Oz
Obituaries

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West Said Story

In his office, McManus turns to his desk to regard a pile of mail. He flips idly though until coming across a letter with Diane's UK return address on it. So is England the default contract non-renewal locale where retired television characters go to die? Because I feel like this happens a lot. So one can only hope that Diane has been chilling in Trafalgar Square enjoying a hearty morsel of blood pudding and chips with Delta Burke, Charlotte Rae, and Valerie Harper's character from the disastrous first season of The Hogan Family. ["Don't forget Brenda Walsh!" -- Wing Chun] 'Cause I'm really, really sad Edie Falco is gone for now, and it's important to me that she not be lonely across the pond. Tim cracks the letter open: "Cheerio, mate! I'm right knickered from the long flight, but after tea with the Queen and a walkabout of Blixonbury-on-Croton, I'm off with the gov'nah to see the latest in dec'rous haberdashery." Okay, that's not really what it said. British humor. Here's what it really said: "Dear Tim. I know by now that Sister Pete has given you the news that I'm not coming back to Oz." She never dreamed she would meet a man so caring and loving and understanding and blah blah blah Anglophilecakes. Anyway, she's not coming back. Tim stops reading, extracts a lighter, and sets the letter ablaze, nailing home the next in a continuing series of "fire"-oriented metaphors I'm not completely sure I understand.

Staff meeting. Glynn tells everyone that he's been asked to pick a member of the staff to travel to South Africa for a conference on human rights, and whoever is chosen had better book a connecting flight though Heathrow Airport, 'cause a trip to Africa sounds like the red-eye express to Non-Contract Renewals-Ville these days. Officer Claire, I'm looking at you. Tim is soon to bust in on this meeting with a slam, and launches right into his own agenda. He wants to talk about "Officer Howard's memorial service. Y'know, it's important, consarnit, because the man was killed right in front of me." Yeah, and like twelve other people in that room, as well. Oh yeah, and he didn't really say "consarnit." His hands are shaking because that's what happens when a person goes crazy, I guess.

Cut to the service itself, where Ray is ending his eulogy and introducing McManus, who wants to "say a few words." And these, much to the shock of all, are the words he chooses to say: "Joe loved to bet on the horses. And so, in honor of him, I would like to..." At which he breaks into an unusually heartfelt and vibrato-dependent version of Stephen Foster's ode to equine worship, "Camptown Races." Which, truth be told, I can barely even hear over the incessant tearing sound of McManus becoming completely unglued. Sister Pete looks on in barely-constrained horror, Ray and Gloria avert their eyes as much as it is possible to do when rubbernecking at the emotional car wreck their boss has become, and Officer Claire sits in back smiling broadly, as if she has simultaneously won both the battle and the war.

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Oz

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