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October 10, 2015

'The Office' Season 7, Episode 11 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 10th 2010 12:30AM

Steve Carell and Amy Ryan in 'The Office' - 'Classy Christmas'['The Office' - 'Classy Christmas']

For maybe the second time ever, we get an hour-long 'Office' episode that doesn't drag, or make a complete left turn in the second half. It was funny, and was as stuffed with story as the garbage bag Michael stuffed when he canceled the office's original Christmas party after getting the word about Holly's return.

That's not to say the episode was perfect from beginning to end, though. I don't know who the writer was that suggested that Dwight terrorize Jim with snowballs, but that entire story should be excised from all future showings of this episode. Someone can just insert a voiceover saying that Jim had a wicked nosebleed. Anything to keep me from seeing that cringe-inducer again.

I'll get to that bit of horror later. If you ignore that part of the show, the episode was quite funny and sweet, and it showed Michael in yet another opportunity that, while he's not completely grown up yet, he's quickly moving that way.

Michael went through so many emotions when he found out that Holly was coming back (thank you Scranton Strangler, am I right, people?), from elation to bitter disappointment to sadness to depression. Not sure what he expected; he knew that Holly was still with A.J. He even knew that the two of them were living together -- hadn't she moved in with A.J. by the time she and Michael saw each other at the company picnic? Maybe he forgot.

Anyway, the season seven version of Michael was in full force in this episode. One minute, he's passive-aggressively tossing Holly's Woody doll -- the one A.J. gave her -- into the trash and dumping coffee on it, and the next minute, he's telling Holly and the entire office how much she broke his heart. The only part that bewilders me is when he mentioned to Holly that she did a long-distance thing with A.J. after she told him that she didn't want to do one with him. Didn't A.J. work in the Nashua office? Was I missing something there?

It doesn't matter; Holly deserved whatever Michael gave her. They both know that they're perfect for each other. And you know that every time Michael and Holly have reconnected since the breakup, the chemistry has returned instantaneously. Michael even set up a sophisticated (for him) fake girlfriend test just to see the jealous look in her eye. So, even though Holly may say that what she and Michael had was a fling and what she and A.J. have is real, you know by the look on her face that she's lying to herself. The look she gave Michael as he was talking to Darryl's daughter said that, too.

By the way, how sweet was it when Pam stopped Michael in the parking lot to tell him about Holly's ultimatum to A.J.? It's yet another case where Mrs. Halpert has really come to care about Michael like he's a member of the family. And her analysis of the situation -- that no good marriage she knows of starts off with an ultimatum -- was one of her more insightful lines. Michael, to his credit, thinks he can wait until that end-of-the-year deadline. I'm not sure he can.

Pam was quite the involved office administrator this week, wasn't she? She talked to Michael, she helped Darryl try to connect with his daughter, and she made a great "The Adventures of Jimmy Halpert" comic book. Screw Ryan's notion that it's derivative of some unknown band and screw Phyllis' concern that they have no money. You could tell by how speechless Jim was in his side interview that it was one of the sweetest gifts ever. Though, I was still too steamed by the snowball fight story to get the full impact of Jim's speechlessness.

Look, I'm sure it was a fun notion to have Dwight get some leverage over Jim for once. But a scared and paranoid Jim is not a funny one. In fact, watching him destroy snowman after snowman in the credit tag was downright creepy. And it seems that the Dwight that somehow was becoming more of a rounded human just last week has reverted all the way back to the scary caricature that fans of the show got sick of three seasons ago. In fact, he crossed over from caricature to someone I didn't even want to see on my screen anymore. He may be one of those characters that's so broad you can believe him doing anything, but relentlessly pounding Jim with snowballs while Jim is in the fetal position might have been that step too far.

More fun stuff:

-- Loved the fact that Erin just couldn't think of Holly as attractive. "I'm waiting for Michael's pretty lady friend," she told Holly as she walked in. Then she suggested that she's not in the position to dump A.J. "Am I the only one who sees it?" she says in an interview immediately afterward.

-- The story about Darryl and his daughter gave us some insight into Darryl's personality. He tries his best -- even identifying with the 'iCarly' camera guy... "He's got a nice voice." -- but all he's trying to do is connect with his daughter. It was actually one of the more poignant 'Office' stories we've seen in a long time. Luckily, it seems like the kid is fascinated by vending machines.

-- Gabe: "Yes, we're still together. Why do people keep asking me that?"

-- Don't say the words "Maple candies" to Kevin then say you ate them in the car. Wow, if the office didn't hate Holly before that...

-- Angela gave deodorant to Creed and he didn't seem to be the least insulted. Gotta love Creed.

-- Speaking of Angela, it's too bad that her senator boyfriend... I mean state senator boyfriend is gay. In fact, the writers didn't even need to throw in the scene where the senator was looking at Ryan's backside. That knowing look he gave Oscar when they were introduced was enough.

-- "Do you know how many cameras are at a ribbon-cutting? Two!"

-- Poor Toby; even when he's on the jury of the trial of the century, no one wants to talk to him.

-- Only Kelly would think that everyone would want Hello Kitty laptop sleeves. Her response to Gabe when he mentioned getting blankets: "A blanket? What am I, a baby?" Well, an adult wouldn't carry her laptop in a Hello Kitty sleeve, would she?

-- Another good Kelly line: "I can't get anything lately unless I threaten to kill myself."

-- Andy means well, but is so clueless. Why would a pre-teen girl think answering questions about current events be any fun? And why would you hide the star on you?

-- If someone can print Pam's party committee line in full for me, I'd appreciate it. I'm sure she got tons of satisfaction from taking that box of evil from Angela and throwing it in the trash.

No new episodes until January 20th; the next episode has the loaded title 'The Ultimatum.' Looks like Michael won't have to wait very long.

'The Office' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on NBC.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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As over-the-top and yes, a bit creepy, that snowball storyline was, it was worth seeing Dwight in the wigs, and that hilarious last line of the episode.

June 12 2011 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah I really liked this episode. Best episode in quite some time. I didn't mind the snowball storyline. Dwight in the wigs was hilarious. My only concern was that a snowball might ruin the comic book but thankfully that never happened.

December 11 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed this episode, many good laughs and 'awww' moments, but I couldn't help but wonder how Dwight built a snowman around himself...

December 11 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With the long-distance thing, Holly is only filling in for Toby while he's on the trial, right? I'm assuming she's only moved to Scranton temporarily, so her long-distance relationship with A.J. is only for a few months and then she'd go back.

When she moved to Nashua, it was for good. While I can understand Michael not getting the difference, I can't understand the whole office thinking she was the bad guy for that.

December 11 2010 at 2:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hated the snowball storyline. Sure, Jim threw a snowball at Dwight first and he has been playing pranks on him, but to terrorize Jim with snowballs? It was too much. Also, this is a workplace (dysfunctional, albeit) and I highly doubt this kind of somewhat violent behavior would be allowed to last so long. Why didn't Office Manager Pam, or one of the two(!) HR reps do anything until Holly finally stepped in? And that did nothing as Dwight continued to be just as ridiculous.

December 11 2010 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was a small joke that I'm not sure many got, but I laughed aloud when I heard Ryan become upset that no one would make him an "F Train to Brooklyn." That train goes straight to the inner core of hipsterdom in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. It's not a real drink, but it's still hilarious (to me, atleast)

December 10 2010 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved the snowball fight. I thought Jim was out of line hitting Dwight in the face with one to start it. Jim got what he deserved. I think I watched Dwight come out of the snowman and attack Jim with snowballs about 5 times. I couldnt stop laughing. I thought it was great. When he impersonated Pam to hit him again I thought it was awesome. Really enjoyed it.

I also loved Erin's side interview about Holly and when she moved in front of her to stop her from going to talk to him. That was really sweet.

December 10 2010 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved the snowball fight. All these years Jim has outsmarted Dwight with his clever pranks, but in a straight up snowball fight I truly believe Dwight would be much better than Jim. They could have had Jim play another prank on Dwight but instead we got to see Dwight finally get his revenge. It was very unexpected and I liked it.


December 10 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The snowball thing was one of the funniest things ever on this show. Jim just walked in and nailed Dwight in the face in front of everybody so he got what he deserved. Dwight never gets back at him so this was like 7 seasons of revenge in one episode. Also I think WAS being very funny in his terrorized state.

So glad Holly is back and love Erin's reaction to her!

Some really sweet moments in this one. Jim and Pam's reaction to each others gifts was nice.

December 10 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The snowball story was not only not funny but annoying and made me cringe every time it came up. The writers really missed on this one.

December 10 2010 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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