Spoilers for "The Office" just as soon as I confiscate some culturally explicit pamphlets...
Think that one fell a little too far on the wrong side of the cringe-to-laugh ratio. I don't know that I've had to employ the horror movie finger shield this much since the British episode where David Brent got sacked. And as bad as I felt as Michael was proposing to his slutty cheerleader, I practically had to pull a Winona Ryder singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" when Michael leaned in to kiss Pam.
Which isn't to say that I don't believe Michael would do either of those things. His entire personality has been crafted by popular culture, and in a cheesey movie version of his life, the hero absolutely would smooch the pretty receptionist and it would turn out to be true love. (Also, nine dates in four months? I suspected Michael was exaggerating the intensity of the relationship, but that's barely better than belonging to the same book club with a woman you like.) I just don't think there was enough great comedy to compensate for the awkward! moments. Compare this one to "Gay Witch Hunt," also featuring Michael at his most unable to read a room (and also featuring Michael offering his lips to an unwilling recipient), which had me doubled over in laughter at least as often as it had me hiding behind the couch.
There were some nice little moments, especially in the cultural sensitivity briefing at work: Kelly not having the first idea what Diwali is about (and Dwight knowing too much), Pam enduring more Jim-less sexual harassment from Kevin, Toby exercising his authority in a rare moment when most of the staff didn't want him to (did you see the disappointed look on Phyllis' face when he snatched the pamphlet?), etc. Jim and Andy's drunk "Closer to Fine" duet was genius -- especially Andy's sheer joy at finding a fellow bro who likes Indigo Girls. Ryan enduring the scorn of Kelly's parents was good, and I liked the symmetry of Michael and Jim both winding up in the back of women's cars under very different circumstances.
Not a bad episode, particularly in advancing the relationships (Pam/Roy, Jim/Karen, Michael/Carol), but not this season's best. And was I the only one who viewed the Diwali Song not as a scene, but as Steve and Rainn stepping out of character to perform for the cast and crew? Because that was entirely too good to have been written by Michael Scott.
What did everybody else think?