Corporate – Season 1, Episode 6: Casual Friday

Last week’s episode set a new standard for what Corporate looks like at its best, but unfortunately, the show fails to retain that standard his week, with Corporate instead delivering its weakest episode to date. And unlike Trademarq – which I’d previously described as a “poor” installment that “still manages to land quite a few laughs”  – Casual Friday has barely anything to offer in that department this time around, making for a rather mediocre 20 minutes of television.

Casual Friday takes place, as you may have guessed, on Casual Friday. Matt’s made the mistake of wearing sandals to work – in addition to some other questionable fashion choices – but is overshadowed by Walter, one of the company’s top lawyers, who decides to come in shirtless. Their attempts to talk him into putting a shirt back on inadvertently start a wave of shirtless protests throughout the office. The conceit here is funny enough, and there’s some solid material on mob mentality, but Casual Friday seems like a topic that could’ve yielded bigger laughs with a more realistic premise (most businesses have pretty strict, specific guidelines about what is and isn’t acceptable, after all). Instead, we get a relatively flat piece of satire, where the laughs are few and far between and all too frequently punctuated with off-putting close-ups of body parts (seriously, I would pay a lot of money to be guaranteed no show or movie ever made me look at a close-up shot of someone’s feet again).

This isn’t to say there aren’t some threads of good ideas here. Christian DeVille’s business negotiation with the megachurch representative (Alyssa Armstrong, played by Kate Walsh) could have made for a fantastic A-plot if approached from a slightly different angle, and it is genuinely amusing to watch the ruthless negotiation that unfolds between them. But, much like the concept of Casual Friday itself, it ultimately feels like the show missed an opportunity for a much better idea. Overall, this episode offered up the occasional chuckle, and not much else. Let’s hope things pick back up for Corporate next week.

MEMORABLE QUOTES

“When did you stop believing in god?”
“I was 12. I drank some of the holy water at church and it gave me salmonella. Uh, what made you stop believing in god?”
“YouTube comments.”

“Hello, Mr. Devil.”
“It’s pronounced DeVille. But please, call me Christian.”

“Never in the 6,000 year old history of the world has a corporation been offered a product placement opportunity like this.”

“Thanks to you, there are now 25 shirtless people in this building!”
“And yet all of them look less ridiculous than Matt.”

“Donkeys also don’t wear shirts. So, uhh… Think about that.”

“I haven’t seen this many bare torsos since that Spring Break I got trapped in that mannequin factory.”

EPISODE GRADE: C-