This week’s Ground Floor is all about money, money, money. That, and paying homage to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory through several renditions of “Pure Imagination.
For an episode so focused on money, “If I Were A Rich Man” has surprisingly little conflict. Not that I’m asking for any, because Ground Floor is a sitcom – and a good one – that’s funny and charming to escape into for twenty minutes or so. And while conflict and angst can grow old – good jokes? Well. I’ve always got time for them on a Thursday night. And this week’s Ground Floor had some pretty good jokes indeed. It’s not up to par of last week’s excellent “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” but because of Jenny promising the downstairs crew that Brody will invest their totaled twelve-hundred dollars of savings (put together nicely in a plastic bag complete with some extra monopoly money) we get to see Harvard in his Willy Wonka-esque finest.
The issue of “Brody is a nice guy!” was up for debate again this week, and that’s how he gets roped into investing Tory, Derek and Harvard’s pitiful savings. Jenny wants to prove that her boyfriend is not the upstairs douchebag that they think he is – well, that Harvard thinks he is – but, of course, in a sitcom situation straight out of the book, Brody doesn’t, and can’t, invest the money. There’s a minimum investment amount, and despite Jenny asking him to be, like, a “cool dude about it,” and tack it on to someone else’s account, he doesn’t bite. Something about prison just doesn’t appeal to him, apparently.
But when she goes downstairs to tell the trio that their money is still safe in its plastic bag, she can’t do it. And so, logically, Jenny says that yes! He did invest the money! In… J&B stocks! (aka Jenny and Brody, and not the Japanese National Bank that everyone then assumes the fake shares to be). The shares then rise by six thousand percent, making the trio richer than they’d ever dreamed, and leading to Harvard’s song and dance up on the top floor, complete with a top-hat and pocket square. Something that, five seconds later, he sells to Mansfield for fifty cents when he finds out that their shares have plummeted down to nothing.
But while Jenny’s making fake transactions, Brody’s dealing with the fall-out of real ones. He and Threepeat have to tell actual clients that their portfolios are down, due to the actions of a now fired employee. And Brody, well, he’s terrible at it. Threepeat however, seems to excel in the activity, leading the pair to believe that he will have a better chance at the promotion on offer.
But as Mansfield later tells Brody, Threepeat might be good at breaking bad news, due to being “dead inside,” but Brody has heart. Something that can’t be taught.
It was all very sentimental. And a little bit bullshit, but still. It ties the episode up nicely, Brody running downstairs to sort out the mess that he inadvertently created when he took a break from being the nice guy that Jenny and Mansfield (the two most important figures in his life) know that he is. He puts the group’s money in a simple savings account (“they’re literally going to be watching a straight line for the next fifteen years”) and he and Jenny make up, safe in the knowledge that he’s a money-manager with a conscience.
I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but the ongoing “Is Brody a good guy,” moral dilemma has the same kind of issue that Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta had in the early episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, when episodes revolved around him being the central hero of the story with the rest of the cast forced to orbit around him. Please don’t bring everything back to the same character and their one dilemma, Ground Floor. I mean, this hasn’t been done in every episode, but the conflict of Brody’s ruthless job vs his caring nature seems to be much more of a continuous plot point than Jenny’s lack of career ambition and how that affects their relationship.
But who knows, maybe next week’s episode will introduce us to an entirely new side of Jenny. But it’s more likely, I think, that we’ll see more of the same. Good jokes, funny bits from the downstairs crew (of whom Tory and Derek could use a little more fleshing out – something that I’m assuming will happen naturally over time), and the regular schtick about Brody managing to be both capable at his cutthroat work and full of heart. But hey, it’s not like I’m complaining. Just keep ending episodes with Mansfield singing (complete with Harvard’s top-hat and staff) and I’ll definitely keep watching.
- “Snoozeflash! You’re boring!”
- Jenny on Brody’s good investments: “Well baby, I think it’s interesting.” “Really?” “No, but I like your face.” (Me too, Jenny. Me too.) (Also, a note has to be made about Briga Heelan’s excellent line delivery. She nails the tone every time.)
- And then there’s Mansfield. “Son, I’d love to pretend I care, but I’m having such a great day, I just can’t do that.”