Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday Night at the Fights

The theme was rivalry--sibling on My Name is Earl, ping-pong on The Office and pre-Mode Betty vs. post-Mode Betty on Ugly Betty. First off, My Name is Earl--did anyone else wish they had gotten the ubiquitous movie trailer voice guy to do the "Previously on My Name is Earl" voiceover in the beginning? Since it was a parody of a movie trailer, it would have made it even funnier...Oh well, maybe Don LaFontaine was busy--according to Wikipedia, "He is said to voice about 60 promotions a week, and sometimes as many as 35 in a single day." Wow--that's a lot of trailers...

The Earl episode centered around Randy and Earl (still fighting over who's in charge) and their efforts to recapture escapee Frank and Joy trying to end her surrogacy by delivering Liberty and Ray-Ray's baby. Of course you know the two storylines came together in the end in a hysterical finale. Is Jaime Pressley the luckiest actress or what? Joy gets all the best lines--for example at the hospital when Joy and Darnell are presented with a menu of spa services and Joy mistakes the "Eucalyptus Wrap" for food, she opines: "I swear it's like I died and gone to Chili's." And no-one delivers a white-trash line better than Pressley.

Earl knows that Frank is heading for the trailer because his former partner is crime Paco accidentally tells him that's where Frank hid the money. Funny moment: Earl sees Paco writing sheet music and says, "I didn't know you could write music!" to which Paco replies, "It's easy. It's just dots and lines." So Earl and Randy head off to the trailer park to intercept Frank--but the search dog that Randy wanted to bring along runs off just like Frank did.

They do find Frank in the trailer, but just then Joy and Darnell (who is in "labor" after being mistakenly injected with Joy's labor inducing drug) show up. And right behind them are Liberty and Ray-Ray, who have called the police to report a stolen baby. Frank holds them all hostage--and then Joy's water breaks. Joy delivers the baby--assisted by Darnell--and Frank takes off, but is captured by the search dog who shows up to save the day. In the end, Randy and Earl make up with Randy admitting that Earl is a better leader than he is and Earl saying, "I'm only good 'cuz I got you on my team." Awwww!

On The Office, it's Jim vs. Darryl playing ping-pong and Jan vs. Dunder-Mifflin in her wrongful termination suit. Kelly's trash talk--or smack talk (I didn't quite understand the difference--was there one?) of "my boyfriend is better than yours" ires Pam to encourage Jim to practice his ping-pong skills so he can beat Darryl. She sets up a table in the conference room and Kevin, and then Meredith play with Jim to improve his skills. Of course Dwight catches Jim in the act but Jim suckers him into playing by telling him he has to practice to play a "client." Turns out Dwight's a big table tennis aficionado and he really gives Jim a workout. But when Jim gets his rematch with Darryl it becomes clear that the REAL rivalry is between Pam and Kelly--and so they take over playing the game. Unfortunately, they both really suck at it.

The deposition of Jan's lawsuit produced some painful and painfully funny moments. Steve Carell plays Michael Scott as some sort of Pagliacci--both clownishly foolish and at times, deeply poignant. When the lawyer asks him about his knowledge of the client (referring to Jan), Michael hysterically answers that he's more familiar with The Pelican Brief and The Firm--referring to two other Grisham works. And the question about Michael working under Jan gets his famous "That's what she said" punchline--although Michael bristles when the court reporter reads it back muttering, "Delivery's all wrong--she's butchering it."

Things get really tense when the e-mailed photo of Jan topless is submitted as evidence--countered by Jan's attorney submitting Michael's diary. The exchange between Jan and Michael as everyone is reading Michael's journal during a recess was priceless: "I stole your diary and gave it to my lawyer. You took a topless photo of me and e-mailed it to the entire company. Let's call it even." Michael agrees and they exchange terse "I love yous." But pushed to the wall, Michael is forced to admit that Jan's treatment by Dunder-Mifflin did not exhibit a "pattern of disrespect"--especially after Jan's scathing review of his job performance is read into the record.

I really liked the episode--it was especially nice to see a more restrained, classy Michael Scott instead of the usual buffoonery.

On Ugly Betty, Betty finds herself face-to-face with her naive, sweet self--before she started working at Mode and being drawn into the manipulation and deception. She decides her being fired by Daniel for betraying him was a good thing--even after Ignacio offers to tell Daniel why she lied to him. But she gets drawn back into the Meade intrigue when she finds escapee Claire and her partner in crime Yoga hiding in her closet. Before Claire and Yoga take off for Italy, she wants Betty to get a hold of Bradford's will and make sure Daniel and Alexis are taken care of.

Betty tries to go back to Mode to locate the will, but is thwarted by the burly security guard--also named Amanda. Knowing that this Amanda has a big crush on her boyfriend, Betty gets Henry to distract the security guard while she sneaks into the office. Funny moment: Henry acting like a "playa" telling Amanda that "I'm sweet like sugar, soft like suede, but unlike a piano I never get played." When Amanda asks him "Where ya been all my life?," he nervously answers "Math Camp." Henry and Betty were at their all-time cutest in this episode. Betty and Henry come face-to-face with Marc and Wilhelmina who have the very same plan to find Bradford's will. But when it isn't in the safe, both Marc and Betty guess that Bradford must have hid it in Faye's secret sex room. But Marc locks Betty and Henry in Bradford's office and takes off with Willie to find the will.

So how do Betty and Henry escape? Via the air duct. I groaned when I saw this--hopefully it was meant to be intentionally cheesy. John August had a great post about the overuse of this plot technique. Still, it was funny when Henry miscalculated the distance they had traveled (Math Camp, huh?) and ended up landing right in Amanda's arms! Although they've missed Wilhelmina and Marc, Betty and Henry do find the will which states that Wilhelmina gets HALF of Bradford's estate--upon pronouncement of their marriage.

This leads to a flurry of events--Claire getting a Latina makeover from Hilda and then deciding she needs to see her children before she leaves, Wilhelmina and a newly "ordained" Marc converging on Bradford to finish the nuptials, Betty racing to prevent Wilhelmina from marrying Bradford, Claire's last moments with her children, Bradford telling Betty that he realizes that Wilhelmina never loved him--and no-one ever would like Claire, Claire defiantly risking capture to have one last moment with her husband--and then being carted back to jail, followed by Bradford dying.

But Wilhelmina may just have yet another trick up her sleeve--does that involve marrying a corpses? And does Bradford's missing Cavalli suit have to do with all this?


  1. Is it normal that I cried at the end of Ugly Betty?

  2. If you teared up during the Claire/Bradford reunion scene--yeah, that was a very emotional moment. If you cried at the very end with the scene with Wilhelmina propositioning the young doctor carting away Bradford's corpse--um, THAT'S not normal.

  3. It was the normal moment.

    I just wonder what she's going to do. I mean, is she going to clone him?

  4. Maybe she's gonna get the doctor to post-date the death certificate and have Marc marry her and Bradford's corpse. I'm still trying to figure out what the deal was with Bradford's missing suit...