“Without bosses, we’d be like these worms. Disgusting.” –Veridian Dynamics
Is it possible for employees to be friends with their bosses? I can’t think of too many times when I didn’t socialize with my supervisors, editors or managers (and there have been one or two along the way that I’d call very good friends), but it’s a tricky balance, because there are times when bosses have to be bosses, and tell their “friends” to stop dicking around and get back to work. As Lem notes on tonight’s Better Off Ted, the friendly employee/boss relationship is like a ventriloquist trying to be friends with his dummy. At the end of the day, you know who's sleeping in a suitcase.
Maybe it’s just my glee over having a new Better Off Ted to watch, but I thought “You’re The Boss Of Me” showed off the burgeoning cult series fairly well. The satirical elements were more muted—there wasn’t much here about modern corporate politics, or the inherent absurdity of office culture—but the episode was packed with funny lines and incidents, most of which I’ve cited below in the Stray Observations. And the consideration of how bosses and employees interact was both sublime and ridiculous.
On the sublime side, we saw the ever-iconoclastic Linda try to soften up the ironclad Veronica, by offering her a ride home after Veronica’s driver (who’s also her housekeeper, and her grandmother) dies. “I can’t start you at what I was paying my old driver,” Veronica apologizes, but once Linda reassures her that this is a favor, not a job, Veronica begins seeing how far she can push the favor. And once Linda offers to let Veronica bend her ear with how she feels about her dead grandmother, the two of them gulp wine together (until Linda is “completely fit-shaced”), and Veronica confesses that she once had her onion-smelling grandfather deported for cheating on her grandmother with Eleanor Roosevelt. In the days that follow, Veronica starts confessing a lot more (like how she once accused Omar Sharif of being a terrorist so she could take his first-class seat on an airplane), while taking Linda “to breakfast somewhere the meal doesn’t end in the word ‘slam.’”
Meanwhile (on the ridiculous side), Ted’s feeling lonely because his ex-wife is back after a year in Botswana (“a year Botswana’s never going to get back”) and is in New York with their daughter, making like Willy Wonka. (Ted, talking to his little girl on the phone: “Ice cream for breakfast? No, I don’t let you do that. You know what I let you do? Get vaccinated.”) So he asks Phil and Lem if he can hang out with them, and is thus introduced to Veridian’s secret Medieval Fight Club, which convenes weekly in the basement. At first Phil and Lem are happy to have him around, until they remember that Ted is awesome in all things, and that having him in MFC means that he will quickly dominate the league and send them scrambling back the model train club, where they might be more likely to excel. (“I have a chance to be the first black mayor of Tiny Town,” Lem says wistfully.)
As always, everything resets by the end of the episode, with Ted giving up MFC and Veronica giving up Linda as a confidante. And we at home get a further glimpse into increasingly dense world of Veridian. This week’s tidbit: The company has different after-work clubs on every floor! That’s called being employee-focused. Or perhaps just making sure that the people who work there never leave.
-Veridian’s working on brain implants to make everything taste sweet. The prospect of elective surgery hasn’t tested well, but it’s tested better than dieting or exercise.
-“Phil can I talk to you a little further away for a minute?”
-Lem assumes that Veronica never goes home, but instead finds a comfortable chair and powers down for the night.
-“I would like a whole bunch of wine, yes.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt hated men but loved onions.
-“Medieval Fight Club two nights in a row? My codpiece just got tighter.”
-When Linda drinks, she either gets laid or fired.
-Veronica used to feed her sister in her sleep to plump her up.
-“Whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up, because your hair looks great.”
-Linda hates The Doppler Project. Veronica hates Joe. Everybody wins.
-“Let’s not get into who shrunk who’s office, or who cancelled who’s dental plan.”
-Linda in MFC attire = win.
-“I declare Ted the victor. And Victor the loser.”