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October 21, 2014

The Office: Lecture Circuit

by Jay Black, posted Feb 6th 2009 1:07AM
Sometimes it's difficult for me to think of funny things to write in this Alternative Text box...(S05E14) Last week's episode of The Office was kind of like a one-night stand that happens after way too much drinking: good for what it was, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Tonight's episode is like finding the girl you're going to marry. And then realizing that she's rich. And also that she believes that Han shot first.

In a return to form not seen since Paul Crewe came back into the game in The Longest Yard, tonight The Office found its way back to that perfect old- school alchemy of discomfort, satire, and heart. Oh, and Creed. Lots of Creed ...

I was actually worried midway through the episode, when it began to feel like they were wasting the return of Karen. After all, seeing her pregnant in the preview last week made it seem like a major bombshell was about to be dropped. I'm a little hazy on the timeline, but there was just a teeny part of me that thought maybe it was Jim's baby. (You would know it was his, incidentally, if the baby was mugging sardonically at the ultrasound camera).

Luckily, we were saved from that mountain of drama. And, as it turned out, Karen wasn't really wasted. Yes she was mostly there to remind viewers that she has a new series coming soon, but ultimately her presence provided the catalyst for next week's Holly episode. Anything that brings Holly back into the fold is good for The Office.

Back at Dunder-Mifflin, we saw a rare team-up of Dwight and Jim. Those of you who defended crazy/psycho Dwight last week, I'm sorry, but this is the Dwight I prefer. He was still wickedly funny ("My feelings heal at twice the rate of a normal human"), but without giving you that "I better grab my pepper-spray" feeling.

Speaking of pepper-spray: Andy Bernard. Much as I love Amy Poehler, I can't help but wonder how great an Office spinoff starring Andy would be. He is by far my favorite character on the show right now. The Andy/Creed conversation about how to pick up a woman (Squeaky Fromme!) is a hall-of-fame Office moment.

If we can close out the season with 8 more episodes like this one, I'll be a happy reviewer.

Other stuff:

- Again with the Michael's branch is doing better than everybody else's thing. I'm beginning to think that a lot of your theories regarding Michael's bad math being a future plot point are right.

- With Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones joining Jenna Fischer and Tina Fey on Thursday night, is it possible that NBC has the all-time greatest geek-lust lineup? I mean what more could they do? Replace My Name is Earl with a half hour of Princess Leia making out with Trinity? My mind is officially blown.

- "Have I ever steered you wrong, Jim?"

- Tonight's episode recalled one of my favorite's from the British Office, "Motivation". When Michael was going through his name mnemonics (offensive, but effective), I couldn't help but think of David Brent's presentation ... you're the best.. better than all the rest!

As always, your comments complete me.

The Office' Photos

    THE OFFICE Steve Carell as Michael Scott and Amy Ryan as Holly star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Steve Carell as Michael Scott and Amy Ryan as Holly star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor and Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Amy Ryan as Holly and Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Rainn Wilson, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, ''Night Out'', (Season 4, airing April 24, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Mitch Haddad / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Rainn Wilson, Cassie Fliegel, ''Night Out'', (Season 4, airing April 24, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Mitch Haddad / NBC

    THE OFFICE, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, ''The Dinner Party'', (Season 4, episode 4013, aired April 10, 2008), 2005-,. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC / courtesy everett collection

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jordancda

NO! NO! NO! The Geek Lust night can ONLY be fulfilled when they replace My Name is Earl with a show starring Kristen Bell and Felicia Day that is about two female gaming nerds solving crimes while being funny and sexy and maybe singing songs. But we are certainly getting closer with the addtions of Miss Jones and Mrs. Arnett.

February 11 2009 at 3:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

The 'Nard Dog!

February 07 2009 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Galley

Worst.. Episode... Ever...

February 06 2009 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peter Lynn

What is with Dwight's inability to blow up a balloon? You'd think that Dwight would have twice the lung capacity of a normal man -- or at least, he'd have normal lung capacity but he'd brag about how it was twice that of a normal man. I wonder if this foreshadows any possible health problems for Dwight.

February 06 2009 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Willmore2000

Well, the ratings are out and the show didn't gain any viewers, in fact, it was a few ticks lower in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.

February 06 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James

Now this is more like it. They went back to their bread and butter, pairing up Michael with Pam, Dwight with Jim, much to our benefit. All the stuff at Utica was great. And making Jim and Dwight heads of the party planning committee - a stroke of genius. Plus Andy and Creed in top form.

Best episode in maybe two years.

February 06 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JD

The way this season has been going where I expect them to follow typical cliches for their plot lines, only to completely go in another direction, I see Michael getting promoted into Jan/Ryan's vacated position only to hate being in NY and missing his tiny office and bunch of misfits. That would be the perfect Michael. Jan loved the position for the power and control. Ryan loved the position for the money and glitz of being in NY. Michael is the anti Jan/Ryan and would be miserable there. This would follow in line with why Jim has lately been given story lines where he is in control of the office. It shows that it is REALLY hard being a people manager and that even though we all think Michael is a loser/whacko, he is very good at what he gets paid to be, your boss.

February 06 2009 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JD's comment
GL

Michael is not a good boss.

February 06 2009 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad

Michael can't go on as the manager of the best branch. It has to blow up. That's what Michael is. He has to lose the perfect girl for him. He has to be a loser. That's what makes his character work.

February 06 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam

I've got a feeling that there's going to be some major realization at the end of the season that Michael's bumbling and humorous leadership in fact sparks life in the Scranton employees, thus leading to their higher productivity relative to the other branches. Call it a long shot, but many people have said how much they wished they worked at the Office instead of where they do. I'm guessing it is because their workplaces are all boring cube-farms with truly pointless (monotone) meetings and no daily humor (regardless of how bad). This, in fact, could be considered similar to the Utica (Karen's) branch, where in this episode people seemed to be sitting around, very bored and not interactive. So, the reason Scranton is the best branch is not because of its organization of leadership, but rather its disorganization.

Just a theory. But, I hope I called it first. :)

February 06 2009 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Adam's comment
Dan

I'm not sure if the show will do this...but I certainly agree. I work in one of those "Cubicle farms" with the monotonous meetings where they "teach" us about common sense we learned in Kindergarten. I think if I had a boss like Michael who didn't care and was able to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted, I think I would be more productive too. Google Employees have a Wii in their break rooms, my company sent us an email telling us we weren't allowed to watch the inaguration on the comunal TVs! Which office would YOU be more productive in?

February 06 2009 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diego M

you know i agree with you, lookin at the body language from the utica branch they are just office drones waiting for 5 PM to get the hell out and watch 2 1/2 men.

but the scranton branch actually works harder because they know that they could stop working and have to put up with michael's shennenigans. and as clueless and sometimes offensive michael is, he does care about every single one of those employees, except toby which leads to a more positive work environment despite of said shennenigans.

you called it, but i backed up up on it. DEAL?

February 06 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

I think eventually this highest selling branch thing is going to blow up and get Michael fired on the finale. Then next season he'll get his job back somehow.

February 06 2009 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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