The Office: The Job (season finale)
I've made myself clear over my run of reviews that I enjoy the soapy elements as much if not more than the comedy bits. Maybe it's because I have an unabashed (and quite creepy, if your comments are to be trusted!) crush on Jenna Fischer, but either way, I tend to tune in to watch the romance inch forward. I know a lot of you are just the opposite, though, and could live without the longing glances between Jim and Pam. Just bring the funny!
That's why it's so damn nice when the show can make both camps equally happy...
Let's start with the comedy. There was just so much good stuff this week:
-- Shrute bucks and Stanley nickels. I've never worked a real office job so I'm not sure if such a thing exists out there in the real world, but having been a teacher where people actually think things like this motivate people, I found this bit outrageously funny.
-- Dwight's choice of Jack Bauer as his ideal assistant. Has there ever been a network show that actually dares to compliment the shows of other networks? I mean, it makes perfect sense for someone like Dwight to worship the gun-wielding, torture-loving Mr. Bauer, but it shows courage that NBC would allow him to talk about another highly rated show (especially one that competes with Heroes).
-- Jan's new boobs and Michael's reaction to them. While it might not be fair to say that all men are as simplistic as Michael and that bigger boobs can somehow magically fix a relationship, but, uh... what was I saying? I was just looking at Jan on my Tivo and lost my train of thought. "Also, add this... brrrrrrrrr."
-- Dwight and Jim working out the details of Dwight's fictional hotel in hell. It's a running gag on The Office: Dwight says something stupid and Jim takes him at his word, and then the two of them banter... but it gets me every time. "I didn't tell you how much I earn. $80,000."
-- Michael's choice of farewells.
-- "Beardy." Small moment, but it slayed me.
We also got some great movement on the soap front. My wife thought Karen was acting "bitchy this episode," especially when she came between Pam and Jim's exchange over Jan's new boobs. I'm not so sure... I thought she was reacting like anyone would react when it's obvious that the girl your boyfriend used to love actually has feelings back for him. If I were Karen, I'd be the same way (right after I got over the incredible gender issues I'd be experiencing). What say you, loyal readers? Was Karen over-the-top tonight or acting in a way that is to be expected?
Also, while I was happy that Jim stuck his head in and asked Pam to dinner (not quite a Casino Night moment, but close enough for season three), I was a little concerned about what this meant for Karen being stranded in New York. Whether or not he wants to break up with the girl, he at least owes her a ride back to Scranton, doesn't he?
I wonder: do you think that Jim admitting that he hasn't been himself is something that the show has been building towards (you guys called it in the comments; Jim has been a bit "jerky" lately) and a testament to the greatness of the writers and actors on The Office, or something that they tacked on at the end of the season to make some uneven writing make sense (Lost style). As a fan of the show, I'm in the former camp, but I want to open the floor to discussion because the thought did cross my mind.
The fact that Michael was applying for Jan's job came as a bombshell for me. I really didn't see that coming! The fall-out was wonderful, if only because it led to two all-time great Office moments. Michael's heartfelt endorsement of Karen and Jim, and Jan's statement that "working on their relationship will be her full time job." Michael's look at that moment was priceless.
Three final notes before I sign off for the season:
1) Ryan?! I thought for certain that Karen was getting the job (what with Rashida Jones' sitcom getting picked up and all). His never having made a sale and getting promoted makes sense, I guess, in the context of corporate America, but the way he ended it with Kelly made me angry. I know, I know, it's just a show, but I like Kelly. That little no-sale-making-class-A-rat-fink really rankled me with that "we're done" line. I hope someone makes him a reservation in Hotel Hell.
2) Pam. I said last week that her speech was completely out of character, and you guys gave me about 30 reasons why it wasn't out of character. I usually like to stick stubbornly to my guns no matter what the evidence says to the contrary (I don't care what you say, the movie I saw last night was not Citizen Kane), but after the avalanche of comments in praise of Pam's speech, I decided to take another look at last week's episode. Watching it again, and, in light of the way Pam was played this episode, I have to admit... I was wrong. They're moving Pam to a new place and the speech was the dislodging of the "old Pam." While I might not agree on its appropriateness, I can definitely see how it fit the character. Consider my crow eaten.
3) And in keeping in the tone of the last paragraph, it's been a blast reviewing each week's episodes for you guys. For the most part, the comments have been more a lively discussion of the night's episode than a discussion about the most appropriate way for my life to end. I appreciated all of your feedback, even when we disagreed, and I'm happy to say that I've had a lot of pleasant conversations with you guys both on this site and in private emails. Thanks for a great season. That being said, I now go back to the shark-pool that is Studio 60. Goodbye intelligent discussion! Hello "please die, dirtbag!" See you there next week!
One last question of the week: What are you going to do now that your weekly Office fix is gone? Is it going to be another show? TiVoed episodes of The Office? Or do you... gulp... spend time with loved ones?
This episode gets 7 Shrute Bucks out of 7.
|1 - Worst||4 (0.5%)|
|7 - Best||615 (72.4%)|