Charmed
The Painted World

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The Painted World

Buckland Auction House. Night? Prue "Antiques Thirty-Miles-of-Bad-Roadshow" Halliwell, wearing a black skirt, black camisole top trimmed in white, and non-prescription designer eyeglass frames, is reciting an appraisal of an oil painting into her mini-tape recorder: "Painting of a gothic castle. Artist unknown, circa 1920s. Oil on canvas, 20 x 28." She turns suddenly and asks, "Miss Franklin, where did you say you got this?" Cut to Miss Franklin, who looks like Toni Collette if she were untalented enough to appear on an Aaron Spelling program, got hit by a Max Factor truck, and squeezed herself into an ugly tight blue dress with ruffled trim that would be perfect for clogging performances in shopping malls if the skirt were fuller. She replies that she inherited the painting a few months ago and it's been in her family for generations. Prue: "Blah blah so unusual blah blah colors straight from tube and varnished blah blah blah." TC: "I'm sorry for interrupting, but do I have to be here?" Reading my mind, much? Prue buys TC a business-class ticket on the guilt express: "No, of course not. It's just most people prefer to be at an appraisal, especially when they plan on selling a piece." TC is kind of in a hurry. Prue has her sign a paper. TC wants to know how long before they can sell it. Prue needs to see ownership papers first. TC says she'll send Prue everything she has. TC wants to know if that's all. No, Prue has to confirm the painting's authenticity and physical condition. She gives TC another form to sign so they can X-ray it. TC wants to know if there's anything else. Prue: "I really want the time to research this, so we can get the best price." Okay, we get it. TC is wigged about the painting, and Prue is a professional. Let's move on. TC wah wah admires Prue's professionalism wah wah doesn't want best price wah wah just wants it sold wah wah, wah wah wah wah. She books out of there. Prue looks at the painting. Cut! Cut! I said cut already!

Some office building. (I'm guessing this. Unfortunately, it doesn't say "OFFICES" in big letters on the front.) Night? Phoebe "Flowers For Alger-not" Halliwell on a cell phone: "Piper, it was an accident! Not like I borrowed Prue's car so I could drive it into a pole!" She enters an elevator. Cut to Piper "Sister's Keeper" Halliwell on the other end, who's sorting out boxes at the nightclub. She asks how much the damage will be. Pheebs says it will be expensive. Did I tell y'all that my friend Mock was at a convention last week and she went in a restroom at the Georgia World Congress Center and this businesswoman was talking shop on her cell phone while in the toilet stall? Phoebe's cell phone abuse here isn't as heinous, but it's up there. Anyway, Phoebe asks Piper for a favor -- don't tell Prue about the accident, because Prue's been really supportive of Pheebs lately, and she doesn't want to lose Prue's trust. From this, if y'all haven't seen this show before, it's established that Phoebe is a total moron. Remember this, because we'll come back to it later. Piper can't believe that Phoebe hasn't told Prue, and tells her she has to. Phoebe blah blah has a plan blah blah will get the money to fix it blah blah at a job interview at Web San Francisco -- "an interactive network on the Internet" (I guess we should ooh and aah here) blah blah faxed her resume, they want to meet with her tonight blah blah blah. Piper reiterates that Pheebs should tell Prue. Phoebe says she will once she gets the job. Pheebs gets off the phone and enters a room full of cattle-call interview candidates as The Flugelhorn Of Comic Futility bleats a plaintive note. Phoebe bounds up to the extremely blasé headset-wearing receptionist and declares, "Hello! I'm Phoebe Halliwell." Receptionist looks up from her magazine with a "yeah, that and $3.75 plus tax and tip will get you a grande latte" look. Pheebs has an appointment. Receptionist gives her a clipboard form. Phoebe: "All of these people! They're here for the interview too, aren't they?" Receptionist (who's Owen's new girlfriend): "Well, you won't have any trouble with this if you figured that out. It's an aptitude test. You can finish it at home." A defeated Pheobe slumps into a chair. Applicant Extra Man and Applicant Extra Woman blather to each other about having fellowships and both graduating "cum laude." The woman graduated from Harvard, the man from Stanford. Receptionist adds that she's a Stanford alum, too. Pheebs makes a stink-face. Cute Applicant Extra behind her: "Intimidating, isn't it?" Phoebe: "The Good Will Huntings or the aptitude test?" Cute Extra: "Who cares about linear algebra or differential [sic]? And that test is a snap. In this day and age, who can't write in HTML numeric languages, right?" Pheebs joins him in a facetious ha ha, takes the test forms, throws the clipboard in Applicant Extra's lap and stomps out. Let's begin: Like Phoebe would even get an interview with a prestigious tech firm. Like the brainiac job candidates wouldn't be head hunted. Like the individual interviews wouldn't be conducted during the day. Like the firm would give out "take home" aptitude tests that could easily be cheated upon. Like anyone would pick out Phoebe's ensemble -- a tight low-cut blue short-sleeved sweater, no bra, black tube skirt, strappy high heels, tote bag, and a flimsy black cardboard folder -- and show up in all seriousness for a job interview that's not at an escort agency.

BAH. Same night. Prue at her desk. A light glows in a castle window on the painting. Prue looks at it, and asks, "What?" She grabs a magnifying glass and spots a man duck away from the window, followed by a flash of light. She jumps back.

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