Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Office: Pretzel Day is here!

Thoughts on "The Office" just as soon as I zap my Aeron chair with some WD-40...

Last week, I asked who was funnier: Stanley or Creed? I love Creed and his kleptomania and tales of free love and complete disconnect from reality, but after watching Stanley literally skip out the door when he heard the Pretzel Day announcement, I think our friend with the crossword puzzles is currently in the lead. Hell, the pretzels even gave Stanley a brief moment of common ground with archnemesis Michael.

Despite -- or, more likely, because of -- the lack of a central plot, this was the best episode they've done since the season premiere. From Ryan's passively resisting Dwight's taunting brain-teasers to the look on Jim's face when Ed Helms realized he had inherited the squeaky chair, this was a hilarious episode throughout.

Or, almost throughout. Knowing NBC's bait-and-switch promo pattern, I assumed that Jim and Pam's phone call was going to last about five seconds longer than the commercials showed. Instead, we got a lengthy, sweet but honestly awkward quasi-reunion for our favorite couple. Really nice all around.

Couple of other notes:
  • Did you catch Kelly trying to describe "Lazy Sunday" to Michael on the pretzel line?
  • They're really pushing Michael's salesmanship skillz this season. Hmm...
  • With Mose finally getting a speaking part, that's four members of the writing staff to appear on the show. Ryan, Kelly and Toby are the others -- and if you want to be technical, Greg Daniels does appear in a deleted scene from "Office Olympics" as Michael's condo neighbor.
  • How does Michael take a name like "Coselli" (or however you spell it) and launch into a bad Cosby impression when the opportunity for a bad Howard Cosell impression was staring him in the face?
So what did everybody else think?

15 comments:

Matt said...

The partner in the office next to mine (with whom I do not work) periodically decides to talk in random high-pitched voices to clients on the phone, sing "I Love You Mother!" for no apparent reason, and shout "Come on, you f**k!" at his printer. For this reason, Michael's Cosby impression had particular resonance for me.

Jennifer J. said...

As much as Creed is a fascinating and strange character who makes me laugh, Stanley is hilarious! His skipping, his joy of pretzel day, his ever-present crossword puzzle, his defense of the "line" to Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration!) I remember corporate life; it's amazing how one silly day out of the year can make it seem like the rest of the 364 days o' crap are worthwhile. Totally caught the Kelly cupcake reference. ;) I was surprised that Kelly wouldn't pick up on Angela's quick defense of Dwight. She seems to live for romantic drama! Best part of the ep, with lots of great moments, was the phone convo. Very well-written and, ultimately, perfectly played by JF & JK.

Dan Jardine said...

The way Stanley's face lit up when describing how much he looks forward to pretzel day really helped me to better appreciate what a great job Leslie David Baker does in the role all the rest of the time. He redefines low key (not to mention low grade depression.) Great stuff.

Kim said...

I gotta say, other than the pretzel scenes, I didn't enjoy this episode very much. The lack of central focus bothered me.

CM said...

Hmm, "lack of central focus"... it didn't bother me, but now that I think about it, it seems rare for a show to have three main storylines going on at once (unless it's something like "Heroes" with a billion main characters). I think this is the first time we've seen Dwight on his own without Michael -- maybe a sign that the show is branching out and letting the non-Jim secondary characters stand on their own a little more? Even the Michael storyline focused more on Pam than on him.

When Stanley first broke out into a broad smile at the pretzel day announcement, I thought I must be seeing things. I loved how, instead of being bitter at the end that there were 364 days until pretzel days, he got that smile back just thinking about next year's pretzel day. The high-five with Michael was another moment I enjoyed, even though I was shocked for a second.

What was it that Michael said was on his tie after he ate all that sugar?

bill said...

Michael types are all too real in real-life. In addition to Matt's example, check out affliction bingo. I've also known a number of people whose inability to have a simple human encounter hid the fact that they were some sort of sales idiot savant. A complete lack of self-awareness isn't uncommon among good salespeople and this is well captured by Michael.

Dwight, however, is often pushed to Kramer levels of buffonishness. This worked for Seinfeld, but is distracting in the relatively "straight" world of The Office. Dwight's cousin wearing the Fear sweatshirt was funny but cartoonish. Ryan's disgust was real and then his realization that Dwight actually had something to say worth paying attention to was a beautiful moment.

Dwight had one real moment that kept his character from completely losing credibility; when he tells Ryan (paraphrasing): "Sometimes there isn't a reason, you just lose."

jean-philippe said...

I love the music references in this episodes. The Hey song to which everyone seemed annoyed except Kevin who got into it. And one of my favorite moment, when Jim started to sing Lovefool to annoy the girl and the Ed Helms character continues to sing it. Was I the only one doing also?

Adam said...

Bill: Dwight's "Kramer"-ism doesn't bug me as much as Creed's sometimes does. He's a series of odd and unrealistic (but hilarious) tics; he's not a human being.

MMg said...

The whole thing with Ryan and Dwight was so random, but I just about died when Ryan whipped the eggs at the building after the sales call!
The conversation between Jim and Pam done perfectly. I loved the whole "I can't believe you rented out "28 Days Later" and thought it was "28 Days" with Sandra Bullock."

Stanley...that character is definately becoming one of my favorites. Funnier than Creed (for now).

Dan Coyle said...

I loved the Jim and Pam phone call. It felt so real and true.

Ryan whipping the eggs was hilarious.

Jennifer J. said...

To CM:

I'm pretty sure Michael said it was the caramel glaze on his tie/shirt....

Ilana said...

"The Office" likes to makes its writers work. "Mr Brown" from "Diversity Day" and "Gay Witch Hunt" is a writer, as are the two Vance Refrigeration labourers (one of who you can see delivering the bear in "Valentine's Day", and who are both responsible for the joint in the parking lot from a deleted scene in "Drug Testing")

Anonymous said...

Damn it man. Where's a place to vent about how solid "Earl" has been this season. Yes, "Office" is genius, but let's give a little love to its white trash lead-in.

Jaynee said...

I agree about "Earl" being absolutely fantastic this season. Even better than last. I continue to love "The Office" and thought this week's episode was another great one.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know the song where maikel is dancing on ????