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July 25, 2014

The Office: Job Fair - VIDEO

by Jay Black, posted May 9th 2008 2:22AM
Sorry this isn't an awesome picture from the episode, but my boys at NBC let me down this week with promo pictures!(S04E13) Remember that movie The Chase? Okay, you probably don't, but believe me, it exists [link NSFW]. Anyway, Charlie Sheen takes Kristy Swanson hostage, and over the course of the movie some major league Stockholm Syndrome kicks in (like, really major league: they do it while he's leading the cops on a high speed chase). The lesson of the movie is obvious: if you kidnap the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she'll eventually fall in love with you.

I bring this up because I'm becoming scared that I might have lost perspective on The Office. I've sincerely loved every episode that has aired since its return from the break. Now, here's the question: is this because the writers spent the entire strike doing brain push-ups? Or is it because The Office is Charlie Sheen to my Kristy Swanson? My (glowing) review after the jump...

I think I've found something to criticize in this episode. I'm telling you now that a criticism is coming because this is going to be, for the most part, one of those breathless reviews that really bad movies quote in the advertisements (you know, "Fakey McLiar calls Made of Honor our generation's Seven Samurai"). Except instead of a fake writer who spent four days on a ridiculously lavish press junket, I'm a fake writer who just legitimately loves the show. If you hated tonight's episode, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the criticism.

Tonight's episode split the Dunder-Mifflin crew up into three groups: Jim, Andy and Kevin are taking a potential client on a golf outing; Michael, Pam, Oscar, and Darryl are attending a job fair at Pam's old high school; and Dwight, Angela and the rest of the gang are stuck back at the office.

Jim, after last week's surprise "formal warning," is doing something we haven't seen him do... well, ever. He's trying. The motivation is exactly what you'd expect it to be: he can't get fired because he's got marriage on the mind.

It made sense that Andy would come with him -- he is, after all, another salesman -- but I wasn't sure why Kevin came except maybe for his obvious golf skills. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I think that Andy and Kevin are great together and I really hope that the producers consider the two of them for the proposed spin-off (my idea is that we find out Andy is adopted, so he and Kevin move to New York City to try to find out more information about his mother's life there before she had him). Any excuse to see the two of them interacting again is a good one so far as I'm concerned.

Just a word here about Andy: he stole the show tonight. The blisters (from hitting 1200 golf balls in preparation of the outing), the quotes ("Getting my knot on!"), and the golf cart... if you didn't laugh at everything he did then I'm pretty sure you're a sentient robot who doesn't know what it means to be human. Get Geordi LaForge to put your emotion chip in and come get your Andy on.

Though the golf is fun (for us at least), Jim is making no headway at all with his potential client. Every approach he makes is rebuffed, with the client showing the kind of self-assured douchebaggery that only a guy who holds all the cards and knows it can muster. One of the things I've loved about this particular run of episodes is that the big bold humor -- like Andy's antics -- gets mixed so evenly with the small satirical strokes -- like Jim's client. I've never had to grit my way through a bogus golf game, but I have been in sales situations and tonight's episode was pitch perfect in capturing the ritualized dance of egos that goes on in them.

While Jim is golfing, Michael is leading his crew at the job fair. In typical Michael fashion, his presentation is completely off the mark. The one time that an over-the-top display would actually benefit Michael, he decides to go low-key. While other businesses have really fun booths with things like basketball to lure the kids in, all Michael has brought is a piece of paper. A single sheet of paper. With nothing on it. You'd figure the least he could would be to draw a circle on it (you know, for the kids), but no. Nothing.

Of course, this leads to no attention at all. The only nibble they get is from a somewhat nerdy kid named Justin. Michael, in perhaps the harshest moment of an otherwise lightweight episode, turns the kid down for not being "right" for Dunder-Mifflin. Michael tells Justin that someone as cool as him could easily be a "classy janitor" (which is just dying to be a commenter handle, isn't it?) When Justin leaves, Michael discovers that he has signed his name to the paper, which is a travesty: the paper was supposed to be a canvas to paint hopes and dreams on, now it's just a piece of paper. He dispatches Pam to get another sheet.

Pam goes to the old art room to get more paper and we're treated to an elegantly crafted piece of character work. While she's in there, she notices that there is a collection of student artwork on the wall and she muses that "Maybe it's still here...," referring to a piece she presumably drew but that she hasn't mentioned till now. She does a quick look over the wall and then dismisses the premise that it would be there as silly. It was maybe 15 seconds of screen time, but it carried with it more subtlety of character than a hundred episodes of a traditional sitcom.

(I told you, by the way: I drank the Kool-Aid. I'm selling all my possessions and moving to Scranton to spread the word. All hail Greg Daniels.)

The people left at the office are annoyed that Jim and Michael get to spend a day out, but they're stuck working. They figure since the manager and assistant manager aren't there, they might as well leave, which annoys the former acting assistant to the regional manager (or whatever Dwight is calling himself these days). He tries to put a stop to it and they show him exactly the amount of respect Dwight has earned: Stanley walks right out and the rest of the office leaves while he's in the bathroom.

The only one who stays is Angela. Without getting all gooey again about how well the quiet moments were handled tonight, let's just say this: the door to an Angela/Dwight rekindling is opened with a simple "bless you." It's a small concession from Angela, but it's enough to make you wonder what might be coming in next week's finale.

As Angela and Dwight are making their small peace, Jim makes a step towards his future: he actually closes the big client. He tries three times and all three times he's told no. He keeps at it though and unlike the Buffalo Bills, the fourth time is the charm.

This leads to a sweet moment where a delighted Jim gives Pam a celebratory kiss back at the office. It was lucky for both of them that Toby wasn't there (as it was, by any office standard, inappropriate), but Michael took it to be a symbol of what he loved about Dunder-Mifflin. His mood -- which had been darkened by his inability to attract not a single summer intern despite his great offer of, uh, no money or college credit -- is buoyed by the kiss. It showed someone like Jim, who is capable of doing anything, chooses to work there.

It's with that thought dancing in our heads that we're brought to the coda. Usually the 'after-the-last-commercial bit' is reserved for a throwaway gag, but tonight's episode, like Iron Man, saves some serious plot movement for the final scene. Pam stops by a graphic design firm and asks for an application. She doesn't have the requisite skills, but she's pointed in the right direction: if she wants to work in graphic design, the best move for her is to go to Philadelphia or New York.

So, at the exact moment that Jim is seen planning a future for him and Pam in Scranton, she's looking to get the hell out of there. Does anyone else smell the drama bacon? I get the feeling that those of you who aren't fans of the JAM drama aren't going to be happy next week. The rest of us? Well, as Christopher Walken might say: wowie wow wow.

(By the way, as a serious Mac fanatic, I had a hard time deciding what to look at in that final scene: the beautiful iMac or the beautiful Jenna Fischer. I chose Jenna, but only because of 500 million years of sexual evolution. Please don't tell Steve Jobs.)

I really do want to apologize for my fawning in this review. As I've stated, I fear that I'm losing perspective. If I was grading the last five episodes on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being any episode of Reba, 10 being "Casino Night"), I'd do so as follows: 10, 9, 9, 8, 10. That's a DiMaggio-like streak for any sitcom. So, I ask you, my valued and sometimes hurtfully, hurtfully honest readership: am I reviewing this right? Has it really been this good? Or have I spent two years studying every Office episode so closely for review that I can't see the forest for the paper-producing trees? As always, lemme know in the comments.

Other Stuff:

-- Creed apparently got all his work done "months ago." I think I speak for all humans everywhere when I say we want more Creed.

-- Pam: "I just drove twenty miles round trip back to the office to get Michael a single sheet of white paper. So.. I could have just had them fax it to me, I guess." Jim: "Oh, I like you." Yes, you do Jim, and so does every single other red-blooded American male, even the creepy television bloggers. In fact, I'd go so far to say especially the creepy television bloggers.

-- "I'm dating Barack Obama!"

-- I'll just say it again, Andy crashing the golf cart made me laugh like Cartman in "Cherokee Hair Tampons": I laughed so hard milk came out of my nose and I wasn't even drinking any.

-- It's apparently very hard to hide pregnancies on TV. Angela looks really, really pregnant to me. I can't believe we live in a world where George Lucas has the technology to make fully-realized unlikeable digital characters and we can't find a better way to hide Angela Kinsey's pregnancy. C'mon NBC, figure something out here.

-- The promised criticism: the fact that events tonight forced the unknown makers of the documentary to split into three groups, each with at least two cameras. We're to believe that a documentary about a paper company is able to maintain that kind of budget? Pssssshaw! (I know it's weak, but it's all I got.)

-- Finally, I'd like to apologize for my absence last week; I had a comedy show scheduled at the exact time I was due to watch The Office. I want to give out many props to my very talented colleague, Jason Hughes, for jumping in. I owe him some fluffy-fingering the next time I see him. Which, now that I think about it, doesn't really fit the definition that Darryl gave last week and, more, sounds incredibly dirty. Uh, maybe we should just stop here.

Has the Office really been _that_ good lately?
Better (I noticed Jay had an eight in there, there are only tens when I watch The Office)97 (11.0%)
It's been excellent; I agree with Jay!392 (44.6%)
It's been good, sure, but as The Wolf said in Pulp Fiction, "Let's not suck each other's [CENSORED] just yet."294 (33.5%)
I'm sorry, I gotta go with 'Meh.' I've been unmoved for five straight weeks.83 (9.5%)
I hate The Office and everything it's been doing. I read these reviews simply to reconfirm my hate for the show!12 (1.4%)

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BunnyGalore

I keep thinking Kelly and Darryl will get engaged. Perhaps she really DOES forget her b/c and gets knocked up.

This episode, save for Michael's predictable stupidity at the end (was I the only one wishing he got tased by security?) was full of subtle moments and wasn't that bad.

What happened with Ryan the druggie?? That is what I want to know. Where is Jan????

May 14 2008 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Anderson

I haven't seen The Chase in years. I love that movie!

May 11 2008 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jmps

Jay,

You are clearly brain damaged. This episode was the worst ever. The Office is the worst show ever. When compared to MASH or I Love Lucy, NBC should be forced off the air for showing such trash. I only watch the show so I can complain about how bad it is and then make sure that everyone knows how much I dislike it. Also, I have no social life and incredibly small genitalia.

Seriously, where to these haters come from? I love AD and 30 Rock, and recognize them as great programming, and yes, some of the novelty of The Office is gone, but dammit, this is still a show that can get me laughing hysterically each and every week. Even the weaker episodes still have more laughs than most of the crap out there. The best part is, you know these people at one time were fans of the Simpsons (of course, they stopped watching after season 6/7/8/etc, when the quality declined), but they have no clue that they are channeling Comic Book Guy with their "worst episode ever" crap. I think one commentator may even have used those words, or something to that effect.

My point is, I am drinking the same kool-aid as you. If it's wrong, I don't want to be right. I can't wait for next weeks finale. More Creed!

May 11 2008 at 12:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jayr2345

Just something I am a little curious about though. The people in the office have been followed around with these cameras for what like, three years, and yet no mention has been made as to what is going on with the documentary that this is being shot for or what. I really think they should make a joke about it at some point, or have an episode where they realize what channel its being played on and watch it, with reactions about what fellow co - workers say about one another. Maybe next season's finale can be them watching the first episode of their series. I just think it would be cool to have it mentioned

May 10 2008 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

um, I like "Jam" but for some reason, I liked it better when they were "not" together...I don't know why. Also, towards the end of the episode, I hated it when Pam and Jim kissed because he made the sale and they pulled away because it was awkward and embarrassing...Come on, we all know (viewers, docu crew, employees, etc) that you're together and happy.

I also like the suspense (drama) that may arise...Jim is brewing marriage...or a proposal while Pam wants to leave Scranton or Dunder Mifflin due to the fact that she may no longer stand Michael's erratic actions. Michael treats her like a brain-dead, incompetent person and being that Pam welcomed her newfound confidence, she may not stand for it anymore. I think the finale would be her desire to move to New York.

Also, yes...I want to see more Creed!

May 10 2008 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Steve

When I grow up, I wanna be a migraine worker.

May 09 2008 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz

This was a great episode- maybe my favorite since the strike. My boyfriend and I both related to different parts of the episode (him to the booth bits, and me to the sneaking out when the boss is away bits), even though we work in totally different fields. That is when The Office really shines, when people who actually work in an office can watch it and go "man that just happened to me last week!"

May 09 2008 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D-Bo

Call me a Kool Aid drinker but I loved it. Anyone who didn't laugh at Andy drinking, squirting lotion in his gloves or crashing the golf cart has no sense of humor. Classic Michael neediness with his line about the prospective intern being the best thing going on in his life right now. Oh and the basketball dropkick was great!

May 09 2008 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anonymous123

Couldn't agree with you more, Kristin! Great show, I'll always love it! God Bless You.

May 09 2008 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kevjohn

It's a fair review. Get it? FAIR review? OK, I got nothing.

I really liked the past two episodes of the show because they show, just as in real life, it's not always fun and games and a laugh riot slogging through our daily grinds. Between the tensions with Stanley and their miserable showing at the job fair, it's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Michael and staff. But he's still in there maintaining and giving it his best.

The Pam segments really touched me because I went through/am going through a similar phase where I realized I really wasn't doing what I wanted to be doing, and maybe it was time to take a chance and go for it while I still can.

May 09 2008 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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