Can I get a "HELL YEAH"? I'm not even that big a Pam/Jim 'shipper, but I have to applaud Daniels, Carell and company for having the stones and the brains to have them confront their feelings for each other this quickly.
The mistake that all Unresolved Sexual Tension shows make is to drag things out long past the point where anyone should reasonably care whether two fictional characters ever make the beast with two backs. For some reason, the TV business has a bad case of "Moonlighting" Fever, convinced that that show was doomed the second Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd got frisky -- when, in fact, what really killed the show was the prolonged wait for them to finally, finally, finally hook up. (That and the prolonged wait for any new episodes, thanks to the slowest creative process this side of "Deadwood.") I've seen far too many shows destroyed by this panic -- I firmly believe that "Ed" would still be around if the writers had just put Ed and Carol together during season two and shifted their focus to the town -- while the only show that ever had a healthy run after will-they-or-won't-they became they-did was "Cheers," where Diane and Sam slept together at the end of season one. They, of course, broke up and got back together about 70 times after that, but the point is, the writers didn't try the audience's patience with endless teases and near-misses.
I'm not saying that Jim and Pam's kiss means they're now a couple, or even that Jim's not going to take the job in Stamford. But the show had to bring Jim's feelings out in the open, both for the sake of the 'shippers and for the sake of the other viewers who, if this had gone on much longer, would have started screaming, "For the love of God, can they just talk already?"
Now there are lots of possibilities, including:
- Pam dumps Roy on the spot, she and Jim begin dating, and suddenly things get awkward at work because their relationship is different;
- They could also have a Dave and Lisa-style (or Dwight and Angela-style) secret romance, or the entire office could find out and Michael's constant inappropriate comments would put a damper on the whole thing;
- Pam backs off and goes back to Roy, and Jim takes the Stamford job, only to have circumstances (possibly a downsizing/consolidation like in season two of the British show) bring them back together.
And while the Jam stuff was the heart of the episode, there was so much other goodness happening that I think Greg needs to petition NBC for a super-sized timeslot every damn week. In a normal episode, would there have been room for Kevin's music video ("Haven't seen that since 1983") or poker skillz? For Michael's defense of Comic Relief ("Comedy is still very much alive.")? For Kelly's treatise on Kobe Bryant ("Maybe he did it")? For the genius that is Creed? (Not sure which I loved most: the revelation that he eats at soup kitchens, the running klepto gag, or his "I've never owned a refridgerator.")
Steve Carell wrote himself a bang-up episode, though I have to confess that when Pam and Carol met, I actually had to take off my headphones and shut my eyes until Marian said it was okay to watch again. I love that Jan actually was considering spending the night with Michael (the outfit, the overnight bag), and I love how only Michael could potentially screw up having two beautiful women interested in him. This could have been a Vinnie Barbarino-level dumb plot, but Melora Hardin and Nancy Walls played Jan and Carol's reactions so well that it worked. (And was I the only one who thought, even for a moment, that Jan and Jim were going to hook up out of desperation for what was happening with Michael and/or Pam?)
I'm not sure it would be possible for me to love this show more, so let me just rattle off a few other quotes and moments before we kiss this season goodbye:
- "I consider myself a great philanderer."
- Oscar hating the Boy Scouts
- The entire telekinesis running joke (particularly the silent cut to Pam holding the umbrella for the interviewer)
- Michael's continued hatred of Toby, and Toby's joy at beating Michael at cards. ("I'm gonna chase that feeling.")
- Michael's entire speech about things that are and are not okay to make jokes about ("The Lincoln assassination just recently became funny")
- Pam not connecting Michael's calls until after he gets his moronic opening joke out of his system.