Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Office, "The Banker": Clip joint

It's a recycled photo for a recycled episode of "The Office" - specifically, for a clip show that was advertised only using scenes from the framing device. On the one hand, I was happy to see many of these clips again (the Creed montage alone was worth the price of admission). On the other hand, this kind of bait-and-switch can always be frustrating. I actually knew that there was an "Office" clip show coming, but I let myself get fooled by the commercials into deciding that it wouldn't be airing for another week or two.

So, on balance, what did you think? Happy to be reminded of "Office Olympics," great moments in PB&J and "Save Bandit!," or irked that you expected a wholly original episode? And was the framing device with Dave Costabile worthwhile in any way for the ongoing Dunder-Mifflin saga?

82 comments:

Mark said...

I don't really have a problem with The Office airing a clip show. The show is in its 6th season, so it's to be expected.
What bothered me is the timing. This is the first "new" episode in well over a month, so it's kind of cruel to the audience to make them wait another week for a truly new episode. Couldn't they have slipped in a clip show some other week?

j said...

Definitely disappointed. Clip shows are Leno to "real-show" Conan.

Stef said...

Boo on clip shows. But I do love seeing Bandit fall from the ceiling.

Mark said...

Also, apparently next week is a repeat, which means no "new" episodes for nearly two full months. Not to mention, the Olympics are right around the corner, which means more pre-emptions.

Alex said...

It was cool to see some of the clips again, but like Mark wrote above- the timing is very odd. It's not a "100th Episode" and it's not a pre-finale clip show... I just don't get it. It would have been nice to see an actual episode. It would have been nice to see a "Michael insulting Toby" montage, too, unless I missed it.

Batchout said...

Michael Scott has become an awful character, waaay more cringe than funny. Give me any other character as the center and it's a way better show.

renton said...

I blame Dale Snitterman for the clip show.

Stealth said...

Lame. The juxtaposition with P&R was stark. Remember when it was a bad Office clone?

At least The Simpsons used to do clip shows with some sense of irony.

Bg Porter said...

I blame Dale Snitterman, myself.

Bg Porter said...

Nicely played, renton, nicely played.

Jake O'Donnell said...

I was reminded during tonight's show that Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski have nailed every big Jim/Pam moment through the years. Pretty impressive when you think about it.

rino said...

waaaaayyyy to good to be upset. phenomenal and smart of them to do one that wove the clips around a story line and before syndication makes it dull because big fans are all too familiar with the story lines. fantastic, didn't need to do the bait and switch though, they may have dragged in more viewers without it.

Kent said...

Clip shows make Homer something something.

ryan said...

i can't believe they actually did a clip show. i haven't seen one in a long, long time. is it still 1998 and no one alerted me?

Michael said...

But getting back to the new info in the episode, what are they planning to do with Dunder-Mifflin Scranton? If there's nobody left in New York, are the branches left on their own or being spun off? Are they looking to downsize D-M such that the Scranton branch *is* D-M, with Michael Scott as President and CEO?

Tom said...

Too bad, really, because there was some funny stuff before all the clips began. Michael's vision of what constitutes a cutting edge office was pretty hilarious. But in the age of Hulu and YouTube, I don't know that we need to see a montage of "that's what she said"s.

Alanna said...

Wow, I read the Dale Snitterman comments here at the exact same moment Liz Lemon first said his name. Good thing, or I would've been very confused.

I thought sitcoms were no longer allowed to do clip shows. Or perhaps it's just been so long since they were common that I've (happily) forgotten they used to show up every other season. Never thought of The Office as a retro show.

MitchP said...

This reminded of the Seinfeld finale when old clips were used to show how what the audience laughed at over the years would in the real world be reason to find Jerry and company guilty of various crimes. In this case, what we find funny would in real life, bring the company down (a point that has been pretty obvious to the viewer). It's been a disappointing season of The Office, so I felt especially let down that this was the first episode after a long break.

Jobin said...

I was originally disappointed when I realized it'd be a clip show, but I understand the reason (with the Olympics just around the corner). Once I rationalized it in my head, I actually enjoyed it - a nice combination of warm-n-fuzzy moments and great one-liners (loved the Creed stuff and the "that's what she said" montage).

Andrew said...

i'm pretty sure DVD's and TBS make an Office clip show unnecessary.

jcpdiesel21 said...

Wow, I had no idea that we were in store for an Office clip show. The episode description makes it sounds like it is a brand new full episode. I was surprised when I first saw a February return date for this show on another site; I guess that this episode didn't count as "new" in that schedule. It isn't unusual to have a clip show after so many episodes, but now I'm glad that I skipped out on tonight's episode until tomorrow to watch Supernatural instead.

Dylan said...

As clip shows go it was fine, but I was pretty bummed out when I realized that's what they were doing. Felt like I might as well have been watching Growing Pains.

Also, it brings up the question: What is the point of the clipshow in the internet age? Before the advent of internet video the clip show was as much about bringing back favorite moments from the show that the audience hadn't been able to see since original air as it was saving a few bucks. I've seen these episodes many times, however, on DVD or online.

MegMissedJim said...

I was really disappointed. I liked seeing the clips, of course... but really? We waited 1 month for a episode and NOTHING. Just a bunch of clips.
JIM WASNT EVEN IN IT.
I cant wait for a REAL episode.

Jim said...

Felt like I might as well have been watching Growing Pains.

Well put. I was annoyed. It twas good to see the Creed clip, and Meredith on casual day is hilarious. I had completely forgotten Dwight and Michael's electric city video, too. That was funny. And Ryan still being in the closet, and a new hipster-nerd look.

Nicole said...

Since NBC prefers Leno to Conan, it doesn't surprise me that they wasted our time making an Office clip show as if it was still the 1990s. I could have dealt with one or two themed clips, but I stopped caring midway through and watched last night's Daily Show instead.

Scott J. said...

Some of the season 1 clips were a bit jarring amongst everything else. Michael's more Brentian moments and Kelly's first appearance, in particular. I've sort of dismissed a lot of that stuff as non-canon, I suppose, so it was surprising to see it in there.

And as much as I loved Niagara, I felt ridiculous getting a nostalgic look back at it already. So I took the opportunity to laugh at Kevin's toupee again, instead.

Lannes314 said...

But I loved the look back to Andy and Erin at the desk from the most recent Christmas episode as the jingle from "Local Ad" played. As the show moves forward, they're the money couple.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I watched this off my DVR, because it allowed me to fast-forward through the last 25 minutes. I had been looking forward to the first new Office episode in a while, and instead they repackaged clips that have been running in a short loop in syndication. What was the last comedy to do a clip show within a "new" show? Family Matters? I have a lot of respect for the creative team behind the Office, but what the what?! I haven't been this ticked off at a show I love since the infamous South Park bait-and-switch with Terrence and Philip. I'm sure I'll watch the next episode, but right now I'm tempted to swear off the Office entirely.

Jerry said...

Fine, sourpusses - but not ONE acknowledgment of Klebenow's fine performance in the new segments? Marking the third 'Wire' visitor after Beadie & Bell?

What site IS this??

Anonymous said...

what was the name of the song they played during Jim and Pam's clips?

Anonymous said...

Klebanow is not really part of The Wire canon. If there's one thing people have to snip out of The Wire it's the newspaper storyline. That felt like it came a few years late to be seen as either prescient or revealing. I mean, newspaper industry was already in the dumps.

(sorry, Alan? Yo still employed.)

GracieGirl said...

@Anonymous, 12:45am - The song that was playing over the Jim and Pam montage is called "Sing" by Travis.

I felt a bit of a let down when I realized it was a clip show, especially after the stellar 7 o'clock hour. But it was fun re-visiting those moments and I felt they did it well. It got sentimental enough at the end to make me wonder if they're setting up some sort of a good-bye. The show has been picked up for next season, right?

David said...

DVDs + Internet clips + TBS syndication = No excuse for a clip show. Lame.

The clips mostly reminded me of how far the show has fallen in quality since its heyday of S2-3.

Ditto to the above commenter who remarked on how The Office is now consistently outshone by its former redheaded stepchild Parks & Rec.

dez said...

The Creed montage was hilarious, but yeah, disappointed in the clip show aspect. I was looking forward to a new ep and...nope.

BigTed said...

I think there's some promise in the idea of Michael now being the highest-ranking person in the company.... Although I'm not sure how that's possible. Isn't he supposed to be at an equal rank with Jim now? (Not to mention the office managers at the other branches?)

Also, not that it matters at this point, I wonder if Karen still supposedly works for the company.

nfieldr said...

Second commenter "j" said that "Clip shows are Leno to "real-show" Conan". Geez... why does everything have to devolve into Leno vs Coco? People, move on. If you'd been that passionate about Conan before now, his ratings wouldn't have allowed NBC to screw him.

Anyway, as for clip shows, I generally don't care for them, but I have to admit, I kinda liked seeing some of this classic Office goodness.

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

This was terrible. As someone else noted, Seinfeld finale all over again. Even cornier, if possible.

David said...

@BigTed
that threw me off too...the only way that makes sense is if they are going by seniority and Michael's the longest serving RM (no evidence for this, but not ruled out either) OR the Scranton branch is the only one left. Still lazy writing considering Jim is supposedly of equal rank regardless.

@nfieldr
i completely agree with you re: the outraged but non-Tonight-Show-watching CoCo fans. and if getting paid $30 million NOT to do your job anymore is getting screwed, I am more than open to getting screwed by NBC... ;)

Scott said...

Also not a fan of the clip show. I didn't know it was coming either, and for some reason watched the whole thing. The best part was the Pam and Jim history, because the 'that's what she said' and the Creed parts were short.

Like someone else mentioned, the first season clips seemed like they were from 1985, like this clip show.

Also, Michael's hair was different in the new bits, and it bothered me

Monica said...

I didn't mind it. The fact that the show hasn't had to do a clip show in six years is nice.

I don't know, towards the end, it felt more like a love letter/thank you to the fans more than anything. They've always embraced the "music videos" that the fans have made, so they made a couple of their own. I thought it was kindof neat.

Alf said...

Alan said, "a clip show that was advertised only using scenes from the framing device."

Actually, I saw in an ad the old scene where Michael has his foot/leg up on Jim's desk, or at least to Jim, sitting down at a desk in the main area and not wearing a jacket. That made me say Huh? when I saw the ads, because it didn't make sense to me, why Jim would look like he did at the beginning of the show. So when I figured out it was a clip show, I understood the ad. But I was pissed. It was horrible.

dickey simpkins said...

People realize that the creative forces behind a TV show aren't the ones responsible for a clip show, right? Sure is a lot of whining for an episode the staff had no real control over.

Clip shows are another way for networks to make money. Considering the state of NBC, it's not that surprising they treat audiences like they're suck in the 90s.

RD said...

Yeah, it sucked having a clip show. But, from all the clip shows I've seen done on previous shows, I have to say, this one was the best I've seen. I don't know, it just seemed more original and I actually enjoyed going down memory road. A lot of clips were shown that I had completely forgot about. PB&J are awesome, but also Jim pulling pranks on Dwight and Creed's creepiness.

So yeah, I would've preferred it being a new episode, but this clip show reminded me why I fell in love with the show. I could wait another week for a new episode. :)

GK said...

Just saw two different commenters refer to the "canon" of series. Pretty sure if it aired, it counts.

Clip show just provided a stark realization of how far the show has fallen.

rks said...

I don't know, towards the end, it felt more like a love letter/thank you to the fans more than anything.

That's how we felt. Plus we got enough laughs from all the clips that we didn't mind it at all. Especially the ongoing Jim vs. Dwight wars and the Incredible Flying Bandit. A half hour of Office clips is still way better than a lot of what passes for comedy these days.

Oh, renton! I'm just glad I didn't have a mouthful of hot coffee when I read your post!

Jeff B. said...

The Beach Day 'That's What She Said' clip is from the deleted scenes on the DVD, I believe.

So does that confirm the DVD deleted scenes are canon?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jeff, Greg Daniels has long held that the deleted scenes are canon. I wrote a whole column about that a couple of years ago, shortly before NJ.com began permanently archiving my stories, but here's an excerpt.

JimBriggs said...

I know we could get any scene from any episode any time we want off the internet (or just wait for the repeats to cycle through on other channels) but I didn't mind watching a clip show to see some of the highlights.

Unfortunately, it just reminded me how The Office has slipped to no better than 3rd in the Thursday night lineup, and I'm not sure that it even beats 30 Rock. P&R and Community are fresher and funnier, even though the latter isn't consistently so.

Kate said...

Generally, I wouldn't have minded a clip show so very much, but having JUST rewatched most of seasons 2 and 3 on my video player at the gym and on the bus, I was disappointed. My husband (who never watches my DVDs and rarely tunes into syndicated airings) seemed to enjoy it, though. And I did like the Jim and Pam montage, though I couldn't wrap my head around why they stuck the shot of her with Roy during the basketball game in it so late in the progression. They also missed a fine opportunity to highlight one of the scariest moments of the series, with Roy starting to attack Jim during the montage of physical violence.

Danny said...

To those asking how Michael is now the highest ranking manager or what about the other branches. I thought the show has made it clear that the investors were buying the Scranton branch as that was the only branch that was profitable. Maybe the investors could pick and choose and put together an all-star cast of sorts, but if it was the only branch that was turning a profit why would you want to play with that.

Also with Michael and Jim, Jim was in charge of the day to day and Michael the bigger picture. Now that it is only day to day they would need to iron that out. I would lean towards Michael being in charge, but I am sure he will need to answer to the investors. Maybe with the Wire overtones that will end up being Marlo or Avon.

debbie said...

Maybe with the Wire overtones that will end up being Marlo or Avon.
Or better yet, the Scranton branch becomes a front for a Barksdale operation.

Jen said...

I was ok with the clip show if only because it meant discovering that Toby is a fan of my favorite Monet painting, judging by the postcard image of Antibes hanging in his cube.

But as for the rest of it, meh. Save Bandit!, Creed and PB&J can only make up for so much.

Emily N. said...

I was really annoyed that this wasn't a "new" episode. Like commenter Kate, I JUST recently rewatched all of seasons 2 and 3 on DVD, actually finishing the season 3 finale a few hours before last night's episode aired.
Hopefully, people who haven't watched some of those earlier episodes in a while appreciated the clip show, but I fast-forwarded through most of it.

Anonymous said...

In the minority, but I agree with Monica.

I was expecting a new episode, so was somewhat surprised by the clip show, but I'm a sucker for clip shows.

Not everybody watches stuff on the Internet all the time, and just because you can doesn't mean a show shouldn't do a retrospective of sorts.

I liked it.

Weck said...

If for no other reason, getting to see "Lazy Scranton" unedited in its entirety was worth the price of admission for me.

"Call poison control if you're bit by a spidah / But check that it's covered by your health care providah!"

Michael said...

So those of you who had recently watched some seasons on DVD and were disappointed in the clip show, are you suggesting that the producers should have checked with you first to see if you were OK with it?

Christ, Jesus H. said...

Parks and Rec is the money show.

The Office is in its last throes. Season 2-3 forever!

Miranda said...

I've been disappointed in "The Office" all season. My husband keeps saying it has jumped the shark, and I keep saying, "No, not yet!" Last night, I saw fins in the water. A clip show? Seriously? Maybe not the best idea for a show that's not so much funny anymore to use clips from when it used to be hilarious. I'm not ready to stop watching yet, but I think the golden age (seasons 2-4, for me) is long past.

FlopEJoe said...

Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica. I laughed but I can watch it anytime on Youtube.

srpad said...

As soon as I realized what it was (and I had a feeling it was a clip from the description on my DVR) I said "I hate clip shows" but then I laughed and laughed so how mad could I be?

I forgot how funny Jim's "Dwight" was.

Anonymous said...

Clip show, schmip show. Jim imitating Dwight was gold - enough to last me all the way through the weak 30 Rock.

Colin Fast said...

Completely deceptive. And with another re-run next week, and the Olympics starting soon, this is really poor stewardship of the audience.

Also, this was the worst violation in series history of the documentary storytelling device. They could have easily done a clip show within the documentary construct by having due diligence man meet with staff to review some questionable footage he had obtained from the "documentary producers."

Instead, I felt like I was suddenly transported into Toby's head as he recalled various incidents. They might as well have shown the clips within a thought bubble.

Brutal.

Mike F said...

Actually had my Jones up to see a new Office episode...its still my favorite comedy on television

So I was pretty letdown when the clips started...pretty big boo on NBC here...finding ways to screw up one of the few things left I really enjoy on the network

dan said...

disappointed, dont really like clip shows

but i didnt laugh through out, makes me wanna by the whole lot on dvd

JLan said...

Did not watch the whole thing cause clips got old fast, but fake stanley and michael on a segway was a good start.

I had not noticed before how steve carol really got in good shape from the first season. kinda weird it was never adressed Michael seem like the type to really draw attention to his own weight loss

Jerry said...

Anon (of course) said:
"Klebanow is not really part of The Wire canon. If there's one thing people have to snip out of The Wire it's the newspaper storyline. That felt like it came a few years late to be seen as either prescient or revealing. I mean, newspaper industry was already in the dumps."

Well, that's cute, but a viewer's negative opinion of a storyline within a season of a show hardly makes that storyline, or characters confined to that storyline, "noncanonical". A number of viewers didn't care for season two and the docks. Would that mean Sobotka or Ziggy never "really" happened in Simon's world? Was Amy Ryan never "really" on the show? Of course not.

[The "are deleted scenes canon" question, on the other hand, is an actual philosophical inquiry...]

And the actor David Costabile did an excellent job going deadpan-to-deadpan with Toby.

dickey simpkins said...

"People realize that the creative forces behind a TV show aren't the ones responsible for a clip show, right? Sure is a lot of whining for an episode the staff had no real control over."

Dickey, "people" don't "realize" that because its completely wrong.

Producing a clip show is the producers' decision, not the network's. Producers most often resort to doing a clip show when they're running over budget or short on time for the season. Note the lack of several of the actors/any extra sets or location shooting in this episode.

The producers do in fact have no less 'control' over the clip show than any other ep. The supervise the new writing, acting & production, the selection of the clips, and the editing, just as in any other episode.

In fact, all they DON'T have control over is the promotion and publicity for the show's episodes. Which is the one 'whine' that has some legitimacy IMO - that the promos were largely taken from the wraparounds, so it fooled us into thinking it was a fresh "normal" episode this week.

Wysen said...

If you want to watch clips, that's what the Internet invented YouTube for.

Clips shows are trite. And they were trite 10 years ago when they should have stayed dead. Last night was the first night I turned the TV off in the middle of an Office episode. It was a complete waste.

Henry said...

This episode demonstrated the absolute isolated hilarity of Jim's "Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica." joke on Dwight. I just kept rewinding and laughing at that. Other than that, I couldn't find much to like about this episode. I mean, is a writer really necessary for episodes like this? They pretty much write themselves. My one thought on any of the original material was, "Wow. Jenna Fischer still looks lovely" on Pam's talking head at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Aw I loved having an old school clip show again. Would I have preferred a new episode? Yeah, but I'm cozy with this.

-EmeraldLiz

Imamarilyn said...

I don't like clips, and this episode was mostly clips with very little new stuff interwoven. Disappointing.

Georgiana said...

Loved the clips! especially the creed clips!

belinda said...

Agreed. It's ridiculous to have a clip show in this day and age. It just seems so hammy, though seeing Costabile in it helped a little. But yes. I like Jim and Pam, but I don't need to see a whole clip sequence about them since we just saw the wedding not too long ago. We get it, they're adorable. But they won't be if you keep replaying these clips!

Watching these clips, I kind of miss those days when Jan was an actual professional who was sometimes impressed with Michael's sales ability and not someone who was even nuttier than Michael. Of course, then there wouldn't be that fabulous vasectomy speech, but looking back it seems almost a little lazy to write her as crazy as she ended up being.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for The Office to kick into high gear this season. So far it's been pretty on and off.

xteen156 said...

I love montages and clip shows, so I'm probably biased, but I had a lot of laugh outloud moments and I love that they let the Travis song that Jim and Pam listened to on his IPOD way back in Season 1, I believe, play over that montage. I thought it was perfect.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting a new episode, so I was bummed when I realized what was happening, but I ended up enjoying the look back. The Jim/Pam sequence proved to me that I am exactly as much of a sap as I ever thought I wasn't. However, they did miss some golden moments, particularly Jim explaining Battlestar Galactica to Andy with a stopwatch during the timewasters sequence (one of my favorite bits on this show, ever).

Not sure I get the level of hostility in here, since many of the people who are upset about the clip show also seem to think the show has gone downhill. In that case, I can't imagine why it would be such a hardship to wait a little longer for a new episode. Personally I've really enjoyed this season (although there have been a few notable duds...Mafia, I'm looking at you). A perfect season of TV is really rare, though, particularly this far along in a show's run.

Still a fan, still looking forward to what comes next.

DolphinFan said...

This episode basically had the feel of a Bizarro Webisode: instead of having just the supporting cast members in new footage, we just had the main cast members + Ed Helms, and the story felt completely disconnected from whatever else could have been going on in Formerly D-M Scranton. It wasn't a total waste of time, thanks to Toby's can't lie/can't tell the truth reactions and another wonderful walk down Jim & Pam memory lane, but it was a placeholder show and nothing more.

cassaundra said...

i thought it sucked!

my god, they made us wait a month just so we could watch clips?

totally, ridiculously disappointing.

in that months time i could have watched all the seasons & had a giggle.

they're grasping at straws and i hate to say it, but that was pathetic ...

Number Five said...

I was going to point out that clip shows are dumb not just because of the Internet but because seasons are getting shorter - from 26-28 episodes a couple decades ago to 22 episode seasons now (this is a good thing, but it also removes the only good reason for a clip show). But then I remembered NBC has leaned on The Office for extra episodes the past couple seasons. Still.

Colin Fast has a great point. In a show with a documentary framing device, how do you not use it for a clip show?!?

Thanks to Alan for naming the actor who plays the "fact checker." I love that he can play Mel's emasculated husband on Flight of the Conchords as well as he can play a murderously corrupt detective on Damages.

Anonymous said...

I've seen every episode of The Office and I'm a big fan. This is officially the first time I'm dispappointed by the show. A clip show? Come on! That is so so lame. I never imagined they would do one, not them.
This is the first bad episode of The Office. Why did they have to do that ? I don't get it.

Sonia said...

Hmmm... I loved it. Save bandit -- LOL...that will just never get old. And there was anough new stuff that really mademe laugh...Fake Stanley? C'mon -- that was hilarious! As was Toby's reaction to the banker's questions.

Jackie said...

In defense of Season 5 of The Wire and the guest appearance by the infuriating editor on this episode of The Office: I feel that although Season 5 was misunderstood by many viewers as a personal vindetta perpetrated by David Simon against his old bosses, and this may have been a major element of it, the season was almost Simon's indictment of the viewers for their prurient interest in the element of society portrayed by The Wire-->The Dickensian aspect of it, but without the real heart and soul to get off our fat couches and actually make a difference . . . or fat somethings. (c; Just as the "Where the F*** is Wallace?" line from when Idris Elba guest starred was implicit for all Wire fans, the editor's appearance on this episode was a reminder to the audience that supposedly this show was being taped for documentary purposes and yet an assessor and we as an audience value it beyond its authentic portrayal of a real office or the very real consequences of the actions of many, if not all characters portrayed in it. Overwrought analysis? Sometimes Wire fans or just Wire fans?

Maggie said...

Glad to see I was not the only one greatly disappointed when I realized it was a clip show. Seinfeld's version continues to be the only episode of that series I've not watched, and this will hold the same record for "The Office." Yawn.