Tag Archives: NBC

The Office 605: “Mafia” in which Michael Scott orders gabagool…

"I'll have the gabagool."

"I will have the gabagool."

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…

"You made the mafia apologize to you.  You made the mafia be POLITE."

"You made the mafia apologize to you. You made the mafia be POLITE."

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…

"If it's not Stop'n'Shop, I send it back."

"If it's not Stop'n'Shop, I send it back."

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.

"Garlic bread. Toasted, not burnt."

"Garlic bread. Toasted, not burnt."

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.

-Danny C.
(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.

more about “Erin vs. Pam“, posted with vodpod

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The Office 6.2: “The Meeting” Michael betrays Jim, Dwight and Toby team up and I get discriminated against for not having a wide-screen TV

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.”

Dwight left out in the cold, once again.

Dwight left out in the cold, once again.

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?)…

toby_asshole

Flenderson Unchained!

…the guys crack the case…kind of…not really.

Oops.

Oops.

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?

Dwight gets cut from the Eagles.

Dwight gets cut from the Eagles.

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…

"Also from the great state of Wisconsin, an aged parmesan."

"Also from the great state of Wisconsin, an aged parmesan."

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…

Evidence A in my epochal lawsuit against the major networks.

Evidence A in my epochal lawsuit against the major networks.

…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…

The Scream.

The Scream.

No, Dwight, you can’t have a plasma for Christmas. Maybe next year, when broadcast media becomes fair.

-Dan.

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“The Office 601: Gossip” Dan’s review on joeonthetube.com

Parkour!

I’m now covering The Office on the tv review site joeonthetube.com.

Click on the image above for my article, and comment there or here!

-Dan.

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