'The Office' - Season 7, Episode 7 Recap (VIDEO)
by Joel Keller, posted Nov 5th 2010 11:10AM
['The Office' - 'Christening']
The writers of 'The Office' have been doing some interesting things with Michael Scott during Steve Carell's farewell season. Michael has always been a bit of a stretchable character, able to take on any personality characteristic that suits the plot. Sometimes it's worked, and sometimes it hasn't.
But this season, perhaps in anticipation of Michael's departure, the writers are giving him something we haven't seen much of: some maturity. And it's been fairly consistent.
Sure, he's still a narcissist to the nth degree. But the flashes of maturity he's shown this season have been refreshing, and show that even the most self-centered among us can grow and change, even if the motivations for that growth and change are based in that narcissism.
So, even when we get an episode that didn't quite hit the mark, like last night's, the maturing of Michael still makes the episode interesting to watch.
Look, I'm not a churchgoer (or, more accurately, a synagogue-goer). I'm kind of like Toby, who can't even walk into a place of worship without angst; I just don't have his pathetic "why does all this crap happen to me?" manner. But I've learned over the years to be respectful of what others believe.
And, though Michael exhibited extreme Michael-ness in inviting everyone to CeCe's christening over Pam and Jim's objection, saying it was a great day for "Me... and Pam and Jim," I had to give him props for laying into the Dunder Mifflin table for not giving the youth ministers and other church members the respect they deserved. Yes, those youth ministers were creepy as hell. But doing good is doing good, and complaining about the food at a christening you really weren't invited to doesn't cut it, even if you let loose good lines like Stanley's "I'd walk to Mexico if it meant getting a sandwich."
Even though Michael and Andy eventually got off the bus to Mexico, something everyone watching knew they would do, at least Michael got on for good reasons. Andy's motivation, of course, was purely a desire to curry favor with Erin, who said "I wish I had a job I could just leave." (Note to Erin: you do.) As much as he may want "Nard Pups" with Erin, building a school in Mexico isn't the way to do it.
This episode was more about small jokes than big ones. CeCe being christened in an Arcade Fire t-shirt. Stanley getting up to leave in the middle of the church service because he was bored and thought it was over (a church version 5:00 thing we found out about last week). Kevin being the only one who laughed at the reverend's lame Eagles joke. Erin mispronouncing "Lake Wobegon" (was that Garrison Keillor's voice on the radio?).
The bigger stories didn't quite work as well. Even though I liked Michael's maturity, the story overall fell flat in the funny department. And Jim accusing Angela of stealing CeCe feels more like a plot that Michael might have gotten in season three, not behavior we'd see from Jim. It just felt like a throwaway because the writers didn't have much for Jim and Pam to do during the overpopulated post-christening reception.
More fun stuff:
-- What motivated Kelly to throw a "Your mama" joke back in Pam's face during that hygiene meeting? The only reason it was likely done was for Michael to go that one step too far, speaking from knowledge because "That's true, because I dated your mama, and you know what...?" Thank goodness Jim said "Stop."
-- Michael has a legitimate gripe about Jim and Pam's selection of godparents. I mean, a couple that they met at Mommy and Me? Really? So they've known them for all of six months? Michael may be a goof, but they've known him for years and he truly cares about the two of them and CeCe, even if some of that emotion is misplaced. Jim and Pam should acknowledge at some point that, like it or not, Michael is a part of their lives.
-- Angela is a scone stealer. Imagine that.
-- Good to see Linda Purl again as Pam's mom. And it's always a shock to see Robert Pine, who played Jim's dad, looking like Santa Claus. The image I still have of him is as the sergeant on 'CHiPs,' even though that show ended almost 30 years ago.
'The Office' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on NBC.
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