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November 29, 2014

The Office: The Negotiation

by Jay Black, posted Apr 5th 2007 11:50PM
Watch out, Michael, Dwight has an arsenal in that desk!(S03E19) I've been noticing a pattern with shows that, because of their popularity and thus importance to the network, have to split their episodes into mini-seasons around sweeps. They tend to end each batch of episodes with a bang, spend the entire hiatus promising something huge when the new episodes start airing, and then give us a whole lotta nothin' when the new batch finally begins.

Tonight's Office suffered that same predictable letdown, but still found a whole bunch of enjoyable moments (mostly thanks to the supporting players).

First to our favorite soap opera quadrangle - does it make me a bad person that I actually sympathize with Roy? I'm not going to lie to you: if my wife hooked up with one of her guy friends (God I hate the idea of "guy friends") from work, I'm not sure my response would be all that much different from Roy's. Sure, I'm a lot less imposing and the description of the attack might include the phrase "girly-slaps" a little too much, but I'm afraid the intention would be much the same. While I thought his response at the bar in the previous episode was borderline psychopath, punching Jim right in his "what-me-worry" face seems just about right for his kissing Pam. I'm actually worried about myself that this is how I feel.

Also, is anyone else getting sick of how wishy-washy Pam is? Earlier in the season, I thought they extended the sexual tension brilliantly by putting up real-life roadblocks to the inevitable Jim/Pam love-capade. But now we're nineteen episodes into the season and it feels like they're just treading water. Pam's confused/longing looks at Jim are starting to feel like shorthand for "we don't really know how or when we're gonna pull this off, so here's a look that seems a bit more profound than it actually is". The hug she shared with Roy at the end of the episode seemed final, but as Jim said, you just can't help but think she'll find her way back there at some point.

What was troubling for me was that this was the first time that I've ever watched an Office episode where I've felt more obligated than excited to discuss the soap opera elements. Usually, I'm a little disappointed that the plot didn't advance enough. Tonight, despite the big build up all March, I could've done without it.

That being said, though, the episode was packed with wonderful moments. Dwight and his pepper spray (and nunchucks and ninja throwing stars) was absolutely hilarious. I've caught some pepper-spray fallout in my life (no, not because I was stalking a girl, thank you very much -- I was in a city street when a cop pepper sprayed a crazy drunk guy) and the reaction of the office was both accurate to my own experience and funny.

More than that though, the response of the office to Dwight's heroics reveals once again what makes this show so enjoyable (even on a "let down" episode). Angela's desperation to hear the epic tale of Dwight again and again and her lusty response was a high point. It was also among the sexiest things we've seen on network TV in a long time. Seriously, why do censors bother with things like Janet Jackson's nipple when the real erotica is Angela rubbing her neck in a way that makes you think that Dwight is going to be bent up like a pretzel about ten minutes after he gets home with her? Kudos to Angela Kinsey for another great and subtle performance!

Jim pulling a reversal and trying to dupe Dwight into accepting a thank you was a nice change from the norm. I thought it was going to be over with the certificate (that's certainly something Dwight would usually fall for), but they pay off was just about right. Sweetest moment on The Office since Toby came to Pam's art show.

I haven't mentioned much about Michael and this is already a long review, but in a lot of ways Michael's story was pretty typical. Let's just run down three great Michael related moments:

- Woman's suit. What was great was that I didn't notice it until Darrel did. Did you guys catch it before then?

- The predictable, but still hilarious use of his personal relationship with Jan during the negotiation. "I'm withholding sex!"

- "Never touch a black man's radio!"

A few other moments of note:

- Ryan and Kelly. Who would've thought that their relationship would have a) lasted this long or b) become this compelling? Honestly, I'd love to see an episode devoted to them on a date. It is insane to name their kid Usher!

- Kevin warning Jim.

- Stanley: "I still think he's over paid."

- Aaaaaaaaaaaaand: Andy's back!

This was a good, not great episode, mostly held down by the (somewhat, kinda) ponderous Jim/Pam/Karen/Roy situation. I really hope we get some movement on this before the season's end just so that we can open up the show and let it breath a little bit.

Question for the commentators: What is it about Jim that's so great? I mean, sure he's the best looking guy at the office (not really hard to do, but I'll give him that), but other than a prank here or there, he seems a bit dull. My wife is absolutely in love with him (as I imagine are a lot of the female readership of this review), so I'm curious what the appeal is. Don't worry, by the way, I'm pretty sure my wife never kissed him, so I will not be punching him any time soon.

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Brian

I reread your take on it and I redact the crazy remark. (Get it? Redact? I'm here all week.) Seriously, what's the Internet good for if not knee-jerk overreactions, right? My apologies. The open-ended nature of the show is its fatal flaw, isn't it? Gervais and Merchant didn't have to contend with the whole "We don't know WHEN it'll end" dilemma. Maybe Daniels & Co. should do what the Lost guys did and agree with the network on an end date. In the meantime, I have high hopes for the final five episodes. We can compare notes then. If they drag things out into Season 4, I owe you a Coke.

Reposted from: http://remote.lohudblogs.com/2007/04/06/fliz-makes-fireworks-on-30-rock/#comments

April 08 2007 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blair

I think the two best moments were Ryan and Kelly making out after their argument, and when Roy called Pam "Pammy" when she said "Don't call me Pammy" last episode. Awesome.

April 07 2007 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elliot

haha the funniest moment in the entire show was the scene at the end, i laughed so hard I had to watch it again!

April 06 2007 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cheryl

I dunno Jay, I think it would be creepy for a dude to punch some guy that kissed his girlfriend. That's what is cool about Jim-- he wouldn't do something creepy like that. Also, he is not afraid to put it on the line, emotionally. Roy doesn't really seem to have feelings for Pam, other than being possessive and habitual. Which are really sucky traits in a dude.

April 06 2007 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I have to disagree with Jay on this one.

Quite simply, this was one of the TOP 5 episodes of The Office EVER! Just brilliant from start to finish. A bonafide classic episode that will be remembered long after the series runs it's course.

April 06 2007 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matt


Did no one else notice that Jim seemed to be wearing a wig? It distracted me for the entire episode.

Other than that, I thought the episode was far better than the lukewarm review would indicate.

April 06 2007 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eck

The characters shouldn't be criticized because they have flaws. They're trying to make characters that are like real people, and real people have flaws. If Pam is wishy washy, or Jim is immature thats just part of the character on the show. They should imperfect and make mistakes at times.

April 06 2007 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jose

Roy may not be as smart as Jim, but he has qualities Jim doesn't. Like the ability to be open and honest with himself and others, the ability to take action when he feels he needs to. Dwight also has these qualities.

Jim pretends not to care so he doesn't have to do anything. Pam is the exact same way. In some ways they are more immature than anyone else in the office.

April 06 2007 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diego M

karen is real too. she is just an assertive, more exotic version of pam. are there any other Jaren fans here?

Toby cracked me up talkin about the deposition and the landmark case. that innevitable would go to trial.

April 06 2007 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benjy

The best understated joke in last night's episode was where Michael makes his sex remark to Jan during the negotiation and Toby starts writing. When Michael asks what Toby is doing, he says (in very Toby-like fashion), "I'm preparing for the deposition." Priceless!!! God love Toby!

Dwight also rules! His exhibition of his assorted Ninja defense tools was great. (I almost fell over when he pulled out the throwing star!) And his remark about real heroes being guys who "go to work, get a call from the commissioner, and go put on a cape" was dumb brilliance!

April 06 2007 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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