The Office: Phyllis' Wedding
Here's a shocking thing that a lot of TV executives seem to not be able to understand: when you get really talented writers and allow them to work with really talented actors, good things will happen. You don't really need to over think the equation. The Office consistently manages to dazzle us with little more than well written scripts executed by great actors. You don't need mythology or gimmicks... just talent.
All right, the fawning is making even me sick. On to the episode...
Michael is a character that I'm conflicted about. There are times when I don't like him and find him to be unrealistic note in an overall perfect satire of modern office life (and yes, I am taking the surrealism of Dwight into account). It wasn't until tonight that I figured out why I'm so conflicted about Michael: I just don't think a guy who is that out of bounds would ever be able to survive in a managerial role. When he goes all "Michael" at the office, I'm taken a bit out of the show because I am constantly going "Well, there's no way they'd let him keep his job after that." (Yes, I think I'm stupid for thinking that too.)
But here's the thing: when Michael is out of the office, like tonight, his social awkwardness and emotional neediness is a lot more enjoyable. Whereas I can't imagine someone like Michael surviving in the workplace, I've seen several Michaels at several weddings trying to take the day and make it about them (as a stand-up comic whose eyes light up every time I see a microphone, I can empathize with Michael. Sadly, sadly empathize).
So I was able to enjoy Michael to the fullest tonight. My favorite moments:
- Introducing the Bride and Groom twice.
- Telling Bob Vance to never lay a finger on Phyllis.
- The 40 minute speech he planned to give (and confusing "welding" and "wedding...priceless!)
The main romantic plotline had some nice movement tonight as well. What I like about this show is that they've set both Jim and Pam into relationships that we're actually a little bit rooting for. I mean, we all hated Roy last season, but his attempts to get Pam back have been hang-dog cute and earnest. When she hooked up with him tonight (well, we didn't see it, but it certainly looked that way), instead of shouting out at the screen that she shouldn't go with him, you could completely understand why she would do it.
Karen, too, is a lovely character who, were it not for Pam, would make a great match for Jim. What I love about this show is that the producers have enough faith in their audience that they didn't make Roy and Karen evil or shrill. A typical sitcom would give Jim a string of terrible women to put up with just killing time until the inevitable hook-up between Pam and him. This show, though, gives us two rivals that we actually root for (even while we're rooting for Pam and Jim to get together).
When Jim said that he was happy that he was there with Karen, you believed it for both reasons -- the surface reason that he was glad to be there with such a fun loving and beautiful woman, and the deeper reason that he had someone to hold onto after seeing Pam leave with Roy.
God I love this show.
And listen, I've taken some heat over on my Studio 60 reviews for my creepy comments concerning the hotness of the female stars and I promised myself I wouldn't talk about my super-crushes on Pam and Karen, but something needs to be said here. Pam was drop-dead gorgeous tonight. Someone should build a statue of her so that geeks everywhere can go and worship at it. Seriously, if this were ancient Greece, I would be sacrificing a bull or a kitten or something to whatever Goddess is responsible for putting Pam on the planet.
There, I said it. Comment away at how creepy I am.