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December 19, 2014

The Office: Blood Drive

by Jay Black, posted Mar 6th 2009 1:14AM
Hey, wanna know why I put the same picture every week? It's because I'm lazy. Big time.(S05E16) At the risk of annoying John Hodgman, allow me to quote from this week's show: "Meh."

Tonight's episode felt like the obligatory Valentine's Day sex that millions of married couples went through a few weeks back: a robotic, passionless visit to all our familiar places that still manages to serve as a pleasant reminder of why we fell in love in the first place.

But that's okay. Not every experience can be the kind of handicap-stall-destroying booty-knocking that Phyllis and Bob Vance (of Vance Refrigeration) enjoy.

It's like I tell my wife, if the worst you do is "Meh", then you're probably doing all right. (It's usually at this point that she excuses herself from the room and weeps quietly in the bathroom).

Tonight's focus -- like a lot of the episodes lately -- was on Michael's heartbreak over Holly. I feel like the show is really hurting without Amy Ryan. Michael in love is fun and interesting; Michael out of love is kind of mopey and annoying. I realize that the writers can't dictate the whims of the acting world (see also: Inglourious Basterds), but still, if we're just going to tread water like this into May sweeps, Meh will very quickly turn into Fail, then WTF, and finally into some as-yet-unnamed internet meme that indicates when a show passes a point of no return and can never be as good as it once was (like that episode of Happy Days when the Fonz performed at a water park).

Other Stuff:

-- How great is it that Kelly can turn anything and everything into something romantic? If they had an hour of outtakes where people just described various gross ways that they met their mate ("She was the head ER nurse the night I accidently caught my scrotum in a wind turbine") with Kelly reacting with a string of excited "awwws", how long would you watch it for? I go the full 60.

-- I was so disappointed we didn't get to hear a Creed breakup story, but then there he was at the end stealing blood. Very nice.

-- I don't know why, but I was really, really perturbed that Jim and Pam would eat food off of another person's plate like that. I mean, I know it's equally rude to leave in the middle of lunch to defoul a public restroom, but still...

-- No Andy tonight, which is always a bummer, but Kevin picked up a lot of slack. There is no lady on earth who could resist his "I'm so nervous around you, feel how sweaty my palms are" routine. It's like watching Mystery from The Pickup Artist.

-- Why didn't they air this three weeks ago? It can't be that NBC has so few quality shows that they're trying to hoard episodes of The Office. I mean, this is the network of Kath and Kim and Howie Do It!

As always, your comments are like love sparrows shot right at my heart.

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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Argus

I really enjoyed this episode, and thought that it showed growth in the characters, which was nice. Also, I enjoy seeing the slightly weird, self absorbed parts of Jim and Pam that tend to crop up every so often.

March 07 2009 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beanie

Jay, what do you have against Kath & Kim? That show makes me LOL all the time. Sure, it's not The Office, but, it's such quickfire, a lot of people can miss the humor. Also, the Selma Blair eye candy doesn't hurt at all.

March 06 2009 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Beanie's comment
Jay Black

I think I've grown to excessively hate the show for this reason: I'm sorta-kinda forced to watch it.

"The Office" is the only show I watch in real-time (everything else is enveloped in TiVo's gentle kiss), so "Kath and Kim" is the only spill-over show I watch. It might not be so terrible, but since I'm not predisposed to like it and I'm forced to spend 10 minutes with it every week, I wind up hating it more than I should.

It's kind of like a buddy who insists on bringing his wife to all events that are not exclusively marked "Guys Only". You don't have any real reason to be upset with her for being there, but you wind up talking about what a B-Word she is anyway with your friends anytime she's out of earshot. You do this even if the friend's wife looks like Selma Blair :)

March 06 2009 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stg

I agree..K&K has kinda grown on me lately. Selma Blair is great...and Higgins a close 2nd.

March 06 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bukster

I'm sure they waited to air this Ep because sweeps got pushed back from Feb to March due to the digital transition.

March 06 2009 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Juliana Tringali

The Office writers need to do something drastic, and it's this: The fictional show that the film crew has been filming all these years needs to air in the fictional universe. It's getting to be ridiculous that no one knows what anyone has said about them, and that no women Michael Scott meets have seen the show.
This will a) give the writers a fresh angle (if they're willing to admit things have gotten stale) and b) keep the show from straying too far from the mockumentary format.

March 06 2009 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle

It was kind of a "meh" episode except for two moments. First, the opening with the telephone sales man. Only Michael Scott could be so distracted with everyone doing the Fonz that he didn't ruin the game.

But second, and most important, I cannot believe you didn't mentione the scene with Dwight. He said he trained his penis to retract into itself, then did it. On screen. I laughed so hard I nearly hyperventilated. I mean, it was funny enough to hear about him retracting is blood vessels. But then, when he said that about retracting his penis, and then the look on his face when he did it...Come on. Classic. And hilarious.

March 06 2009 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michelle's comment
scott

add creed stealing the blood at the end, and those were the three funniest parts of this episode!

March 06 2009 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

Um, I thought this was supposed to explain the episode...from this review I have a vague idea that it was about Valentine's, but there's basically nothing in this giving me any sort of details whatsoever. We don't hear anything about Michael falling in love with that girl from the blood truck and then taking her glove. You mention nothing about Dwight putting the moves on that hot chick. You mention no real details on why Jim and Pam are even at a restaurant with Bob and Phyllis. All you do is complain for two paragraphs about how lame Valentine's day is. While I agree that this episode was a bit forced (like the 3D Chuck), I come to these reviewcaps to see if there were any little jokes I missed, but clearly this is no longer the place for that.

March 06 2009 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dan's comment
Jay Black

Hey Dan,

You're right, this is not the place to come for reviewcaps. We stopped doing that a long time ago. The purpose of the reviews now is less an explanation of the episode than, you know, a _review_ of it.

So, for instance, instead of listing jokes you may have missed, I give my feelings about an episode in what we hope is an entertaining way.

Sometimes doing things in an "entertaining way", rather than just writing a string of declarative sentences about what happened in the episodes leads to problems. The most obvious, of course, is that people won't find my method entertaining. As a comedian, I've learned that not everyone finds me funny, so it's entirely possible that many people found this review flat and boring. To them, I, of course, apologize.

A second, lesser problem is that many people are confused by my attempts to be entertaining. It appears that your comment is symptomatic of this. Allow me to explain:

I thought this particular episode to have several enjoyable moments, but found it ultimately mediocre. In order to express that in a way that wasn't dull and drab, I decided to try the approach of comparing it to obligatory Valentine's Day sex, seeing as, after all, this episode was about Valentine's Day. I thought that would convey my feelings about the episode (as I'm to review it) while also providing a little entertainment for the reader (as presumably many of them would have gone through the motions of romantic love with their respective partners just a few weeks ago).

It appears, however, that you interpreted my attempt to compare the fun, yet mediocre episode to the fun, yet mediocre sex life of that average married person as not a metaphor for the episode but rather an attack on Valentine's Day itself.

My apologies, this was not my intention at all. While I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day, I assure you that I'd never waste a percentage of my word count on something so specious.

If you need any further explanation of this review, feel free to contact me at jayblack@jayblackcomedy.com!

Thanks!

March 06 2009 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

Oh, I understood the metaphor, I just thought it went on way too long. In the time you spent writing those two paragraphs you could have written a basic run-down of the plot.

If this is simply a place to hear opinions without any kind of evidence (like an episode summary) to back them up, I don't really see the point. You should notice how much less action you're seeing on the comments now than 18 months ago ( http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/11/02/the-office-branch-wars/ ) on your formerly great reviews? I know you have it in you, you're a good writer and you have good insights to the comedy as well as the plot, but this just feels lazy. Just like the other reviews have been getting on this site. Before you'd have 65-75 comments on "The Office" reviewcap and now you have 10, doesn't that tell you something?

While I agree with basically everything you wrote (I thought the same thing about the Valentine's sex metaphor you suggested) I just wish you'd put the same kind of effort into this review that you used to. I know I complain about this a lot, but this really was head-and-shoulders above any other TV site on the net and was a source of entertainment in an otherwise dull work day. Now I can get through the review in less than 2 minutes and don't find myself remembering anything about the episode and I'm certainly not learning anything new. Since you guys have cut down the number of shows that you talk about (Chuck, My Name is Earl, among others) on this site, I would think the quality of the recaps for the shows remaining would improve, not get worse.

I don't want to sound like a skipping record, but TV Squad is quickly becoming a second rate version of TMZ, which really sucks. TV Squad used to be my Friday morning mecca...

March 06 2009 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

I liked this episode. It was funny and showed how thoughtful everyone in the office is to each other. It was sweet how they all stayed with Michael so he wouldn't have to be alone. A few things I particulrily enjoyed:
-The girl Dwight was chatting up looked A LOT like Angela.
-Speaking of which, Angela has had a total of 4 guys dueling for her affections. Buh?
-when Bob Vance gave Phyllis some meat she said "no mushroom". Was that some sort of weird penis/circumcision reference or is my mind just in the gutter?

March 06 2009 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

The best scene was the opening scene with the guy trying to sell them a new phone system. Still a decent episode though.

http://tvnewsandnotes.blogspot.com/

March 06 2009 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

I "half-watched" last night while doing some work on the computer, but I saved the episode on DVR, thinking it might be better on a second viewing with my full attention. I guess not.

March 06 2009 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
Jim

I just watched is again and thought it was pretty good. Lots of great lines!

March 07 2009 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raymond

According to Mindy Kaling over at Office Tally, they originally planned to air this three weeks ago, but Lecture Circuit ran long and was split into two episodes. This bumped Blood Drive out of its original slot.

March 06 2009 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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