Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Office, "Company Picnic": The perfect moment

Spoilers for "The Office" fifth season finale coming up just as soon as I get a pair of chair pants...
"So what do you have planned for us today?" -Holly
What a great end to what may have been my favorite season of "The Office" to date. The show has had overall funnier years (notably season two), but I don't know that it's ever been this consistently satisfying, because the characters have become so richly-drawn, and because the writers (led by showrunners Paul Lieberstein and Jennifer Celotta, who teamed up to write "Company Picnic") have really learned to trust their actors to convey so much emotion in really quiet moments. As we've been saying for a while now, the show has become as much of a kitchen-sink drama as it is a comedy, but it's a great drama when it wants to be.

"Company Picnic" featured a couple of sublime moments. The first is the one we were all expecting in some way as soon as we heard that the briliant Amy Ryan would be coming back as Holly, Michael's perfect woman: Michael and Holly, post-morteming their disastrous sketch show at the company picnic(*), with Michael waiting for the right moment to deliver his list of reasons why Holly should dump her boyfriend AJ and get back with him. What was so wonderful about the scene as written, and as played by Ryan and Steve Carell, was that Holly knew what Michael wanted to do, and Michael knew she knew -- when Holly's around, Michael's self-awareness, charm and ability to read social cues all skyrocket, which, as much as her own dorky sense of humor, is why the two are perfect for each other -- and in the end, he was able to recognize that they were experiencing a perfect moment right then, one that could only be ruined by him trying to win her back. The old Michael, the pre-Holly Michael, would have barreled on forward with the plan, and made an ass of himself, and mortified the woman he wanted, and basically killed any chance of the future. This Michael -- the Michael who has grown through his love of Holly, and his experience with The Michael Scott Paper Company -- has the maturity and patience to wait for the real moment, when Holly is unattached, or they live closer together, or in some other way the cosmic forces are better aligned to make this match happen.(**)

(*) I have to say, by the way, what happened with the Buffalo branch closing news was David Wallace's own damn fault. If he hasn't figured out by now not to share sensitive corporate information with Michael Scott, he needs to learn.

(**) That, or Michael's been paying a lot of attention to Jim and Pam's story, and he assumes he and Holly are destined to end up like those two.

And speaking of PB&J, the episode's other sublime moment revolved around that crazy couple silently (as we were observing from another room, and as they apparently weren't wearing their usual documentary radio mics) discovering that Pam is pregnant. The moment was set up a few minutes earlier, when the nurse asked Pam if she might be pregnant, as a precaution before X-ray'ing her injured foot, and once we were primed, we didn't need any dialogue, as the joy on Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski's faces told us the rest. Fischer is usually the master at these kinds of moments, but I want to give an extra salute to Krasinski for the scene in the hall, where a dazed Jim tells Dwight to go on with the vollyeball game without him, then pauses to compose himself after this unexpected but obviously thrilling piece of news. Maybe Krasinski's single best moment on the series to date.

I'll leave it to you guys to speculate on what Pam's pregnancy, coming just as she got promoted to saleswoman, and before she and Jim have even gotten married, means for the series. All I'll say is that the nature of "The Office," with its focus on work over home life, makes it better qualified than most sitcoms to handle the introduction of a baby. (Plus, depending on how they work the timeline, we might not even see the kid until the end of next season, if that.) And after the brilliant year they just had, I think I trust these guys with anything.

Some other thoughts on "Company Picnic":

• The return of Charles Miner should once and for all clear up some of the confusion from "Broke" about whether Michael was able to get Charles fired as part of his negotiation. No, Charles still works for Dunder-Mifflin; he just (as even Jim notes) no longer has authority over the Scranton branch.

• Perfect casting of James Urbaniak as Dwight's spiritually compatible best friend Rolf. I just hope he hasn't been introduced as some kind of substitute Mose. I don't care that "Parks and Recreation" was much improved in its finale (which I'll review in a bit); dammit, we need Mose!

• Rolf's scenes also set up an apparent Dwight/Angela reconciliation, based on the look on Angela's face after Dwight told Rolf to stop calling her a whore. And perhaps this will let Dwight allow Andy to pursue Erin, to whom he's obviously still attracted.

• Though it was designed as such, I have to say that Michael and Holly's "SlumDunder Mifflinaire" sketch was just brutal to sit through, like an "SNL" sketch where somebody thought of a great title or catchphrase, couldn't come up with any jokes beyond that, but still stretched it out to eight minutes.

• Hilarious Fischer/Krasinski comedy team moment: after Pam explains that you don't grab her breasts for balance, Jim shrugs and Pam glares at him.

What did everybody else think?

66 comments:

filmcricket said...

Just a gorgeous episode. I think you hit all the high points, and I totally agree that David Wallace should know Michael better by now. My one question was where was Kelly? Seems like such an outing would be right up her alley.

Brilliant work by Fischer and especially Krasinski during that last scene, and totally fun Wire reunion, even if Ryan and Elba didn't share any screentime.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Keep in mind that Ryan and Elba never shared screentime on "The Wire," either, as Stringer wasn't a target while Beadie was assigned to the MCU.

Jordan said...

What makes this show different than pretty much anything else on tv is that it's less a show of actions than reactions. And that one at the end was probably the best they've ever done. John Krasinki acted the hell out of that scene (not that Jenna Fischer was a slouch). They showed a whole range of emotions that are hard to fake up. Anything more would be superfluous. Anything less would be lacking. That's about as perfect as tv gets (which I think they hit once before with the Casino Night ending).

My verification word is "mating." Yeah, I think they got that right.

Simon H. said...

I liked it, but it was a little underwhelming, even with all those wonderful moments. However, this show has really hit on all cylinders this season, which will be remembered probably as the shows best someday in the future when we look back long after it's off the air. Amazing a show that started out as bad as this one did in it's first season turned into what it is now, this decade's best and smartest sitcom, and at time its most touching.

Grunt said...

who was the guy Toby was talking to? I would swear he was Leiberstein's brother. Anyone know?

Matt said...

Really well acted all around, though I had two issues:

1. It wasn't a terribly funny episode. As Alan has pointed out, the show's now as much light drama as it is comedy, but the show's at its best when it's both.

2. Really a slim episode for the supporting cast. Yes, some great throwaway bits (Stanley getting drunk, Phyllis sitting down because she was tired), but no real payoff for any of them. And no Creed. Creed improves EVERYTHING.

But yeah, Fischer and Krasinski did

Anonymous said...

What a joyous moment for Jim and Pam. I am having difficulty imagining any other sitcom handling such a moment so wonderfully, and lord news, many a sitcom has introduced a child into the mix. As you note, great acting by Jenna and John. They didn't overdo it and they didn't underdo it. Just perfect.

I now completely trust the writers and producers of this show to handle the pregnancy storyline. That would be a red flag in any other series, but they have earned the benefit of the doubt (and my respect) in the way they handling the coupling of Jim and Pam after several years of great tension and unrequited love. Their courtship has been just as fun to watch as their longing for each other, and parenthood will take that to the next level. Can't wait for next season.

I try to keep away from casting news or anything outside the narrative and so it was a nice surprise to see Amy Ryan return. (I'm glad old Alan Spoilerwall didn't mention that we should expect to see Amy Ryan this week in his review of last week's episode). I think if she had been used any more, it would have been too much, but it seemed just right.

Mark said...

Toby was talking to the corporate HR guy, I forget his name. HR shop talk!

Jim said...

Some great side stuff:

Toby has a shy, nerdy PR homey.

Stanley: "You just had to be part of the group...."

Meredith in halter top, shorts, and cowboy boots. That actress is fearless.

Charles is such a relentless jerk, and Jim is just dumbfounded by encountering someone, probably for the first time in his life, who just doesn't like him.

I missed Creed too, and Kelli.

Definitely Jim's best acting moment

Michele said...

Jordan captured it perfectly-- it's all about the reactions, and I enjoyed watching Michael with Holly, or Pam and Jim during the final scene. They didn't need to say anything because their faces gave it all away. Brilliant acting.

However, after the feel-good moment in the hospital, I immediately thought, "Please don't let them bring in the robotic baby from 'License to Wed.'" While I think the writing team is incredibly talented, I still get nervous when a show tries to introduce a child into the storyline, so next season will be interesting. I'll still watch, but cautiously.

Anonymous said...

Not watched yet, but just wanted to say: Sometimes, alan, you spoil. The goat thing earlier in the week didn't much register with me, but seeing your pic, when i accidentally refresh the page, just gave me a big ol' spoil. Not that i'll hate you or anything, just sayin'....

Michael said...

Hilarious Fischer/Krasinski comedy team moment: after Pam explains that you don't grab her breasts for balance, Jim shrugs and Pam glares at him.
Until the "OMG Pam's preggers!" scene, the above was the best acting-without-saying-anything bit in the whole episode.

Alex said...

It was so, so sweet all around. You knew the pregnancy thing was probably coming after the nurse's remark, but it was done so well. Michael and Holly were bittersweet and even Dwight and Angela got a nice moment. The season really picked up towards the latter part, and I think it closed on a good note.

Where have I seen the guy who plays AJ before?

JamesG said...

In general I was underwhelmed by this episode -- I thought the volleyball scenes were rather weak and drawn out and felt that the Buffalo branch closing news was rather unrealistic (both that David would tell Michael and that neither Holly nor Michael would realize not to say it).

Still, the parts of this episode that were good were amazing, most notably the moments with Carell and Ryan. The scene Alan mentioned, with the two sitting together after the comedy routine and both knowing what the other was thinking, was possibly the single best Office moment since the Jim/Pam scene in Casino Night. Those two actors have such great chemistry that I was simply memorized watching them interact in every scene. Kudos to Michael for recognizing it as the perfect moment and not ruining it. That's definitely not something season 2 or 3 Michael would have been mature enough to do.

Savvy Veteran said...

Terrific season finale. Amy Ryan is such a joy to watch when interacting with Carell, it really brings out a fun side to Michael Scott. I had forgotten that, and it makes me resent (in a gleeful way) the series for only giving us 8 episodes of her. Hopefully she'll be back next season for more than one episode (which kind of seems to be Michael Scott's realistic expectation).

My only quibble: it seemed that Alan didn't really have a problem with it, but the super obvious red herring dropped by the nurse kind of ruined the payoff at the end of the episode. They may as well have looked into the camera and said "hey, viewer! Did you catch that?"
But, like you said, Krasinski's acting in the later scene was excellent, so I'm not too bothered.

This was definitely a good season of The Office. I really liked episodes 1-7, very much did not enjoy episodes 8-13, and LOVED 14-25 (especially the "Michael Scott Paper Company" arc). This one still ranks behind numbers two and three in my book.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that Krasinski hasn't won an Emmy yet? (I don't think he's even been nominated, has he?) I think he should have gotten one for his season 2 performances, brilliantly topped off in Casino Night. But I agree with Alan, John out did himself tonight.

Jenna Fischer was also great, and has been especially good in the second half of the season, particularly in the Michael Scott Paper Company episodes.

Carrell, Krasinski, and Fischer all bring such richness and depth to their characters. The writing is generally solid, but they really bring the material up to a whole other level.

ChrisLav said...

Anyone else notice that Pam & Jim were at Sacred Heart?

Norris said...

Are we sure its a pregnancy and Pam didn't evolve a third boob? Ok, it wouldn't explain Pam's reaction.

The sketch was worse than watching the Target Lady because I actually like Michael and Holly. I don't hate Kristen Wiig but you know.

I can't believe Michael resisted the urge. The boy has really grown up.

Linda said...

They are *so smart* about the way they handle Jim and Pam. So very, very smart. They always put space between you and anything that happens between them that's really important -- the way they shot the proposal from across the street, the way they shot the kiss in Casino Night in a way that was obviously surreptitious...and, of course, the fact that their entire actual romantic takeoff, which took place between seasons, was never shown at all. Presumably, there was some pretty amazing smooching and rejoicing, and they've never felt the need to show it.

Which does two things: First, you write it in your head, and just like a scary monster, what you don't see always beats what you do see, which has flaws. And second, it develops this little cloud of privacy around them, so their relationship feels more special because you know that parts of it are just for them, and not for the documentary audience. And they did the same thing with her finding out she was pregnant. Not only do you get the great acting from all the reaction shots, but they get to have this moment that doesn't feel ruined by intrusive cameras. They've just made great writing and directing decisions about that love story, and how to deny you total access to the events without denying you total access to the story. It's just such a neat trick, I really admire it.

dylanfan said...

JamesG said...

... -- I thought the volleyball scenes were rather weak and drawn out ...

Could not disagree more here -- don't have Tivo and I missed the first half (Go Hurricanes!) so have to wait for the online to come up, but I thought the volleyball was remarkably dead on. First Jim gets a kill then later gets blocked back; okay the serves were a little lame but needed to get the ball in play (or not ;-). I was curious when Pam went for the dig and it turned into her being the "star" player? Otherwise, great to see my favorite tv characters playing my favorite sport and happy for the minutes. What was Dwight's line about volleyball right before they started playing? I need to put that on my t-shirt for the tournament this weekend!

dez said...

Maybe it's because of what's going on at my job, but the scene with Michael blurting out the news about Buffalo had me laughing and rewinding to watch again. Sometimes, the best way to deal with the stress of looming layoffs is to laugh it all away. Or I've gone insane. Either way, great season finale, especially the Jim/Pam reveal. I'm almost as happy for them as I would be for real people, heh.

Nicole said...

Since this show does aim for realism more often than not, asking Pam if she could be pregnant is a perfectly ordinary question that is asked of any women who remotely looks like she is in the childbearing age range, especially if an X ray is to be taken. I've had the question asked any time I have attended a hospital, even when X rays weren't going to be taken.

Carell was amazing in the quiet moments, and we are lucky that he isn't too Hollywood to quit the show to solely focus on movies.

SteveInHouston said...

A great Office, a good P&R, a six of Shiner Bock and a Rocket beatdown of the Lakers ...

... best Thursday night I've had in a long time.

It makes me so inordinately proud of myself for pushing this wondrous show even in the early days of Season 1.

Oaktown Girl said...

I was very happy to be surprised by Amy Ryan's return. That's why I so avidly try to avoid spoilers! My only beef with this episode is that it didn't feature the other characters enough. Would have loved more of Stanley and and the rest. Seeing Meredith in her makeshift crop top was funny, but would have loved some dialog. And did we even see Creed at all?

Rolf is proof positive that soul mates really do exist. We should all be as lucky as Dwight to have a friend like that. I sure hope we get to see more of Rolf - just once is definitely not enough. And I don't think the Rolf character infringes on Mose territory at all, so we shouldn't be forced to choose just one.

John said...

Surprised that no one's mentioned what seemed a clear reference by Michael's end speech -- "Slumdog Millionaire" is about a couple that perseveres through endless obstacles to end up together (because that's their "destiny.") Just like Michael and Holly, seemingly

Thought that was a nice touch to reference that. Plus that skit was hilariously wrong.

Tyroc said...

Not using the mics on Pam and Jim for that final moment, brought back the memory of Tim letting Dawn know how he felt at the end of the 2nd season of the British Office (really the series finale until the Christmas special.)

That moment remains one of the greatest TV moments in history, and if any show deserves to use a similar technique, its this one. Loved it.

LoopyChew said...

Fantastic. There were so many moments I thought were going to happen because I thought "old Michael would do that" (I was expecting him to make a grand gesture during the sketch--and I was bracing myself for something like that until they started the "torture" scene) and am very, very happy that they devised an alternative that was probably more Michael-like than I gave him credit for.

My stock in David Wallace has plummeted severely in the past couple of episodes. I don't like that they've turned him from a reasonably harried guy who just wants Michael off his back into a complete tool who basically blames him for everything that's wrong with the way his company is run--particularly since Michael was enough of a BMOC to actually go around giving lectures. Granted, Wallace may still be sore from the reaming Michael gave him during the MSPC acquisition negotiations, but still, David ought to have known better in general.

As for Jim and Pam, the "are you pregnant?" question was delivered so matter-of-factly and I heard that as one of the standard questions you ask when you get an X-Ray done that I didn't think twice about it, and didn't even actively think about that question was posed until I read these comments. That last scene just blew my mind, and I love that they didn't even HAVE to use the word "pregnant" to convey everything.

Jim & Pam's relationship is in fact probably the most perfect on television right now--not overly cartoony the way Lily & Marshall are on HIMYM (though that's actually probably what I love most about that relationship), and not sappy-melodramatic like pretty much Every Single Star-Crossed TV Couple are (ones that jump out in my mind: Ross & Rachel, Veronica & Logan). I agree with Linda that part of it is the fact that they make it seem like a private moment, as they have with most every major Jim/Pam scene to date (Casino Night, the Pam TH at the end of S3, the reveal at the beginning of S4 done voyeur-style, the proposal). Which is why I think quite possibly the best move they could make in the show would be to have their wedding take place over the summer, and we see maybe some assorted scenes in the S6 premiere.

Any thoughts?

renton said...

Some beautiful moments in the episode, but seriously -- in a year where they closed two branches and are about to close another, they still have a picnic that brings people from an entire region of the country?

We haven't had an office party where I work for in eight years and that's just a one-site mid-level company who's had good times and bad.

Anonymous said...

I really like David Wallace - always thought he was that cute nice guy which was refreshing for an exec! His interactions with Michael are very funny but in Company Picnic he totally slacked off with not monitoring the skit, having told Michael ANYTHING in confidence (esp. a branch closing - why would he do that?) and then just give him a short reprimanding for letting everyone know. What kind of a CFO is that? Are they setting up DW to be written off the show? I hope not because DW is total eye candy and I need him on that show - he is very handsome and sweet!! But maybe he needs to step up and start acting more like an exec and get some backbone - that may give him more screen time and would be a nice change for him (and show a dark sexy side to him too! Not that he isn't already sexy because he so is!!! That man is very good-looking!!!)

Dave said...

My wife's brother and sister-in-law discovered, not once but TWICE(!) - that they were pregnant due to a car accident that resulted in a hospital visit that resulted in a pre-x-ray exam just like Pam's... and yet (or perhaps because of this) we didn't see the pregnancy thing coming at all. Just seemed like normal routine. The mics off made it even better because we were able to fill in the blanks ourselves. Beautifully played by all.

Did anyone catch Erin's hilarious enthusiasm when Dwight was assigning volleyball positions? less than 2 seconds but pure gold. I really hope they keep her around a while and, as somebody else said after last week's ep, it would be fun to keep her out of the talking heads for a while... Just give us plenty of these hilarious throw-aways before we learn more about her.

David is starting to show himself to be only a marginally competent CFO -- and Michael knows it. Michael played him beautifully during the MSPC buyout negotiation ("I only have to outlast you...") and David seems to have a penchant for surrounding himself with brown-nosers (Charles, for those not paying attention). I don't want to see him go, though.... This is actually a theme that could be used as a slow build-up to the inevitable series finale and the shuttering of the entire company.

Would have been nice to have a a Rashida Jones cameo in there -- but I'm not greedy.

Great episode on a great season of a great show. That's Office, Lost and BSG - the only shows I watch(ed) regularly anymore - over forever or at least just for now.... Any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone?

Cassie said...

I thought the sketch Holly and Michael did was not quite painful enough to be funny - it could have been so bad that it became laughable. Instead it was just boring. And, like you say, felt like an SNL skit in that it went on way too long. Did we need to see all those questions? I think we got it after one, and then they could have jumped to the final one.

I was only slightly surprised to see that a company who is closing branches still manages to have a company picnic - although it definitely would be a lower cost "nice" thing to keep than a more pricey holiday party or something. What bothered me though is that we've known these people for what, 5 years? And this is an annual event? And it never was on the radar before? Seems like if these people have been getting together annually in such an intimate setting (you really get to know people when you are playing against them), then the Scranton folk should have know the Stamford staff, etc., more than we've been led to believe. And wouldn't Jim have run into Karen at last year's picnic?

I know, I know, it's just a show, but it always bugs me when they throw in something that is supposed to be part of the ongoing culture and it doesn't jive with what we already know.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone's mentioned the opening to the show. It was kind of a typical "prank someone" scenario (in this case, the target was Michael), except that everyone at the office was into it, including Dwight. As the goal was to convince Michael that it was time to go home, that might have increased everyone's enthusiasm for the gag. More notably, Dwight and Jim hugged (well, Dwight hugged Jim) when they pulled the prank off successfully. Anyway, a slight change to the office dynamic. The office unity kind of carried over into the volleyball game.

leor said...

I was about to mention that my only tiny quibble with the pregnancy thing was that I didn't know why they would give Pam a pregnancy test (or I guess just a blood test?) when she came in for a sprained ankle. But thanks to the poster Dave, it was cleared up for me!

Anonymous said...

Tyroc said...

Not using the mics on Pam and Jim for that final moment, brought back the memory of Tim letting Dawn know how he felt at the end of the 2nd season of the British Office (really the series finale until the Christmas special.)

That moment remains one of the greatest TV moments in history, and if any show deserves to use a similar technique, its this one. Loved it.
--------------
100 % agreed.

another commenter also mentioned the expectation that Michael would give his true feelings about Holly -- at the most inappropriate time.

I was waiting for it to happen during the skit. When Holly asks the first question during the game show bit, Michael pauses before answering. I was really bracing myself for Michale to spill his guts about Holly right there.

PDA Public Displays of Affection said...

Why didn't Jim give Pam a HUGE kiss? Instead they share a romantic hug? It's awesome how Pam is pregnant and how the hospital scene was filmed by not using the regular mics,due to the picnic. It keeps the couple's privacy and makes us have to imagine the intimacy that is for them and not for us. Yet if I just found out my fiance was having a baby, I would kiss her deeply to show my joy and love not give her a hug. Maybe they are more conservative than I am.

Anonymous said...

@ChrisLav

I noticed that too. In fact it kind of made me mad. Sacred Heart is Scrubs, not any other show. Especially an NBC show after what NBC did to them

filmcricket said...

"Keep in mind that Ryan and Elba never shared screentime on "The Wire," either"

I know, that's why I was kind of hoping they would last night.

One other thing that occurred to me - I guess Phyllis's prowess on the basketball court doesn't extend to volleyball.

Buchholz Surfer said...

So where exactly was this company picnic? I can't think of anyplace that wouldn't be a five hour drive each way for at least one of the branches, and wherever they had it, several of the branches would have to drive at least 3 hours each way.

It couldn't have been very far from Scranton, because Stanley was there. Maybe it rotates each year to a different branch, and this year Scranton was the "home team," and that's why we've never heard of the company picnic before, and why almost everyone from that branch was there.

But still, the Nashua and Buffalo branches would have to be staying overnight if it was anywhere near Scranton. Who's paying for that, the paper company?

I liked the episode and loved the season as a whole, and I usually don't get bothered by continuity issues, but the location of this picnic is nagging me.

Must have been in "Springfield," that magical place that is nearby to anything that the plot of a TV show needs it to be.

chrissie said...

To answer Alex's question: AJ is played by Rob Huebel from MTV's Human Giant and Best Week Ever on VH1.

Anonymous said...

like an "SNL" sketch where somebody thought of a great title or catchphrase, couldn't come up with any jokes beyond that, but still stretched it out to eight minutes.Isn't that all of them?

dez said...

Great episode on a great season of a great show. That's Office, Lost and BSG - the only shows I watch(ed) regularly anymore - over forever or at least just for now.... Any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone?
"Burn Notice" is coming up soon. And I would suggest giving "Chuck" a try on DVD :-)

Henry said...

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with Michael. I guess he really has grown throughout this season, especially when he's around Holly. He did manage to get his immaturities out on basically ignoring AJ so at least that part of his unpredictable social cue recognition is intact. Bravo for the writers to do what they did in that moment.

I honestly wished the nurse hadn't telegraphed the moment like that. (But I loved her smart-ass remark to Pam: "Yeah, 'cause my next question was gonna be 'Do you have a game to get to?'" I thought about it this morning and wondered if bringing in the baby is a death knell for the show. Comedies do not have a good track record with introducing new babies. Hell, most shows don't. But then, I re-thought it and decided that The Office might break the mold. We'll see...

Otto Man said...

Wallace did have a nice moment introducing the sketch: "I have NOT seen this in advance."

legion said...

Yeah, wow, that was just a fantastic episode. And I must have missed the early "are you pregnant" cue, because I had absolutely no idea. I was just floored and amazed and wow! They held that card so close to their chest, came up with such a plausable cover story as to why P&J were in the hospital, rooting against corporate and then BAM! they've got a baby. And they didn't oversell that moment.

Wow.

And I really really really hope Micheal & Holly get together. Those two have me hooked in a way that P&J never did and never could've.

THanks for the review Alan!

Carrie said...

As annoying as Minor (Miner?) is, I hope he keeps showing up occasionally. I think the character of Jim really benefits from exposure to someone who doesn't think he is Captain Awesome. Taken in the right direction, the insight from Minor, combined with impending fatherhood, could push Jim in a good, grown up direction that would keep the show fresh. We saw a hint of ambition from Jim when he applied for corporate, so we know he has it in him. I would like to see the show last, but ideally in a way that shows some real character growth.

Matt said...

OK, Seriously, when has a baby been good for a comedy show?

Its not a human, its a shark. Lets all jump.

Anonymous said...

"Yet if I just found out my fiance was having a baby, I would kiss her deeply to show my joy and love not give her a hug. Maybe they are more conservative than I am."

I didn't think there was anything unrealistic at all about that. I think most of the big moments between my wife and I - engagement, pregnancy - were followed by hugs, not some jr. high makeout session. You save that for later ...

Omagus said...

Until reading here, I had no idea that this was the season finale. I would have figured that it would have gotten an hour.

Either way, this was a really good episode. As usual, the two scenes that cracked me up the most were throwaways:

- Erin excitedly sprinting into the volleyball game after getting picked by Dwight;

- Oscar breaking up Jim and Dwight's man hug ("Settle down, gentlemen").


Thoughts on user comments...


Alan: Keep in mind that Ryan and Elba never shared screentime on "The Wire," either, as Stringer wasn't a target while Beadie was assigned to the MCU.This is true but it still would have been a nice gesture, I think. Not necessarily a full scene together; it would have been perfect for me if they had just passed each other and nodded.


JamesG: I...felt that the Buffalo branch closing news was rather unrealistic (both that David would tell Michael and that neither Holly nor Michael would realize not to say it).David telling Michael may have been a little unrealistic but Michael and Holly blurting it out the way they did seems EXACTLY like something they would do.


LoopyChew: Jim & Pam's relationship is in fact probably the most perfect on television right nowI really do like their relationship. But I think Matt and Julie on Friday Night Lights can give PB&J a run for their money. Possibly the best portrayal of teenage love in the history of television.

Joseph said...

I thought it was a great episode, although it would have been nice to see Kelly at the picnic - was she even in the episode? Funniest throwaway moment for me was when Ryan slapped the volleyball down while talking on his cell during the game

Saul Tigh said...

While the Slumdunder Mifflinaire skit was brutal, I laughed pretty hard when Holly started doing a Regis Philbin impression

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter that they telegraphed the pregnancy reveal--while it's a reasonable question to ask a woman before an X-ray, there's no reason they would have SHOWN that unless it was going to mean something later on--those last few minutes were perfectly played by Jenna and John. There was so much surprise and love that it felt like a connecting arc to that scene between them at the end of "The Job".

This show should win the Best Comedy Series Emmy, no question about it.

Anonymous said...

A very minor defense of David Wallace: Holly and Michael both knew about the branch closure. It is possible they knew about it based on their positions (HR rep, branch manager) and not because David was gossiping with Michael. David's hands might have been tied in the matter. He can't actively deny information only to Michael.

Anonymous said...

Jim and Pam were really lovely in that last scene, and Krasinski was perfection in his call to Dwigt. Good stuff.

And I don't see how this baby is a "shark jumping" moment, because we the viewers are never given much of a glimpse into the PB&J home life. Have we had a single scene of them at home together? I can't think of one. The baby will certainly change things for them at work, mainly for Pam probably, but I don't see the baby itself showing up very often.

And PB&J are great, but hardly the only non-cartoony couple on TV. Eric and Tammy Taylor are the Best Couple Ever, and I like Joe and Alison Dubois also.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I also wouldn't want my boyfriend kissing me "deeply" in a room full of strangers. I don't like my boyfriend kissing me in front of my parents for crying out loud. Save that for private time, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in Company Picnic - there were a lot of sloppy unrealistic moments:

With how much Michael likes Holly and being as eccentric as he is he should have said SOMETHING to her I thought he was going to lose it and say something on stage while they were doing that awful painful skit (even though that was total Michael and Holly stuff but it could have been written better- it really wasn't funny at all) - Michael had so many opportunities to say something to Holly - even an "I miss you". He just let it go which is not like Michael at all. It was killing me!
David, David, David. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He was so cool and nice until Broke and now this episode. What is he doing??? Maybe Michael will be waiting him out after all..? He should also have monitored or checked on what Michael and Holly were going to do for the skit OR just leave it out altogether - it was a co. picnic - who wants to listen to the history of DM instead of playing volleyball or eating hotdogs?? Just saying "I have not seen this" was total laziness and stupidity. Then he barely reprimands Michael afterwards and as a real executive he should have just told the BUffalo branch that they werent closing so they could enjoy the picnic! It was so careless and stupid and poorly written for him.

Pam and Jim - she would NOT have gotten an xray for an ankle injury if she was pregnant or suspected she was pregnant! Plus she would have to have gone to the ob/gyn for confirmation not an ortho doctor (or whatever). That was very very unrealistic. Where did that come from? And again with David when Pam got hurt - he didnt care at all and had no sympathy as higher mgmt - Charles and David would have been all over Pam getting hurt at a company picnic for fear that she would say something - worker's comp, etc. (although not working but still a company function) - he just stood there and said nothing except "yeah" when asked if she should go to the hospital. DAVID!!! Someone needs to shake him and slap him around to wake him up! Come on, Office writers! Sorry but what a disappointment!
The only real cliffhanger was who was going to win the volleyball game. Other than that it sucked.

Sarah said...

No one mentioned my absolute favorite part--Dwight stalling the volleyball game. Best bits were when he got really angry, kicked the ball over a building, then went to get it really, really slowly; and then: "but it's not okay, david. how many people have to get hurt? one? two? three?"

"okay dwight--"

"wait. four? five? six?"

"dwight--"

"let me finish. seven? eight?"

The unity of these last two episodes has been really great after how mean everyone was in Casual Friday.

Anonymous said...

I loved that they made Michael and Holly's skit so painful to watch for us (just imagine how it would be for those in the audience).

But it also led to a great moment when Stanely says, "I don't normally enjoy the theater but this is delightful."

Mark B said...

It couldn't have been very far from Scranton, because Stanley was there. Maybe it rotates each year to a different branch, and this year Scranton was the "home team," and that's why we've never heard of the company picnic before, and why almost everyone from that branch was there.

Dwight knew there was a nearby hospital (obsessed with safety?) but it was far enough from Scranton that Jim wouldn't know about it. (Kilometers?!)

OK, Seriously, when has a baby been good for a comedy show? Its not a human, its a shark. Lets all jump.

"Dunnnn.... der..... Dunnnn... der.... Dun-der Dun-der Dunder..."

Anonymous said...

Babies might be bad for sitcoms, but sitcoms are not usually as character driven as this one is. They are, well, situation-driven. I can give them the benefit of the doubt.

And, er, you don't really need an Ob to confirm a pregnancy diagnosis. Pam didn't know she might be PG but nevertheless, things happen. Seriously? In your circle people who suspect they are pregnant run to a medical specialist? Whenever I thought I was PG, I bought a home test, confirmed, and started taking the vitamins. Ob doesn't even really want to talk to you until a few weeks later!

Anonymous said...

Ryan on the phone was classic and beautiful! So Ryan!

And Dwight kicking the ball out into the woods was great too - nice slow walk to get it - funny!

I didn't like how David is starting to really show some serious slacking off (what's happening to this guy?) - telling Michael anything in confidence is dangerous, not seeing Michael and Holly's skit beforehand was not smart, and then he still kind of let Michael go when yelling at him about him - he was too nice. That's David I guess but something might happen to him if he keeps it up - maybe that might mean Charles taking over and then Michael finally getting the position he's waiting for bumping Jim up to Michael's position, with Pam as 2nd in command and Dwight as the secret assistant regional manager (remember that title?) - hate to see DW go if that's the case - sets Michael up beautifully every time so he SHOULD be a keeper but we;ll see...

Mar said...

Someone said DW was cute. CUTE is not the word - HOT is! I wasn't impressed with him in this episode but still loved him! Loved the shorts! Loved all his scenes - loved everything he said. He was so funny in just saying "Dwight" when Dwight was annoyingly counting. Ok so I am a bit obsessed with DW but he is hotness all over! Nice really handsome man!

Jake said...

I was somewhat underwhelmed by the finale. I don't see Jam's baby having that much affect on the show, as, despite the trying financial times, both clearly wanted this to happen and were completely overjoyed when they got the news (their reactions were really the best thing about this reveal). Honestly, as much as I loved "Casual Friday" and "Cafe Disco," I thought the ending of "Broke" was the perfect place to end the season. It showed everyone together and happy, and they finally showed just how uncomfortable it is for Steve Carell to prop his foot on that desk.

Still, this is easily one of the best seasons of the show, second in my book only to the second season. PB&J never overstayed their welcome, all of the new characters (Holly, Charles, Erin) were superb, and the MSPC arc was the finest arc since Jim's nerve-wracking struggle to tell Pam how he felt in S2. There were a few lulls here and there, but no outright weak episodes, and the rest was gold. I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Doc said...

Reply to Anonymous @ 7:12 AM:

Pam and Jim - she would NOT have gotten an xray for an ankle injury if she was pregnant or suspected she was pregnant! Plus she would have to have gone to the ob/gyn for confirmation not an ortho doctor (or whatever).
This is incorrect.

A) Nearly any woman between ages 10 and 60 who enters an emergency room and requires any sort of treatment receives a urine pregnancy test, mostly because it is so cheap and a positive test would lead the doctor to use or avoid certain medications and treatment modalities rather than others.

B) Nearly any woman in an ER who needs an x-ray will get a urine pregnancy test. However, medical evidence has shown that a pregnant woman can receive between 50-500 x-rays before the fetus is exposed to significant enough radiation to cause damage. The 50-500 range depends on what type of x-ray; since the ankle is quite far away from the belly, it would be closer to 500. In this case, the doctor should tell the woman that she is pregnant and the x-ray will expose her to radiation, but also tell her that she can get hundreds of these x-rays before any damage occurs.

Anonymous said...

Who knew Pam had gone to college??? I never assumed that...perhaps a drop out? An associate's degree? I would find it hard to believe she has a BA, but it may add some complexity to her character if she did....college grad, working as a receptionist all these years....

pmaha said...

The collective prank on Michael was great. The office in unison is always hilarious.

jeannieLy said...

As I watched the last scene, I knew, you - Alan, would write how wonderful it is. Seeing Jim and Pam in that moment brought tears to my eyes. Great, great episode.

Also, I really enjoyed the grown-up side of Michael. When they sit down together for chocolate dipped strawberries I thought Michael would try to pull something funny on her, since well....chocolate dipped strawberries. But I'm glad he didn't try to push their friendship into something bigger...

..can't wait until next season!