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I guess I just like liking things

Netflix’s episode description for this week is “Oddball Sheila falsely accuses Ted and Linda of sexual harassment. Veronica convinces Veridian to classify sexual harassment as a disease.” I don’t know if I would have ever come up with that descriptor for Sheila myself, but it fits perfectly. I personally think she wasn’t as odd in this episode as she was back in Get Happy, but taken as a whole picture, Sheila seems pretty oddball. Nice to know she has stuck with the cat thing, though.  Nice work, writers!

Ted starts off the episode talking about how it’s natural for relationships to form at the office (as if the whole Ted and Linda thing wasn’t telling us that already for a season and a half!), but it’s important to keep things professional. I feel like this is a topic we’ve hit before, but they go a different route with it this time around: the sexual harassment route. And, like many things on this show, it’s all because of Linda.

Now, granted, I’m not entirely sure it was all Linda’s fault. I mean, we do see from Sheila’s point of view how what Linda does could be threatening, but Linda certainly didn’t mean for it to be. Let this be a lesson to us all, kids: we don’t see all sides of the story, so maybe it’s best to not jump to conclusions!  …but maybe I’m reading more into this than I should be. regardless, Sheila feels threatened, and we get a discussion on the phrase “don’t fight it,” which I’d never given much thought to before, so maybe this episode does work as a public service announcement. Layers, people!  This sitcom is full of them!

It’s always a little strange when a sitcom addresses Big Ticket Items like sexual harassment and racism. For the most part, Better Off Ted does a good job of getting right up to the lines of propriety, but I’ll never be completely comfortable with jokes about race and harassment. I get that comedy is a big tent and I understand there are a lot of folks out there who feel like nothing should be off limits, but that’s not ever going to change how I feel about and react to certain topics. Regardless, I still enjoy these episodes, I just wanted to mention that undercurrent.

That said, Linda’s turn from “I’m innocent!” to “yikes, there are some sickos” to “Harassment Vigilante” is a pretty good sequence, and her “Oh, yeah. Mama’s gonna have fun with this” line is an insight into her character. It’s an outgrowth of what she’s been all along, the heart and soul of the company, the conscience. It’s just showing up in a more… aggressive manner here.

Meanwhile, Phil and Lem are sad to see their robot buddy leaving. I love that Phil and Lem’s long “friendship” with a cleaning robot sits in stark contrast to everybody in the cubicle levels getting all “free love.” I also love that these geniuses are so naive as to still believe in things like “robot farms.” Bless their hearts.

I'm guessing Veridian could find a grillion uses for a Dalek

I’m guessing Veridian could find a grillion uses for a Dalek

The biggest thing about this episode, though, is an easily missed cameo when Phil and Lem visit the subbasement. To the immediate left (ours, not theirs) when they walk in there’s a Dalek! Now, I say “biggest thing” but that really depends on your perspective. Sure, it’s just a little in-joke about a tyrannical power-seeking species from Doctor Who, but consider what we already know about Veridian Dynamics: they are a tyrannical power-seeking company. Did they create the proto-Dalek which went on to hassle The Doctor incessantly? Or did they stumble upon one and seek to reverse engineer the technology? Either way, this match has much potential for disaster.  But consider further: the Dalek has been relegated to the subbasement, where old robots are stripped for parts.  And it looks pretty dusty and unused. Does this mean Veridian couldn’t figure out the Dalek technology? Or did they deem it too pedestrian? If it’s the latter, Linda’s correct to be afraid of the company. No matter how the Dalek got there, it makes me want an episode of Doctor Who where The Doctor runs into Phil and Lem.


Bits and pieces:

  • “Thank you, Erica. I value and respect you as a gender neutral colleague.” – Ted
  • “I’m taking you down, old man.” – Rose
  • “Muss up his hair. It’s the source of all his power.” – Veronica, confusing Ted with Samson
  • “Why will nobody in this building ever smash anyone with a phone?” – Veronica has a way with kids, doesn’t she?
  • Rose is 8 years old. Did we know this already?
  • “Get them to stop coming on to each other. It might be as simple as improving the lighting out there.” – Veronica, who apparently thinks all the cubicle dwellers are ugly
  • “What kind of sick world are we living in where machines can be so easily cast aside for people?” – Phil
  • “Don’t fight it.” – Linda, choosing her words poorly
  • “Come on, Sheila, don’t fight it!  …oh, wait.” – Ted
  • Veronica basically calls Ted Batman.
  • “I feel like my heart has been kicked in the testicles.” – Phil, who has probably just ruined this whole site, search-wise
  • “I have a daughter. I speak evasive mumble.” – Ted
  • I grew up in Wisconsin and never once saw a cheese mines. This is a delightful bit of absurdity.
  • I’m pretty sure the lighting in the office is different once Veronica has gotten sexual harassment categorized as a disease. It’s all softer and more romantic (or sleazy, depending on your point of view)
  • “Cubicle Smurfs” – Veronica
  • The slurping noises Chumley makes are pretty adorable
  • Phil and Lem thought Ted was friends with Ryan Seacrest
  • It’s weird when Ted and Veronica kiss and I don’t like it
  • “Don’t ask me to choose between the two of you!” – Lem
  • “Boy, bringing things back from the dead never goes smoothly.” – Phil
  • “Children… are like adorable Swiss army knives.” – Veronica
  • Rose ends the episode by smashing a phone on Ted, and here’s another lesson for us all: kids are sponges. You suggest hitting someone with a phone enough times to them and they’re likely to do it. Be warned!


No commercial again this week.  There has only been one Veridian commercial so far this season.

Ideas/Inventions mentioned in this episode:

  • Beaker of bald eagle stem cells

Coworkers named/seen:

  • Erica, who keeps failing at flirting with Ted
  • Chumley, the robot spill technician, who might be better mentioned under “Inventions,” but Phil and Lem are really attached to the little guy
  • Carlos, the new spill technian
  • Keith, who is “kinda creepy”
  • Sheila
  • Debby [mentioned, not seen], whose cat might be the idiot, but might be the idiot herself, Sheila’s wording isn’t clear
  • Mr. Thomas [unseen], the alcoholic lawyer in charge of sexual harrassment
  • Gail [not named in the show but IMDb names her], Mr. Thomas’s secretary
  • Denise, the sexual harassment manager
  • Cindy, Veronica’s secretary?
  • Alvin, another creepy dude

Next week: S02E06 – Beating a Dead Workforce

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