1/14 Season Three, Episode 05: Welcome to America Mr Brand- Scarecrow and Mrs King (Blog order- Episode 01)

Whooo hooooo!!! It’s time to leap into Season 3 with glee!!!! Actually, I’ve been surprised at just how much I enjoyed season 2.. hair don’t and ear buttons or not! I love how far these characters have come! How about you?

We will be seeing lots of changes now we are in season 3.. maybe you’d like to share any ‘updates’ to the look of the show that you find? I’ll start with one – the show’s credits have been changed! whoooo!!!  Would anyone be interested in exploring the credits and it’s differences? there are lots of changes! If this appeals to you- go for it! Smile we can publish it!

Before we get into this episode, I would just like to add that this episode has a reputation in the smk fandom as being boring.. annoying.. and in the bottom five episodes. I actually heard this view many times before I ever actually saw the episode! Soooo I will not be at all surprised to hear people feel this way. I’m curious to hear what your first impressions of this episode were if you watched it back during it’s first airing. What are your memories of it?

WTAMB.avi_000080180As for myself, I find I have a big soft spot for this episode!! I don’t find it boring and I love what this episode is about!! Feel free not to like it.. but maybe walking through it together may improve it a little Winking smile I’ll share why I like it as we progress.. so I hope you’ll give this episode another chance and discover that while it’s not a burn out or a ship of spies, there’s a lot to like! Smile 

On with the show (finally!) The episode opens on a dark Washington DC street. A man is standing outside the ‘US Bureau of Engraving and Printing’ taking photos – without a flash LOL! I don’t think they’re going to turn out Winking smile
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Ah! Another guy emerges from the shadows doing a bit of surveillance on the man doing surveillance.. got a  headache yet? Winking smile
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He takes a photo of his own of the man taking a photo Winking smile no flash there either! LOL.. guess this is magic film they are using.. The second guy drops his camera and the flash goes off- finally! ha haaa! This alerts the first guy that he is being watched. So the bumbler scrambles to his car and drives off. Hmm! what was all that about?  A weird way to start an episode.. much less a whole season Winking smile I see this episode is directed by Winrich Kolbe.. he directed Saved by the Bells and DOA: Delirious on Arrival so far.. both SMK episodes full of lots of humour!!! Interesting! Smile 

The next morning.. whooo we see a new exterior of Amanda’s home.. no more Pitt family jogging?? I’ll miss them!! [but not the smell Winking smile ]
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Dotty: I think it’s wonderful that you have a date with an Englishman.
Amanda: well it’s not actually a date mother. I’m really more of a tour guide.
[LOL now we know where Amanda gets that assumption she likes to make about men wanting to date her Winking smile . Interesting – Amanda played tour guide for Emily this way before Das Geisterschloss]
Dotty is watching a video of the royal wedding, whoa.. check out the video machine! whahahaha!!
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Amanda sighs and shares how there is something so nice about the English..[There you go Jenbo!! Any other regulars who are English?? Be proud you guys! Smile ] Dotty is doing the family tree and has found it is crawling with English ancestry… Dotty declares the whole family tree will be finished by the weekend.
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Oh wait.. Amanda has a hair do!!! the hair don’t is gone!!! whooo hooo!!!
In bounces Jamie. Yes bounces! He has on a cape and WTAMB.avi_000156256carries a wand.. and declares: Ladies and grandmothers,WTAMB.avi_000157257
announcing the.. the..
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(Jamie hesitates having forgotten his announcement, we see Phillip waiting over by the stairs with plenty of encouragement.. ahem.. )
Phillip whispers to prompt Jamie:
The amazing King, stupid.
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[Okay- that is Phillip’s first line of season 3?! ugh!!! Calling his brother stupid?? and then he doesn’t even WTAMB.avi_000164264get in trouble for it?? breathe iwsod.. move on.. grr]
Phillip makes his entrance and takes a bow.. for what? making an entrance? Amanda sings Bravo!!! and
WTAMB.avi_000166766claps..

Umm he hasn’t done anything yet Amanda! Winking smile
though she is rewarded with a magic white flower for her cheers..
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Hey good one Phillip that trick will be great with the ladies Winking smile
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Amanda: Oh thank you very much sweetheart!
Jamie heads to the fridge for the next prop that’s needed.. an egg.
Jamie: and I’m his assistant the sort of Amazing King.
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[Interesting that Amazing King sound very similar to Amanda King Winking smile I see Jamie has inherited his mother’s self-depreciating and patient ways!] He hands Phillip an egg. Dotty explains that the magic set Phillip won selling Christmas cards has finally arrived.
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Phillip tries to perform a disappearing egg trick but the crack of the egg on the tiles is a dead giveaway Winking smile Now.. do the disappearing Phillip trick! Winking smile Or.. maybe the disappearing mess on the floor trick Winking smile
The scene ends with the ever encouraging Amanda declaring:
Phillip that was a very good try.
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WTAMB.avi_000197297On to IFF… no car out the front huh.. has IFF put a stop to this perk?! Billy is addressing a meeting..(including Lee and Francine) [I love this dialogue!]: it’s simple, they’re posting the ICEP here in DC, OIS is making some of the VIP’s our responsibility, we’re dumping on them ASAP. Any Questions?
[Errr OK Billy!!! the use of acronyms is a little OTT but I think I got it A O.K.. tee heee! I love it!]
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Francine seems to go to insert a question here but Billy cuts her off. The script has her deliver a one liner here.. maybe it accidentally got  cut??

Billy continues: We’ll use team tactics, full-court press, sleep on your own time. That’s it. Have fun.
LOL. I don’t think I understood half of what Billy said!

Francine and Lee are last to leave… Francine asks who Lee got.. : …Kenneth Clayton-Dobbs?!
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Lee: Mmm hmm
Francine: The seventh Earl of Twickensham.
Billy: Chairman of the International Conference on Economic Progress.
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LOL the subtitles attribute this line to Lee and it’s Billy’s voice! Here we see a close up on the picture of Clayton-Dobbs that Lee has been provided in the bio. ROFL!!! It’s official!! One look at that picture and it’s obvious he’s a VIP baddie! whhaahahaahaaa!!! Ohhh smk..
I love how in the background of this close up you can see one of the drawer handles is busted haaa.. random! Agency still suffering budget cuts? Winking smile 

Francine: Aha. and I get a mmm 65 year old assistant secretary of industrial mobilization from Tasmania.
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Wha??????!!!!!! I don’t believe it!!! An Australian reference in SMK???!!!! Get out!! well that just made my day!! Although it’s pretty funny that the person involved with industrial mobilization is from Tasmania (they are not big on industry, rather they are big on natural produce, the environment etc.) but.. I’m sure smk wasn’t going for that gag since most wouldn’t get it.
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Francine continues: Terrific. Thanks a lot Billy. Tsk, really nice.
WTAMB.avi_000235335Francine walks off unimpressed and Lee has a laugh at her expense. Hmm see comments below!
[Forgive me but what exactly are they doing with these VIP’s?? what’s dumping on them? protection? following them? me confused!]
WTAMB.avi_000237337Billy follows Lee adding: Oh! there’s one other thing [whooo Billy’s collar is undone, tie is lose, jacket is off. is Billy going for a Colombo impression here?!]
Billy continues: .. totally unrelated to the conference.. there’s a uh MI6 employee having a vacation.
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Lee immediately jumps in and tells Billy who’s boss- Lee! Winking smile : no no hold it. I don’t have time to babysit a British Agent.
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WTAMB.avi_000246346Billy: Oh he’s not an agent. He’s an accountant in their pension department. If we WTAMB.avi_000250350want the red carpet treatment in England…
  [The guy isn’t even an agent. Hmm see my comments below]
WTAMB.avi_000255855Lee nods :
we’ve gotta roll it out here. I know… but man, I’m gonna be swamped.
WTAMB.avi_000258858Billy: I thought Amanda would be perfect.

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Realisation dawns on Lee..
Lee: absolutely perfect! Yeah!!!
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Oh wait.. Lee remembers..
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Lee: except, the last time she did that she spent the evening arm wrestling that octopus from Interpol.
WTAMB.avi_000265865Billy: I don’t think she’ll have to worry about this guy.
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Lee: why? WTAMB.avi_000270370
At this, Billy looks over to a man waiting..
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and Lee follows his gaze to find the man has on odd argyle socks.
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Apparently that tells them exactly what type of man this is. There he goes bumbling his newspaper.. dropping it on the floor and picking it up – I guess this clues us in to the fact that this was the camera dropper in the opening scene..
The look on Lee’s face here as the scene ends is curious..
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What do you make of his reaction to ‘the accountant’?WTAMB.avi_000278378

Iwsod’s comments:
– Francine’s assignment.
Francine is unhappy with her assignment.. yet again! we only just saw Francine complaining about Dr Mallory and her tongue sandwich with ketchup. booo hooo!!! Is it just me or is her moaning about her work not doing her any favours? To me it makes her look unprofessional, and it encourages Billy to give her more of the same – because she hasn’t learned her lesson to shut up already Winking smile
At the same time.. I’d like to see Lee get an assignment that’s as dumb as what Francine got sometime.. Francine doesn’t do herself any favours, but there’s a part of me that wonders if she is actually treated fairly sometimes..  Thoughts anyone??

-the MI6 employee..
How ridiculous is it that Billy even mention this guy on vacation to Lee?! Of course Lee shouldn’t be doing that- he’s suppose to be their top agent and has just been given an assignment. I find this plain dumb.

If Billy had in mind that Amanda should do it all along – why does he have to check with Lee first??!!! Is Lee Amanda’s boss?? or is Billy? grrr.. and so sets up some of the frustrations of this episode.. I’m not frustrated with the episode per se, but I think Amanda’s work frustrations are a part of the story this week..(next episode too!) you’ll see!

The only reason I can see for this conversation between Lee and Billy is to set up Lee’s defending of Amanda from octopus close encounters.. I do enjoy his displeasure at mentioning the octopus from interpol! Winking smile 

– Appearances.
It’s interesting that all Billy and Lee have to do is look at this non-agent ‘accountant’ with the non matchy matchy socks and they already know he will definitely not be a grabber. 

The guy is definitely more Mr Bean than Mr Bond!!! but.. Meh.. I’m unimpressed with the assumptions being made here about accountants – as that’s just unfair to accountants! Such a cliché.. poor Accountants.. they get portrayed in such a bad light.. why?!! It was accountants who finally nabbed Al Capone wasn’t it!! (and no I am not an accountant! I just find this stereotype annoying on their behalf! )

I think this sets up the episode’s events: seems there are two types of people in this world – agents, and non-agents.. and this guy isn’t an agent.. Lee and Billy are very quick to judge this ‘accountant’ and write him off as being of no importance. Writing off an accountant- rofl!!! Now there is a pun for ya!!! whahahhaaa!!
Notice, they don’t even bother to give him a name when discussing him! he’s of such little importance. This IMHO is a major theme of this episode- we’ll explore this more as we proceed!

-The look from Lee at the end of this scene.
What do you think he’s thinking?
I think he’s thinking: this guy is going to be a total bore [ironic given how many smk fans find this episode boring! Myself- I find this episode fascinating!!!!]
Lee worries that Amanda is not going to be happy with this assignment? how is he going to make this appealing to do?! .. granted.. we learn more about this from the next Lee/Amanda scene..
Thoughts?? I’m sure there are a few!!

-Scene order
By the way, did anyone else notice how Amanda knows she is going to be playing tour guide for an Englishman before Billy had decided and discussed with Lee Amanda doing this job?! The script has the IFF scene first, and then the King family home scene.. strange! I guess Billy could have told Amanda first.. but it seems strange that Billy talks like he hasn’t asked her yet. Oh well!

What do you make of this conversation here between Lee and Billy? Any thoughts you’d like to share?

Has everyone grasped that this accountant is a bumbler??!!! did you notice that? LOL! ugh..

As always I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this episode..  thanks for stopping by and joining in the fun!! byee for now.. 

22 responses to “1/14 Season Three, Episode 05: Welcome to America Mr Brand- Scarecrow and Mrs King (Blog order- Episode 01)

  1. Pingback: SEASON 3 Quick Links | "Just walk with me..."

  2. I watched this episode yesterday, paying close attention to this first section. I don’t think Billy and Lee were necessarily looking down on Mr. Brand as an accountant or making fun of his position. I believe Billy was simply reassuring Lee that this assignment was something Amanda could handle and that the gentleman wasn’t an agent or a threat to Amanda. Lee is eager to see Amanda have a simple assignment (less likely for trouble), but doesn’t want her to face a difficult situation, again. He’s reassured by this mild-mannered accountant, who obviously looks like an easy assignment for her. (Beware, Lee, nothing that looks easy ever is.)

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  3. I didn’t see Francine’s complaining about her assignment to be an accurate assessment that she gets assignments that place her in a lower tier, professionally. I just think she would prefer all her assignments to be younger, good-looking, and either rich or well connected. After all, whether an assignment is personally boring or not doesn’t really give a clue as to its importance. Doesn’t she complain in some other episode when she is stuck working with the IRS while Amanda gets to go do something glamorous? And Francine does get her moments to shine. The luck of the draw is against her this time.

    Real life has gotten really busy right now, so I’ve been visiting the blog less often. My strategy is to schedule in a big chunk of time for catch-up every so often, rather than making constant visits when I’m suppose to be doing something else! So I still hope to read all the posts and comments, but sometimes a lot later.

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    • Hi Happy Camper! we’ll take you however we can get you! 😉

      I like your insight on Francine here..and what she was hoping for with her assignment.. and her jealousy at what Lee got.. Hmm!! maybe this is the first time in this episode that we see the whole idea of – ‘judging by appearances’ being raised??!!!

      All fits nicely to me!

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  4. Behind again, naturally! Good excuses this time though — had a youth retreat with 190 people(!) over the weekend, and just before that on Thursday, my first grandbaby arrived 😀 . He is healthy and beautiful and I am starting to get used to the name Dexter!

    I like this episode, sorta the same way Amanda will later say that she likes James., It’s not top ten, not spectacular, no “big scenes”, but I enjoy the gentle friendly feel between the characters, how Amanda’ s generous personality shines through, and how we start to see it rubbing off on Lee.

    SMK has always enjoyed playing with stereotypes, so the accountant thing didn’t bother me. In fact, I like it, especially when used in a scene that is probably discussed in the next blog post. (Then again, I’m not an accountant!) I think SMK was going for the contrast between the suave James Bond and this James Pott wanna-be. A little over the top — yeah, but I think that’s the ,effect they were going for. I never saw this as meaning to be a contrast between first-year Amanda and this guy, although that’s a nice thought. I really felt it was meant as an episode to highlight Amanda’s charm and how it is transforming Lee.

    Francine getting yucky assignments? Well, she is not as senior as Lee, and I assume someone has to take them. And she does set herself up for them, doesn’t she? And speaking of seniority, I always felt that Billy giving Lee the heads up on what Amanda was doing was professional courtesy. As the senior member of a two-person team, Lee should know. And in a good working relationship (non-military), the boss will seek the constructive feedback of those he managers, even if the opinions are differing. In summary, all the nuance of that office scene flew right over my head, leaving me blissfully unaware of all the underlying tension! I love the scene for the Octopus line and Lee’s protectiveness of Amanda. He gets no amusement in recalling her distress. He indeed has come a long way.

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    • Congratulations Raffie!!!!

      I hope you enjoy being a grandma.. soooo wonderful!!! Now all you need is a sweatshirt like what Dotty has: ‘Foxy Grandma’!! 🙂

      true.. there are things to enjoy in this scene.. and you make good sense of this very weird (to me) professional hierarchy/structure or whatever is going on! I agree, it’s great Lee remembers Amanda’s unpleasant experience last time and takes no joy in it.. very respectful of her. excellent! 🙂

      Lovely to hear from you Raffie! How’s the daily smk workout going?

      I’m finding life is very busy now I’m well.. working full time again.. sooo gotta find a new normal again! byeeee

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  5. Yay, I finally have a moment to comment (I hope).
    This episode is a great bookmark to start season three with. I love these opening scenes because they set up the mood for the content of the episode. Philip the magician blundering his magic trick and being encouraged by Amanda, Jamie the almost amazing assistant, the royal fairy tale wedding and Brand, the MI6 “non-agent” (would he be called a civilian like Amanda is?).
    I have to agree with what Valerie said about appearances and assumptions and I think it goes through out so much of this episode and sets up all the changing dynamics for season 3, even the Lee/Amanda relationship.

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  6. Yay! Season 3!! I’m with you, iwsod, I’ll admit that I enjoyed the second half of S2 much more walking through it on the blog than ever before. I never really paid much attention to all the subtle, behind the scenes changes in the relationship department for these two because I was so distracted by that hair don’t.

    And I’ll admit that this Mr. Brand episode isn’t my favorite, I don’t know that it’s in the bottom 5 for me. I think it has some redeeming qualities about it. I’m pretty sure I like it better than VM, DOA or ALSALS. I’ll have to reevaluate at the end of the episode.

    So I guess Dotty and/or Amanda recorded the royal wedding (are you talking about the Charles/Diana wedding? – looks like that to me) and are re-watching it to get in the right frame of mind?

    Ahhh, love how the boys have grown up a bit here and love Amanda’s longer hair-do! It still has some growing to do, but it is much, much better 🙂

    Octopus from Interpol? Hahahaha! There’s a fanfic to go read. I’m sure there’s at least one! Anyone got on out there they can recommend?

    😆 Love Lee’s face at the accountant! He’s not very impressed. Sort of like how unimpressed he was with LaRue in CWars? Think that’s the right reference. Lee seems to have general disdain for the desk suits.

    I don’t know about Francine and fair treatment – it seems like she has a different role at the office than Lee. She is Billy’s second in command – we already know this, right? – a job which would give Lee hives.

    I think Billy checks with Lee because at this point, Amanda still is in Lee’s department, that one mentioned in TFT tee hee, and she is his responsibility. Billy needs to let Lee know what she’s working on so when she runs into trouble Lee knows what she’s working on. Looks like he also has to get her going with the accountant too.

    Yeah, those poor accoutants! I guess it would be really bad if you were an accountant, ate tongue sandwiches and lived in Albuquerque, at least in SMK land.

    Good catch on the broken door handle, iwsod! Too funny!

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    • really? you like this episode better than DOA and ALSALS??

      Gosh.. I have never really stopped to think about my order of preference.. I only have a rough idea of what would be in a top five or bottom five..

      rofl.. yes a female accountant who lives in Albuquerque and eats tongue sandwiches would be very cranky with smk!! haaa good one!!!

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  7. hiya everyone!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experience of this episode Misty, Melissa R, Claudia, Valerie, KC, Jenbo and Cindy!

    Interesting interpretation of what Lee was thinking Claudia.. lol Mr Trouble meets Mrs trouble?! haaaa..

    Yes maybe as we discuss this episode together over the coming weeks we’ll be conducting a little desensitisation therapy! this often avoided episode after a few weeks may be less feared or loathed.. I can live in hope 😉

    I agree Valerie, Francine kinda deserves it.. though I think at times Lee deserves it, though he doesn’t seem to get the same err ‘discipline’? thanks also for sharing a new take on the scenes being swapped.
    I find it a bit strange but it doesn’t really bug me. I don’t see Billy as playing with Lee- because I’m not seeing that playfulness in his eyes so much.. not like other times he’s played with Lee. (like in Doa when he says who’s going to tell Amanda and he knows Lee will volunteer) – if I did have a problem with the scenes being swapped and it really bugged me? I’d go with your theory happily! 🙂

    Yes Cindy because of your experience of this episode you have a really unique experience with it! I’ll look forward to hearing what you make of it all!

    Well, I look forward to hearing what everyone else makes of it too! LOL!

    Heck, true Cindy, Lee is lovely in this episode compared to Artless Dodger!!! He is much better.. but still has a ways to go!

    Jestress I agree a wasted opportunity! 🙂
    Hey good call on comparing Lee here with Lee in Lost and found jestress! so true!! there was a time when even these non agent things were not okay for Amanda to do!! A very nice change indeed!!

    LOL Kiwismh, maybe you can start putting that season 3 post together as we walk through the next five episodes! 🙂 I’ll try not to get distracted by the house and neighbourhood and leave all that goodness to you 🙂 you speak ‘house stuff’ 😉

    Ah Jenbo.. I really hope the episode improves for you too! I know what you mean about the annoying British stereotypes.. I found that a bit annoying in bromfield hall too.. in this episode? I think I have ended up just focusing on the other things that are going on.. but.. we’ll get to all that!
    Sexism? on smk?? 😉 probably! meh! stupid plot device? yeah.. it’s not a favourite.. try and go with it Jenbo!! There are some great insights into the characters in this episode if you go with the flow 🙂 hang in there!!

    KC I am so glad you checked out that little terracotta guy on Amanda’s shelf.. honestly I was just scrolling and noticed it and thought the exact same thing!

    Ahhh maybe the tree fell on the pitt family.. and Amanda felt so bad about it she moved her house to a new area. Umm…. with the same street name and number.. ahem..

    Lovely to hear from you guys! Hope you are all well.. Bye!

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  8. Amanda (and us) might not miss the smelly Pitt family, but she might miss the big tree they always ran past! :p

    I thought for a minute that the terracotta (?) guy in Amanda’s bookcase (in the VCR image) might be one of the ones from Billy’s office… but it’s not. Oh well.

    Yay for the hair-don’t being gone!!!

    And yay for this episode. I actually like it–it’s not one of my top favourites, but I do like it. 🙂

    Sorry, Iwsod, but I always snickered at Francine being unhappy with being assigned the guy from Tassie… 😀

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    • This is actually Amanda’s house in the twin universe where the Pitts don’t exist. I shall cover this I depth in my next post but this house is totally not the same house we last saw in S2 – the pitch and shape of the roof is different and several feet have been added onto the dining room end of the house. Amanda’s been spending on house renovations again? That must’ve been some pay increase in MBF! Just exactly how much is Francine’s expenses budget? The dining room chimney has disappeared and so have all the mature trees. That big one on the verge was shading the house anyway. Yes Iwsod, this may require a further post after the first 5 episodes of S3.

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  9. I am really really really hoping this episode improves with a walk through.
    I know it’s supposed to be a parody but the bumbling British accountant stereotype seriously gets on my wick. It’s just not funny. I promise I will try and keep my moans and complaints to the bare minimum 😉

    I wonder if Francine takes the lead from Lee with regards to her interaction with Billy and at work. Lee treats Billy like an subordinate so why wouldn’t Francine act the same way. Funny how Billy let’s Lee walk all over him but not Francine……why not? Is there a whiff I’d sexism there? Not sure…. Maybe it’s because they’re both so passionate losing their “best agents” lol
    Nice Lee is being concerned with Amanda’s virtue being intact after octupus man from Interpol. Lee looks almost pitiful as Amanda having to spend time with such a dull creature as the vacationing MI6 accountant. Which is a stupid plot device IMO.

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  10. Definitely not one of my favourite episodes but maybe my view will change with a fresh look at it as the Season 3 opener. I remember feeling a bit deflated when I first viewed this episode in the 80’s. It just seemed like a bit of fluff to fill in the gaps between the really meaty episodes.
    I’m keeping an eagle eye on the house and surrounds for my end of S3 Post. I notice already that the neighbours have swapped houses again – they’re going with the two storey weatherboard again this week. We move houses in New Zealand from time to time – put ‘em on the back of a truck and cart them off somewhere else – but nothing like those neighbours of Amanda’s!
    Likin’ Lee so much more mature and relaxed here. 😉 He’s come a long way in the last 2 years, thanks in no small part to Amanda.
    I figure Billy has already given Amanda her assignment and, knowing how protective of Amanda Lee is, he’s letting Lee know that this assignment won’t be dangerous or problematic for her.

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  11. This episode isn’t one of my top favorites, but it’s still pretty funny.

    I like Lee’s concern over Amanda’s assignments, but it’s also interesting that he’s fine sending her off by herself for things now. I was watching Lost and Found the other day, and the first thing he says when he walks in and hears Billy about to give Amanda a task without him is “Since when does Amanda work solo?” Billy acted almost embarrassed to be caught giving Amanda a job behind Lee’s back. This scene here is very different.

    Here, Lee seems happy to turn this little task over to her, saying she’d be perfect for it, although he expresses some concern about how she was treated on her last similar assignment. Billy is confident as he assures Lee that the guest Amanda has to entertain will be a very different case from her last one, so Amanda will be fine. By this point, Lee has seen that Amanda can handle herself and help him out without having him look after her constantly. Billy also has a pretty good feel for Lee and Amanda’s relationship and knows that Lee is now more receptive to the idea of Amanda taking on assignments without him. It’s a nice change. 🙂

    Also, I’d just like to say that Jamie missed a golden opportunity. If the little magic show scene had been between me and my brother, and he’d told me to introduce him as “The Amazing King, stupid!”, I would have literally introduced him as “The Amazing King Stupid!” A set-up like that would just be too good for any younger sibling to pass up. 😀

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  12. This was the only episode I had missed in the first three seasons when it originally aired and I (like ISWOD) heard how boring it was and not a favourite. Lucky for me, I decided to watch it in the revised viewing order (and I cannot overstate how much this improved the show for me that I had already loved). What probably shaped the warm fuzzies for this episode even more was I got my season 3 DVDs a little late and watched WTAMB just as the blog was discussing “Artful Dodger”. I was so disgusted with Lee’s character in AD that “Welcome to America…” was a nice break from all that awfulness. It was almost jarring to see Lee so nice and considerate to Amanda and actually listen to her theories. While I wouldn’t place this episode in the top 10 (or even the top half), I don’t have a problem with it.

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  13. There are a couple of SMK episodes that I kind of fast forward through when I view them as they are not necessarily my favorites. This at one time was one of those as it was pretty low on my list. When I first saw it, I didn’t like it at all. Part of the reason was probably because of the airing order of episodes. It seemed to come at a really odd time and it was as if everything had taken a step backwards. But having watched it in a different order has allowed me to be able to see certain progressions, especially about Lee and Amanda’s growth and change. I appreciate it more now than I did back in the 80s.

    Iwsod, your comment about Francine’s professionalism is probably why she keeps getting these grunt kind of assignments. Francine has that tendency to make comments that are at times inappropriate or cringeworthy. She likes to sort of stir things up. Billy has to wonder that as a representative of the US government, if her making some glib or off-hand comment in front of a dignitary or other person of import would not make the Agency or the government look bad. Some of her comments could me misconstrued or misunderstood and not seen as the least bit funny. Sometimes Francine doesn’t come off as a team player and maybe Billy is trying to teach her a lesson. When a stronger presence in an operation is needed, such as handling firepower, using weapons, or some type of physical operation Francine is in on it, such as MBF. But when a situation requires a softer touch or something more restrained that is when Francine is sort of side-lined.

    I so remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning to see the wedding of Charles and Diana. My cousin and I were glued to the TV. It was also so fascinating and exciting.

    I could actually see the first two scenes going either way. I could accept the fact that Billy had already asked Amanda about it before he talked to Lee. I could also see that Billy noticed early on how Lee began to change regarding Amanda. He went from not wanting to work with her to being her protector and the determiner of what she was and wasn’t able to handle. I think Billy sees Lee’s reactions to Amanda’s work assignments as a gauge as to how far their relationship has come. And Billy wants to foster that relationship and he knows how to handle Lee. He’s very subtle with that. Billy’s leadership skills were once discussed and I think he knows just what a hot head Lee is (was) and he knows just how to handle him.

    I agree that this episode has a lot to do with appearances and assumptions. It’s that whole never judge a book by its cover thing. The focus is on Mr. Brand but it applies to several of the characters in the episode, including the Earl, Clayton-Dobbs. He is definitely not what he appears to be. I think the episode also has to do with how you perceive yourself and your own self-esteem and what you are capable of doing. A lot of this episode is like a mirror of Amanda’s own experiences when she first came to the Agency and how she was perceived. I think she feels it right away. And sometimes Lee has some Billy experiences when he’s supervising Amanda’s work with Brand, but I’ll save that for later as we progress. As I said before, I do appreciate this episode more. Not sure how high it ranks now, but it’s not the stinker I once thought it to be.

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    • You know I can actually by this explanation for why the scenes seem out of order, that maybe Billy had already given Amanda the assignment and is now humoring Lee. That actually helps and it really does help looking at this episode as being the first episode of season 3. I said over at Nedlingers I could see SMK starting the season with a more light hearted episode before getting into all the serious stuff of the reletionship that is about to come. It still is just not a particularly exciting episode to me but at least those things are erasing some of the things about the episode that just jumped out and bothered me.

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  14. Melissa Robertson

    I don’t mind this episode too much; probably because of the humor it has. But when watching the TV order it has a feel of not being right for the development of Amand’s character in the next episodes. This being the first episode makes more sense and so maybe it will feel more right to people.

    IMHO Billy is playing with Lee in making him think he wants him to babysit Mr. Brand. I think he enjoys doing that to Lee and Francine 🙂 I pretty much get the impression that Lee is Amanda’s contact for most jobs, except for the occasional times Billy calls her in himself.

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  15. I like the hair do. I’ts getting better with every episode.
    This is non of my favorite episodes. I always thought that Billy ment Amanda is as clumsy (carefully sayd) as Mr. Brand. The look on his face is like: see what I mean, totally mixed up like Amanda.
    And Lee is thinking: OMG Mr. Trouble meets Mrs. Trouble.
    Oh I hope I will get that all of my mind when we walk trough this episode, like a SMK-Therapy 🙂

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  16. Yeah, this is definately not among my favorite episodes. Hoping I will get more out of it from the blog. I did with VM, though, I never really disliked that episode, it just wasn’t one of my favorites, as where I never really liked MBCTA. The only thing I ever really got out of this episode is amusement at Amanda being in the position Lee kind of was a couple of years ago having to learn to work with Amanda, and now Amanda having to deal with Mr. Brand. Although as green and unprepared for the spy world as Amanda was in season 1, she was never a bumbling idiot, sorry I really think Brand is. I don’t care if he is right.

    I don’t know if Brand does have raw instnicts despite his bumbling personality or if somewhere down the line he just stumbled on to something by dumb luck. Either way I can see a genuine comparison to Amanda there. Despite the fact that I actually see Amanda as being much more capable than Brand in season 1 I will say she definately has more patience here with Brand in season 3 than Lee had with her sometimes in season 1. Good thing that has changed because I get the feeling Lee never would have put up with Brand at all if he wasn’t humoring Amanda.

    And yes thank you for mentioning the scene order. That has always peterbed me about this episode. Mentioned it a few times to whatever random person I might have been watching with. The fact that it starts out with Amanda talking about having to go out with an English guy for work and then in the next scene Lee and Billy deciding Amanda would go out with Brand for work. One of the reasons I don’t particularly like this episode. I can live with episodes being a little out of order in a season, but in an episode. Annoying.

    As far as Billy seemingly asking Lee about having Amanda go out with Brand, never really noticed that before. I didn’t really get the feeling Billy was asking permission from Lee. More like Billy has learned that if dealing with Lee where Amanda is concerned is going to be tolerable at all, Billy is going to have to make Lee feel like he at least gets to be heard before Billy makes a decison, before Billy goes ahead and does whatever he wants any way. Maybe Billy started to learn to deal with Lee differently in regards to whatever he assigns Amanda after Brunettes Are In. In that episode Lee throws a fit about not liking the assignment Billy gives Amanda and even though, he is a little bit of a jerk about it, Lee kind of turns out to be right. Could see Lee throwing that in Billy’s face for a long time to come. Maybe things are just easier for Billy to let Lee feel like he is being heard in anything in regards to Amanda, and that has just kind of become the policy.

    I don’t know most of my thoughts on this episode don’t really come into play until later scenes. I think I have already gotten a little ahead of myself so I am going to stop here. Really looking forward to getting more out of this episode from the blog. I can’t see it ever being one I really like but maybe I’ll learn to enjoy it more at least.

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