LEGAL DISCLAIMER AND PREAMBLE – aka BLAH BLAH BLAH aka Does anyone even pay attention to this part?
The following Golden Teacup/Silver Teaspoon Awards posts are written by a guest author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of IWSOD or the blog Justwalkwithme.com. IWSOD and JWWM are not responsible for any disagreements, arguments or legal action that may ensue.
It is further acknowledged that the scoring for the Golden Teacups and Silver Teaspoons aren’t really based on any rubric or other detailed analysis or scoring criteria, it is more how CindyDee was feeling at the moment these were written.
If for any reason any of the Golden Teacup winners are disqualified, the Silver Teaspoon recipient with the highest overall score will move into 5th place and the other Goldies will be shifted accordingly.
And now on to the rest of the post.
Welcome to the Third “Annual” Golden TeacupTM Awards. Again, I am your host Cindy Dee.
We see many of the plots of Season Three fall into two main categories – personal betrayal (“All the World’s a Stage”, “Fast Food for Thought”, “Dead Men Leave No Trails”, “J. Edgar’s Ghost”, “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, and “The Eyes Have It”) and/or personal vendettas against the Agency (“We’re Off to See the Wizard”, “Tail of the Dancing Weasel”, “The Eyes Have It”, “Wrong Number”, and “The Pharaoh’s/Pharoah’s Engineer”). By creating stories that make the viewer feel personally invested, the writers hope the villains will invoke stronger emotions and be more threatening and compelling.
Another trend in Season Three is more interesting female Baddies in either a main or supporting role –even if we ignore Francine and her snark (and her fashion). Female villains are featured in 7 of 22 episodes – “Welcome to America, Mr. Brand”, “Sour Grapes”, “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, “Playing for Keeps”, “Fast Food for Thought”, “Reach for the Sky” and “Triumvirate” (actually 8 if you count Leslie O’Connor in “Over the Limit” – ) which is up from four in Season One and tied with seven in Season Two. (I am ignoring the insipid Gwyneth in “Affair at Bromfield Hall” because she is a twit.) Whether the increased representation will translate to more awards remains to be seen
We have tweaked the format of the show this year and are starting with the Silver TeaspoonTM Awards. The Silver Teaspoon is awarded to Baddies that were interesting or good (I mean bad) enough to deserve an award but didn’t quite make the cut for a coveted Golden TeacupTM. Consider the Silver Teaspoon a step up from a participation ribbon – the STA is an honorable mention or the equivalent of an award given in the untelevised portion of the OscarsTM.
And , without further ado, the Silver Teaspoon recipients are :
5. Donna Clayton (Playing for Keeps)
“Playing for Keeps” is an uneven episode partly due to the sudden rewrite to deal with Kate Jackson’s absence when her father died. (And I am still bitter we didn’t get the slow dance scene that was in the script. I had hoped they would have found an excuse to stick it in a different episode.)
Ms Clayton is introduced as a hyper competent body guard – one who is a weapons expert, with a military flying background and has a black belt. (I am assuming it has something to do with her achievement in a martial arts discipline rather than fashion because I am sure her all belts are tan.)
I am not sure if I am more impressed with Donna taking charge and taking out assassin/saboteur Steckler (if that is even his real name coughRostovcough!) or her matchy match hair/neckerchief/lipstick/jacket. (Why the script insists that Donna is in western wear, I guess we’ll never know. Maybe it was to hide a certain tattoo on her arm? Or a hickey on her neck? Another unsolved SMK mystery. And the purse! Oh My Heck, SMK, it always cracks me up when you have the female agents or bodyguards running around in the field carrying big clunky purses. I know it was the 1980s, but surely there had to be a better way!)
What I also love about Donna is this gal takes no flack from anyone. Even though I believe she was going to get rid of Steckler from the beginning and take the credit and the money from the kill, it must have been satisfying to blow him up after he was such a condescending jerk and proclaimed he was running the show.
4. Fast Food for Thought – Carla
Ahhh, Carla. She is immediately suspicious of Lee and Amanda when they flubbed how they heard about the convention — Wow, just think Lee, if you had discussed the details of the case during the car ride or even in the parking lot like Amanda SUGGESTED, ASKED, BEGGED this wouldn’t have happened. But I can see how you were caught unaware, because off the top of my head, I can list FOUR other times you leaving Amanda out of the loop almost blew your cover. I hate to break this to you Lee, even pigeons learn from negative reinforcement, (or is an example of positive punishment?)
(TANGENT ALERT) Maybe IWSOD wants to chime in as I am flashing back to my introductory university psych course and not sure I have this completely correct. My simplified layman’s understanding of operant conditioning is that reinforcement refers to initial behavior increasing in frequency due to the interaction and punishment is decreasing the initial behavior. Positive refers to something being added as a consequence and negative means something taken away.
In this case, Lee does not tell Amanda cover, cover is almost blown and Amanda is ticked at him. So I guess since one would assume this should decrease his behavior of not telling Amanda their cover, this dynamic falls in the positive punishment category. However, Lee should make the connection that if he lets Amanda in on the ‘need-to-know’ – especially when she does need to know, this will decrease their cover being blown (which is bad) and Amanda being ticked at him (even more bad) — this would put it in the negative reinforcement realm. Ack! My poor head. But, no matter how you classify it, Lee is not learning from his mistakes and pigeons and lab rats do (heck, even single celled paramecia show learned behaviours!1 ) –so I think it is safe to guess how Scarecrow got his nickname. (end TANGENT)
So the evil Carla gets points for sleeping with Marvelous Marvin and leveraging a promotion from secretary to being in charge food processing. I can’t give her too much credit for getting her hooks into Marvin – he is a very lonely man and naïve when it comes love (unless it involves his cheeseburgers) but then again, she had to fake being overjoyed sleeping in a bed with Marvelous MarvinTM bedsheets no matter what the thread count. So kudos to her for that – I am not sure how many people could make that sacrifice. She lost BadGal cred for getting involved with Eddie Le Grande–regional sales manager or not – girl, keep your eye on the prize! Eddie wasn’t even that good looking! Unless she somehow needed Eddie’s connections to find out the chief chemist’s Cecil’s background in chemical weapons, but I think I am over reaching.
I guess she had to get involved with Barry “Dumb –Dumb” Metz to execute her plan because he was in charge of food distribution but ‘dating’ father then son (especially this father/son duo) — oh ICK! There are absolutely no redeeming factors here. You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty low, impressive, but low. Hey, if this extortion business doesn’t work out, I bet you can get a guest spot on Jerry Springer!
She lost major baddie points for arguing in front of Lee’s open window considering she knew Eddie was a former agent and she was already suspicious of Lee and Amanda.
Do you think Carla’s fatal flaw might have something to do with her hotheadedness and impatient and impulsive nature?
But Marvin is not completely blameless in this outing. You know, if your head chemist is so angry he’s going to poison your customers, your son hates your guts and your former lover cheats on you with your son and tries to ruin you and your company, maybe it’s you. And Marvin spilling his guts to Amanda? –it certainly is not a way to promote company unity to a potential franchise owner. How horrible to tell complete strangers what a disappointment your son is – I bet Barry has heard that all his life.
Marvin’s rant ”So, uh, maybe it’s time for this old buzzard to kick Carla and Barry out of the nest and ….see if they can fly by themselves” also really bugs me. Maybe Barry is a putz, but Dude – in case you haven’t noticed, Carla is now in charge, you are just a figure head. Yes, Barry is a freeloader, but Carla is actually in the background running your company very efficiently. No wonder she gets ticked that you are going to toss her to the curb. She is working her buns (no pun intended) off and this is how you thank her?
Maybe in the beginning, Carla got involved with Marvin so he could be her sugar daddy, or she would marry and then divorce him for a huge settlement. Or she figured she would get close to him to embezzle funds from the company (despite her impulsiveness, I do believe she is smart enough to pull it off), but being with Marvin made her vicious enough to want to stick it to him where it hurts (in the double cheese burger with secret sauce) despite the huge risks in her plan.
She does get a little murdery in the end, but I figure by this time she is so annoyed with all the loser Metzes she’s had to put up and wasting years of her life smelling greasy cheeseburgers and secret sauce and wearing stupid company clothes with creepy anthropomorphic hamburgers on them are enough to put anyone over the edge.
3. The Third Silver Teaspoon goes to Looks at teleprompter, hisses at producer to come over. “Really?!?, You’ve got to be kidding me! Do I have to? Fine! But I am not happy about this!”
J Edgar’s Ghost – Nick “Ewwwwww!” Cross
What a skeezy creep. Nicky’s M.O. is trolling Gin joints on M Street, picking up lonely women and using them for their contacts and access to classified information. Poor stereotypical clichéd librarian Agnes is no match for his slimy ways. Somehow Nicky knew to target Agnes out of all the single women working at the agency (or did he string dozens of women along and do the same thing to them? – busy guy!), he romanced her for months while drugging her and going through her files so he could blackmail Very Important People in the government, military and corporate world. She so wants to believe in him and that he loves her, he is able to convince her to give him another chance after he ran away from Lee in the bar (not suspicious at all!) and bugged her purse (just means he cares, right? BARF!). To add insult to injury, he cuffs Agnes to a pipe, sets off a smoke bomb, leaves her to die, threatens to shoot her and then uses her as a hostage. And to top it all off yells at her when she is driving…
Nope – sorry folks I just can’t do it ! I just can’t reward the sleazoid Nick Cross yanks earpiece out of ear, storms off stage.
Sorry about that folks, we’ve had a slight miscalculation. The only reason Tricky Nicky was successful was due to plot holes the size of Wisconsin – (come on writers! You can do better!!) and Lee making mistakes that a rookie would be ashamed to admit. As an honorary G.o.L.D. (Guardian of Lee’s Dignity) associate, I object to Nicky being here. So Nick Cross is getting CROSSED off this list. You don’t deserve a Spoonie. Jerk!
I checked with our lawyers (well, the imaginary lawyer that lives in my head) not only can I do whatever I want in these award shows, there is precedence. She who-must-not-be-named in “Lost and Found” did not get an shout out in season one for the simple reason I hate her guts (and not in a good way) and the truly awful Sinclair in “Brunettes Are In” did not make the cut because he is so distasteful it makes the episode un-rewatchable for me. So I have decided that Nick Cross will join them in the persona non grata category.
My first attempt to rescind the Nicky’s silver spoon was labelled ‘juvenile and petty’ by my 13 year old. I will let you decide which one you prefer.
No matter which way you slice it, he ain’t getting an award so let’s move on.
The third Silver Teaspoon instead goes to
3. Welcome to America, Mr. Brand – Kenneth Clayton-Dobbs, the Seventh Earl of Tuickensham and Chairman of the International Conference on Economic Progress.
Actually, I am glad Nick Cross was so revolting, it made me carefully consider the other baddies and I realized I had overlooked this gem in this less-than-favourite episode. Let’s take a closer look at Kenneth Clayton-(no relation to Donna) Dobb’s CV (compiled by James Brand, Francine and T.P. Aquinas)
KCD was born in 1934 to a poor coal miner’s family and hated being poor and hated ‘the bloody aristocrats who exploited his family’. There are obviously some good genetics going on here because Kenneth does not look 50 to me. Maybe coal dust is good for the complexion.
Anyhow, he cheated on his entrance exams (ummm, how is this common knowledge? But whatever!) and
got into Cambridge where he hobnobbed with the upper crust, lied about his background, joined the right snooty pretentious clubs and convinced his fellow students he was an Earl.
After Cambridge, the ‘Earl’ started causing mayhem at the tender age of 22. (but I will entertain the notion that James got his decades mixed up. )
He caused turmoil in the Suez in ’56, the Congo in ’60, Rhodesia in ’65, and in Beirut in ’75 (at the age of 41) he, orchestrated the scandal that nearly destroyed the Bank of Great Britain. 1983-ish, he practiced his magic in Luxembourg and caused the default on the World Bank Loan.
But this is only a partial list of his accomplishments. Sometime before 1984 he hung a ton of paper in Beirut (I had to look that phrase up, apparently it means writing bad checks. LOL – seems kind of tame in comparison to the other trouble he’s mucked up – what his cheques to BlockBusterTM bounced? But, wait a sec – Block Buster went bankrupt. Oooooh – he is good!), was involved in extortion in Athens, phony gold certificates in Johannesburg and became a special consultant to the Secretary of the Treasury with priority clearance which allows him access to the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
He is also besties with Charles and Di.
The guy has been BUSY! I feel like such an underachiever.
He even has an M.O. when he wants to dispatch someone or blow things up– how cool is that? I want an M.O. (but probably not to kill people or cause explosions!) Though it does limit his targets to those who have gas stoves and full sacks of sugar, but I guess Kenneth could bring the sugar along with him.
The mystery deepens because apparently the real Earl died in a bizarre bordello accident in 1957, years after Kenneth started his impersonation. Lucky break, or either TP or James got their dates a little mixed up. But hey, it’s only numbers, it’s not like an accountant at MI6 or someone working at the Library of Congress would have to be precise with facts. But then again, maybe KCD murdered the real Earl and the bizarre bordello accident involved gas and a bag of sugar. Now THAT is an impressive attention to detail!
2. Pharaoh’s engineer – Frank Duran
Speaking of grudges, our next villain has been plotting his revenge for 20 years which means he had it in for the agency since the tender age of 18 or 19. I am not sure what the reason was, maybe he was ticked his carpet pattern wasn’t chosen for the agency hallways or maybe it was simply the challenge of destroying something that was deemed to be indestructible.
I think Frank owes a huge debt of gratitude to Kate Jackson. She directed this episode and the lighting, camera angles and suspenseful music in the opening set the tone for him snagging the award. But what really cinched his spot for a spoonie is this shot.
I imagine if he were really mad, smoke would also come out of his ears. Yes, this is totally arbitrary and capricious, but for some this reason impressed the heck out of me and Frank now has a Spoonie.
Frank is a contradiction. He doesn’t kill Rupert, just scrambles his brains for a week or so, but has no compunction about killing Leo, or potentially killing thousands of people at the Agency and putting a serious dent in America’s intelligence community. Maybe he has a soft spot for older people (do you think back in the old days Lois and Glynis used to ply him with baked goods?) and he certainly knows that just because people are senior citizens and have retired doesn’t mean they can’t be incredibly useful .
But alas and alack, his cheapskate nature did him in. He really should have paid the extra few bucks for the unbreakable safety glass on his gas mask.
And our Number One Spoonie is:
All the World’s a Stage – Krutiov
Sorry to burst your bubble, Comrade!, but you don’t even crack the top 5 baddies this season no matter what voodoo Jedi mind tricks you are trying — and yes, I do always put my left hand in my pocket! Maybe because Ted Glazer came before you and was more ‘hands on’ and used stupid duck props, this manipulating people from a distance is a big yawn fest in the drama department. Though you do get points for finesse – if for some reason this had worked, Maria and the United States government would not realize she had been compromised (I assume you would have Tony ‘taken care of’ to tie up any loose ends). And of course you get extra points for setting up the ‘rehearsal’ scene in the Q Bureau but promptly lost them for subjecting us to Tony’s absurd play (Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!). But don’t despair, you came really close to getting a Golden Teacup Award until someone else vaulted above you several places. So go ahead, practice your ‘precise psychological equation’ mumbo jumbo on me to get that last coveted spot.
The anticipation is growing. Who will get the coveted Golden Teacup Award for season three? Who will be crowned Top Baddie? Will the Laser Shark Awardtm be given out this year or will it be retired with the kooky Gordon Redding? (Stayed tuned to the next post coming up soon!)
1. see Ginsburg, Simona; Jablonka, Eva (2009). “Epigenetic learning in non-neural organisms”. Journal of Biosciences. 34 (4): 633–646. .)