Thursday, November 09, 2006

Earl & The Office: Come together

Spoilers for "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" coming up just as soon as I read this message from the future...

"My Name Is Earl" has been better this season than it was last year, but this was the first time I felt it was outright funnier than its companion. Another tweak of the formula with Catalina tagging along -- and with Randy going meta with his explanations of how the list works -- plus a rare and welcome instance of Bad Earl appearing in present day. They don't have to show him struggling against his better nature every week, but this kind of episode was past due.

"The Office" wasn't bad, but plot advancement was the primary goal over the jokes. We now have a semi-plausible explanation for why Scranton gets to stay open, but Josh goes away so it's not a total remake of the British second season. Still, some good comedy: Jim sending Dwight faxes from the future (Stanley's reaction made the coffee scene), Ryan and Stanley's glee at being laid off (they may need to cool it on Happy Stanley for a while, though, or he'll lose his effectiveness), Kelly's manic-depressive reactions to the bad and good news, Roy looking to Cinderella (the band, not the movie) for solace, and Michael's flustered reaction to Dwight's perfectly reasonable role-playing. And in the 'shipping news, Karen has become the Jim in her relationship with Jim, down to being hurt when he suggested she take a different job (just like Pam did with that Maryland gig). Interesting that the writers have avoided coupling off any of Pam, Roy, Jim or Karen before putting them all in the same building.

What did everybody else think?

11 comments:

Kristin said...

Another great episode! I liked, once again, that Michael and Dwight's antics were the secondary story. Small doses of their wackiness usually work best for me.

Like also that Jim will end up the #2 man in Scranton, which will drive Dwight friggin' crazy. Jim will be the real "Assistant Regional Manager" now. That will cause some mighty funny stuff, I am sure.

Loved it and can't wait for next week!

CM said...

I didn't see the Scranton/Stamford switch coming (I haven't seen the British version) and while at first I was sad about losing some current cast members, I thought it might be interesting to get some new storylines besides secret Dwight and Angela, reluctant Ryan and Kelly, Meredith's alcoholism, etc. So I was a little disappointed when I found out it'll be the same old show plus Karen (and Ed Helms? any word on whether he's coming back?) I'm also not sure how Jim -- or anybody -- would work with Michael.

Jon said...

The "extended" version at nbc.com/The_Office has a couple of funny excised subplots (and some not-funny stuff that was deservedly cut). And hey, you can actually read the credits at the end!

porter said...

loved the Meredith bit in the online version.

Agree that this was the season's best Earl too. I thought it was great that they paid off Crabman's witness-protection back story (from the y2k episode, right?) a little and gave him more to do. He makes me laugh almost every time.

Sadie said...

Can't wait to see Karen and Pam butt heads. And that goofy guy whose name I don't know facing off with Dwight. Hee.

Anonymous said...

Good wrapup. I thought the funniest part of The Office this week was Michael's line from next week: "You look very ethnic...Was your father a GI?"

Dan Jardine said...

Kevin is The Man in the webisode. Bluto? Priceless.

"I took an IQ test and scored over 100. So I AM a genius. Jokes on her."

Anonymous said...

Agree on Happy Stanley. Don't do it all the time. He's funnier as Grumpy Stanley. Also, did anyone else find it out of the air of the show, so to speak, that Karen, in her interview just came out and said she was into Jim? I realize she might be a bolder type than Pam or anyone else on the show, perhaps, but the show seems to be about longing for someone (Pam/Jim, Michael for anyone whol will have him) and the quieter stuff. I thought it felt almost brash to hear one character admit they were in love with another. Just wondering if anyone else felt this vibe.

Dan Jardine said...

Yeah, but she's a Jersey girl, no?

dave said...

Yeah, I definitely felt the "up front" vibe coming from Karen. I think they were doing this on purpose. Karen's not a Scrantonite - she's a Stamforder, and the show has consistently portrayed everything about Stamford as slightly more normal than Scranton. In this "more real" world, people don't always hide their true feelings for (insert length of Jim's tenure at Scranton) of years. People address things and deal with them. So it's in keeping with that to have Karen admit her feelings and deal with them rather than subverting them indefinitely. It makes sense to me. Maybe I'm just full of it, though.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I get what you mean and you might have a point. The Scrantonites maybe are supposed to be just that kind of clueless, although I like to think none of them are as clueless as Michael is portrayed to be. Then again, what the heck do I know?