First order of business, at least here in the Sepinwall household: We need a ruling on the scene where Dwight asks Jim whether he wants a brunette or redhead stripper and, as Karen and Pam crane their necks to listen, he says, "Blonde." My interpretation: Pam has red highlights, ergo, Jim was pulling an Archie Andrews and trying to avoid offending either of his ladies by picking one of them. Marian's interpretation: Pam has blonde highlights, ergo he was picking Pam. So which one of us is colorblind? Go.
A very funny episode, though I think I may have blacked out there for a minute or two during Michael's lapdance. How he is able to not horrify Jan every single second they're together in bed, I have no idea, but the man should not be allowed around women. (One of many genius moments of the night: the look of terror on Pam's face when she realized Michael wanted her to be his bra model, followed quickly by Dwight in a bra.)
Mindy Kaling really knows how to involve everyone in her scripts. Hell, even Meredith had a great line tonight, and I had all but given up on poor Kate Flannery getting something funny to do this season. (She barely even pops up in the deleted scenes on-line.) Kevin got to remind us of his poker expertise, then drool over the stripper, Angela got tipsy (and hung-over in record time). Stanley had his business with the cheap cutlery, followed by Creed eating with his hands, and Roy made his latest attempt to get back in Pam's bed/good graces: "It's very moving... and sexy... the art."
(Speaking of which, I again wonder about when/where the documentary is airing. If it's already available anywhere domestically -- even via illegal internet download -- Michael would be fired by now and Kelly would be spending all day every day scouring message boards for posts about her and Ryan. But if it's still unseen, why is Roy bothering to suck up to Pam in a talking head?)
This episode also had more continuity than usual: in addition to Kevin's poker skillz, the dreaded baby poster reared its ugly head again, and, of course, the Foreman Grill from "The Injury" survives -- thankfully, after Michael "got all the foot off of it." Good stuff.
Interesting how, once again, Pam and Karen are inclined to team up, JAM-style, to get through the day, only to have their fun ruined by the shadow that Jim casts on their tentative friendship. The writers on this show have such a good ear for how the wrong thing said at the wrong moment can completely derail a conversation, the way Pam saying "Good night" to Ryan in "The Initiation" inadvertently ended her phone call with Jim, or here the way Pam, desperate for something to fill the awkward silence, says "I'm sorry" and immediately threatens whatever detente she and Karen just reached. It's a shame that Karen is so obviously on her way out the door, because I like her. I understand that she's involved in a significant ongoing plot, but if the show can have room for Dwight and Andy (Ed Helms just got made a regular), isn't there some way, somehow, that Pam and Karen can co-exist for a while longer? They make a nice duo.
Other random thoughts:
- Even without Meredith's outburst to establish the general mood, I would have to say that was pretty lame of Jim to go and ruin the ladies' fun just to spite Michael. Meredith, Kelly and Phyllis -- whose party it was, after all -- all looked so excited for the arrival of the stripper, and so disappointed by the arrival of faux-Franklin.
- In the "30 Rock" review, I noted the similarity between the Paul Reubens character and Martin Short's guest appearance on "Arrested Development." So much of Michael's dialogue in this episode -- particularly the "hourlong shower with guys" and all the "man meat" talk -- reminded me of another element from that same episode: Michael Bluth suggesting that Tobias start tape-recording himself in order to recognize when he's being such a, um, blowhard.
- Whenever Dave Koechner shows up for an episode, I can never decide whether I want more of him, or if that's just the right amount of Packer. I think tonight was the right amount.
- Was there anything in the sex shop that wasn't pixellated? My eyes hurt just looking at the screen during that scene.
- So is faux-Franklin a Canadian? His name's Gordon, and I'm pretty sure there's a law banning that name on our side of the border.
- Lovely exchange between Pam and the stripper, both Pam's "I lose my appetite all the time" and her deciding to take the stripper's compliment as such.
- Is it my imagination, or haven't we seen Karen in skirts before, including post-merger?
- "Jennifer Garner portrayed (a stripper) on 'Alias.' It was one of her many aliases."