Another solid episode of The Office. Lots of good things happening here, with some terrific lines.
Functionally, it got rid of Pam’s mom as Michael’s girlfriend (good thing), it maintained Pam’s crazy spats and Jim’s fear of said crazy spats (good thing, although I hope the spats don’t disappear once she delivers the baby), and it featured another of Dwight’s schemes to dethrone Jim (always a good thing).
And the episode had a schoolyard fight. Well, it didn’t quite deliver on the fight, although the writers wisely knew that if there’s a fist on the mantle in act one it’s gotta punch in act three, but it had all the requisite drama with an amusing buildup in which the office mates were forced to choose sides and pretty much everyone rooted for Pam to knock out Michael. Toby even went so far as to teach Pam how to throw a punch.
Jenna Fischer was particularly strong in this episode, so I gotta give her props. And it’s great to see that she took time out of her grueling schedule of promoting her airbrushed magazine covers.
But before we get to the physical violence, the lunch date scene was a classic uncomfortable Michael Scott moment in which he makes the right decision (break up with her) for the wrong reasons (she reminds him of his unfulfilled life and imminent death) at the absolute worst time (on her birthday in front of Jim and Pam).
Michael: “I am not robbing the cradle. If anything, I’m robbing the grave.”
The dumping of Pam’s mom was uncomfortable, but not quite cringe-worthy for me as I don’t have anything invested in her character and don’t want a love interest for Michael other than Holly, even though Holly has the problem of not bringing any conflict. They’re TOO well suited for each other, but unlike Pam and Jim, they are a very entertaining team to watch. So, writers, I ask you to please bring back Amy Ryan, even if only for a couple episodes, so that we may get more inspired bits like…”Slumdunder Mifflinaire!”
With the brutal breakup, we are reminded that Michael can be a really shallow jerk (reminiscent of an older episode where he went on a blind date and told the woman about Jan and her breast implants) but I don’t believe he’s malicious; it comes from a place of complete ignorance of himself and social norms; that he could go that long without knowing the age of the woman he’s sleeping with, and then once he finds out decide to immediately dump her, is not an act of malice, but an act of cluelessness. And that’s why we love him.
But the Oldenburgs weren’t the only couple bucking horns. One of my favorite moments was Jim busting Pam on her fake emergency:
Lots of little moments struck gold:
- Kelly complimenting Pam’s mom on her necklace and then shaking her head “no” to the camera.
- Ryan’s photography project of office nudes, with Kelly as the first model.
- Creed being relieved that the emergency paper shipment was not real, because it was never supposed to get there.
- Jim can’t call off the fight because Pam “looks crazy” but he can work on a solution if Michael can give him a week, maybe two.
- Andy is unable to let a favor go unreturned, leading to a war of pleasantries between him and Dwight.
It all leads to high noon at closing time.
Michael: “Am I scared of getting hit in the face? No. Every day, dominatrixes get paid by weirdos for just that privilege. I’m scared I’m gonna love it.”
Out in the parking lot (which is apparently far enough so as to be off company grounds?), the gang waits in eager anticipation of the big hit. Kelly’s even enjoying a pre-game snack…
Michael: “Are you eating popcorn?”
Kelly: “It has almost no calories.”
Michael apologizes to Pam and she stands down, until he mentions that her mom was the one that came on to him first. So it’s open season…
Phyllis: “Holy crap.”
Pam: “You okay?”
Pam: “Yer okay.”
Jim: “Feel better?”
Pam: “No. You were right.”
We end on Michael’s interview in which he describes how Pam’s slap gave him an instant vision of his future life, which includes four kids, a hover car, a hover house, wealth, happiness and eternal life.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough for me.”
Dan’s Scriptomatic Cinematic Telematic 3D!
also published on joeonthetube.com
Related: See Mindy Kaling’s webisode music video “Male Primadonna” here.