PLEASE VISIT THE NEW LOCATION!
Thanks and I’ll see you over there.
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:
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.
You may have seen the commercial for this webisode during the episode “Double Date.” Mindy Kaling directs this music video parody — it’s meant to be taken seriously by the characters in the show…Vodpod videos no longer available.
Another great episode for the second week in a row, slowly making up for the wedding aisle dance-or-rama spectacular.
Okay, I’ll stop busting on the wedding aisle dance. The awful one.
Jim and Pam return from their honeymoon and are greeted by none other than Blind Guy McSqueezy…
…Michael’s new character that the women in his improv class absolutely hate, but yet he’s still so proud of it.
From there, we launch a nice subplot, wherein Dwight plants a listening device in a mallard on Jim’s desk.
And this takes us to the major crisis of the episode, which begins when Michael tells Jim that he’s taken a lover and it’s Pam’s mom.
I love how Jim confirms the affair:
Jim: “You did not have sex with Pam’s mom.”
Michael: “Big time.”
Jim: “What kind of car does she drive?”
Michael: “A green Camry.”
So Jim explodes with a serious warning not to tell Pam and to cease and desist the dating of her Mom. He obviously knows Pam well enough to know she will not take this well.
Jim: “For both of our sakes, never, ever ever see her again!”
And of course Michael can’t help but tell Pam.
Pam GOES NUTS (which was extreme, but I rolled with it) even trying to lead an office revolt in a conference room meeting about volunteerism and conservation (which is courtesy of an NBC initiative which inserted these themes into the actual scripts of each show on tonight’s lineup).
This scene is a classic Office cattle call, with so many little moments to savor.
Michael’s plea for acceptance pretty much falls on deaf ears, save Phyllis, who seriously crunches on him.
Michael: “I’m caring. I’m generous. I’m sensual. Is it really so horrible that I could possibly go out and find happiness?”
He’s right, of course, and what makes this situation so interesting is that Pam was the first person to support him with his personal trials. She saw him as a fragile human being when others dismissed him; she was his rock during the storms of Jan and Holly and she returned to Dunder Mifflin as his one of his conquering generals from the Michael Scott Paper Company. It will be interesting to see if this will continue a disintegration of the Pam-Michael alliance, and will this be treated seriously along with the humor?
We can’t forget Toby, who gets his first loving embrace from Michael…
…and a few minutes later it’s back to being called a jackass. Poor Toby. But he deserves every scrap of garbage heaped on his head. Because it’s funny.
Toby’s attempts to broker a peace accord go down in flames, and when Pam throws down the gauntlet, Michael fires back: “I’m going to start dating her harder.” She knows what that means.
He also reveals that Jim knew about the affair, which leads to some classic Jim caught-in-the-headlights flustering…
…which I find to be hilarious. I’ve seen a number of internet posters complaining that Jim is such a wimp, that he needs to lay down the law with Pam when it comes to the office. But these moments are a nice counterpoint to the cutesy-mush- poop that they normally inflict upon us. We need some conflict up in that marshmallow center. (Also, I’m married and I realize more every day the power of a smartly-placed “Yes, dear.” It is a quiet power, a humble power, an ego-less power. Amongst other things.)
But Jim gets his manly moment when he takes out Dwight in a nice scene with a clueless Andy and an aria.
But Michael’s okay, he’s got plenty of female friends, right? They include…
We’re left wondering, will we see more of Ryan’s fedora?
We end on, I will admit, a nice scene where Jim reminds Pam of their honeymoon highlights to calm her down, and a failed attempt to suggest that she may be over-reacting.
And just so we don’t have to fade out completely on a patented Pam-Jim cutesy-poo, we get a nice Norman Bates-style denial of insanity from Dwight, straight into camera…
Solid episode, guys.
your “tuna boss,”
Dan’s Scriptomatic Cinematic Telematic 3D!
p.s. there’s some deleted scenes on nbc.com, immediately after the full episode replay, worth checking out.
[all images: nbc.com]
[this article also posted on joeonthetube.com]
Nice rebound from last week’s wedding aisle dance spectacular with an episode that revolved around an absurd situation that had just enough credibility to hook us and the dolt triumvirate, aka Michael-Dwight-Andy aka the best thing about the show at this point. I’m thankful the writers didn’t worry about advancing story arcs and just focused on developing a hilarious setup.
And thank the soon-to-be-ousted Zucker that Jim and Pam were relegated to mere voices on the phone (they were honeymooning in Puerto Rico).
Is it a surprise to anyone that the show worked just fine without Mr. and Mrs. Happy Happy Jimjams?
But for me, the “gabagool” moment (the Tony Soprano pronunciation of capicolla, the deli meat) was an instant Office perennial. (And let me make clear that I come from an Italian family but never heard capicolla pronounced that way. Granted, the only time it ever came up at all was during an order at Togo’s sandwich shop, but still, park your stereotypes at the door, peoples.)
If the entire episode had taken place at the lunch table and revolved around Michael ordering the “gabagool” I would have been happy. This was nicely escalated by Michael’s goodfellas…
Andy (wiseguy accent): “You know, the gabagoo?”
Dwight (yelling): “Bring him the gabagool!”
Then Michael puts the topper on it: “I’ll have the spaghetti. With a side salad. If the salad is on top, I send it back.”
Andy is summoned outside to fix a woman’s car (because he’s wearing a mechanic’s outfit so he can bring a tire iron into the restaurant as a weapon in case it gets ugly, why else?) and he explodes her engine, telling her “that’s totaled, you’re gonna want to get a refund.” Great moment.
Kevin’s disastrous stint in Jim’s office was a nice b story, although too much of Kevin talking in that voice (i.e., Kevin talking) can get tedious. But it kept Jim and Pam on that phone; again, only a good thing.
And they nicely reined in Dwight. He was silly and hardcore in the signature Schrute way without going bat-poopy insane on us. Case in point: his reaction to Andy saying that Michael will wake up with a horse’s head in his bed. Dwight reacted instantly with a quick rebuttal and an exasperated, knowing look that can only come from a beet farmer who pioneered a more efficient method to make hamburgers out of horses. We thankfully didn’t get the cut to an interview where he talks about how your average American has no concept of how to decapitate a horse. No need, the short line and the look got the job done. Kudos on the restraint, creative team.
Another element that I loved was the repetition of the word “mafia.” Who says mafia any more? And they just kept repeating it, especially Andy…
Of course, once Michael finds out that they tricked him into thinking the salesman was not in the mob, while he most definitely was, he’s initially scared…but then he realizes he was just a complete bad-ass so he tells his war story to the entire office, adding that he told the guy “If any of your friends come around here, they’re dead. I said something like that.” Prompting Oscar to comment “Let’s be clear he backed down an insurance salesman from Mutual of Harrisburg.”
But Michael will not be put in a corner. So he makes it clear who wears the pants with his coffee order to Erin…
Solid episode. And props to actor Mike Starr, a go-to tough guy actor who never overdoes the “New York Italian Guy” bit like too many of his peers and will always be remembered as Frenchy in Goodfellas (“I’m the night watchman, I’m the Commandant.”) and as Eddie the Sinatra-wannabe in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam.
When I first met my wife, she turned me on to the darkly comedic elements of Summer of Sam and we watched it more than once on her crappy vcr and tiny TV. And now, we’ve graduated to an outdated dvd player and bigger, but still analog and crappy, TV. But at least we’re not getting shaken down by Grotti, who definitely changed his name from Gotti.
See ya’s next week, fuggedaboutit.
(button man in Grotti crew)
photo credits: nbc.com
p.s. For anyone who wants more of Erin the receptionist (played by Ellie Kemper), here’s a decent deleted scene featuring her on nbc.com…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
My greatest fear right now is that we may have just witnessed the exact moment The Office jumped the shark.
The wedding aisle dance.
I’m not saying this is definitely IT, because of course I can’t predict the future quality of the show. But it’s a benchmark. It’s definitely…something.
(sidenote: Can you believe the “JK wedding dance” video debuted on July 19, less than 3 months ago? The web has completely distorted my perception of time when it comes to events. I initially wrote that this video came out last year, January at the latest. Boy, was I ever wrong! [enthusiastic kazoo sound])
I get the intention of the bit. It was supposed to be bad, meant to be a horribly uncool choice by Jim’s idiot brothers that is embraced by all the horribly uncool guest list. An act of kitsch that Jim and Pam would abhor, thus they are supposed to realize that not only are they powerless to stop it thus should just give in and enjoy it, but that it comes from a place of love from their friends and family.
Yeah, I get it.
Or maybe that they realize they did in fact try to micromanage their nuptials too much? But I’m not convinced that the writers on the show do think Jim and Pam were acting like wedding douches so that one doesn’t hold as much weight for me.
Whatever, enough trying to explain or defend it.
For the record, I found many parts of the episode to be funny (see below). It’s just that the wedding aisle dance, and the entire cliche device of Jim and Pam running off to have their own ceremony, on their own terms, while blissfully, incredibly, uber-romantically happy…represents, for me, the apex of the growing trend of niceness on a show that used to run so efficiently on cruelty.
If this had been an exception to the standard of awkwardness, then it would have been a nice surprise. But there’s been so frickin’ many of those moments over the past couple seasons that I just wanted to boot my TV into a half-empty swimming pool full of decapitated action figures and drowned Frasier-lovers.
Even so, I still love the show and will give it a chance; I’m not condemning it to sitcom hell or anything. There’s already places down in that fiery pit reserved for Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and the new Jenna Elfman sitcom that is about three weeks in and could be the worst piece of abortion shite in the history of the medium (and shall remain nameless because it’s not worth the 30 seconds of my time it would take to look it up; Definitely, Maybe? The Happening?). So TV Hades is crowded down there, and The Office will run at least 4 more seasons, unless Steve Carell decides to leave (although I could see them continuing the show without him). And there’s still a lot of funny stuff left in there.
Mental picture taking? Really?
Is anyone else boiling with rage that their favorite sitcom has been hijacked by the Today Show?
Okay, it wasn’t ALL bad. There were funny moments…here’s my favs…
And sure, it’s tough to sustain the funny over two episodes shown back to back. But did we really need to open on a vomitorium?
My problem with this cold open was two fold…
1) I was eating a delicious tofutti cutie at the time.
2) It justified Pam’s riDICKulous request of her workmates that they cut down on perfume and adjust their eating habits because of her queasy pregnant stomach. Based on the TV writers that I’ve met (an egotistical, pretentious lot if ever there was one; at least the ones under 50 who haven’t yet experienced a nice humbling 2-5 year unemployment stint once their show, and style, “goes away” as they say), I’m willing to bet that The Office writers are frighteningly close to Pam and Jim in their belief that they are the first people ever to get pregnant and get married (in that order, because no one in Hollywood, real or fictional, knows how to use birth control).
Enough barfing. Mine and the show’s. I’ll end on a good note; I thought this little moment was hilarious…
I love the voice.
And I’ll be there next week. The steam should have stopped bursting from my ears by then.
reporting from a delightful cottage in scenic Niagara Falls,
Dan’s Scriptomatic Cinematic Telematic in 3D!
This season has been all about strengthening the two essential truths of the show:
I’d love to see them try an episode without a single interview. Has there been one? What about when they’ve gone outside the office, like the boat party episode back in the day? You office geeks with better memories than I can answer that one.
Yeah, the cold open was funny when it was Jim toying with Dwight…until Dwight’s interview where he started yelling out some kind of quasi-wrestling match challenge. He also screamed in an interview in the first episode of the season, and it wasn’t funny then, either.
I know there are unconditional Dwight lovers out there. I am not one of them. And it’s not Rainn Wilson’s fault; when the writers keep Dwight weird, as opposed to maniacal, it works. Like Creed. You don’t see Creed yelling. He’s just batshit insane, how we like him.
IMHO, the show most often misses when it tries to go too BIG and BROAD. Sometimes it works, like with parkour or Phyllis ending up on the hood of Michael’s car (or was it Meredith?). But when it involves Dwight shouting at the top of his lungs or Pam squealing with adorable glee over seeing the name “Mrs. Pam Halpert” for the first time…then, in my living room, at least, you can hear crickets.
Oscar’s interview in this episode, however, was the one that worked. Because it was clever and it was Oscar being Oscar: “It doesn’t take a genius to know that any organization thrives when it has two leaders…Where would Catholicism be without the Popes?” It served as a nice commentary on the previous scene and the perfect bridge into the next. Nice going, Oscar.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the episode , laughed several times and again, this show is still funnier than most comedies on the air even with an okay episode. But I just hate to feel that pit in my stomach when there’s a funny moment followed by a groaner, ya know? But I digress.
We come to the meat of the episode and the season thus far: Jim vs. Michael. Michael thinks he’s the “Senior Co-Manager” and Jim thinks he knows more about Michael since he knows all of Michael’s faults. They’re both wrong.
So after they try to get David Wallace to choose which of them will handle the yearly bonus issue (Michael’s follow-up to David’s statement that this issue is both ‘big picture’ and ‘day to day”: “Which is it more?”), Jim tries his hand at announcing to the troops his brilliant plan for awarding bonuses only to the sales staff. Would anyone be so dumb as to announce that to an entire staff? Probably not. But it worked well to reiterate what we glimpsed in a previous episode: Jim still has a lot to learn about managing the branch.
Dwight takes advantage of Jim’s misstep in making like he cares about his co-workers, which we know he does NOT. Dwight actually looks to be a pretty good politician at this point (but it won’t last long). Then Michael steps in, gets a great dig on Jim and just when it looks like he’s going to save the day with his plan to give small pay increases across the board (which is actually smart and fair) he launches into a pointless speech about how they are best friends who give each other heart-ons…which is a gift.
In this spirit, Angela should lend Oscar a cup of sugar.
Michael blows it just as he always does, by failing to identify the real problem, or what one might call, the “big picture.” Which is what he’s supposed to be doing.
The “Boston baked bean plan” is also a disaster (and a hilarious sidebar):
So we’ve got two inept managers, but Dwight only cares about ousting Jim, so he gives a William Wallace-esque speech to rally the troops and stage a coup.
This call-to-arms is greeted with lethargy, and we end on Jim, alone, wondering if Michael is his only friend left in the office, and Pam…right?
Oh, and Pam and Jim are getting a “romantic bird-feeder mailbox” from Phyllis as a wedding present, and Ryan manages to bilk $50 out of Pam in some kind of high school basketball ponzi scheme. But we’ve already forgot about that, because…
Next week is the BIG Jim-Pam wedding! How do we know it’s BIG? Because a band of circus performers in NBC t-shirts just came to my door to tell me so.
Ya think NBC has spent a few bucks on this ad campaign?
There’s even a JIM-PAM WEDDING WEBSITE! Click on the image below to visit halpertbeesly.com…
I’m getting them any one of the several bobbleheads now available to the discerning Office fan…in limited supply so snatch them up now…okay the Andy Bernard one is pretty cool, but still…
p.s. This review was also posted at joeonthetube.com, with no merchandising whatsoever.