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I guess I just like liking things

“Employees must NOW use offensive or insulting language in the workplace.”  – Memo M-314

And with that simple typo, Veridian Dynamics becomes a whole different place to work.

This show does a great job of taking standard business issues and turning them on their heads – it’s a not-as-dark companion piece to Office Space in a lot of ways (though it could be argued some of their inventions are pretty dark, we don’t see a lot of them in action so it seems lighter). Here we take corporations’ slavish reliance on the memo to ridiculous extremes. Granted, a corporation has few other options for getting official info out to its workers, so memos are a necessary evil. It’s the “slavish reliance” part that is so ridiculous. Eh, regardless, it’s a good chance for the Veridian employees to tear it up for a week. I’m not going to list all the insults – I don’t even understand some of them! I think my favorite is “Tory-loving Royalist.” There is a video out there of out-takes from this episode that get very, very naughty, but I’m going to let you find it on your own. I think the show benefits from having to tone it down for broadcast TV.

The memo causes Ted the most frustration, as he finds it difficult to do his job this way. It leads to a sidestep into “you’re too controlling,” but ultimately it’s proved that Ted’s way is usually the best way, even if he cold stand to lighten up a little.  If Ted’s not left to do things his way, the company ends up with MREs that look like a weird gift basket you’d get for someone you don’t know very well.

Phil and Lem, on the other hand, use math to help them navigate the tricky insult waters, to mostly great effect. (Cue Vanilla Ice: “If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it” – I mean, it wasn’t in the episode, but it’s what I think of. Just… never mind this part.)  I particularly like how there’s no emotion involved with the insults, at least initially. Phil insults Debbie in the elevator and immediately follows it up with a confirmation on what floor she’s heading to. But as the guys get further into it, the pride starts to emerge. They’re waylaying people with insults and chest-bumping each other – not, I don’t think, because they think their insults are so awesome, but because “our formula works!” They’re proud they’ve found a way to use what they know to function in a system thy’re so often confused by.

Aside from calling Linda “slut,” Veronica really isn’t affected by the rule change.  Mostly, I think, because Veronica talks to people the way she’s going to talk to people regardless of what Veridian says.  Really, her calling Linda “slut” seems like something she might have done anyway. It’s the right choice to have her storyline be mostly unrelated, and it gives us a chance to enjoy some Chris Parnell, who has some of the best lines for a non-regular character since Veronica’s dad showed up a while back. His sad sack Walter up against (figuratively AND literally!) Veronica is hilarious because of its ridiculousness, and we get some bonus Dutch hating, so it’s an all-around win for Veronica this week, aside from the fact that she’s going to have to get new body parts because her current ones have been ruined by Walter.

The episode is bookended by conversations between Ted and Debbie, and the change from the first one to the last one makes me wonder if this sparks a permanent change in Debbie. I don’t think we get to spend any more time with her in the rest of the series, but it would have been interesting to see a background character take on new life, I think.

Bits and pieces:

  • “Luckily, talking to Debbie isn’t the only way we communicate around here.” – Ted
  • “It’s like my feelings are itchy.” – Veronica
  • “In the past I’ve always counteracted this feeling with other emotions, like sugar or drunk.” – Veronica
  • “I don’t hate the Dutch. I love the Dutch. That’s why I hold them to a higher standard.” – Veronica
  • “The Dutch don’t smear herring on half the things you say they do.” – Walter Palmer
  • “God made me this way. And then He told me where to shop for suits.” – Ted
  • “Pow! You’ve been Lem-basted!” – Lem
  • “You’re right. I’ll work on that.” – Phil
  • “That’s not a company-mandated insult. That one came from the heart.” – Linda
  • “Wow. That’s the fastest I’ve ever lost interest in something.” – Veronica
  • “Thank you for kissing with me.” – Walter Palmer (as quoted by Veronica)
  • “I’m happy that you came to me for advice, but sad this is my area of expertise.” – Linda
  • Future, babies, commitment – the three words you’re going to want to put into heavy rotation if you want to scare a man off, according to Linda
  • “Back off! I need my space!” – Veronica, reacting to the three words
  • “Let’s light this candle and blast off into a calm, settled, monogamous relationship.” – Walter Palmer
  • “You’ve just been Phil-abusted!” – Lem
  • When the elevator doors open after Phil insults the water delivery man (Jim), Phil and Lem have switched places. Did Lem try to save Phil?
  • “We just got Ted-ucated.” – Phil
  • “Veronica Palmer is man-smart.” – The Veridian execs


Nope :(

Ideas/Inventions mentioned in this episode:

  • Meals-Ready-To-Eat
  • Genital X-ray Project
  • 14-foot Soldier (theoretical)

Coworkers named/seen:

  • Debbie
  • Janet S. Crotum
  • Pudberger – guy in Ted’s meeting, I missed his first name
  • Walter Palmer
  • Mark, another guy in Ted’s meeting
  • Roger, a lab worker, and Phil’s test run for his insult equation

Next week: S02E09 – The Long and Winding High Road

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