“You've Met Your Match”

3 July 1998
[Mr.Foley and Eugenia return from their 'match.'] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Howard Meltzer.
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A brief kiss goodbye and then Victor was off to war. Betty has waited patiently to continue the relationship only tentatively started before he left in "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse." The day of his return was marred by mind control, amnesia, and mopping up afterwards. The day after saw Victor called away to Washington. So Betty has yet to spend any real time at all with Victor.

Betty waits anxiously in the reception area for Victor's safe return to the station at 1:30 PM. However, he's 45 minutes late and Betty is beginning to fret. However, she knows that part of her appeal to Victor is her independent self-reliance. That she wouldn't be one to constantly worry and be weepy about him is one of her attractions. Besides, look at how Scott has responded to her aloofness.

So she tries for an appearance of nonchalance in her fretting.

First Tom comes in with his unique way to tell time. Then Hilary (whom Tom has no problem making no fuss about) arrives with Jeff still following her. I think Jeff just can't believe that Hilary isn't going to give an inch until the divorce with Pavla is finalized, notarized and probably folded, stamped and mutilated. (Hmmm, wonder how long this is going to take?)

Scott enters and witnesses Betty improvising a rational for being in the reception area and isn't fooled a bit. Scott, who probably saw Victor approaching the building, manages to get Betty to elaborate on her denials of waiting in the reception area out of concern for Victor. "I am not the least bit concerned about the welfare of Victor Comstock," she manages to exclaim as Victor comes in through the door behind her.

"Not even a little, Betty?" Victor seems unperturbed so he probably realizes Betty was being picked on for being concerned about him. (But not, I suppose, about the underlying tension between Scott and Betty.)

Meanwhile, the dearth of an AMC or W-E-N-Nterprise budget has reduced Eugenia to practicing on a paper keyboard. :)

And Hilary schemes for a way to get under Jeff's skin even more so he will reduce the level of his protestations. Made me think I was in a scene from "Animal House" briefly as Boon and Otter reacted to something incomprehensible Bluto had said. "Huh?" "Shhh, she's rolling."

In the station manager's office we get some great news. "Are you back now, Victor? For good?" Betty asks.

"Seems that way." (Yay!)

However, reviewing the past year's logs, Victor feels as if "the station was fine without me." It reminded me of "There But for the Grace" where Victor said, "I don't know if this station needs me, but...I need to be here."

Then to Betty's horror, Victor is very impressed with the range of ideas Scott generated. Such as the soap opera woven around topical events (which was kind of interesting but potentially alienating to the audience.) Victor ticks off several more of the ideas (which Victor didn't get to see how they were implemented) and effuses on the effulgence of each. Betty listens as she is reminded of the failure of WENNsday (as do we all). "Betty, I never thought of that!" Victor sums up, proudly.

"Neither did I," Betty says, weakly.

Scott enters and is happy to hear Victor espouse a belief in risk-taking. Betty remains bewildered by Scott's humility.

"Victor. It's time I told you about the looniest idea I ever had. One that Betty definitely had nothing to do with."

(Scott reminds Victor of their brief meeting in London.)

[Meanwhile, we cut to the hallway, where Hilary, still talking to Eugenia, has decided to take the tack of trying to toy with someone else at WENN to drive home the point to Jeff that she is single. This allows us to return to a station manager's office which has become more film noirish, i.e. dimly lit and filled with shadows. The next scenes are played with a series of intense close ups.]

"To be honest, I only have the vaguest memory of meeting you at that pub in London."

"Well, we only had a couple of beers. And..."

"And after that, you say you came to WENN and auditioned here as an" (beat) "actor?"

"No, that wasn't until later. When I first got here, I, uh..."


"I ran the station."

"You" (beat) "ran the station? Based on what past experience?"

"Based on my" (brief beat) "forging your name on a letter of recommendation for the job. Betty would you excuse us please? I" (pause, a little catch in the voice) "I think Victor has to catch up on a lot of punching me."

"Would you, Betty?"

"Victor. Uh. Scott was..."

"It's all right, Betty. If you don't mind."

I must admit, I let out a little cheer when Scott stepped up to the plate and just laid it out flat with no embellishing. I think he's starting to catch on with this honesty thing.

There was some debate on the chat last night as to whether it was in Victor's personality to punch Scott.

I think one has to take into account different cultures. 1941 was a different time. It was a time when if a middle-aged married man had an affair with your young daughter, fisticuffs was probably the least that was called for. Back in the sixties, where I lived, I suspect gunplay would have been called for. In the world of today, the father thinks the adulterer is a great guy and it's the prosecutor who is in the wrong.

But some of the behavior from old films that seems manufactured is still conducted today. A friend of mine told me that he had gotten in a fight with another guy, but that they became good friends afterwards. Now, I think that's just nuts. Someone comes beating on me...they will NOT be a friend of mine.

In my own life, there was an occasion of a romantic triangle. The other guy at one point actually offered me the opportunity to take a swing at him. (And no, he wasn't planning for it to be the beginning of a fight. He was serious.)

I was not raised in the first decade of this century as Victor was so I did not accept the offer. Instead I looked at him as if he was a Neanderthal. He made his choices with full knowledge of the consequences. No amount of violence could repair the damage in our relationship or take the events back. If he was looking for absolution, he would have to go elsewhere.

But the two incidents I've related show that some of this weird violent behavior continues today.

Certainly after hearing what Scott had just told him there would be a certain amount of emotional release of the anger by giving Scott a good punch.

Also keep in mind that Scott is always thinking.

First, in front of Betty, he confesses his abuse of Victor's name to get the station manager job. The hardest thing he's had to say since confessing the truth to Betty. That part is pure win-win. Scott feels better for having told the truth and not having to hide it, wondering when Victor would find out. Victor knows about it straight from the source. And Betty can't be anything but impressed. (When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or rather, when you grow lemons, make lemonade.)

Second, there must be consequences. Possibly more for Scott's code of honor than Victor's, he offers a consequence so that the situation can be closed and they can all move forward.

Victor, who I have a suspicion has done some boxing, apparently swings while Scott is preparing, sparing Scott from having to stand there in dreaded anticipation. ("Never saw it coming.")

Now...Finally. After Victor and Scott leave searching for ice, all this Victor/Betty/Scott stuff, Victor the spy stuff, and Scott the con man stuff is done and we can get on with regular episodes. So we fade done on that aspect of WENN...

...Don't believe it for a moment, brother...

...And we fade up on Hilary Booth's "You've Met Your Match."

When Hilary announces that all contestants have been delayed by a whim of fate, Jeff immediately realizes that Hilary is up to something. Hilary announces that she will be the sole contestant for a date with one of the WENN men.

"We interrupt this program...for anything else."

Maple interjects that there are normally several couples so why doesn't everyone get involved. A range of ideas for Maple's motives come to mind. An opportunity to re-open relations with Scott? Perhaps a chance for a new relationship with the man who looked fine in a policemanís uniform? Or possibly looking out for her friend Scott and providing an opportunity for him to go on a date with Betty.

Hilary has, in fact, decided the victim most likely to inflict the most emotional damage to Jeff. Victor, Jeff's good friend and the most powerful man at the station. She tries to work with Tom Eldridge to fix the selection using a color ribbon code.

Which brings up the WENN word of the week: heliotrope. Heliotrope is a light tint of purple; a reddish lavender. Hilary and Betty may have heard of it before, but I certainly hadn't. Heliotrope also refers to any plant which turns towards the sun as well as an arrangement of mirrors for reflecting sunlight from a distant point to an observation station. (Henna, by the way, is a color midway between red-brown and orange-brown.)

Try as Hilary might to keep her plan and codes a secret, she is discovered by Maple, Gertie and Jeff. She keeps changing the color codes as each is discovered. The idea is that the boxes have the name of the woman on a card inside. If Hilary knows which box has which name, she can hand them out to the men with full knowledge of whom she is pairing up with whom.

For those who might have thought that Scott was sad and depressed at the end of "Some Time, Some Station," Scott dispels these notions by enthusiastically agreeing with Maple's assessment that "Victor doesn't stand a chance."

Just as Victor anticipated call-in programs and Scott anticipated all-news channels, so Betty created a proto-Dating Game. (Actually, I think there was another show that had the contestants come back and talk about the date, but I can't remember it's name.) It's nice to know Betty's getting some creation credits. Betty discusses the way the program works while Victor contemplates his chances of getting lucky with Betty.

Hilary observes the attempts of the others, particularly Scott who seems to compose them together in a limerick, at memorizing her color schemes. Unbeknownst to the others she switches the names in the boxes from the women's to the men's. She has Tom arrange the boxes in alphabetical order by name. But she meant the name of the men (Victor Comstock, Tom Eldridge, Mr. Foley, Scott Sherwood and Jeffrey Singer). Tom, instead, puts them in alphabetical order by the name of the color (blue, green, red, white, yellow.)

Thinking that the first box is Victor's, she picks it up and finds to her horror that she has a date with Scott (blue).

Eugenia picks red and gets Mr. Foley. They go where they can hear each other (would that there were more places like that today.)

Betty and Victor look longingly at each other before they split up for their separate dates.

Victor goes off to the writer's room with the buffet-and-gentile-noncomphrehending Maple.

Hilary is furious at having her plan to increase Jeff's jealousy ruined. In fact, it brings out the jealously in her. I'd hate to think what would have happened if Maple had got Jeff's name. All Maple's protestations about Jeff not being her type would have been instantly disregarded. So Jeff decides to play out Hilary's plan and asks Betty to go along with it.

Betty tells Hilary she's happy to eat oysters with "Everyone's Jeff." Jeff calls her his "Itty Bitty Betty Baby!"

They each start warming up to their roles. Jeff becomes "Jeffy" (sure to enrage Hilary with memories of Celia) and Betty becomes his "Pretty Pumpkin."

I love that Scott pops in, ready to have his say, and when he sees Hilary on the warpath he does an immediate about face and heads back out.

Hilary complains to Scott about Betty's two shoes, her happy clams and her false pumpkins. Scott sides with Hilary over the impropriety of the date. But as Jeff already pointed out...this was all Hilary's idea.

Victor and Maple are finally getting to know each other. Maple removes any lingering doubts we've had about Maple's old job at the burlesque theater.

In the control room, Hilary explains to Scott that she had Lester set up microphones at all the dining tables. She had planned for Jeff to hear Hilary flirting with Victor (which would be an amusing scene by itself). At the moment Hilary and Scott have decidedly different ideas about Betty's chasteness. But Hilary knows she can count on Scott to go along with listening in.

Perhaps Lester gave Betty a head's up. Perhaps Betty was just on her guard after "The Ghost of WENN." But Betty has found the microphone so she and Jeff continue their performance. "Oh...Betty, Betty, Betty!"

So that she and Jeff can really talk, Betty cuts on the radio so that it will drown out their voices. Forget "Animal House," now we're in M*A*S*H where their declarations of love are being broadcast for all to hear!

In Hilary and Scott's rush to stop the broadcasting of Jeff and Betty, they tune in Victor and Maple's conversation as they dance. Maple pretty much removes any lingering doubts we've had about her previous relationship to "Scotty".

Betty smiles brightly when Scott enters the room. "Scotty!" Something else to hold over him now.

Hilary, however is enraged that the control she thought she had at the end of "Some Time, Some Station" seems to have vanished in the backfiring of her own schemes. Where Victor's punch had been a considered judgment and punishment meted out, Hilary's punch is pure lynch-mob revenge.

I feel sorry for the camera lens.

In the end, the couples gave their 11 PM summary on the air (but off our air). Except for Eugenia and Mr. Foley who never showed back up. However, they burst into the studio for the 12 AM sign off with appearances suggesting it was the first of many dates to come.

In the promo, I was glad to see the restoration of Melinda's voice!

Next week is the marathon episode. The cast tries to stay on the air continuously. As a poster pointed out a few weeks ago...what an excellent opportunity to have the whole cast at the station on a Sunday...

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