Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Office, "Niagara": Fancy new Halpert

Spoilers for the big wedding episode of "The Office" coming up just as soon as you destroy my shoes...
"Four years ago, I was just a guy, who had a crush on a girl, who had a boyfriend. And I had to do the hardest thing I've ever had to do, which was just to wait." -Jim
Earlier today, I wrote about how Jim and Pam's relationship should disprove the theory that ending will-they-or-won't-they sexual tension equals creative death for a series. And "Niagara" very much bore that theory out. It wasn't perfect - like most hour-long "Office" episodes, it was at times trying to do too much, at other times feeling oddly padded - but it managed to showcase every character even as it gave Jim and Pam their moment, it was at times screamingly funny, and at others touching enough to move any real-life Andy Bernards to reach for the Kleenex. It somehow managed to open on mass vomit and close on that gorgeous image of Jim and Pam staring out at the Falls, and yet it all felt like part of "The Office."

Now, I found the Phyllis wedding episode to be unbearably mortifying, because there are some instances where I just don't want to see Michael being Michael. Yet here, I didn't mind it - and in fact found Michael's "different sensation" speech at the rehearsal dinner to be one of the funniest things in the episode. The difference, I think, is that Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling's script was written with the understanding that Jim and Pam know how Michael operates - really, they know how all these people operate - and they were bracing for it and had backup plans in mind. Hence, Jim's line about buying the Maid of the Mist tickets the day he saw the wedding dance video on YouTube. So while it was all worst-case scenario, it was a worst-case scenario they were prepared for, and so I felt free to laugh. (Also, Michael talking about sex is usually gold, and in this case it helped that Jim had screwed up first, and Michael was only trying to fix things.)

The pre-credits sequence was both horrifying (I wouldn't be surprised if it inspired some sympathetic hurling from people with weak stomachs in the audience) and hilarious (note Creed casually eating noodles while everyone else pukes), and the cast's joy at doing their own version of the wedding dance was infectious. And that is exactly the sort of thing Michael would try to do, only here it mostly went well, and had lots of silly beats within (Ryan doing the Lawn Sprinkler, Dwight kicking Isabel in the face).

The episode didn't really start clicking until Jim's toast at the rehearsal dinner (a lovely summation of a story the audience knows so well), but from that point on, it was the kind of show where mostly what I want to do is list some (but by no means all) of the things I found funny, including:

• Dwight horrifying the kids table with tales of "Jim, the Bad Man";

• Meema's story of watching "Bruno" on the hotel TV and extrapolating from it that Jim and Pam are awful people;

• Oscar's mortification at anyone thinking Kevin was his boyfriend;

• Dwight's fascination with the male twins;

• The entire exchange between Kevin and the hotel manager about his shoes ("It became a safety issue, sir");

• Another Andy/Kelly dance-off, albeit not as long as the one from "Cafe Disco."

• Andy: "Who told you that?" Jim: "I may have told some people that."

• Michael's painting, and the news that he has a second, nude one that is for him to keep;

• Michael wishes he was a bridesmaid;

Stanley once again buying a toaster as a wedding present;

• "I know way too much about Andy's scrotum."

• Toby's brief moment of excitement at the thought Pam might not actually marry Jim;

• My own dawning excitement and horror at the realization, midway through the apricot snack scene, that Michael was going to hook up with Pam's mom, and knowing how Pam will react to that news down the road.

Also happy to see Captain Kirk's real-life father as Jim's kilt-wearing dad, to see Dwight be a plausible playa, and, as always, to see just how sweet John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer are together.

What did everybody else think?

129 comments:

Anonymous said...

Loved it. To add another moment: Toby volunteering to let Michael stay in his room, and Michael's absolute disgust at the thought. So true to form.

Lane said...

I was really liking the hilarity of most of the episode until the dance scene. Totally took me out of scene. A) Why did the Office mates go down the aisle in the first place? They were already seated and we were waiting for Pam to come down the aisle? B) Then why did they go down it like 3 times.

Great individual moments this episode (Kevin, Oscar, Andy, Michael, Dwight) then they ruin the ending with that ham fisted schlock fest, really disappointed me.

Anonymous said...

One of the best episodes of television ever. This wasn't just a wedding; this was a big, giant thank you to all of the shows fans. Everything felt really earned.

I think the "that awful Charlie Rose" line might be my favorite line in the history of earth.

Lane said...

One added note, "Ham Fisted Schlock Fest" is a name I wish I came up with for my Fantasy Football team

Anonymous said...

Lane -- I think the way to suspend your belief w/ the final dance scene is that whoever edits the "documentary" part of the show would only be interested in the characters that we already know, so we missed a lot of the family members and the like doing the same.

l.b. weighs in said...

Well if anyone was worrying about The Office becoming too sweet with the two lovebirds finally making it to the aisle (or the Maid of the Mist -- how wonderful was that! but it makes me miss Wonderfalls) the vomiting scene should well reassure them.

I loved it. I am so happy they are using P&J building a relationship as the story engine. I agree with your article whole-hardheartedly about how keeping people artificially apart is never the answer. I would have been happy if Gilmore Girls had gotten Lorelei and Luke together earlier and I could have cried at their wedding too.

Alex said...

I didn't all-out love it, and I feel badly about that! I didn't like the casting of Jim's and Pam's parents (excepting Mr. Halpert). They seemed a little too classy, and a little too young. However, I'm sure we won't be seeing much of them in the future, so it's moot. (Unless there's some kind of christening episode!)

I'm finding Michael hard to take this season, and tonight's episode was no exception. I was cringing through much of his antics. Andy's scrotum issue reminded me of a less funny "The Injury," and I didn't enjoy Dwight-as-lothario, although he totally WOULD wear that horrible wolf shirt.

What did I actually like? Jim's toast. Jim and Pam, always. The fact that Jim spilled the pregnancy beans. The ending. The fact that Jim had a plan B & C.

Steve said...

Great episode, and the ending sequence was perfect.

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of great deleted scenes from this episode on the DVD.

TC said...

I completely agree with the dance criticism. My inner continuity nerd couldn't understand why they kept going down the aisle multiple times. Did they run back and do it again? And the pews were filled with other people when the Office workers danced, but the seat fillers then got displaced by Office workers for the actual ceremony.

Why yes, I do over-analyze mundane details on fictional shows. Why do you ask?

Lane said...

TC, I don't find it a mundane issue, it felt force and contrived, which isn't what the Office is about (for the most part)

besides the multiple times down the aisle, there was the slapsticky aspect of Kevin falling into the candlesticks or whatever that was, there was Dwight kicking the bridesmaid in the face, etc..

just felt corny

ok, now I am over analyzing and complaining too much, I'll stop, because the first 80% was pretty much gold

lungfish said...

Satisfying episode.... speaking of continuity, didn't Stanley smash Michael's car?

Guy said...

If it makes you feel better imagine the dancing down the aisle as the Bollywood ending to the wedding.

I love that after a week of sweet promos for THE WEDDING the Office cold opens the show with projectile vomiting.

Dave said...

I'm pretty certain the toaster is the same one Stanly bought for pam and ROY's wedding. The store wouldn't take it back so it's probably been sitting in his basement for three years waiting for another shot.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dave, he also got a toaster for Phyllis' wedding (as, I believe, did Jim).

Brian J said...

I lost track a little at the end, so how they ended up at Niagra isn't clear to me, but I'll probably watch it again.

I wouldn't say it's the best episode of the show, but it's certainly a good one. It felt entirely appropriate, because while these characters can be horrifying, they also feel like more than caricatures. They seem like actual people at this point. It also felt real, primarily because the two characters seemed to remain focused on the fact that they were marrying each other, and everything else that was happening wasn't nearly as significant.

The one thing that bothered me just a little was Kevin wearing boxes as shoes. As dumb as he can be, is he so inept that he couldn't run to a store and get a cheap pair? If not, he couldn't wear sneakers or sandals? On the other hand...

Yes, Dwight as a player and Michael hooking up with Pam's mom are two major highlights. And the vomiting. But did they have two different actresses playing Pam's mom? Off to imdb.com I go.

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more. the episode felt slightly baggy (if that makes sense), but generally hilarious. such a great example of how to handle a tv relationship and a tv wedding. bravo, office scribes. :)

and i didn't mind the "continuity" errors of having the office folks come down the aisle before pam, or even come down multiple times. it seems very much in keeping with their personalities that all the office regulars wanted a moment or two in the spotlight to dance (except angela)...and it makes sense that the rest of the family/guests just wanted to stay in their places and get this thing going.

also: i loved jim's plan c. but plan a? swoon!

Greg said...

They go down the aisle twice, once individually and once as a group, just as is done in the YouTube video.

Gayle said...

Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Once I just accepted the notion that the co-workers were not going to comply with my idea of socially acceptable wedding behavior--and that took a few minutes--I enjoyed it all.

Cried from laughing so hard at the teaser with all the throwing up.

Cried with genuine emotion at the back-up wedding plan forced into action with the inspired dance down the aisle.

It will be a while before I delete it from my DVR.

sc said...

the show was absolutely perfect...hit on all cylinders, and I really felt it summed up what Pam & Jim's life is really like....they work with, and have family members that make up this crazy world, but together, they can and will get thru anything because they have each other....and I thought the episode conveyed this very very well.

Omagus said...

My own dawning excitement and horror at the realization, midway through the apricot snack scene, that Michael was going to hook up with Pam's mom
--

YES. As I was watching that scene, I was thinking, "Wait...no...are they going to...they are!"

SteveInHouston said...

That last shot was such a tremendous call-back to both "Booze Cruise" and "Diversity Day".

You could just imagine Jim thinking "Not a bad day."

Anonymous said...

Loved it!! The final talking head with Jim and the look to the camera on the boat... tears everywhere!!

As for the dance.. people should go back and watch the actual You Tube clip, it looks like the same people go down the aisle multiple times, I think it was funny and made to look like the original and come on do we really think Michael would only go down once?? This was probably all his idea as soon as he saw the clip,it is so typical Michael. Seeing the joy and sillyness on everyone's face going down the aisle was really great, I can only imagine what filming must have been like that day

Eric Murray said...

Is no one going to mention that the beautiful Anna Camp (Sarah Newlin on True Blood) was Pam's sister Penny! If only this meant we could be graced by her presence every week again.

Q Ball said...

Wow, the Office sure knows how to deliver on a big stage.

Last year's Super Bowl episode was terrific (as was the opening scene) and this episode was the highlight of the season and maybe my favorite episode in recent memory.

The callbacks and individual moments for each Office character was awesome. Bravo, Office crew and Mr. Freaks & Geeks Paul Feig.

hattrick246 said...

The Office is my favorite comedy. My second favorite is How I Met Your Mother.

Which is weird because Jim-Pam just did the same thing as Marshall-Lily on their wedding episode. On HIMYM, everything was going wrong, so they got married outside in the park first before the church wedding.

Jim-Pam knew the wedding would get screwed up, so they got married on a ship first. Actually, Marshall-Lily also got married on a ship, some 13 episodes before their wedding episode. Although, that was just for 12 seconds.

Seems like a rip off to me.

Patrick Wynne said...

Great episode. Wonderful. Loved it... until the final dance thing. I was (blissfully) unaware of the YouTube clip so there was no resonance there for me, that's a truly awful song and the whole scene kicked me right out of the show. Just a really bad idea all around.

However, they redeemed themselves with Kevin sticking his feet in the ice machine and Michael hooking up with Pam's mom (which was obviously coming during their earlier scene but still so horrifying when it actually happened).

GeeMan said...

Loved Phyllis' hat and watching Andy cry. Loved seeing Ms. Purl, she still looks great! Michael behaved quite well in this ep, imo. I couldn't believe the show's opening though!--I was eating supper! I knew it would be a great ep and really enjoyed it.

drake lelane said...

That wolf shirt (Three Wolf Moon) that Dwight's wearing is an internet legend.

The shirt has nearly 1,500 customer reviews on Amazon (read a couple, they are HILARIOUS) and has been ranked in the top 10 in apparel for the longest time (it's dipped to #13, but after this episode, I expect it to roar back).

Anonymous said...

Was that the bride from the JK wedding in the background at the beginning of the song standing next to Pam's dad?

Lisa said...

Yeah. I'm never filling up the ice bucket in a hotel again. Ever.

Chrissie said...

I loved the dance if only because it gave them a way a cliched exchange of vows and set up that nice montage cutting between the church wedding and the real one on the boat.

"To waiting!"

Chrissie said...

Knew I should have hit "Preview" first. Meant to say "a way to avoid a cliched exchange of vows..."

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Am I the only on that thought that Jason from Trueblood would show up at this wedding with who was playing Pam's Sister lol

Loved The Throwing up scene and Creed just sitting there eating his Lo Mein.. And then Creeds dance with the Tribute to MJ

Raz said...

I thought the ending was incredibly sweet - the juxtaposition of the quiet scene on the boat with the riotous dancing at the wedding just felt pitch-perfect and made me mist up a bit. Feig is so good at hitting these emotional high points in the Jim-Pam relationship in a way that feels true to both the characters/their relationship and the overall tone of the show.

One thing that was sort of disappointing - the actress who played Pam's mom was different in this episode than the last time we saw her, and I wasn't crazy about the change. Whereas the "Old Pam's Mom" seemed like a nice, low-key, no fuss suburban woman (like Pam), this version seemed a lot more Country Club. The casting felt a bit off.

Henry said...

The episode was frankly really, REALLY overly focused on sex. It became a little disturbing after a while.

Pam's bridesmaids are hot, though.

Dwight has gotten more and more insane as the episodes go by.

I just think the episode was way overrated and overhyped.

Henry said...

But the ending is sweet and Pam looks pretty.

LA said...

Seriously fun episode. I hope Memaw is back in the future.

Verification word: bubbe

starscream said...

Absolutely loved it. Another favorite line: Michael going 3rd in the "cleanup spot."

Some of the women at the wedding were smoking hot.

Tyroc said...

One of the most fun and silliest episodes of the series. And one of the sweetest.

The twins joke, the hotel manager throwing out Kevin's shoes, Kevin's hairpiece, Dwight kicking that poor girl in the face, even breaking the 4th wall a little by having only the people we know reproduce that video at the wedding. Really fairly bonkers, silly hilarious stuff.

Loved it.

Michael said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned Meredith and her cigars. And I'll second Lisa's comment and the complete horror I felt as I thought of Kevin's feet in all of the hotel ice I've consumed.

Eires32 said...

My DVR cut off right as Kevin was walking into the vending machine/ice machine room. A little help please?

Garron said...

At first I was annoyed that comcast was charging separately for part 1 and part 2.

But the first few minutes floored me. Absolutely worth it.

I know Friends did many, many wedding episodes, some which were great (Monica + Chandler) and some which were terrible (Phoebe's), but this takes the cake of all comedy wedding episodes.

Steve Wirzba said...

I'll start off by saying that this was, in my opinion, the best episode of the Office yet, and one of the best episodes of television I can remember. You can judge how good it was by a lot of things, but for me, it was the fact that I rode (am riding) a crazy emotional high for the rest of the evening. Watching this made me so happy.

The Office has recently become synidcated (at least where I am/on channels I have) and I've seen some old school Office episodes recently, and it got me thinking back to some of the things about the show that I really liked in the first couple seasons that aren't totally absent now, but are certainly less prominent. What comes most strongly to mind for me are those crrrrringe moments where you have to physically clench your fists and bounce in your seat because of the awkwardness, as well as seing Dwight as an oblivious ball of social awkwardness; its seems lately that he has become more of a crafty and devious fellow. This wedding ep, for me, brought back those awesome elements, with the toast (which did it for me) and Dwight howling. That was a thowback for me.

I didn't find it long or baggy, like most 1 hr Offices; on the contrary, every scene was so chock full of good ideas and hilarious happenings that it felt more robust than recent half hour eps.

I'll say it again, this may very well be the 54th-best episode of television comedy ever (after every episode of Arrested Development, of course.... I kid - there were a couple in season 3 that weren't quite comedy perfection. Script in works! And Arrested Development is always on topic)

Anonymous said...

Bride's side, groom's side, or townie?

SR said...

I was struck by how dark so much of the humor in this episode was. That pre-credits mass vomit scene was like a shot over the audience's bow: "you thought you were getting a sweet Very Special Wedding Episode? guess again."

It was funny, but mighty dark. Kick to the face, rip to the scrotum, sleep next to the ice machine dark.

thomas said...

So was this all done on one day? both weddings? Love the episode. Especially the rehersal dinner.. Man Classic

Matt said...

Episode was pretty great, but am I the only one kind of disturbed that they milked a YouTube viral video for laughs without even adding much? It felt like the writers were saying "Hey, remember that internet video that everyone and their grandma saw? Yeah, that was hilarious! Hey, let's have the Office guys do the same thing they did!"

It felt almost like a Family Guy-esque attempt at writing a joke composed entirely of a cultural reference. Maybe I'm just being grumpy 'cause that goddamn pop song makes me think of Doublemint Gum every time I hear it (musical marketing at its worst), but seriously, couldn't they have at least mocked the video instead of just re-enacting it? You could argue that Dwight did kick someone in the face, and Kevin tripped, but those are pretty light gags. I'm talking more like the iPod screwing up and somebody accidentally setting the church on fire, that kind of dark cultural subversion that The Office normally dispenses without batting an eye.

But again, I'm probably just being grumpy. Solid episode overall.

Tyroc said...

I thought having Jim and Pam find the YouTube video -- and their friends re-enacting -- so terrible that they'd plan a backup plan, was mocking the video. A lot.

Almost too much as I enjoyed the original video a great deal and thought that maybe they were being a little too cool for school by saying it was cheesy. But... still damn funny.

vic said...

I didn't find the episode to be balls out amazing, but do agree that it was one of the better ones. Loved seeing Creed devouring noodles in the middle of all the vomiting, and that despite everything, Dwight is still quite the ladies man.

Loved seeing the infamous wolf t-shirt on Dwight. Probably the single funniest thing for me in this episode.

Drew said...

I thought the episode started much stronger than it finished with the toast being the turning point for me, too. Just turning the way other way. I teared up when Jim spoke and was able to watch through my fingers as Michael went to a horrible place, but I felt like things went way too broad after that. Kevin's shoes, in particular, were ridiculous, both the idea that the smell was a health risk (that's a Full House joke right there) and that he would wear KLEENEX BOXES on his feet. Too much when his toupee was hilarious on its own.

And though Ed Helms sold the hell out of the plot, the torn scrotum bit was too much. Seriously, though, Helms can do anything and everything. He won the whole episode with his sick look at the beginning of the episode, which was funnier than the rest actually throwing up.

I found the "married before we're married" bit to have more resonance with Marshall and Lily, probably because this felt too big for Jim and Pam, who won me over by being so small. And I thought ripping the YouTube video was stupid, though the cast won me over simply by having the time of their lives. So yeah, that actually worked.

There was a lot of good here, but it was thread through some really horrible stuff, and it just made for a mess of an episode. Not an unwatchable one, but one that just didn't come together.

Although I'm looking forward to the Michael/Pam's mom fallout. That should be fun.

MattB said...

Was Michael successful at getting Memaw to the wedding? I can't remember if she was there in the end.

selke99 said...

Great, GREAT episode! Also:

- Right before Michael said he wished he was a bridesmaid, telling the girl he's not sleeping with Dwight either.

- Dwight's Howl at the Moon shirt. Look up this shirt on amazon.com and read the BS comments by people about how this shirt "changed people's lives." I think this is why the shirt has taken off.

Alan, love your blog. Discovered you from the Sports Guy podcasts.

DR said...

I thought it was one of the best episodes in the last two seasons. I also thought that moment with Jim and Pam on the ferry was insanely beautiful.

And when the episode ended, I told my friend "Well, now I can stop watching the show." Which of course was sarcasm...

Richard Hoeg said...

Well, after loving last week's episode and really, really not digging this week's, I can tell I really have my finger on the pulse of the audience (sarcasm).

Don't ever let me run any of your comedy shows.

Seriously, though. I thought the episode was little more than a series of (admittedly, often funny) vignettes, barely strung together by the weakest of threads, and that the characters were drawn so broadly as to become more like caricatures than real people. The Office at its most base. An SNL skit on steroids.

Season 2 showed that these writers know how to do sweet, meaningful romance while still keeping the audience on the floor laughing. Here, not so much.

Jake said...

I know it's soon, but that has to be the best Office episode ever. The whole of the rehearsal speech is the only thing outside of actual Gervais/Merchant scripting that made me try to bury myself under my couch. I kept looking for a way to cover my ears and eyes with only two hands.

The dance scene started off pointless, but it bubbled over into this pure fit of joy that made it all worth it. And of course Jim knows them all so well that he saw it coming and planned ahead.

I don't think anyone didn't get at least one moment to crush it this episode. I remember being all for them getting married in a totally "un-special" airing order, but now I kind of wish it had been the finale, because I don't know how they can top it.

LDP said...

Loved the opening, particularly Creed's continuing to wolf down his noodles while everyone else was vomiting. When I saw that, I thought we were in for a really great episode but, although I enjoyed much of it, it was too "Very Special" for me. (My doctor has prescribed two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm as an antidote.)

The Mad Hatter said...

A fittingly sweet and funny episode!

One question though: Jim's expression when he realize's he's blown the pregnancy secret...am I the only one who got visions of Jenny Slate on SNL?

Anonymous said...

@ Matt and others upset about the wedding song: Yes it was cheesey but also entirely in character with Jim's brothers and their senses of humor. They've made it clear in their every appearance that they're cornballs on the lines on Michael Scott (the whole whoopee cushion thing should clue you in) so it didn't seem stale to me.

Dean Winchester said...

@selke99, just a heads up, but as an earlier commenter said the Howl at the Moon shirt has been an internet meme for years. Those comments on the Amazon page were there long before this episode aired. The shirt begot the joke on the Office, not the other way around.

Fred App said...

I'm less horrified at Michael banging Pam's mom than I would have been at the other potential plotline, which was Michael hooking up with Meemaw.

And doesn't Meemaw have to return now for the episode where Jim and Pam's child is born, so she can insist they keep their promise to name the boy "Silvio"?

Brian said...

TC said: "My inner continuity nerd couldn't understand why they kept going down the aisle multiple times. Did they run back and do it again?"

Do you find it completely improbable that "people" like Michael Scott and Ryan and Dwight would not think about going back and doing a second dance down the aisle? Especially with Jim and Pam just smiling and watching? To me, that was perfect understanding of the characters, not a continuity flaw.

My goodness, Michael acted like the wedding was about him from the beginning. Andy stayed in the honeymoon suite before Jim and Pam did - by himself. Those are the kind of people who would kill to dance down the aisle three, four, even five time.

Anonymous said...

The power of the Three Wolf Moon shirt is apparently all too real. I will be buying one post-haste!

Anonymous said...

I loved that Michael thought the douchy Halpert brothers toast was gold, but that they were butchering it and his lecture on the effect of condoms was cringe-worthy, but not unwatchable unlike the toast from "Phyllis' Wedding".

Anonymous said...

My recording also cut out right as Kevin was walking to the ice machine. Clue me in, dudes!

Danny said...

Where did Pam and Jim go for that hour period before the weddding? At first it seemed liek the cutting to the boat was showing where they went, but that was canceled out when Jim mentioned it was his plan if they did that youtube video, and not to mention they got drenched. That whole plot line seemed convulted to me.

David said...

Two of Michael's bits really got me, for two very different reasons.

First, when he asked Pam's mom if she had a snack because she's a mom tells a lot about him But the fact that she actually did cracked me up.

More important was Michael's flash of self awareness. When Jim said he was shocked he spilled the beans about Pam himself, Michael immediately said he was afraid he was going to. I like these little moments of Michael realizing things about himself.

Rae said...

For those asking, yes Michael was successful in getting Meemaw to attend the wedding. We see Pam's mother walking down the aisle with her right after Jim and Pam finally show up.

Elisa said...

I too thought about "Booze Cruise" afterwards, but not while watching, and the Maid of the Mist was still touching. The BC callback was just sentimental icing on the cake---an "of COURSE they have to get married on a boat!" moment.
My favorite bit was Jim cutting off his tie to match Pam's ripped veil.

belinda said...

It's far from being the best Office episode, but the sentiment of these two characters that we've grown to love individually and as a couple carried the whole thing off. Just a really sweet and happy episode, and even though it wasn't too much of a laugh out loud episode, I had a smile on my face throughout the whole episode.

I agree with drake's post - the amazon reviews on that 3 wolf moon tshirt are really, really funny. Everyone needs to read that. :D

Jen said...

2 Others have asked and I'll reiterate: My DVR cut out as Kevin was walking down the hallway. What happened at the end?

Also, the orchestration of the wedding dance was definitely in character with Michael and Jim's brothers. Of course they'd follow the video to a tee. Had they made it in any way original I think that would've made it ring false.

I know that these are two fictional characters, but I was so incredibly happy watching the two of them together. Everyone in our living room was teary eyed by the end. Well played, Office writers and cast!

Rae said...

For those asking about the last bit (which you can see at Hulu), Kevin tells us how this was the best wedding ever for him (he got some numbers!) all the while taking off his tissue box shoes and sticking his feet into the ice machine to cool them down. Meanwhile, down the hall, we see Michael walking Pam's mom back to her room and her pulling him after her.

Rae said...

Clarification: Pulling him INTO the room after her.

Just Being Josh said...

Honestly loved every minute of it. I'm glad that the writers suckered everyone in with a "romantic wedding" idea and then kicked off the cold open with everyone throwing up.

That's why I personally love this show.

Seriously, I would have even been OK if that had been the series finale. It was exactly how I would like to see those characters go out and I felt so fulfilled and gratified at the end. But thankfully it's not over and I can't wait to see where Michael and Pam's mom go from here.

Rae said...

This episode wasn't a perfect homerun for me but I did find it to be the perfect tribute to Pam and Jim. The wedding scene is especially poignant.

I'm not a fan of the song but it is actually quite perfect for these two. The looks the two exchange during the whole thing is a nice callback to how we've watched their relationship develop, in looks of commiseration exchanged across the office floor. It was a nice reminder of why I've always enjoyed them as a pairing.

As for the dance itself, none of the wedding videos I've seen out there ever make it perfectly match your typical wedding walk down the aisle. The point is to do something different and make it fun and they typically include more than just the wedding party in the dancing. Michael and Jim's brothers copying the YouTube video instead of finding their own song seems to fit perfectly with their personalities and what we've seen them do in the past.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Stanley's wife white at one point? Is this the woman he's having the affair with? I'm lost.

Rae said...

@Danny - You had it right the first time. They go off and get married in that time. I wasn't sure if it was just an hour since it's noted that they disappeared for quite a bit of time. Jim's mention of a backup plan doesn't negate that, it just showed that he had made alternate plans. That his alternate plans were necessary before the dancing doesn't change that he was ready in case anything ruined the day for Pam. Also, you can see that when they get back Pam's hair is now up which I took as acknowledgment they'd had to dry it and change her earlier hairstyle because of the getting wet, etc.

srpad said...

Okay, I liked the episode but I do have some beefs:

1. I am getting pretty tired of the current trend in movies and TV shows of showing the puke intead of just implying it. Please, it's enough already.

Pam's smug look at the end *was* very funny though.

2. The "run away and have a private wedding just for us" idea was a little hacky. Mad About You called, it wants its wedding story line back.

Enough of the bad stuff. I loved the dancing! Like Cafe Disco it actually made me wish I could be there because it looked like such a good time. I figured it was based on a pop culture phenomenon that I misssed and I even said, "I hope Alan has a link in his review." and you did! Thanks.

I also love the running joke of Dwight having amazing success with women. His obliviousness is just too funny!

David Z said...

"She's a dental hygienist from Carbondale and she makes love like one, she's a bumpkin, pass!" had to be my favorite line of the night.

Kristi said...

LOL- My husband and I both thought the same thing about Michael and Pam's mom (even though when I thought about it, that wasn't the original mom back in either Season 1 or 2, but whatever). You know next week's epi is going to be about the aftermath of the wedding night.

Great episode and I'm feeling that "The Office" is getting back to what made it so funny in the first place- a bit of crazy Michael (but not completely centered around him) and great stuff by the ensemble cast. Dwight's Three Wolf Moon t-shirt was just the icing on the cake.

Michele said...

My DVR also cut off the end. You can watch it online at the end of this: http://www.hulu.com/watch/101194/the-office-niagara-part-2

Danny said...

Thanks Rae, thats what I thought, then I tried to overthink it. Should of just remembered its just a tv show and not to get too caught up in the details.

Imamarilyn said...

Michael and Jim's brief talk after Jim let it be known Pam was pregnant...awesome! Jim wondering if now being a manager makes him stupid and Michael agreeing that's how it worked with him. Lots of Dwight who is my fave! His eating breakfast reminded me of the time he had breakfast with Jan, pancakes again being devoured with a total lack of table manners.

I liked Phyllis' wedding much better, but all in all a great episode.

Anonymous said...

No mention of Michael putting the clich├ęd cans on the back of his own car and when he pulls out of the DM parking lot we find out that they are still full?

Tobey said...

@ Imamarilyn One of the many moments that cracked me up was Dwight's eating his pancakes like, well, a bumpkin. Totally flashed back to "The Coup".

"You're lucky to have a grandmother. Some of us have to be our own grandmother."

Had to pause on Jim and Pam's list of Do's and Don'ts. I love the "Do Drink when it's APPROPRIATE, Do eat dinner" guidelines. "Don't talk to our family--VERY BUSY!" I think the only Don't that was heeded was the firecracker ban.

Eldo Owens said...

Maybe it's because I'm a sap but I'm not actively rooting for Andy to successfully woo Erin. After all the crap he went through with Angela, Andy deserves something good to happen in his love life.

RKS said...

I loved Jim cutting off his tie to make Pam feel better about her torn veil---whadda guy! I think the writers have done a truly good job in writing these two. In a dysfunctional world, they're able to connect on a different plane of existence that's open only to the two of them. Lovely.

I loved the wedding aisle dance. The original JK wedding video is one I go to if I'm in need of a smile so to see it unexpectedly happen at Jim and Pam's wedding made me very happy. It was definitely in keeping with the Office gang and the ongoing festivities as was Jim and Pam's embarrassed reaction to it.

I especially loved that Jim knew that the combination of the guys from the office and family members would result in such hyper stress that he bought two tickets ahead of time so he and Pam could be married "privately" on board the Maid of the Mist. (Looking back at my own wedding, I often wish we had just eloped. To this day the first half of our ceremony is a total blank due to severe anxiety on my part.)

For those who wondered, Pam's mom this time was played by Linda Purl, Fonzie's squeeze!

Anonymous at 10:32am, yes, Stanley's wife (at least at the Dundies) was white, but apparently not so much anymore....

My question is why did Andy feel Pam was the one to go to with his injury and why did Pam agree to it? I would have just called the front desk and told them someone needed medical attention or, better yet, an ambulance.

Alan Sepinwall said...

RKS, Pam was the only person from the wedding party guaranteed to be sober (due to her pregnancy), and I suspect Andy was too mortified to call the front desk for help.

Tobey said...

"Anonymous at 10:32am, yes, Stanley's wife (at least at the Dundies) was white, but apparently not so much anymore...."

I thought Stanley had brought his girlfriend, the one with whom he's been cheating. Phyllis made a point to say "Your WIFE liked my hat the last time I wore it". I thought that was a dig at Stanley for bringing Cynthia (I think).

Roberto said...

Excellent episode!

Nobody noticed the pink lingeria of Erin/Ellie Kemper during the wedding?

Come on guys...

Mila said...

I agree with Just Being Josh: this felt like a series finale. It was warm and wonderful, a basket of kisses for the Office faithful.

Anonymous said...

@RKS (and Alan)

Actually, Angela was probably sober too. But I'm sure Andy had his reasons for not getting her involved.

Margaret Evans Porter said...

It made me happy and, at the end, weepy, with great laughs interspersed. Michael's "different sensation" speech had me cringing and laughing.

A couple of classic moments: Creed eating his noodles in the barfing scene (an homage to the pie-eating contest in the film Stand by Me?)

Dwight's wedding gift. Possibly because I live in lobster territory, where bibs and impelements are not unheard of as gifts. The cutaway with the escaped live turtle (which Dwight omitted from his earlier demo with hammer and bib) cracked me up, no pun intended. It looked as if the critter had chewed its way out of the box before falling off the gift table, which seems wholly improbable. But I don't care.

Oscar vogue-ing down the aisle--perfect.

This episode, for me, passed the "satisfying" test. I look forward to watching it again.

MMike said...

Chalk me up to: Loved it. I'm already a fan of the show big time, but this just kept coming at you even though you could predict some of it: you knew that Pam would hurl at the beginning, but that everyone else ended up doing it ... excellent! You knew that someone would have to spill the beans about the pregnancy, but ... Jim! Aren't you ashamed!!!? You knew they were going to end up married (previews?) but the way they ran off and did it that way was really touching without being too sweet. Every time it veered toward some sort of sentimentality it hit a convenient *cough - Michael - cough - Dwight - cough* speed bump to remind us that we're going to have to go back to Scranton - and OMGOMGOMFG Michael sleeping with Pam's mom - how in the heck will she deal with that.

Paige said...

I cried happy tears both during Jim's speech and at the end where he said he Plan A was to marry her a long time ago.

I don't think I have ever laughed so hard or cried so much watching a tv show. Cheers to The Office!!! :)

Drew said...

How about the hotel event board inviting guests to the Beesly -Halpret Dinner?

It's the little things...

renton said...

Ed Helms really sold the injury. The look on his face after he realized what he'd done was great.

Memo to self: never, EVER do splits with car keys in your pocket.

JamesG said...

I had all the same issues as most people with parts of this episode being unrealistic:

- The Kevin's shoes bit was absurd
- Jim/Pam running off to the boat, getting married, coming back, and drying off would have taken hours, much more time than was implied
- I don't buy the entire group from the office joining the dance (why was Angela walking down the aisle?). No way that ALL of them would have known about the YouTube video either.

While things like this usually ruin this show for me, I really liked this episode. It had a great mix of sweetness and drama, as well as some amazingly funny moments. It really highlights the evolution of the show's cast, as everyone fit in perfectly and all contributed.

I think an episode like this only works because this is Jim and Pam's wedding -- two of the more self-aware characters on the show. Instead of being horrified at things like Andy's ruptured scrotum or Kevin's shoes, we can shake our heads and laugh along because we know Jim and Pam get it. They know these characters as we do, and they completely expect just about anything to go wrong. I loved how Jim was one step ahead of everyone with the ship tickets. That's exactly the type of thing he would do. Very well executed.

Imamarilyn said...

Rae, we know there was a complaint that the wedding was delayed by an hour. We don't know how far away we were from the wedding start time when Jim and Pam ran away.

Ah yes, Halpret. Love it. My son recently got married and one of the vendors mispelled our last name on a sign, too. So realistic.

Anonymous said...

The ending of this episode was a warmed over plate of trite schlock. Replicating an already insipid youtube video for the wedding episode, how inspired, a real testament to what used to be an extremely well-written show. More funny please, if I wanted brain-dead warm fuzzies I'd watch Grey's Anatomy.

MikeS said...

I really liked this episode. Wedding scenes in tv shows are always awkward train wrecks.

I like that Jim, anticipating that between his office-mates and d-bag prankster brothers would do something to make this wedding difficult, if not impossible, so he bought the tickets to the Maid of the Mist. He gave Pam and himself a moment for just themselves, which allowed them the freedom to just relax and have fun at the "official" wedding ceremony.

KVV said...

Here is why I loved the ending.

Jim's comment at the beginning about Niagara Falls is the emotional keystone to the entire ending, and it's a great example of why Greg Daniels is one of the best television writers of his generation.

"Niagara Falls used to be like a spiritual experience to people. They stayed in tents and it blew their minds. It's really kitchy now which ... is a lot of fun."

Niagara Falls used to be this wonderful romantic destination. It was timeless, kind of like a Sinatra song, until it became a cliche. Our culture still works this way, only at warp speed. The YouTube video started out as this funny romantic thing that was really just meant for those people in that church, and then it exploded and became a goofy pop culture cliche in a matter of months, not years. But Michael Scott, because he can't understand real romance (having never actually experienced it) thinks this is the perfect example of a romantic wedding. That's the way he processes things, through a YouTube lens of what's popular and cool. So of course he was going to do that at Jim and Pam's wedding the minute he saw it. And of course Jim knew he would, because after all this time, these characters know each other that well, especially Jim, who has always been able to predict the pattern of Michael's odd behavior.

So by having Jim and Pam get married on the Maid of the Mist, it's contrasting a "modern wedding cliche" with the "ultimate wedding cliche," and in doing so, it makes Niagara Falls timeless again.

It doesn't matter if the YouTube video doesn't hold up over time. Niagara Falls does. It's silly and campy, but still romantic and beautiful in ways that never go out of style. Kind of like Sinatra.

And of course Jim and Pam don't care about how ridiculous it all is, because they've already had their moment, just the two of them. The look on Jenna Fischer's face when she laughs as the long line of people are coming into the church at the end?

Just perfect. Every man should be so lucky as to get a look like that from his wife on his wedding day.

It was quintesential "The Office" writing. Snarky commentary on the way people like Michael (and Jim's brothers and Pam sister) absorb modern culture, ridiculous and silly but at the same time nailing a little slice of who each character was as the come down the aisle and get their moment in the spotlight (Michael goes twice; Kevin crashes at the end; Oscar is actually a great dancer; Kelly and Ryan act like they're in a dance club; Creed does a tribute to Michael Jackson; Bob Vance is slapping Phyllis on the ass; Erin is doing clueless ballet and you actually see her underwear at one point; Dwight is the only one who actually knows the choreography, yet he kicks his partner in the face, Angela won't dance), and yet still heartfelt and sweet without being too sacarine.

All that said, I actually think my favorite part of the episode was Jim cutting off his tie. We've all been to a hundred weddings where people obsessed over the details, hoping they'd go well, that nothing goes wrong, and yet here was a reminder (however cliche) that the only thing really matters who you're marrying.

Mental snapshot. Click.

witheringrose said...

The only thing that I didn't like about the episode was Dwight nailing Pam's best friend. Seriously!?! She's hot while Dwight is just plain disgusting. If she had slept with Michael, I could believe that since he can be charming at times---but Dwight---ugh!

Anonymous said...

I agree with JamesG about the drying off part. Wouldn't it have actually played better if Jim and Pam showed up soaking wet without explaining what happened and then we find out why through the cut backs?

Anonymous said...

Great line when, after Michael says his hookup was European, Dwight asks about her hairy armpits. I was waiting (hoping) for him to ask if it was Urkel Grue.

Anonymous said...

One very nice in-joke touch: the sweet bridesmaid who Dwight slept with was I believe named "Isabel Poreba". Isabel is the name of Angela Kinsey and Warren Lieberstein's daughter, and Poreba is the last name of Paul Lieberstein's wife.

Anonymous said...

The distinct lack of cold feet or disaster emergency scene elevated this wedding episode because those scenes are always so perfunctory. This one seemed more naturalistic even though...

The youtube viral thing fit in okay. Hey, it's better than Family Guy. And they already established these people as loving to adopt youtube memes, like parkour.PB & J already tried to warn them off of it.

Just a lot of earned good feeling/schmaltz at the end.

Ciji said...

RSK: Stanley cheated on his wife with Cynthia, the Black woman he brought to the wedding.

WitheringRose: A lot of hot chicks hook up with losers at weddings... didn't you see wedding crashers?

witheringrose said...

Ciji, that's true but a person has to have some standards. No sane woman would ever sleep with Dwight. Only a dysfunctional woman a la Angela would. Come on, Dwight is a weird looking, arrogant jerk who likes to talk about manure.

Nevada Smith said...

Was also unaware of that you tube video - so the dance at the end was a lot of fun. I had tears from laughing so much especially at Oscar's "strike a pose" serious face and Dwight kicking that girl in the face (I love slapstick). I think this episode is up there with the one where Dwight finds a bat in the office and the one where Dwight stages a fake fire for a drill. 2 other episodes that made me cry with laughter. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at an episode of anything on TV much less 3 times.

Jayne said...

This was sublime, as well as reading yours and everyone else's thoughts. As a veteran teacher, I laughed out loud at the opening sequence, as this is often the scene in classrooms with kids under the age of ten; we often have to scramble a one-man triage to keep the rest on the class from hurling at the sight of the first kid who loses his lunch.
Even before reading the comments, I was comforted at the everydayness of the wedding, as TV's tendency to exaggerate the average person's lifestyles to the point where I sometimes think it has contributed to some of the current economic distress many are feeling. I don't think I ever saw a Bridezilla episode that didn't involve the brides extending themselves in terrifying ways in order to have the fairytale day when they 'feel like a princess'. This was very down-to-earth and realistic, as was the inevitable 'let's do that wedding thing like the one we saw on YouTube"; while I wasn't familiar with this particular video, an episode of Oprah a few years back featured a video of a British bridal couple whose first dance was the 'Dirty Dancing' finale, and I realized it this was something that Jim and Pam had already feared, anticipated and for which they had a contingency plan. Their ability to ignore the glitches and remember the importance of the day to them reminded me of HIMYM's Marshall marrying Lily in a fedora after his haircut malfunction.
And to the folks who asked why the group went down the aisle twice - I watched the video and the bridal party did so as well.
Very sweet, very satisfying and best of all, no fear of let down as the next season unfolds, as this has been a such a natural development of a love story.
Alan, I so enjoy this blog, and have gotten my son hooked on it as well; on Sunday nights I look forward to reading your review of Mad Men as much as I do watching the show itself.

J.J. said...

I loved Dwight's "She's a dental hygienest from Carbondale, and she makes love like one" comment.

Nice.

KVV said...

One other thing I wanted to add, since some people have mentioned the general connection to how this is a subtle callback to "Booze Cruise," which is one of the best episodes of the series.

Right before Michael told everyone the boat was sinking, Capt. Jack was telling Michael, Dwight, Jim and Roy stories about Desert Storm, and it inspired Roy to set a date for he and Pam's wedding .. right as Jim was going to tell her how he felt about her.

Then Captain Jack (Rob Riggle) said, "As captain of this ship, I can marry you right here!"

Pam's answer: "No, I want my mom and dad there."

Pam did in fact get married by a ship captain, but in the end, it didn't matter who was there, just as long as Jim was the one standing next to her.

Bix said...

Is it just me or did Jim come off as mildly creepy with the talk of how he knew Pam would be his wife pretty much back to the day they met?

Special K said...

Bix, yes, it absolutely is just you. Creepy? Seriously? NO.

KVV, I really loved your longer post.

This was one of the best hours of TV I ever watched. Absolutely stunning, moving, hilarious, touching, awkward, fantastic.

Bix said...

Maybe it was being inundated by that part in the promos (where I think they may have cut in a different Pam reaction shot where she had a more "aw geez" look than the "awwww" look in the episode), but I doubt that he had any sort of in-depth conversation with the receptionist on her first day. When they had their little moments? Yes, and that's a good parallel to Michael's speech about Holly at the end of last season. But absent of any details it felt a little weird to me.

Bix said...

Oh, and the "and if he actually said that the day they met..." factor.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think Dwight's dance down the aisle was a little homage to David Brent? At least when he started punching and kicking, it looked exactly like the infamous "Disco Inferno" dance from the original "Office."

Kathy said...

Great episode. A few more of the high points: Michael thinking that "Meemaw" was atually her name. Kevin needing to take off his tie to pee. Meredith commiserating with Andy's sore crotch. Kevin's glee at getting six numbers - one away from a complete phone number.

Anonymous said...

As you pointed out, the joy of this episode was infectious. Everyone was so happy and thrilled to be at Jim and Pam's wedding and participate in that dance down the aisle, because they've been a big part of Jim and Pam's love story too. It was so appropriate that the entire office was there and of course the day was a disaster. I can't imagine a more beautiful tribute to Jim and Pam and to the audience that has stuck by them for five years.

DontKnowYet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

JamesG

How could you not see that Angela walking down the aisle is totally in keeping with her conservative, no-drawing-outside-the-lines, stick-in-the-mud personality?

Also, everyone doesn't need to see the video individually, but could have been made to watch it together at Michael's insistence.

I thought Michael was particularly endearing in the episode and the dance was his gift. And you could tell from the beaming satisfied look on his face that he got to do what he's been wanting to do in that whole episode, which was to show Pam and Jim how much he cares for them and how much he wanted to be a big part of their big day. His adoring smile toward Jim during the part of the dance where he led everyone down the aisle said it all.

I thought Anna Camp's look during the duet with the flower girl in the dance was my favorite. She really looked like she was enjoying herself.

JamesG said...

I've watched the episode twice more to see if there were signs that the office cast all along intended to do the dance or if they just "joined in" during the moment. I think it's somewhat ambiguous.

To support that they planned the dance in advance:
- Just before the dance begins, Michael signals to Jim's brother, who signals to Dwight. They're clearly in on it.
- All the office members and people in the wedding party participated. Seems odd that only this group would participate if everyone was joining in (i.e. no other family).
- Everyone in the office at least seemed to know what the dance was inspired by. I can't buy Creed or Stanley having seen the Youtube video on their own without someone showing it to them.

Evidence that it was unplanned:
- Before the delay, Jim's brothers meet Michael for seemingly the first time, saying they've heard of him and thought he might have a whoopee cushion. Didn't seem like they had ever talked, much less choreographed the dance
- Dwight first meets Isabel (his aisle partner) at the wedding. Since their parts were the best synchronized, shouldn't they have met beforehand to at least discuss it? In fact, all the members of the office and the wedding party just met for the first time.
- Some of the office members, Angela most notably, seem like they would have objected. Others, like Kevin, seem like they would have dropped hints at the suspense. We've never seen the office staff great at keeping huge secrets.

Overall, I can't tell. The entire thing seems somewhat surreal, but I did enjoy it nonetheless.

Gardale said...

Sorry, frequent reader, love the Mad Men stuff, read the office to see the review. Overall, this show has been going down hill for a while, this episode pretty much tanked it out. Used to be witty, fun, realistic like the stuff most of us deal with on a day to day basis, not anymore. Dumb.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, the Jim & Pam storyline is played out. Even the whole vomit scene with the 2 of them insisting no one wear heavy perfume/soap/eat anything with a strong odor. I agree this was one big second rate schlockfest. If it keeps going downhill like this, I'm going to take it off of DVR rotation.

Gob's Frozen Pigeon said...

"Anonymous said...

@RKS (and Alan)

Actually, Angela was probably sober too. But I'm sure Andy had his reasons for not getting her involved."

I was wondering the same thing--why not get Angela? She's bound to be sober. Yet I'd forgotten about her bad history with Andy.

Anonymous said...

Loved 90 percent of it. Like Lane and some others,I hated the dance up and down the aisle.

But...90 percent is pretty damned good!

Well done Office cast,crew & writers!

finisimapersona said...

Another fave from the "small details" department: Clueless Erin heckling Andy with another "What else do you got?" a couple of seconds after everyone else's realization of the guy's torn scrotum... Painful to watch, but her delivery was amazing.

Bill said...

can someone tell me the name and artist of the hoppin' dance track at the end of this episode ("Niagara")? thanks.