Brief thoughts on tonight's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I find out how many members of the Communist Party are working at the local IHOP...
Well, that's two episodes in a row where the Michael plot wasn't nearly as much fun as what was happening back at the office. The difference is that last week Michael got a brief B-story, while here he got the main plot.
Michael and Dwight planning hijinks on their own, without Jim around to heckle or offer up some common sense, tends to make me squirm. Michael's conflicted feelings about betraying the kindly Prince family came up too late in the episode, and was resolved too abruptly, to really work. And the foot chase through the office building wasn't nearly as well-constructed as the similar bit between Michael and Meredith in the rehab facility parking lot back in the Christmas episode. Other than a couple of throwaway bits, like Michael equating Ryan with Jan on the broken heart scale, it was a misfire.
The rest of the office getting together to debate the hotness of Hilary Swank, on the other hand? Genius with a capital G. We all get sucked into these silly and superficial arguments(*), and Swank for whatever reason comes up an awful lot in them. (I remember an early Bill Simmons mailbag discussing the issue, though I can't find the link right now.) As noted at the end, it was less about Swank -- and note that the writers went out of their way to have even the haters admit that she was pretty, and that Kevin would have sex with her, so as to avoid too much offense -- than about the way people in 21st century America tend to get entrenched on one side of a debate and refuse to even acknowledge the other position's merits. I hope there are deleted scenes for Creed and Meredith and all the others who didn't get to make their own oral arguments, because the ones we did get to see (particularly Stanley's plea for optimism and Oscar's symmetrical face argument) were so hysterical.
(*) Admittedly, I probably get sucked into more than most due to the nature of my job; many is the press tour lunch that's descended into this territory, and proud we all are of ourselves by the end.
What did everybody else think?