Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Office: Stop. Hammermill time!

Spoiler thoughts on "The Office" just as soon as I unbutton my top button...

"The Convention" wasn't nearly as funny as "Gay Witch Hunt," but it served several important story purposes: 1)It advanced the Jim and Pam story (and am I the only one who wonders whether Pam was hoping Michael would mention her date to Jim?); 2)It provided the foundation for why Jan will choose to have Scranton absorb Stamford instead of the other way around (again, assuming they follow the path of the British show); 3)Like the Tim Meadows and Valentine's Day episodes last year, it provided a rationale for Michael's continued employment in spite of all the awful stuff he pulls like the gay witch hunt. The British show could get away with David Brent being an unproductive boss as well as a complete ass because there were only a dozen or so episodes. This show should hit at least 100 episodes.

Which isn't to say that the episode was lacking in funny bits. In particular, the Pam's date subplot gave Jenna Fischer plenty of great reaction opportunities. I've been in social groupings where an attractive member of the group suddenly became single and all the men tripped over each other in a pathetic attempt to move in while they could. (Kevin: "If I weren't engaged, I would so hit that!")

To name just a few other good bits:
  • The entire break room scene with Creed, Meredith and "Andrea." (Did you catch that Creed just started eating Angela's food?)
  • Phyllis and Stanley giving Pam advice on the implications of ordering
  • Kelly shoving fries in Ryan's mouth (also Ryan's reaction to Michael's "fun jeans")
  • Jim walking in on Angela in Dwight's room
  • Michael and Dwight beat-boxing
What did everybody else think?

15 comments:

Jaynee said...

Loved it. Although my favorite thing was the fact that Toby turned BEET RED when he went to go talk to Pam at her desk. If you have it Tivo'd, go back and look - when he first goes up he's fine, but when she answers the phone and makes him wait the next closeup shows that he is red as all get out, then as he walks away his coloring returns to normal. Fantastic. I love this show.

Luna said...

Toby Flenderson is my favorite person on this show, and I swear to god I may actually like Toby/Pam (and Jim/Jan) better, conceptually, than Jim/Pam.

Which I realize gets me cast out of Fangirl Heaven, but I don't care. Toby. Those moments were awesome.

Thought the rest of the episode was great--maybe a little too much of pathetic/likable Michael, but then last week he was so over the top insane and unbearable (in the good Michael Scott tradition) that it sort of balances out.

I like Ryan, but I wish we knew why he took a permanent job at Dunder-Mifflin when we know how much he hates it. Sometimes I think some of the characters on this show are a little too gluttonous for punishment for me to really sympathize with them. Usually it doesn't matter in the service of the comedy though.

Artemisia said...

Am I dense? I missed why Scranton would absorb Stamford; clearly Stamford sales opportunities are better (i.e. Dwight's pissed reaction to Jim's jump in sales).

Jim's face when he told the camera "Dwight hired a hooker" was priceless.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Artemesia, because twice now Jan has witnessed Michael close deals that shouldn't be close-able -- Lackawanna County and now Hammermill -- plus she has her weird love-hate relationship with him. Assuming it happens (and, again, the writers could be playing on the expectations of the few thousand of us who have seen the original show), it won't necessarily be the right decision, but it won't be a total WTF unjustifiable one.

D. said...

My favorite subtle moment that nobody has mentioned: when Kelly walks up to talk to Pam about the date and Ryan in the background grabs the phone frantically, presumably pretending to be on the phone so he doesn't have to deal with Kelly.

Cheesesteak said...

I have to say that I thought it was a nice parallel between Angela's judgement of what looks "whorish" and being mistaken for a hooker by Jim.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see the deleted scens on NBC.com showing Jan hitting on Josh, trying to get him to come up to her room or have a drink with her? Apparently she has a thing for her inferiors...

Rick said...

I love, love, love The Office, though I have to say-- and I know its nitpicky-- this show seems to have more product placement than anything else I've seen on television. Obviously one reason could be that in-show advertisements could offset The Office's decent but not great ratings, making it a show that might otherwise be on the bubble for cancelation (maybe Arrested Development should have tried this). But from the Christmas episode last year (which had a video iPod featured days after NBC started putting episodes on iTunes), to Michaels (hillarious) interaction with a walking Blackberry last night, I generally walk away from the show feeling slightly conned.

Maybe this is just the future of "free" television.

Bill Carter's spoiler-filled piece in the Times from a couple weeks back suggested its a practice that won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Am I the only person that is bothered by this?

Anonymous said...

Actually, The Office is doing product placement just right. Yes I realize that it may be the future of television, but I do think that they are writing the show right when it comes to episodes such as last night's where the Swag fit right in with the storyline and that does include the Hammermill deal. Alan, I don't really think that the Stamford and Scranton branches will merge. I think we will be leading to Michael somehow be demoted and that could allow Jim to become Scranton manager.

Anonymous said...

Luna - Toby Flenderson is everything that is wrong with the paper industry. lol

Great analysis, Alan. Last night certainly wasn't the best episode the show has seen, but it goes a long way towards explaining the eventual return of Jim to the Scranton office...

D. said...

Rick -

I have no idea what you are talking about. I was just haing dinner with some friends at Chilis -- which is, by the way, THE place to do business -- and none of us could figure out what you meant.

Anonymous said...

cNobody mentioned the funniest bit: When Michael told Jim that he should talk to Roy about his problems, because Roy would really understand.

CM said...

I like Ryan, but I wish we knew why he took a permanent job at Dunder-Mifflin when we know how much he hates it. Sometimes I think some of the characters on this show are a little too gluttonous for punishment for me to really sympathize with them.

But that's Ryan's whole character. He's still dating Kelly. He's still at Dunder-Mifflin. He LOVES ketchup. I always laugh when I see the shot of him holding the bag during the opening credits, no matter how many times I see it -- he just has this perfect resigned look on his face.

Anonymous said...

So, some of the people from Stamford's branch are now going to work at Scranton, since Stamford is being shut down?

Alan Sepinwall said...

No decision, if any, has been made about the futures of the Scranton and Stamford branches. It's just something that's been talked about off and on during the series, and a similar development happened on the British series.