This was a solid episode of The Office. Not as many big laughs as the season premiere last week, but some really funny set pieces, great dialogue moments and big plot points formed what looks to be a pivotal chapter in Dunder Mifflin history.
A central conflict built around Michael’s betrayal of Jim leads to a dramatic plot turn that I predict may end in this season’s cliffhanger — will Jim or Michael run the Dunder Mifflin branch?
By the way, do you think Jim’s competing job offer was real? Sound off in the comments.
Jim confronts Michael, which leads to a great moment: Michael gets choked up at the thought of losing Jim, and Pam, and now the baby.
He can’t lose the baby.
Eventually, Michael does the right thing and gets Jim the promotion, while demoting himself to Co-Manager along with his “best friend.”
There’s Dwight, once again playing second fiddle to Jim Halpert. But don’t cry for our mustard-shirted beet farmer, as he got the chance to put his private investigator hat on, teaming up with Toby, of all people, to catch Darryl in the act of worker’s comp fraud.
This didn’t go quite according to plan. Seconds after Toby explodes in expletives (for the first time?)…
…the guys crack the case…kind of…not really.
A hilarious, well-choreographed sight gag. This leads to actual strong detective work by Dwight, incriminating Darryl, but Darryl has ammunition with his threat of a complaint of sexual harassment against his “baby sister.” Wait, does he mean baby linebacker?
So Toby ends up drowning in paperwork (with a red welt on his head that he’s treating with an ice cream drumstick, if anyone caught that).
Meanwhile, Pam attempts to get RSVPs for her wedding from some of the dumbest, most self-absorbed people in Scranton…
Ryan: I’ll probably stop by.
Pam: It costs $75 a person.
Ryan: I once had a glass of cognac that cost $77.
This makes sense only to Ryan, or perhaps Meredith, who had her own take on her RSVP…
Pam: You are going to text me on the morning of my wedding and you’ll eat whatever’s fanciest?
Meredith: Unless there’s ribs.
For anyone who’s ever planned a wedding, Pam’s plight hits home in a BIG way. I don’t think it’s out of line to wish that Ryan and Meredith die in fiery car crashes en route to Niagara Falls.
There was also the Nard-dog’s confusion over how to respond to his cousin’s email: “Hey Andy, let’s go visit grandma and then get drunk together, ha ha.” And the cold open found Michael asking Oscar if he should have a safe word when he gets a colonoscopy. Solid bits.
But by far, my favorite gag was Michael’s “makeshift cheese cart” plot. The very plan itself is classic Michael, and Andy’s turn as a top-shelf sommelier is an inspired heightening of the bit…
And now we get to this week’s social issue, a call to action, if you will, for justice to be served.
There was one bit of action that I missed, due to a problem that seems to have gone unnoticed by the media, and by extension, the entire planet: those of us without wide-screen TVs are being discriminated against with the networks’ increasing use of activity in the corners of the frame!
Suddenly, every TV director is Paul Thomas Anderson.
So I had to watch the internet stream to actually see Michael climb out from under the cheese cart…
…and I was pissed. Because my people, those of us who still own analog television sets without wide-screen aspect ratios (1:1.33? Who am I, James Cameron?), are discriminated against every time a show airs that is not letterboxed. Do you have any idea how we feel when we hear a line from a character and that actor is actually offscreen when it’s clear that the filmmakers intended for them to be onscreen?!
Would it kill the networks to broadcast in letterbox format once again, like E.R. in 2001? Was it really that long ago? Does technology really move so fast? Don’t look at me for that answer, because, once again, <airquotes>not George Lucas over here</airquotes>, but I do know one thing…
This economic telematic racism must stop.
It’s hard to put into words for those of you who have never walked in my shoes. It’s like I’m a Native American…being driven from my own living room…by digital pirates.
That’s what that is. So screw you, NBC. (Even though your current Thursday night comedy lineup is pretty freakin’ solid, if I may complement you whilst planning my revenge upon ye and yours.)
And although I wasn’t fond of the Dwight Schrute scream to end the episode — I know how he feels…
No, Dwight, you can’t have a plasma for Christmas. Maybe next year, when broadcast media becomes fair.