The Office: The Negotiation
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.