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The Office: Back From Vacation

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jan 4th 2007 11:20PM

Jan and Michael(S03E11) Is there any doubt that this is the best sitcom on TV? Not only is it funny, but there are some great stories with hellacious plot twists.

Witness this latest episode, which dealt primarily with Michael returning to the office after a vacation in Jamaica. Before the holiday hiatus, we were left with a cliffhanger when at the end of the last episode, Michael was desperately trying to find someone to go with him after his girlfriend broke up with him. He was finally able to persuade someone to come along, but we were left speculating as to who the "lucky" person was.

Many of us thought it was Jan, but many of us thought it was too obvious a choice, and a number of us came up with other possibilities. Well, I guess we were all shocked, but not surprised, when Michael revealed that he did go to Jamaica with Jan. Not only did she go with him, but let's just say they "bonded" down there. I was very surprised that she did go, and I was very interested in finding out why, only because ever since her brief flirtation with him last season, Jan doesn't seem to think much of Michael. Well, there goes that theory!

At the same time, we saw Karen and Jim having their first fight when she says that she wants to rent an apartment two blocks from where he lives but he feels that she is practically moving in with him. It seems strange that Jim is acting this way, especially since he seemed to have rebounded so quickly from his rejection by Pam.

Anyway, back to Michael. When he first got back to the office, he was definitely in a giddy mood. Playing a steel drum and singing "Hot, Hot, Hot" and wanting to have an "Inventory Luau" certainly seems festive, don't you think? He gets the Party Planning Committee on the case, but you just knew that it wouldn't stop there. He just had to share his pictures of Jan in a skimpy bathing suit with someone, and he thought he was just sending an e-mail to his pal Todd Packer. Of course, as is his wont, his enthusiasm and braggadocio get in the way and he mistakenly e-mails it to the "Packaging" department, and quickly the picture makes the rounds in Scranton.

Meanwhile, Pam suprisingly counsels Jim about his dilemma with Karen and says he should not be so concerned about her move. Jim readily agrees, but the ever-so-subtle look on her face made me think that she was disappointed that Jim was so quick to agree with her.

Of course, pandemonium occurs over the picture of Michael and Jan. The warehouse guys have blown it up into a huge poster despite Dwight's "search-and-destroy" mission for Michael. In addition, Michael seems to be genuinely remorseful over what he's done, and when Jan finally shows up at in Scranton to speak to Michael, the forlorn look on his face made you think he was about to get the axe.

Next come two pretty incredible plot twists. First, we see Pam upset and crying. It wouldn't be a stretch to think that maybe she blew it with Jim, and her newfound independence isn't making her any happier. But shockingly, the person that offers her comfort is Dwight! Who'd have thunk it! He actually acts like a human being concerned for her, but of course he has to throw it all away when he thinks she might be PMS'ing. Too bad. It would have been very interesting if Dwight had been a real comfort to her and offered his friendship.

Not surprisingly, the shocker of all shockers is that Jan is in love with Michael, despite her admissions of self-destructive behavior. But, she says even though he's wrong for her, she wants to be with him. (Cue "If Loving You is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right"!) After a passionate kiss and her telling him to meet her at his condo later, he tells her "You complete me." Brilliant, just friggin' brilliant!

At the end, Roy and Pam share a joke over their scuttled honeymoon plans, but I just don't think he will be successful in winning her back. I just get the feeling that Pam will try to win Jim's heart, but I'm not sure she's going to do anything that drastic. We'll see what happens.

As I mentioned earlier, this was just a terrific episode. Well written, well acted, and had you begging for more at the end. What more can you ask for?

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apsara

Jumped the shark with this one.

January 18 2007 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Genevieve

The beads were a riot, but otherwise this ep was kind of so-so for me. I get that Pam would be upset that she has to give Jim and Pam 'permission' to get closer (the only thing she can do is advise him not to be so uptight), but I think a full-out crying jag was too much-- teary-eyed despair would have been better. Also, I just don't understand why Jan is attracted to Michael-- she's got it so together and he's just a doofus!

January 08 2007 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

Finding the Ipod/sneaker thing in the warehouse has more to do w/product placement than plot development. At least it's subtle this time. Remember the Staples Shredder?

XOXOXO Rashida Jones. Not her character, but *her*. I want to put her picture on the back of my wife's head.

Good episode, it can go in so many directions. Prediction - The email makes its way up to "corporate" (loved the "corporate booty" line, btw); Michael will have to choose between Jan and Dunder-Mifflin. Note his less than enthusiastic reaction to her declaration of love. Although Michael is obsessed w/not living alone, he will still choose The Office. His fling w/Jan was more about her being the boss than about her.

January 06 2007 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JLM

I think the significance of Darryl claiming this is the best day ever is that he finally has revenge for Michael's COMPLETE trashing of the warehouse ('Boys and Girls', season 2). The reason why Darryl forwarded the e-mail so quickly was that he saw the opportunity for getting Michael fired. I guess finding the ipod (which could be easily misplaced in a large warehouse) while taking inventory was icing on the cake.

I have really been looking forward to when the writers would resolve the Michael-Darryl feud.

January 06 2007 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melanie

Joe, I'll bet that scene is addressed in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Maybe they cut it at the last minute for time? But I agree, it did seem super-awkward in the context of the episode.

January 06 2007 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Taylor

It is certainly not true that Jan hasn't been "too fond of michael since his flirtation with her last season." in the valentine's episode, jan is extremely grateful for michael's courage to stand up to their new boss, and ends up giving him a valentine's kiss. in the season finale, jan drives 2 hours to join michael in casino night. i think it's pretty obvious jan has always had some strange attraction toward michael, but she's always trying to stay professional. with the help of her psycyatrist, it seems, she won't hold back any more.

January 05 2007 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amy

Loved Pam & Dwight scene.
When he takes off his jacket..... and puts it around his waist. Classic Dwight!

January 05 2007 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
katherat

Why did that particular information trigger Pam's crying jag? ... Or did it?

January 05 2007 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johnnymac

Karen has been livving at a Days Inn, so she was refering to her room number ;-)

January 05 2007 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
meeno

the beads - funny
Dwight talking to Pam about "PMS" / tying the jacked around his waist, and him having pit stains - hilarious
dight sticking his head through the blinds to talk to Mike - laugh out loud funny
jim bringing up urgelgrue - rolling on the floor trying to catch my breath because i cant stop laughing

also correct me if im wrong, but a friend of mine told me that jim used to work on the conan o'brien show

this is easily the best show on tv

January 05 2007 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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