Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Showtime's Web Therapy: The Insanity Offense

I love how during the opening credits the webcam turns and faces me.  It makes me feel like I am under the merciless scrutiny of Fiona Wallice.

And Fiona (played by Lisa Kudrow) does have her eyes on the people who populate her world. She’s on the campaign plane for the duration of this episode, but still keeping her eyes on everyone via the webcam.

There are a record number of four guest stars in this episode: Selma, Blair playing the human baby incubator (pregnancy surrogate for Fiona’s assistant, Jerome); Lily Tomlim; playing Fiona’s mother; Conon O’Brian, playing himself; and David Schwimmer, playing Fiona’s patient/stalker /accuser/old flame (I’m not sure what he is), Newell.

The official title of this show is “The Insanity Offense.”  I’m going to rename it “The Criminal Capers” because each of Fiona’s computer contacts are involved in schemes and activities that could land them in prison.

Taking the stars in chronological order, we begin with Selma Blair. While the cat’s away, the mice will play. She is sitting at Fiona’s desk eating from a big bucket of fried chicken (KFC?). Fiona is a bit of a neat freak, so she freaks out over the idea of grease on her desk. An argument ensues, and after a bout of verbal sparring, Fiona accuses the surrogate of a criminal act--faking her pregnancy to get money.

Maybe you’re just fat, Fiona says. “Fat,” screams the enraged surrogate, “I am not fat!” She lifts her blouse, pulls off the padding that made her look pregnant, and shows off her flat abs. Fiona orders her and her “foam baby” out of the house.

Next Fiona speaks with her mother, Putsy. Her mother is in a facility for her supposed (or actual) dementia. She’s dressed like Florence Nightingale and she has a sock puppet on her hand that she calls Putsy Petite. She insists that Fiona speak to the puppet. Putsy, the human one, tells Fiona that she has unintentionally killed her roommate by giving her pills. Putsy obtained the pills by having the other patients feed their meds to Putsy Petite. The sock puppets mouth hole led to a tube which deposited the pills in a jar.

Putsy wants Fiona to declare her insane so she can escape punishment. Fiona is shocked by her mother’s crimes, but not so shocked as she is at the sight of her mother’s bare, somewhat pinkish, buttocks when she turns her back to the camera to check on whether or not her roommate is breathing.  (Putsy ended up in this institution because she had taken to walking around bottomless.)

Fiona asks “Are you wearing a false bottom or have you just had work done?”  I’m labeling this as the-fall-on the floor–laughing moment of the week.

Now Fiona has to deal with Conon O’Brien. Conan has gotten his criminal band members to cut down Fiona’s tree as revenge for Fiona’s refusal to help him trick his sidekick on his show, Andy, into taking more of a backseat role. The tree is being “felled” as she speaks with Conan.

The quick-thinking Fiona tells Conan that the tree has fallen on Jerome. Conan is aghast when he hears that he might be criminally liable. Fiona tells him it is her ethical duty to report him. He begs Fiona not to do this. Fiona says she will keep his secret if he replaces her tree with another 300-year-old tree and let her be a guest on his show so she can promote herself.

Fiona is lying about Jerome, we soon see. Jerome walks into her office and almost gets on camera as Fiona hastily closes the session. 

Finally, Newell is on her computer screen. He is at her house demanding that she open the door. She tries to tell him that she is not at home, but Newell won’t believe her. He’s very agitated and hurls his father-fornicator epitaph at her again. The neighbors have evidently called the police because he is causing such a ruckus, and David scampers away before they arrive.

Every character on the show has committed the offense of being insane, insanely funny, criminally insanely funny.
This picture is from