The Office: Beach Games
So which is it? More vitriolic bile or an army of willing organ donors? The answer, as always, after the jump...
I really enjoyed this episode a lot. I thought that it was a bit more low key than some of the previous episodes (hilarious sumo outfits not withstanding) and that suited me just fine. I thought that Michael's ridiculousness, always a difficult balancing act, was reigned-in to just this side of believable where it belongs. I thought that it was filled with a great assortment of gags, both character-based and farcical. I thought this episode was headed towards "classic" status and that writing my review tonight would be as easy as it is to get a glimpse of Meredith's breasts.
Did anyone buy Pam's speech at the end of the episode!? If she had stopped with "Why didn't you come to my art show?", it would have been fine. When she pushed the Jim issue, though, the speech (and the episode along with it) took a turn for the worse. I had four major problems with it:
1) I just don't see Pam, flush with post-fire-walking endorphins or not, as being the kind of person to confront Jim so publicly regarding her feelings. Not because those feelings are invalid, but because talking about those things in front of everyone is impolite and incredibly disrespectful of Karen. Pam is not an impolite person. I realize that for the purposes of the story those things needed to be said to Jim and ultimately heard by Karen, but having Pam do it in an wildly out of character speech just smacks of sloppy writing.
2) For those of us who enjoy The Office for the soap opera as well as the comedy, what Pam said should have been a break-through moment. Think back to when Jim announced his feelings for Pam at the end of last season; it was so perfectly heartbreaking and real that I think my wife almost blew-up the TiVo re-watching it all summer. Tonight's speech, even though it was a season in coming, just felt forced. Do you think anyone will be using this moment as romantic methadone for the next three months? I didn't think so.
3) My internet nit-picky moment: walking on coals is not an accomplishment. Check out this site to see how it's done and why it's not a big deal.
And now, if you'll allow me to "Creed"-up a notch...
4) You cannot tell Toby in the beginning part of the episode that you'll be "wearing a two-piece" at the lake and then NOT WEAR A TWO-PIECE! I'm sorry, but that speech should have been given in a bikini. For the love of all that's right and natural in the world, that bikini was owed to me and the millions of Jenna Fischer addicts all over the multiverse. I will now stick an unbent paper-clip in my eye.
As always, I'm curious to hear your opinions on the speech. Did it seem natural to you? Am I over-thinking it (like usual)?
That being said, there was a lot to love in this episode:
1) Andy floating in a sumo-suit. Best single image of the year.
2) Stanley's brief flirtation with butt-kissing. "I can't do this anymore. I'll be in the van."
3) The look on Karen's face during Pam's speech. My wife, so much in tune with girl faces, gave this interpretation of the look she was giving Pam: "Back off, Bitch."
4) Dwight yelling at Ryan during the egg-walk.
5) "Like Amanda Bynes?" "Whose Amanda Bynes?" "She's from What a Girl Wants." "Oh, I love that movie." Just a priceless character interaction between two pop-culture-soaked dunderheads.
6) The sing-alongs. I have to say that these are probably my favorite Office moments of the year. Though the second choice of songs was either a rip-off or an homage (if there's a difference) to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, it didn't matter. I'm a sucker for sing-alongs and when you watch a bunch of characters who you've grown to love come together to sing one on a bus... well, that's the height of artistic triumph so far as I'm concerned.
Does thinking that a sing-along represents the "height of artistic triumph" disqualify me from ever writing seriously about anything ever again? Probably, but I don't care. I'm downloading The Gambler as we speak (legally, even!)
Question of the week: If you worked at Dunder-Mifflin and could pick one boss, who would it be and why? Extra points if you don't go with the obvious answer (Jim).
A potential first-ballot hall-of-fame-episode marred by a Ricky-Henderson-passing-Lou-Brock level bad speech means that I have to give this episode 6 Creed-Killed Fish out of 7.
|1 - Worst||3 (0.6%)|
|7 - Best||173 (34.5%)|