The Office: Casino Night (finale)
(S02E18) In my humble opinion, The Office is hands down the best comedy on television today. Great writing, great acting, great stories--I could go on and on. This episode, the season finale, was, in a word, brilliant. You could not ask for a better way to tie up story lines that occurred over the course of a season while opening up new ones at the same time.
Let's briefly sum up what happened. Dunder Mifflin, led by Michael, holds a Casino Night charity function in the warehouse of the Scranton branch. Michael (played by the excellent Steve Carell) is doing his best to choose a suitable charity after the staff nixes the Boy Scouts. After some interplay, they decide to do something for AIDS patients, so that Michael can prove to everyone that he is a great "philanderer". (Michael's butchering of words reminds me of the old-time comic Norm Crosby.)
At the same time, the flirtation between Jim and Pam reaches a fever pitch when he offers to help her choose a band for her wedding. Just looking at them making eye contact with each other is enough to make you just want to shout at the screen, "Come on! Get together already!" In addition, how funny was seeing Kevin in "Scranton-icity"? The Wedding Singer flashed in front of my eyes at that moment.
Michael also is in a bit of a "love triangle drama" when he ends up inviting his real estate agent (Carol) and his boss (Jan) to the event. Of course, his bravado gets in the way and he looks foolish trying to "balance" both women, but still you root for Michael to find romance despite his boorishness. As we've seen over the course of the season, despite his over-the-top behavior, he exhibits a sensitive, human side that makes you think that deep down, he's a good guy who just needs some understanding.
One tiny part of tonight's story was Angela's slapping of Dwight. All season long it seemed they had a hot relationship going on, so her reaction to him was a bit weird. We'll have to see what happens next season with them and if their "romance" will continue.
Of course, like the rest of the viewers of The Office, I was chomping at the bit to see what finally transpires between Jim and Pam. The flirtation was strong between them the entire episode, and the subplot was whether Jim was going to tell anyone about his possible transfer out of Scranton because of the lack of a future there. After hanging out in the parking lot with Jan, she tells him he has to say something to somebody.
Finally, after Roy leaves, Jim finally professes his love for Pam. Shockingly, but not surprisingly, Pam rebuffs Jim, saying that he misinterpreted things. He says he wants to be more than friends, but she apparently doesn't. We then see Pam alone in a darkened office calling her mother and telling her what transpired. Jim walks in, and after hanging up the phone, Pam and Jim finally kiss! I would imagine most Office fans stood up and cheered, but I also think a number of you wanted to see Pam reject Jim's advances. The season ends with the kiss, so we'll be left to ponder all summer if the Pam-Roy wedding does take place or if Pam and Jim decide to hook up.
Again, this was a brilliant end to a brilliant season for The Office. I think all of us can't wait for September to see what happens next.