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I guess I just like liking things

In this week’s episode we find that the source of Veronica’s power is her confidence and Ted’s biggest weakness is his desire for the company to love him. Meanwhile, Linda learns a thing or two about herself and Lem has a pretty rough episode overall, though it ends nicely.

I continue to be amazed by Veronica. I mean, seriously, you would not want this woman to be your boss, nor would you want to be around her in real life!  Phil and Lem’s fear of her seems to be the most rational response. And yet, you can’t help but love her character in the show, even root for her. Is that the mark of great writing or our desire for our comedic characters to be hilarious?  Luckily for us, both of those come into play in her character. At the same time, though, Veronica’s teaching Linda about the power of confidence reveals a weakness.  For the most part, up to this point we’ve taken Veronica’s strength and decision-making at face value – she knows what she’s doing and she’s rarely wrong. Here, though, we see that some of her decision making is pure bluff. Sure, she gets by because her confidence gets her through, but it lessens the character a tad for me.

We’ve seen before how much the company loves Ted, and we’ve seen plenty of reasons for the the company to love Ted. Why wouldn’t they love Ted?  He does great work and everyone loves him, he’s just the sort you want for a manager. However, this is Veridian, and we’ve seen how quickly they forget or change their minds. Ted’s experienced it firsthand and though that time it was frustrating, it also seems to have put him in a permanently nervous state about that one aspect of his life. I’m sure there’s a lot of “Ted seeks the approval from Veridian that he never got from his father” going on here, and there’s probably a pretty good doctoral thesis in there somewhere about how people replace family with work and what that can mean, but we’ll just leave that for someone else. Besides, Ted’s a great dad to Rose (who doesn’t get near enough screen time in this episode), so he’s not completely over the line. If I were Linda, I might take pause at the fact that Ted was doing his best to sabotage my project, but I’d probably be back to liking him when he realizes he shouldn’t have been doing that. As usual, Ted ends up okay.

Linda finds out again that she’s good where she is. She has dreams of being more, whether it’s a children’s book author or a project manager, but she keeps finding out that she’s best suited for where she’s at right now. I don’t necessarily think the two situations are equal – the beer-drinking lemur wasn’t her fault – but they’re both steps on Linda’s way to figuring herself out. Narratively, of course, we need Linda to be where she is. When Ted says “who’s going to judge us when you’re gone?” in last week’s episode he’s chiding her, but there’s the underlying sense of “Linda’s the sole light of hope” that’s been talked about in a few episodes. We don’t want Linda to leave because her character works well with all the other characters, but we’d still like to see her in a place she loves to be. For now she knows Veridian is the right place because she has good friends there, and in this episode she learns that her position at the company is the best one for her, too. Besides, Veronica likes her a little more at the end of this episode because now she knows Linda is no longer a threat.

Then there’s poor Lem. He’s felt his whole life that he’s disappointed his mother, so the idea of her working at Veridian causes him much distress… but not as much distress as Bhamba being his mom’s current boytoy. I mean, come on – at some point we’ve all felt like we’ve let our mothers down, right? But is there anyone you’d want your mom … let’s say “dating” less than Bhamba? Bhamba is a particular mix of crazy and creepy that you don’t want anywhere near your mom, especially if your mom is Khandi Alexander, even is you have felt your whole life that you’ve disappointed her. And honestly, can you blame Stella?  Veridian does invent some pretty far-out (and often dangerous) things. She wants the best for her son, even if she hasn’t always gone about encouraging him towards it in the right way. It’s a nice moment at the end when Stella and Lem patch things up. I would’ve liked to have seen what they would have done with that in future seasons.

Phil doesn’t get to do much in this episode, but that dinner with Ted and Stella more than makes up for it. One of the best Phil scenes in the whole series, I think.

Bits and pieces:

  • “You should jump on that, Ted. Before the crazy outweighs the hot.” – Veronica
  • “Remember Bob Hitler?” – Ted
  • “Veridian will change its name to Ted’s Awesome Lightbulb Company” – Ted
  • Veronica showing Linda that she cares too much what people think is a great scene – Linda’s repeated downcast “Oh” is part of a wonderful rollercoaster there
  • “I am never calling you daddy! Never, never!” – Lem
  • Veronica put testosterone in her sister’s orange juice, so she became hairy, unlovable, and was kicked off the gymnastics team for doping. Seriously, you would not want to be around a real-life Veronica, folks!
  • “Hey, it’s Stella Clifton’s son! We expect great things from you!” – Chet
    “I’ve been working here for eleven years.” – Lem
    “Oh, I doubt that!” – Chet
  • The way Lem and Phil smell the lightbulb is great. Go back and look at the look on Phil’s face in particular!
  • Chet smacks Ted on the rear, and that is a very weird moment
  • “Linda was just doing a funny character she’s been working on. It’s a product tester whose lack of confidence traps her in a sad cubicle where she dies old and alone without ever owning a decent purse.” – Veronica
  • “And bring me a chicken!” – Linda, expressing confidence
  • Dr. Bhamba’s mom is in a coma
  • “Oh, no! What do I do with that World’s Greatest Stepdad coffee mug I got for you? I guess I have to take it back to the sarcasm store.” – Lem
  • “Your breakthroughs in weapons technology have made warfare exponentially more horrifying.” – Lem
    “Well, I don’t know know about that. It takes a village to kill a village.” – Bhamba, self-deprecating
  • “So ‘sucks’ is okay to say now? Because I have some thoughts about the lunch you packed for me today.” – Rose
  • “Those are just facts, and facts are just opinions and opinions can be wrong.” – Veronica
  • “Now get in there and run that meeting like a shark driving an assault vehicle through a herd of seals wearing chum pants.” – Veronica
  • (whispers) “Finish him.” – Veronica
  • “And, yes, I wish I had a third yes. And, yes, I don’t.” – Phil
  • Any scientists in the crowd know what that Clifton Equation is all about? Or is it just a random bunch of nonsense?
  • “Oh! I was having a dream. The only thing I can remember is a curious lack of crocodiles, and so I began to call out for them.” – Bhamba


No commercial this week. I’m always sad when this is the case.

Ideas/Inventions mentioned in this episode:

  • Super Long-lasting lightbulbs
  • Scented lightbulbs
  • Helmet that feeds people cheeseburgers (Stella Clifton Idea, but was an actual project that got pulled after it fed one of the test subjects to death)
  • Remote control for underpants (Stella Clifton Idea)
  • Toaster that can handle a pizza bagel
  • Popcorn that pops from the heat in your mouth, which I think would kill more people than a helmet that feeds you?

Coworkers named/seen:

  • Dr. Bhamba
  • Chet!

Next week: S02E04 – It’s Nothing Business, It’s Just Personal

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