This season has been all about strengthening the two essential truths of the show:
- Steve Carell IS the show; he’s the tent pole, the most hilarious and talented actor in the cast and they’re incredibly lucky that he decided to stay on the show even after his movie career took off. Only he can sell a line like this in a nerd voice: “Con: you unzip your pants and you find that there’s a calculator down there.” The guy is brilliant. His appearance on Leno the night before was great, too. But unfortunately, there’s a nemesis to this hero…
- The interview segments are becoming an increasing liability. Especially when they involve Pam or Dwight.
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.