'The Office' Season 7, Episode 11 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Dec 10th 2010 12:30AM
['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.
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