Friday, March 13, 2009

Ugly Betty and The Office - A Mother of a Problem and Golden Ticket

Christine Baranski swooped into Ugly Betty last night channeling her inner Holland Taylor. As Matt's mother, Victoria Hartley, she was snotty, haughty, bitchy and a hell of a good time. Claire Meade and Wilhelmina Slater looked positively warm and fuzzy compared to her.

Mistaking Betty for the help she tells her, "The first Monday of the month I give away my shoes..." Matt tried to prevent the inevitable meeting between the irresistible force and immovable object telling Betty, "I just didn't want to put you through the Victoria Hartley taste test."

But Betty is game, so Matt invites her to Victoria's swanky party.

Claire advises her to find out and research the party's topic of conversation, which turns out to be "torture." But when the party conversation begins, Victoria changes the topic to the future of opera. Although Betty is put on the spot, she comes through with flying colors. It's not good enough, however, for Victoria who tells Betty that she's not good enough for her son. "I hope you enjoyed your meal tonight but I don’t think we’ll be seeing you again," she tells the crestfallen Betty.

But Matt stands up to his Mom and leaves the party with Betty. He also took the fall for Betty's mushroom mishap. Hmm...he may be a keeper. Later Claire tells Betty to get over her need to have everyone like her which comes in handy when Betty runs into Victoria again. I love the way she stood up to the formidable Mrs. Hartley.

Claire's advice isn't limited to Betty's love life, but Hilda's as well. "Hilda should totally go out with that councilman," she tells Betty. Aha, I thought to myself--I'm sensing an appearance by Ralph Macchio in the near future. Turns out the future was closer than I thought; Councilman Archie turned up as a surprise dinner guest at the Suarez home. Surprise to Hilda anyway and she is put off by the set up, but fortified by a glass of wine and charmed by Archie's genuineness she accepts his request for a date.

It sure didn't hurt that he quoted Justin Timberlake:

Your eyes have a story that they wish to tell
And I have my whole life
And I listen well...
Willie's trauma is that she has to sell off her furs and jewelry to match Daniel's contribution to keeping Mode afloat. But when the auction house shows up to collect her possessions, Willie freaks and Marc finds her in bed surrounded by her furs. (I wondering why PETA hasn't boycotted Ugly Betty...) "I can't stand seeing you like this," Marc tells her as he pulls out his cameraphone. Willie eventually lets go of her precious things, but refuses to give up her gourmet afternoon snack: "As God is my witness I will never go without champagne and caviar again!" she declares channeling her inner Scarlett O'Hara.

Finally, Daniel and Molly disagree on her cancer treatment--but Daniel finally backs down upon Betty's advice: "She’s just trying to give you the time she does have left." He promises Molly to make the most of the time they do have together.

The Office began with a lame knock-knock joke off. Dwight follows up Michael's "Buddha this bread for me," with a slap to Michael's face at the response "KGB who?" telling him "We'll ask the questions!" Michael bans knock-knock jokes so Jim chimes in with "Ding-dong..." Michael responds, "Who's there?" "KGB..." Jim replies.

"Dwight, get the door," Michael commands.

The rest of the episode dealt with Michael's "great idea" to play Willy Wonka and slip five golden tickets into paper shipments offering the customer 10% off their purchases for a year. Michael tries to encourage the rest of the staff to come up with brilliant ideas. Jim offers the possibility of renting out their truck fleet on the weekends. "Too many words," Michael says cutting him off.

Andy's golden ticket ideas consist of things with the word "golden" in them: Golden Girls, Golden Grahams...

Meanwhile, Kevin is receiving conflicting dating advice from Jim, Pam and the recently burnt and bitter Andy. This confuses Kevin who says, "I'm a textbook overthinker..."

Yeah, Kev--you sure are.

Andy advises him to give backhanded compliments to keep the woman off-balance. "Do guys actually do that?" Pam exclaims. "Guys with girlfriends don't," Jim assures her.

Blue Cross of Pennsylvania, their biggest client, ends up getting ALL FIVE golden tickets, which screws with Jim's commissions and the company's revenue. Michael confronts Darryl as to how all five tickets ended up in the same shipment. "You idiot!" he says. "Start over," Darryl warns him. Darryl explains how five boxes sitting right next to each other ended up on the same pallet and thus delivered to the same client. "What is a pallet?" asks Michael.

Michael dodges the calls of David Wallace from Corporate with Pam offering excuses such as "He's not back from the civil rights rally" or "He's having a colonoscopy." One of the excuses proscribed by Michael is that he's trapped in an oil painting. "I'm gonna save that one," Pam says.

Michael defends his golden ticket idea to the staff saying, "I'm just a net that traps all of your crappy ideas and adds some of my childhood memories to them." Jim complains about the loss of his commssions and Michael tells him, "It's not my fault you bought a house to impress Pam. That's what carnations are for!"

Michael tells David, "We might have hired an outside marketing consultant," but when David presses for the name of the firm, Michael shifts the blame to the sales department--specifically Dwight. He pulls out a diary to prove that it was Dwight's idea, but Dwight pulls out a diary of his own to prove that it was Michael's. "Why do you have a diary?" Michael asks. "To keep secrets from my computer" is Dwight's answer.

So Michael invites Dwight to lunch to convince him to fall on his sword for him. He tells Dwight that he needs his job at Dunder-Mifflin more than Dwight does. "What about Shoe La La?" Dwight asks Michael.

When David Wallace shows up, Michael pushes Dwight under the bus only to have David tell him, "Dwight, I owe you an apology." Blue Cross was so excited at the golden tickets they made Dunder-Mifflin their exclusive paper provider. This sets Dwight and Michael off on a game of one-upmanship as to who has better ideas. "I have a lot of toilet ideas," Michael explains.

Fed up, David leaves--but Michael feel ultimately triumphant that he actually had a good idea.

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