Episode Title: "Looking For A Desk In All The
Production Code: 0605
Reviewed By: Nitzan Gilkis
"Looking For A Desk In All The Wrong Places" is one of those episodes which, if you haven't watched them in a while, you find yourself wondering how on earth they lasted a full 22 minutes, as you can hardly remember anything happening in them. And truth be told, not much does happen here. Basically we have a baby meeting, an anti-baby meeting, and in between two short scenes of Marcy and Peggy looking for Marcy's lost childhood belongings, which were thoughtlessly auctioned off by Jefferson (who spends most of the episode unconscious after his wife's "out-of-the-park" blow... Wasn't she the one who preached to Kelly against using violence a season earlier?* Ah well). But lack of story never meant lack of fun on MWC; why, one of my all-time favorites, "The Worst Noel", had Al and Peggy sitting on the couch watching TV as its main plot. Here about half the episode takes place around the kitchen table, but the dialog is so strong you hardly even notice it, and these scenes just seem to fly by. Not many other shows I can think of could've pulled this off so easily - credit goes to talented writer Stacie Lipp as well as the four Bundy actors, who have by now become so comfortable in their roles as a family and so accustomed to each other that no scene with all (or most) of them present can be bad.
Al, Bud and Kelly are anxious to begin the meeting...
...just like they were in "If Al Had A Hammer"
Bud: I want clean dry sheets!
Well, y'know, 'cause it gets humid in my room.
Kelly: Yes, dancing with a rubber woman can make any room a jungle.
Ah, baby meetings. Gotta love 'em. The
ridiculously exaggerated worshipping of the fetus, the verbal volleys flying from all sides... Belly
laughs galore (no pun intended). Shame we were treated to only two of them... (the other being in
"If Al Had A Hammer" two episodes earlier). Then again, maybe two was just right, as they were
starting to repeat themselves already: the reading of Kelly's minutes (whatever happened to her
illiteracy?), Al giving his "treasury report"... not to mention the fact that both
meetings start in almost exactly the same manner, with everyone but Peggy sitting with their heads
down on the table. But it's a minor vice, and hardly gets in the way of enjoying the scene, which is
very well-written. Two small things here struck me as especially funny. The first is a good
instance of MWC exercising "self-censorship", which is always great for laughs:
Bud: You must forgive Kel, Mom, but she just might come to life if you say: "I just got payed and I wanna get - "
Peggy: That's enough!
A lot funnier than if Peggy had just let Bud finish the sentence IMO. Another such incident I can remember is from "A Man's Castle", where Bud recites: "Bud, Bud, alone he'll sit, Bud, Bud, he'll touch no - " and Al cuts him off at just the right moment. I don't know aboult y'all but I just love this kind of stuff. My other favorite bit in the scene (and possibly in the entire episode as well) is the little "hail baby" dance Al and Bud perform to convince Peggy of their enthusiasm. Call me weird but I thought that was a riot. God knows why!
Marcy gets nostalgic... Peggy gets uneasy
Kelly: Boy, I'll be so happy when this kid is older than we are. Then maybe we'll get some attention.
If you're a fan of Marcy's occasional
forays into the world of insanity (I am), this episode's for you. Her recounting of the tea parties
she held with her imaginary friends as a child ("lick 'em! lick 'em like a dog!") ranks
right up there with the best of them, and its "aftershocks" in the second act when she
reunites with her precious heirlooms are pretty darn funny too. Interesting to note that while
usually these "madness attacks" are met with indifference - or at most, some odd looks -
from the other characters, here they are commented on twice by Peggy: "you're a mighty sick
woman, Marcy", and "I see since your pregnancy you've stopped taking your little pills,
haven't you?". Pay attention to Marcy's facial expression following the latter - it's
priceless. I've long felt that Amanda was second only to Ed among the cast as far as physical comedy
abilities and facial expressions go; too bad she wasn't given more chances to show it. Ah well, no
use crying over spilled milk now... In addition to giving Amanda Bearse a chance to show off her
acting chops, Marcy and Peggy's storyline also serves as a vehicle for MWC to do some of that social
satire it's so fond of, the targets here being (not for the first - or last - time) public school
teachers and illegal aliens. The satire is very
effectively done, with each of the scenes swiftly making its point and moving on, lasting no longer
than is required. My only problem as far as this storyline is concerned is with the fact that Marcy
(the banker!) suddenly has no money to pay for getting her stuff back, and has to turn to Peggy for
"material support". (Am I nitpicky today or what?). Probably just an excuse to include the
shoe coupon jokes, but a poorly convincing one at that...
"Lemon tree very pretty..."
"I think you know what you have to do for backstage passes"
Al: [to Jefferson] Now we've got Pregnaho, and we've got PMSachusetts, but where we live is called Breast Virginia.
Jefferson's balladeer fantasy is rather pointless and redundant, and seems to only serve as another excuse for MWC to bring on da babes. I have the feeling that at this point of time the writers still didn't quite know what to do with Marcy's new husband; his appearances were usually limited to making fun of Marcy behind her back and then apologizing/covering up once she turned around (and such), and only rarely did he get any lines that were actually meaningful. Not that this problem was entirely solved in later seasons, but at least they fleshed out his character a bit more, and added the past-as-a-spy thing... At any rate, our episode is one of the more glaring examples of Jefferson just being a pain in the writer's ass, and this resulting scene is by far the weakest in the episode - although certainly an eye-pleasing one for viewers of both sexes, haha...
"I'll bet she'd like some nice scalding tea in her face"
Al: Are they going to find us
with our legs up in the air?
Bud: Well, I can't speak for Kelly, but they won't find me like that...
The ending proves once again, to anyone who still needed proving, who really wears the pants in the Bundy household (hint: she has red hair). One threatening look from Peggy is enough to break the "united front of the born" and send the kids snitching on their bewildered father. Funny to see the three of them so shaky when faced with the red Pregzilla; I mean, what's the worst she could do to them? Make them rub her feet? Or her belly? Beats me... The situation becomes even funnier if you remember that only four seasons earlier** the roles were reversed, with Peggy being the one secretly plotting with the kids, and Bud squealing to Al about it because "he makes the money". Guess in the meantime the kids came to the conclusion that the amount Al earns hardly justifies their loyalty, huh? ;-)
United Bundy front? Not for long...
To sum things up: a very enjoyable episode for the most part, whose only real fault is that the most memorable thing about it is its exceptionally long title. In one ear and out the other, as they say, but at least it leaves you sitting there with a big, silly grin on your face, which is something not all of its peers can claim.
* - episode 0506 ("Kelly
** - episode 0205 ("For Whom The Bell Tolls")