Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Season 3--Corned Beef and Carnage

This episode title was simply irresistable. Could you imagine eating at a place called "Corned Beef Castles"? Honestly?

Synopsis
Jessica goes to the big city to visit her niece Victoria and her out-of-work actor husband, Howard. Jessica ends up spending most of her time with Howard because Victoria has a new, "cut-throat" career as an advertising executive. Victoria later confesses to Jessica that she's only working to give Howard a chance to land his big break and Howard confesses to Jessica that he basically feels like a loser, even though he's pretty proud of his wife's recent success. Needless to say, there's lots more rampant sexism about woman in the workplace to be had throughout this episode.

Case in point, Victoria's boss, Larry Kincaid, is desperate to land a new account promoting Corned Beef Castles and since the owner takes a shine to Victoria, her boss asks to her to do "whatever it takes" to help land the account. Heavy on the sexual innuendo. Heck, this went right past subtlety, straight to a boldface request. This occurred after the lecherous Mr. Kincaid subjects Victoria to a scene or two of rampant sexual harassment at his own hands and that of Mr. Corned Beef, Grover Barth. Ewww.

An angry and indignant Victoria quits her job and storms out of the office. Unfortunately, she returns later in the evening to collect her belongings. Deciding to confront her boss one last time, she enters his office to find Mr. Kincaid behind his desk, dead by bludgeoning with an ad award. By the way, this is about the eighth or ninth episode I've seen so far involving a murder victim being discovered dead either in their desk chair or on the floor beneath it. So if you have a posh, over-sized office with a swivel desk chair facing the door, beware.

Mrs. Fletcher makes the rounds to question a variety of suspects, including:

Christine Clifford: cougar-type who will quite literally do "whatever it takes" to steal this corned beef account away from the victim's ad agency

Seymour Biddle: owner of Biddle ad agency, he was trying to take the Corned Beef Castles account from the Kincaid agency at all costs

Aubrey Thornton: Victoria's under-used coworker, he was under contract but Kincaid was trying to force him out by not assigning him any real work duties

Myron Kincaid: elder brother of the murder victim, he inherited the ad agency upon Kincaid's death

Grover Barth: Mr. Corned Beef Castles himself, he hit on Victoria and told her boss that they could have the account if she was "part of the deal"

Jim Ingram : dopey security guard recently hired at Kincaid's agency, he was the only witness to the comings and goings at the office around the time of Kincaid's death

Jessica's niece Victoria is arrested because they found her prints on the murder weapon. Still, she's released because Jessica convinces the over-acting police detective of reasonable doubt. A corned beef sandwich was delivered at 8pm and the time of death was 9:15pm. Why was sandwich still there, uneaten, when the body was discovered?

Eventually Jessica uncovers that someone disguised as a deliveryman was the probable killer. But who? She puts the recently fired security guard and Aubrey Thornton in the same room together at the police station. The police detective is waiting for the former guard to recognize Aubrey, but he fails to do so.

In actuality, Jessica was hoping for the reverse. Aubrey asks, "Why did you keep me here so long, waiting around with that security guard?" Jessica asks Aubrey, "How did you know he was the security guard? He wasn't wearing a uniform. And you always left before the guard began his shift." This, of course, is enough to drive Aubrey into the long-awaited murder confession.

Famous Actors
There are tons! Right off the bat, I recognized repeat guest stars Genie Francis as Victoria (Laura of the "General Hospital" Luke and Laura 80's juggernaut) and Jeff Conaway as Howard ("Grease", "Taxi"). They also starred in a season 1 episode ("Birds of a Feather") as young, engaged lovers. Remember the one where Jeff Conaway gets a gig at a nightclub as a female impersonator after he gets fired from his insurance job?? No?

Then there a few actors that you'd recognize from somewhere, but maybe not remember exactly why: Susan Anton as sexpot Christine Clifford, who clearly has a few more teeth than absolutely necessary; Richard Kline, comedian/supporting actor from various movies/TV series; finally, David Odgen Stiers--same deal.

80's Baby
Tons of oversized ladies suits in pastels with ginorous shoulder pads to be seen here. Genie Francis also sports a strange "Bram Stoker's Dracula"-esque hairstyle throughout the episode, two humps of hair clipped back. The men's fashions were typically 80's as well, lots of overdone patterns and the occasional pair of corduroy slacks.

Wife of Mr. Corned Beef Castles also sports a very politically incorrect fox stole that resembled about 6 or 7 foxes stung together. Eww.

The End?
Strangely enough, there wasn't the trademark laugh/freeze frame moment. Just the murderer's confession and a somber Jessica freeze frame. What, no comic relief?

1 comment:

Elsie said...

Har on the office chair death scene comment. I also hearted Conway in the crossdressing epi.