Archive for The Office

The Office (S05E03): “Baby Shower”

Posted in The Office, TV with tags , , , , on October 21, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: B

Due to a crazy series of unexpected events this past week, my reviews are way behind. In order to catch up I’m going to be writing a lot less. So here are just some of my mostly unorganized thoughts on this week’s episode of The Office, which I enjoyed less than last week. But while I wasn’t laughing as much, I think this episode did a good job of adding some depth to some of the series’ characters.

Jan resurfacing in this episode is a reminder of just how bad she and Michael are together; a fact made more painfully obvious by the addition of Holly and the oozing amounts of chemistry they share. While the entire office realizes in a very matter of fact way that Jan’s baby is not Michael’s to begin with, it takes the potential daddy to be the longest to come to terms with these facts (well, right after Dwight, who plays in his own little world as usual). Michael gets to act a little immature here by feigning hatred toward Holly, but it’s only because his fear of Jan is back.

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The Office (S05E02): “Business Ethics”

Posted in The Office, TV with tags , , , , , on October 10, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: A+

This week The Office returned to its half hour format, which is a good thing considering I don’t think I could have handled thirty more minutes of laughing as much as I did during “Business Ethics”, an episode automatically ranking as one of the best Office episodes to date.

There isn’t a weak scene to be found during “Business Ethics”, landing one knock after another to the funny bone. Considering there weren’t many quiet spots, there were a whole lot of highlights. Michael and Holly’s rendition of Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical”, changed to Let’s Get Ethical, leads right into Ryan’s candid talk about what got him demoted, which involved hooking up with a girl whom he describes as looking like a chick off the sixth season of Survivor (a TV reference Dwight totally gets), which then jumps to Dwight’s veiled jab toward Andy when he answers a hypothetical question regarding stealing bread to feed your family with the absurd and oh so very Dwight answer of “False, it’s a trick question. The bread is poison and it’s not you’re real family: You’ve been cuckolded by a stronger, smarter male.” The whole episode is relentless with its comic pacing, and provides a perfect example of how to take the ensemble of a fairly long running show and use all their quirks, histories, and relationships with each other to craft a nearly flawless twenty plus minutes of comic gold.

Possibly the funniest scene of the episode, and maybe the most laugh out loud worthy one in seasons, was between Jim and Dwight. The setup for it begins in the ethics meeting, where Holly lets everyone know that wasting time is a form of stealing, just as bad as taking money. Well, Jim sets out to prove Dwight wastes time just like everyone else, so he gets out his stopwatch and goes to town. He times Dwight’s yawns, his sneezes and when things get boring he incites Dwight into talking and then times that as well. Then, the main event: Jim goes to Andy and starts talking about Battlestar Galactica, a well known passion of Dwight’s that is so good anyone not watching is, in his own words, an idiot. Jim calls the aliens on the show Klingons rather than Cylons, says it’s a shot-for-shot remake, and calls the main character Dumbledore Callrizzion, all while Dwight is gnashing his teeth and wanting oh so badly to stand up and set the record straight. But every time he flinches, Jim flashes the stopwatch. You can almost hear the nerdish fanboy rant he would have given if he had the chance, but he restrains himself and manages not to stop working for the rest of the day–even resorting to peeing in an empty soda bottle rather than waste time going to the bathroom. He finally slips up for 19 minutes and change when he meets Angela for some afternoon delight, proving to Jim he’s at least a little bit human.

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The Office (S05E01): “Weight Loss”

Posted in The Office, TV with tags , , , on September 26, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: A

I could be away from my own place of work for many more months than The Office has been on hiatus and not miss it half as much as I missed the fictional faces of Dunder Mifflin. Who knew I could miss Dwight and his antics so much, like replacing the junk food in a vending machine with fresh fruit and veggies, or Jim and Pam’s toothache sweet romance that America is just as invested in as the lovers themselves. And of course there’s Michael and his many moments of awkwardness, toned down just a notch by the presence of the new HR, Holly. “Weight Loss” succeeds in finding shining moments for not only these characters, but the rest of the office gang as well, and nearly everyone gets a moment to make you remember why you love them or give you a new reason to.

The season premiere, “Weight Loss”, spends a little time focusing on newly added elements, but devotes the majority to the dynamics proven successful already. Pam relinquishes her job as secretary in order to go to school in New York, but her presence is still felt enough that the change doesn’t seem drastic. Instead, it changes thing up enough to keep the happily ever after delayed, adding the factor of a long distance relationship between her and Jim, but still gives us every reason to believe they are destined to be together. Holly’s addition to the cast might have you asking “Toby who?” after this episode, as she brings a fun new energy and makes a wonderful compliment for Michael, whose dorkdom is rivaled by the cheery blonde’s own. Amy Ryan takes this episode, makes it hers and makes us love her along the way. I said every character has their moment, but Holly is lurking around the corner of every scene and popping in to make the good even better. These are roughly the extent of the shakeups around The Office, though, and everything else is like the familiar smell of clean laundry and a big sigh of contentment.

The hour long format hasn’t always worked so well for The Office, with many feeling that the many extended episodes of the fourth season were its weakest to date, but the fourth season proves that this show can take an hour and knock it out of the park. While most of the past hours felt like two distinctly separate episodes smushed together (for the purpose of syndication, I’m sure), this felt very much like one continuous story. Since the episode takes place over 8 weeks, as the entire staff is challenged to collectively lose as much weight as possible by corporate, for once the lengthened episode really works in every way. Unlike the majority of episodes from last season, this story really needed an hour to stretch out and breathe deeply.

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The Office (S04E18): “Goodbye, Toby”

Posted in The Office, TV with tags , on May 17, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: B+

Pregnant chicks, engagements, and office trysts, oh my! With security on the set of The Office tighter than girl jeans on an emo guy, I was expecting this episode to be chocked full of surprises, and I was right. But even with all that was going on, this was still just a pretty good episode, and it didn’t quite live up to season finales of the past.

The episode jumps right into Michael acting suspiciously giddy over the revelation that Toby will be leaving the office. Michael’s mostly unfounded level of animosity toward Toby has always been amusing, how he essentially treats him like he’s the devil in human form, and in this episode he is well prepared to give Toby a fittingly nasty send-off. However, a wrench is thrown into his plans when the new HR, Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) makes a dazzling first impression on Michael, who instantly begins crushing on her and trying to impress her in every way possible.

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