'The Office' - 'Happy Hour' Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Mar 26th 2010 10:14AM
(S06E20) If you took this episode and dropped it in the middle of season two or three, it probably would have fit in nicely. Well, except for the fact that you might be asking why Pam was on maternity leave (and why Jim is the dad), why Andy is working in Scranton, and just who the hell Erin is.
But you know what I'm getting at. The tone, pacing, and comedy of this episode continues the recent trend of 'The Office' getting back to what made people love it to begin with. And, yes, part of that means that Michael is going to make an ass of himself. But at least the season six version of Michael somehow gets a little bit of hope mixed in with his desperation stew.
Sure, the reason why the happy hour was held was a flimsy one at best; Oscar's been pining away for warehouse worker Matt since Christmas and uses this as an excuse to get together. However, it did give us a chance to hear Darryl utter one of my favorite lines of the night: "You can be gay with Matt. Just be straight with me." Boy, I love having Craig Robinson on the show more often. Makes me want to run out and see 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' no matter how good or bad it is. More on Oscar in a bit.
For people who have chided me for saying that the new baby experiences of Jim and Pam aren't ringing true, I'll give you this: I can definitely see Jim loving the fact that his daughter is a standing excuse to not spend time with people, and I can also see Pam leaping at the chance to spend time with people who speak full English sentences, even if one of them is Kevin. I just wonder who they got to babysit. Anyway, it was nice to see Jenna Fischer again; wonder if she got to shoot a movie during her time off?
Has Michael never gone to happy hour before? Because he walks into the Dave and Buster's knock-off bar and says "I cannot believe this is happening. This is everything I dreamed. " I guess he's right; every other time he's been drinking with the Dunder-Mifflin staff has been during a birthday party, a goodbye party, a wedding, or a corporate event.
What I loved about how Michael behaved here was that he was so comfortable when he didn't think he was on a date with Pam's friend Julie, who conveniently "laughs at everything." But as soon as he finds out it's a set-up, the Kangol hat comes out and "Date Mike" makes an ass of himself. I can envision Michael watching dating shows and taking notes, learning from the losers as much as the winners. And I can also see him not realizing he incorporated the loser-y parts much easier than he did the winner-y ones. Maybe he shouldn't be watching 'Tool Academy' so much.
I will say that when Amy Pietz came in as the bar's manager to get Michael off the pool table, I knew something was going to happen later on. Pietz's career hasn't fallen to the point where she plays just some random bar manager for one scene; she was in that role for a reason. Somehow, some way, Michael managed to charm her to the point where she fished through a sea of Stanley Hudson cards to give Michael a free lunch.
Does Donna really want to know about Michael's mythical book, 'Somehow, I Manage?' Because I can't imagine that's what turned her opinion of him so quickly. Anyway, looking forward to seeing Pietz pop up sometime in the near future.
More fun stuff:
-- I'm starting to understand why Isabelle is attracted to Dwight. She's not just some vanilla girl who happens to be Pam's friend; she's almost as odd as Dwight is. And Dwight is not just excited about her height and potential for popping out hearty babies, I'll tell you that. She wasn't even fazed by Angela and her demands that Dwight honor their baby contract.
-- Speaking of Angela, I keep forgetting just how small Angela Kinsey is, and I've met her in person. She looked like a little kid as she followed Dwight and Isabelle around the bar.
-- The Erin / Andy story was fun this week. Andy didn't want drama, but he created drama by trying to eliminate it. I laughed hard when Erin tried to throw people off the trail by feeling up random strangers at the bar. "Hey, big boy. Do you like it when I do that?" Great line by Andy when she said she learned that from the movies: "What movie? 'Black Snake Moan'?"
-- Two great and telling lines about Michael: One from Julie: "If he were my manager, we'd never get anything done." The other is the aforementioned book title. You can take it any way you want.
-- Of course, Creed is a master of 'Dance Dance Revolution.' And of course, Kelly somehow manages to cry when she doesn't get a refill for a spilled drink, triggering milk generation from Pam. Too bad Kevin didn't know about that earlier; his cries probably just scared Pam more than anything else.
-- Poor Oscar. He had to sit through the fascinating life story of the former heart surgeon / current warehouse worker until Matt finally showed up. Darryl really seems to be looking out for Oscar, though; he knows Matt is a meathead and not worthy of Oscar. But it's Scranton; how big can the gay community there be?
-- Oh, and who thought Stanley was going to collapse of a heart attack after doing those push-ups in the cold open? That was one motivated slacker.
As you can tell, it was one of the more fun episodes of the season. Let's hope the last five episodes conclude the season continue this upward trend.
[You can see clips and free episodes of 'The Office' from our friends at SlashControl.]