Monday, January 19, 2015

Selfie 1.11: "Perestroika"

“It wasn’t that long ago that I was subject to my own fiscal foibles. Let’s just say there’s a Blockbuster in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is still wondering what happened to their only copy of ‘Scream 2.’”

“Perestroika” as you might guess from the title (if you are at all a Cold War buff) featured a thawing in the relationship between Eliza and Henry following the drama of the past couple episodes (perestroika wasn’t a thawing in diplomatic relations, though, it was political and economic restructuring that took place in the final years of the USSR…but I digress). The episode really brought out the worst in both Eliza and Henry. We saw how childish they both can be. We also saw by the end of the episode that they really do bring out the best in each other and work better together. Eliza needs more structure and organization in her life, and Henry needs to lighten up. They complement each other well. I’m glad they have reached this détente in their relationship where they can at least be friends again.

At the beginning of the episode, we see that Eliza has chosen to deal with Henry’s rejection in a very juvenile way. She decides to use the playbook of the chief Mean Girl at her high school. First, she deliberately doesn’t look at Henry when she sees him in the hallway. Then she deliberately pretends she can’t see him. Finally, she decides to “’Gone Girl’ his ass” by thrashing around on the kitchen floor covered it ketchup. The whole thing is rather ridiculous. Also ridiculous is Eliza’s home situation. One morning while Eliza is flailing around trying to get ready, three of Bryn’s minions knock on her door. Apparently the landlord had been knocking on Eliza’s door for a while, and when she didn’t answer, he started knocking on Bryn’s. Eliza is behind on her rent, and the landlord also wants an additional security deposit because of the chalk art Eliza has done on the walls and her tendency to flush random stuff down the toilet when drunk. As Eliza is defensively chatting with the book club ladies, her power goes out. Apparently she forgot to pay the electric bill, too.

Normally, Eliza would go to Henry for help with this sort of adult situation, but he doesn’t really want to speak to her at the moment. He was all psyched for his performance review, because his reviews are always awesome, but he was hugely disappointed to get an 89%. Apparently he got an especially bad peer review this time around. He considers that a B, and he’s never gotten anything but an A in his life. Raj offers to let Henry see his file, because Henry says he’d like to learn about how he can improve. Henry scours through all the peer evaluations in his file until he finds one that describes him as “kind of a poop.” Mostly due to the juvenile phrasing and the fact that Eliza has been generally juvenile to him recently, Henry immediately suspects the culprit is Eliza. Therefore he is really pissed off at her.

Eliza still has no power, and her credit cards are all maxed out from a few too many shopping trips. This is where the episode starts to confuse me. Sometimes the show wants us to believe that Eliza would be just fine financially if she could focus just long enough to pay her bills on time. She is the best sales rep at her company, after all. Then in the next scene, we’re told that she blew all her money on shoes and handbags and has maxed out all her credit cards. Anyway, despite her (maybe?) financial problems, Eliza decides to try staying in a super high-end hotel. All of her credit cards keep getting declined, but then the guy at the desk helpfully notices that Eliza has the highest rewards points balance he’s ever seen. Soon enough, Eliza and Freddie are living it up in the hotel’s Presidential Suite. All is good and Instagrammable until the bill for all the extras (champagne, etc.) arrives. Again, Eliza is paralyzed at the thought of having to pay a bill. Eliza is so hard up for money that she tries to sell some of her collection of gift cards to her coworkers.

Meanwhile, Henry tries to strong-arm Raj into telling him who wrote the unflattering peer review. He’s convinced it’s Eliza, but Raj won’t say a word about it. He even recites a really silly “HR Code” about not revealing personal information. I think if “Selfie” had continued, Raj might have become one of my favorite characters. He’s just always so put upon by everyone else’s silly antics. Anyway, as a frustrated Henry is leaving is office, Raj whispers that the review wasn’t written by Eliza. Henry immediately feels better, which is a good thing considering Eliza is now camping out on the couch in his office. Henry offers to let Eliza stay at his place for the night. He says he’s going to stay with Julia, but he actually goes to a hotel, because, you know, he and Julia broke up.

Eliza decides to take the opportunity to snoop through some of Henry’s stuff, although Henry warns her not to (they’re talking on the phone while she is rooting through one of his drawers). It’s kind of an awkward situation, because while Eliza and Henry are talking on the phone, a maid stops by to ask Henry if he wants turndown service. He tries to pretend it’s Julia getting into some role play. The jig is up, though, because Julia shows up at the back door to Henry’s house. Julia is pissed off to see Eliza at the house, and she says she’s not surprised that Henry has moved right on to Eliza. She stopped by to return some of Henry’s stuff, and Eliza accepts it without comment.

The next day, Henry goes to work fixing Eliza’s financial problems. He gets her put on an installment plan with the landlord and gives her some (pretty and sparkly) filing tools to get her more excited about keeping track of her finances. Eliza is truly grateful for the help, and she tells Henry so. Henry tells her not to worry about it, because he had his own financial missteps when he was in his twenties. Eliza lets on that she knows Henry and Julia broke up, and Henry assures her that he’s going to be okay. The relationship just wasn’t meant to be. Later, in bed, Eliza asks Freddie why he didn’t offer to let her stay with him when she was almost evicted. Freddie says he thought it would freak her out, because every time he tries to get closer to her, she runs away. He’d really actually like to live with her. Eliza responds to this with a kiss.

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