitivity”

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