“Jabberwocky”/“Secrets And Lives” S1 / E12/13
- A- Community Grade
Friends, for each of the past two Tuesdays I’ve fired up my MacBook, opened my Better Off Ted document, and have been all prepared to watch the last of the remaining Season One episodes so that I could bid the series a proper farewell (until it returns next January, of course). But ABC, alas, has had other plans. Tonight though, we BoT fans finally got some closure. I’m not going to waste a lot of time with complicated analysis. I’m just going to give you a little quick plot summary (and evaluation) and then it’s going to be a festival of quotes.
When Linda sees a commercial about how Veridian is “greening” all its buildings, she volunteers to start a roof garden, which she promises will cut air conditioning costs 30% and will make the roof 70% cuter. The problem is that there’s not really any money in the budget for a roof garden, because Veridian has no plans to “green” anything. (Ted: “The commercial is a lie?” Veronica: “They prefer to think of it as a dream.”) So Ted moves some money around, then invents a fake project called “Jabberwocky,” which quickly gets fast-tracked through Veridian because no one wants to admit they don’t know what it is. The end result? Ted and Veronica stand on a stage insisting, "In order to compete, we innovate! In order to innovate, we redefine!” And then they dance, and everyone goes home happy. “Jabberwocky” is the most overtly satirical Better Off Ted in a while, and one of the best of the season in my opinion. Funny, cutting, and it even ends beautifully, in a Veridian rooftop garden lit by “fireflowers”—a cross between flowers and fireflies.
Next, “Secrets And Lives:”
After Phil and Lem’s team invents a search engine that allows people to find every surreptitious photo of a person ever taken—“With this technology, we have finally defeated privacy!”—it’s revealed that Veronica’s been moonlighting as a magician’s assistant for her clandestine boyfriend, Mordor. Meanwhile, Linda’s about to move in with her boyfriend, but not before she gets her Ted obsession under control by setting him up with her college roommate. And Phil discovers via his new software that he has a look-alike who’s a stud with the ladies and a rodeo star. In the end, Veronica gets over her public embarrassment and embraces her magic side, while Linda realizes she has to take another crack at Ted (though Ted’s into her friend now), and Phil gives up his dream of being more assertive with the ladies. Some very funny stuff here, but the three strands of the plot don’t weave together all that well, and at times the episode teetered on the brink of being an Arrested Development rip-off. Or maybe that was just the combination of Portia Di Rossi and magic. (Also, no Veridian commercial… what’s up with that?)
So that’s basically the plot (times two). After the grades, join me down in Stray Observations for a round-up of the funny.
-“We love nature, even when it’s being mean, or acting stupid.”
-Veronica: “This is it. Go big or go home.” Ted: “I can go home?’
-This new product could kill all the world’s fish… but boy does it whiten teeth.
-Lem and Phil, working on unbreakable dinnerware, first present Ted with an 8 lb, 4 oz dinner plate, then an ultra-light plate that catches fire on high impact. (“I’m going to leave this… here,” Phil says, placing the flaming dish on a secretary’s desk.) Lem then suggests that this could be a new breakthough: “A plate that is also a stove… a plove.”
-Later, when Linda asks for an inexpensive heating and lighting system for her roof garden, Lem pipes up. “Have you considered a plove?”
-Instead, Lem and Phil decide to meet Linda’s needs with fireflies… “the flaming plates of the insect world.”
- Ted hates things that light on fire.
-Ted: “You can’t fire a gun in here.” Phil: “Yeah, Alan ruined that for everyone.”
-“This lie has spread like mayonnaise at a Baptist picnic.”
-Veronica, standing right next to someone she doesn’t wish to heed: “I can’t hear you, I’m going through a tunnel!”
-Linda, after Ted drinks a glass of water: “It’s safe, but it’s also made from urine!” Ted, spitting: “You need to work on your flirting.”
-“It’s like trying to kill a bear with a chopstick. It can be done, but it’s challenging.”
-“Faster than a cheetah. More powerful than… another cheetah. “
-Among the buzz words flashing on the screen during the Jabberwocky presentation: “Pleasurable” and “vainglorious.”
-What was that? Fire squirrel.
-Linda, to Veronica: “My boyfriend wants us to live together.” Veronica: “Why would he want us to live together?” Linda: “No, I’m moving in with him.” Veronica: “Then where am I supposed to live?” That’s classic patter, folks.
-Veronica has to tell Mordor The Unforgiving she’s quitting the act. (“I just hope he understands.”)
-During Mordor’s act, Veronica has to stash a dove in a place that’s “not comfortable for me or the dove.”
-Phil’s doppelganger is like Phil in an alternate universe “where I can drive a bull and wear boots with throwing stars on them.”
-Linda explains to Ted that her friend is a vet, “so if you start trembling and pee on the floor, she’ll be okay with it.” Ted: “Well, that is my move.”
-Veronica, on her relationship with Mordor: “Occasionally I leave him hanging, but that’s part of the act… or, foreplay.”
-Phil’s idea of a suave man’s pick-up line: “Phone numbers. Crazy, right?”
-Lem, on seeing Phil’s bruised face the next day: “Women… they think just because they’re stronger they can get away with anything.”
-As a scientist, Phil has been a threat to humanity, nature… even Jupiter, one time.
-Veronica: “Halfway through the set, I drink a large saucer of milk. And then Mordor and I bathe in it. The first two rows have to wear ponchos.”
-And, lastly, the line of the night: “It’s like having eyes everywhere! But in a good way… not like that time we spilled a container of eyes.”