'The Office' - 'St. Patrick's Day' Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Mar 12th 2010 11:57AM
(S06E18) Watching this episode, I got the nagging feeling that the writers made a grave mistake three years ago when they had Jim leave the Scranton branch for Stamford, then come back. When the branches merged, Jim became the branch's number two under Michael, and he actually had a scintilla of authority over Dwight.
Sure, he pulled pranks on Dwight over the ensuing years, and Dwight tried to end Jim on any number of occasions. But there was always an implication that the two weren't work equals. Jim becoming co-manager made things worse.
But now they're equals again. And seeing Dwight's MegaDesk, followed by Jim creating the incorrectly-named QuadDesk, made me realize why the early episodes of 'The Office' work so well. Jim and Dwight getting under each other's skin was a reminder of every irritating cubicle neighbor I've ever had, and that dynamic was missing. It was good to see it back tonight, but it got me annoyed that it really hasn't been around since season two.
Even though this was the third episode she was in, it was still oddly disconcerting to see Kathy Bates sitting in the conference room of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. I don't know... I just didn't buy her as Jo Bennett, hard-working and slightly crazy CEO of Sabre. It was just... Kathy Bates, playing a role she can play in her sleep.
It's not like other guests have been unable to integrate themselves into the DM environment; I completely bought into Idris Elba as the all-business Charles Miner, for instance. But, really, Jo could have been played by any actress with an outsized personality -- Camryn Manheim, perhaps? -- who could have done a similar, less distracting job.
The only time where I felt Jo as a real character was when she finally told Michael, "ENOUGH!", as he publicly kissed up to her during her town hall meeting. We know that Michael has no ability to take empty social pleasantries for what they are; he literally thought Jo was looking forward to him visiting her Florida compound. That was the kind of discomfort that 'Office' fans are used to seeing from Michael. Instead of demonstrating how hard he works, he'd rather suck up, to the point of annoyance.
But... Michael has matured over the years, hasn't he? After learning from Gabe how off-kilter Jo really was, he decided to stand up to her and dismiss his crew to enjoy St. Patrick's Night. Did he realize, though, that doing that was actually what Jo wanted to see from him? Will this empower him to be a boss with some backbone? Probably not; obliviousness is Michael's strong suit. But it was at least good to see him defend his people and then join them -- with Todd Packer! -- for some green beer and dry-humping.
Back to Jim and Dwight... Is this the first time that Jim was aware that Dwight was trying to get to him, but acknowledged that it was working, anyway? That's what having kids does to people... it puts everything else in perspective. So Dwight's screaming the lyrics to 'Cats in the Cradle' was cliche, but Jim's cynic filter has been compromised by his newborn daughter. I'd imagine Dwight's going to take advantage of it in the coming weeks.
Good to see Erin and Andy finally go on that magical first date... which has to be perfect because, "according to 'How I Met Your Mother,' that's the date your kids are going to wait patiently to hear about, so you better have a good story." How true, as most 'HIMYM' fans can confirm. I want to hear more of Erin's sad backstory, though... she was a foster kid with an odd relationship with her foster brother, she was only sick once, from the ages of three to six, she thinks a British accent is Irish... I want to hear more. Anyway, this is going to be stumbling, bumbling relationship, but at least it's progressing now.
More fun stuff:
-- No one was really able to an Irish accent, were they?
-- Meredith actually dresses quite nicely on St. Patty's Day. It's probably a holy day to a lush like her.
-- Everyone wore some sort of green, but in their own way: Jim had a black tie with green stripes, Dwight wore forest green instead of Kelly green, Kevin wore a green suit.
-- Hopefully Darryl will continue to be stationed upstairs. Seeing him in the mix, especially with Michael, will be interesting. Michael has always been condescending to Darryl, and Darryl has somehow managed to put up with it while barely holding back the urge to slug him. Wonder if that's going to be tested going forward. Anyway, it never hurts to see more of Craig Robinson on the show.
It was good to see an episode that felt like the old 'Office.' Knowing how inconsistent this season has been, I'm not sure if this direction will continue -- and this episode was only moderately funny, anyway -- but here's hoping the rest of this season's episodes are similar in tone.
[You can see clips and free episodes of 'The Office' from our friends at SlashControl.]