Friday, February 05, 2010

The Office, "Sabre": Where's Wallace?

A review of "The Office" coming up just as soon as I taste a rainbow...

I've seen a lot of you complain a lot this season that "The Office" feels played-out, and/or that Jim and Pam (Pam especially) have become really smug and annoying. Though I haven't found season six to be as strong or consistent as season five was, "Sabre" was the first episode to really make me see the validity of either of those complaints. It was an episode that felt too reminiscent of a previous one (with Michael reacting to Sabre's new policies with only slightly more maturity than he took to Charles Miner), where most of the laughs came from relatively minor characters (David Wallace, Andy, Erin) and where I really disliked Jim and Pam for the first time, maybe, ever.

I was hoping when they announced that Dunder-Mifflin had been sold based on the strength of the branches, and of this branch in particular, that we might get a story arc where Michael was more or less left alone to wield his peculiar brand of managerial strategy. Instead, Sabre(*) comes in and starts dictating policy changes. I recognize that mergers and consolidations are a big part of corporate culture now, and lots of real-life Michaels and Creeds are being forced to learn a new set of rules after having years to get used to the old ones. But at the same time, the show has gone to this particular well an awful lot, notably with Ryan's brief corporate reign and then the Miner/Michael Scott Paper Company arc, and I'd rather see them try something different at this point.

(*) By the way, is there not a single hockey fan at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton? Perhaps one who's ever paid a visit to the company's Buffalo branch, where they have an NHL team whose name would have told them that it's not pronounced "SOB-ray"?

Still, there was some funny material in the main story, most of it taking place at the home of an unemployed David Wallace, now so lacking in direction and drive that he's happy for the first time in his life to see Michael Scott show up unannounced. Andy Buckley has mainly had to play the exasperated straight man to Michael since he first turned up in season two, and it was fun to watch him cut loose and play this pathetic creature shuffling around his house, coming up with terrible business ideas(**), jamming with his son on a "Suck-It" theme song, etc.

(**) When David proposed the idea for the Suck-It, my wife turned to me and said, "Every parent thinks that one up at some point or another. Then we realize it's stupid."

Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper continue to be adorable and funny as the oblivious, Bizarro World version of Jim and Pam. However, their overlapping confessions to the camera crew was one of two instances in this episode where I began to wonder about the consistency of that device. We saw in seasons past that the camera guys befriended Pam and weren't above interfering in the action a little (as they did by tipping Pam off to the Dwight/Angela secret romance), and I would have to think these guys would take pity on these two and clue them in in some way.

(The other documentary issue: if we assume that the film is something Dunder-Mifflin signed off on years ago, shouldn't it be an issue for new management? Even if it's a case where Gabe or Kathy Bates or someone does a double take and says something like, "Oh, yeah, that's part of the deal, too.")

As for Jim and Pam's daycare center interview, that's a kind of story I rarely like on any sitcom (even though I've faced childcare availability issues myself over the years), and this one struck a particularly flat note. When I find myself sympathizing with Joey Slotnick from "The Single Guy" over Pamela Morgan Beasley Halpert, something has gone seriously awry with the heart of the series, even if John Krasinski (who directed this one) can do a good Christian Slater impression.

Ah, well. At least it wasn't a clip show. And we do get one more new episode next week before yet another hiatus (this one due to the Olympics).

What did everybody else think?

75 comments:

Art McGregor said...

Haven't seen the episode yet but gotta say ...

"Yo, String. Where's Wallace? Where the boy at?"

Roger said...

Missing the second footnote?

Vaughn said...

What does the (**) refer to? There doesn't appear to be a comment for it.

Word verification: SUBRE. That's just eerily close to sabre.

Jobin said...

With the exception of the Nard Dog and Erin singing, I don't think I laughed once. This show has lost its edge, and I just don't buy it anymore.

Linda said...

Yeah, I agree with all this, sadly. I absolutely adore Andy Buckley, and the fact that he got to do so much that demonstrates he's not just a dry business guy who acts like a dry business guy delighted me.

But that Jim and Pam stuff ... MAN, that's bad. They just seem so alienated from each other right now, it's like they aren't even friends anymore. You get none of that sense of conspiratorial spark, or sense of fun ... I hated the Jim and Pam stuff a LOT.

Anne said...

Alan, curious what you mean by "That's the kind of story that I rarely like..." What kind of story?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Second footnote belatedly added. That's the problem with inserting the asterisks and then not immediately writing the thing they're connected to.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anne, I think the "parents get super-anxious about making sure their kid gets into the right daycare/nursery school/private school/college" plots are way overdone, and usually require familiar characters to act like idiots for unconvincing reasons.

Anne said...

Got it. Next the baby will be born in an elevator.

njames said...

After watching the show last night, I was SO hoping you were going to start the review with the rainbow comment. Awesome.

However, I gotta say that was a great ep last night. Can't believe you didn't like it. AND that you like P&R over this. Talk about Bizarro world.

I LOVED the big box song, to which Oscar pointed out that she didn't know what she was saying. That killed me.

Loved Creed's idea to make things smaller. Also, when Michael gave creed that electric cord, I thought: "Well, no one will ever see THAT again."

I loved the cut scene with Michael every time the new guy announced something being different: "Nope. Don't like that."

It was so great to see David totally twisted. People comment all the time how anybody in Jack Bauer's life gets messed up; but the same is true with Michael. Remember when he got with his boss, and she spiraled downwards?

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I am now officially in the Office has jumped the shark camp. Jim as a manager is terrible. It means Jim will not be funny anymore. And there's something super-annoying about Pam now. It seems to trace back to the episode where she was asking people to not eat tuna fish and wear less perfume. And Alan is right about parents getting their kids into daycare being one of the worst sitcom stories. And daycare before the baby is born? Please.

The Michael visiting david wallace stuff was very good, but it wasn't enough to save this episode. For me, part of the original charm of the office was the focus on the minutiae. Its too dependent on more tranditional sitcom type stories now.

Anonymous said...

This is quickly becoming the least-funny comedy on television. So discouraging.

Anonymous said...

I was suprised to see noted actress Kathy Bates cast as the Sabre CEO. It seems counter to Greg Daniels' philosohy not to cast well known actors (unless they are playing themselves or on The Wire). I think Daneils point was that stunt casting would bounce the audience out of the world of the office. With the show apparently easing up on this restriction, does this mean we'll soon see Carol Burnett as Michael's mother (a role she apparently lobbied for to Daniels in the past)?

SC said...

Alan,
This doesn't really fit here, but
in the "where's Wallace veign"..yesterday's Ledger had an article on the first student from Arts High in Newark to receive an athletic scholarship to a D-1 school...and in the article, it mentions his brother, Michael B, Jordan, who played Wallace, and hails from the Garden State. Don't know that I was ever aware of that, unless I missed it in one of your Wire reviews.

Anonymous said...

I liked this episode, mostly thanks to Zach Woods who I'm hoping they keep around. And I loved seeing a different side to David Wallace. I also like Ellie Kemper a lot, so the more they do with her and Ed Helms the better.

Jim and Pam need to get back their Jim and Pam-ness. Post-art school and with Jim getting co-manager it seems like they have both given up on their dreams of doing something more than selling paper for the rest of their lives. I guess I see the narrative logic there, but it has made them dull, and, I think, bitter.

Anonymous said...

The documentary issue? Really, now after six years you have a problem with it being credible. It lost all credibility a long time ago.

But it doesn't bother me. I haven't thought of this as a documentary in years. It is just the unique way the Dunder-Mifflin world works.

Steve Saideman said...

I liked the corporate self-promo with Christian Slater--that was just a heap of fun.

The idea of seeking day care before the kid is born is not so unrealistic. In some communities, any daycare, even not so elite daycare, is hard to come by with long, long waiting lists.

Anyhow, it perhaps is a bit re-played, but what was really missing here was more of the other characters. And yes, Jim and Pam are not as likable as they used to be (pointed out quite amusingly by the daycare dude).

dead souls said...

I can't believe how awful this episode was. What happened to this show?

If something doesn't change soon I might just give up and delete my season pass.

Brian said...

I liked it. Sometimes I think some people watch the show simply to find their time to decree that it now sucks. Oh, well.

The Michael thing looked bad at first, but then showed we'll probably have to see Michael toeing the line now. He realizes he has no leash now.

The Jim and Pam thing - she's almost dropping that kid and people are saying it's some sort of competitive "get the baby ahead" plot line? If anything, they are woefully unprepared and that should have been addressed. They are just looking for a daycare, not lying to get in some exclusive pre-school.

Anonymous said...

Lots of PB&J hate getting thrown around. Doesn't seem long ago that you'd hear people saying Jim and Pam were the best developed sitcom romance in years, but now that they develop further everyone bristles. Part of Jim's former charm was that he was a slacker relishing his lack of responsibility. Now that he has heaps of responsibility of course he has to tone down, but there's still room to throw in a Slater impression. As for Pam I like that she's getting a little edge, it all started when she joined Michael Scott Paper Company and left secretary-ing behind. Still the writers have obviously heard similar criticisms, as evidenced by the line "Well maybe you two aren’t as charming as you think you are."
Yes the show is currently the weakest of the Thursday line-up, but that’s to be expected considering its years on the air. Maybe it’s experiencing a little Simpsons-esque backlash.

Colin Fast said...

This episode was so brutal that it almost made me wish for another clip show.

Anonymous said...

This show was funny when it focused on little things- should we get new chairs or a new copier, who should clean up the mess in the microwave, etc. Big things, corporate merger, pam and jim having a baby are not as funny. Last night had a little bit of that- the metal water bottles vs. the little cups Michael likes, but I feel like the show is turning away from its strength.

Anonymous said...

-Am I oblivious or is this the first time Ed Helms has been credited in the opening sequence? Note: its entirely possible I am oblivious.

-I once read a theory that the "documentary" is some program set up with a local college so the crew changes fairly often. That could explain why they didn't interfere.

-Geography again proves to be a weak point. Where exactly does David Wallace live? Scranton to NY is no less than 2 hours. So if Wallace lived in Jersey? Maybe plausible. Most plausible? Wallace commutes from the Middletown, NY area...because that would be the ONLY way Michael could get there and back by the end of the day. That said, this is perhaps one of the least egregious geographical question marks I can think of on this show (with Jan's impossible NY --> Stamford --> Scranton being the worst. Or maybe overshooting the Scranton to Nashua distance since halfway between those too is NOT in the middle of nowhere: it'd be Hartford.)

Bryan said...

not very good - when the only thing you've done since Christmas is a clip show you really need to come back stronger than this. I'm thinking this is why Ricky Gervais "jumping the shark" joke at the GG was met with mostly uncomfortable silence.

And not to start a "mommies should stay home" argument (which Alan wouldn't allow anyway) BUT...Jim just got a promotion, Pam is on commission and I'm sure is by far the lowest paid salesperson and they got a good deal on his parents house. With the cost of a good day care why wouldn't they even discuss Pam not working. I just sat there thinking - why are you even going through this.

Col Bat Guano said...

They have been beating us over the head with the "Jim is uncomfortable as co-manager" theme all season and now they've decided to extend it to almost any situation he finds himself in. How is this guy a salesman if he is this bad at thinking on his feet? And did Pam have a humor-ectomy so that she couldn't even see the funny in the infantry joke? These two have been put as the normal center of the show for 5 years now and to start making them as wacky and incompetent as the rest of their office mates sort of destroys that viewpoint.

srpad said...

This episode seemed like the first half hour in an hour long episode. It felt like it was building to somethig and nothing happened. It seems the Office is having its sophmore slump in season 6.

Anonymous said...

Thought it was funny, but I like corporate humor. We got a BOT like corporate intro film, internet blocks on "bad" sites and Timesucks. "I don't like that".
The name mispronouciation was lame until the song and its trashed rhyme scheme.
And we got the awesomeness of a David Wallace wallowing in golden parachute hell,
And we got Micheal's capitulation.

Oh yeah, the B story sucked.

Puff

Jen said...

I enjoyed it mostly because my workplace just handed out logo-imprinted metal water bottles a week ago. It was fun to see that mocked.

I agree the daycare thing was tiresome because it's been overdone. It's not at all unrealistic that they need to get on a waiting list before the baby's born, though. That could be true in many cities, for any daycare, not just an elite daycare. Also, daycare is a necessity for Pam and Jim in order that they can both have the fulfilling experience of coming in to Dunder-Mifflin-Sabre every day!

tribalism said...

You know, despite how much I enjoyed “Niagara” (truly the highlight of the season so far), I find Andy and Erin to be a far more endearing that Jim and Pam ever were. Like the day car proprietor said to Pam and Jim, “Did you ever consider that you might not be as charming as you think you are.” Sure it’s frustrating that they have reciprocal feelings and neither are willing to ask the other one out, but there’s an inherent naiveté in their characters that let’s me give them a pass for that—it’s not a life time pass, mind you, so hopefully there will be some forward momentum in their relationship soon enough.

If anyone's interested, you can click on my username and find a link to my blog where I go into more details about this episode including thoughts about who I'd think would win a cage match between the Suck-It and DJ Roomba.

SaneN85 said...

I'm missing Wallace all over again, thanks Alan.

Billiam said...

A second thing that bothered me about the Jim/Pam storyline was that, now that Jim is a co-manager, he really should have been involved in Michael's storyline, instead of completely ignoring everything that was happening to their company.

Patrick Wynne said...

At least the clip show had a somewhat humorous framing device. This one was just painfully unfunny from start to finish.

Robin said...

I think Jim ignoring what was going on in the office was in character for Jim. As others have pointed out, he's still a slacker, and it was his lunch hour. Although I can't imagine him not being FORCED to be in the office all day due to the company switchover.

Count me among those who are getting annoyed with PB&J, especially when comparing them to Erin and Andy right now. And with the Office in general. I wonder if there should simply be a 5-year shelf life on all half-hour comedies.

Anonymous said...

Jim walking in on the guy in the bathroom was the most predictable gag I've ever seen, and was not funny in the slightest. Would have been much funnier if the employee had walked in on Jim.

Jerry said...

Since I was one of the people posting about the Jim/Pam likability issue and the show being past its peak, I'm actually going to defend the writing last night in one sense. In earlier episodes, I think they made Jim humorless and Pam angry but didn't realize they were doing it, since it was never acknowledged at any point during the epsiodes. Last night, I think they were intentionally portraying Jim and Pam as those upwardly striving, blundering, exclusive-day-care-seeking stuck-up parents and were trying to make fun OF them. Granted, not consistent with how the characters have been portraying in past seasons, but at least I think the show was aware of how the characters acted (i.e., annoying).

Granted, it didn't make for an entertaining show, but I will make that distinction. I really think the writers just don't know where to go with the characters now. I liked the David Wallace stuff but everything else was pretty weak.

Kirchhoff said...

You guys didn't laugh over the Christian Slater corporate video, or David Wallace shambling down his driveway after Michael's car like a zombie, or the "Suck It" song?

Wow.

Tyroc said...

If you're going to complain about the camera crew, why on Earth would Jim and Pam let them follow them to an important interview for their child where it's important to make a good impression? Why would the guy who works there let them keep footage of him on the toilet? Just have to let the camera crew thing go at this point.

Also, while I like Kathy Bates it was odd to introduce her in a segment that had Christian Slater playing himself. As I thought she too was playing herself appearing in the weird video as a celebrity cameo. I thought introducing her this way just made it more difficult to think of her as a character and not Kathy Bates.

That all said, I liked the episode more than most of you as it still made me laugh a lot at times.

And it had the always funny Jean Villepique as David Wallace's wife. You may remember her from the funniest scene ever of 30 Rock where she played therapist to Tracy Morgan as Alec Baldwin went through a half dozen impersonations of Tracy's family (and the Jeffersons.)

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I've been critical of The Office this year, and this episode has pushed me yet another notch closer to thinking it's time for the producers ot consider an end date. Overall, the 8-9 hour (Community/Parks&Rec) has become so much stronger than the 9-10 hour (Office/30Rock), the new guard is on its way.

LA

Robert Cervantes said...

The DayCare guy was Meryl from Nip/Tuck. The guy who was last in his class, but got tons of $$ for simple plastic surgery procedures such as tatas and lipo.

Bryan said...

Didn't see that Nip/Tuck but wasn't he also the guy in "Blast from the Past" that lived over top of the bomb shelter? (it was driving me nuts last night and then when you brought it up that reminded me)

Reagan said...

Partially agree with you, Alan.

The day care subplot was so bad (overdone, trite, unfunny, and all synonyms of these words), it was an embarassment to the show. It would even be an embarassment for a bad series.

However, Michael's scenes (including every second with David Wallace) were fantastic. Ever since the Wallace informed Michael of end of Dunder-Mifflin, I wanted to see what the next chapter of David Wallace's life would be. I was not disappointed. Michael's 180 degree turn after (during) the meeting was a great resolution to the conflict.

Bryan said...

Now I do agree with that- I thought the David Wallace stuff was funny. What was it his wife said when she walked in the kitchen? after he said he hadn't done anything? something like "oh, i saw you had shoes on - I thought you might have done something"

which is not as funny on the page but her delivery was great

very funny.

Anonymous said...

if that baby isnt born at the office ill eat my arm

Bryan said...

if that baby isnt born at the office ill eat my arm

ha - that's a definite I would think

Don't the Shrute men cut the umbilical cord with their teeth?

Anonymous said...

Dwight should deliver the baby.

Anonymous said...

The only hint of a laugh from me was the Wallace family "Suck-It" duet at the end. And even that seemed like a nod to fellow NBC show Community (which I now prefer to The Office minus Britta). Really good to see David Wallace character be able to let loose and be aimless.

DolphinFan said...

Well, I wouldn't say that I HATED this episode. It was more or less a placeholder episode before anything major happens involving the Scranton regulars and the Sabre team (keeping Kevin away from porn and Michael away from YouTube, along with ending the use of plastic cups, don't qualify as major sweeps events) and there was no suspense at all about whether Michael would tell Kathy Bates "you have no idea how high I once flew".
Some other notes:
*Yes, this marked Ed Helms' ascension to featured regular status. And it's richly deserved, though I have to wonder what episode they took his footage from, because he really looks both stupid and angry in it. So it's perfect!
*Everyone in the day care story was being a jerk: the Joey Slotnick character was making it way too clear that they needed to kiss his gross ass or swallow what he was throwing at them, Jim seems to lose his mind on a weekly basis now, and Pam hasn't been both confident and charming for a long time now.
*I knew how to pronounce "Sabre" precisely because I know the NHL team exists, but it felt right that they didn't get that because, honestly, the NHL hasn't done much better in the years since the lost season/lockout than Dunder-Mifflin.
*It is time for the David Wallace Financial Services Company! With seed money from Nana and CFO status for Vikram!
Next week should make things cook a little more.

Amy said...

is it possible that the reason the Office is no longer great because Michael Shur is no longer involved?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I knew something was going to be wrong with this episode from the instant when Michael Scott comes out and tells Erin "Scissor me!" not once but twice without stopping and making a sex joke out of it.

I mean, really, how on Earth does Michael Scott not make that joke?

Jed said...

It was an alright episode, but surpised nobody's mentioned "SCISSOR ME". That alone made rhis my favourite cold open in a while, especially Pam's face both times Erin threw the scissors to Michael.

Other than that, another average episode in a very average season.

J.J. said...

The daycare thing seemed weird to me just because I found it bizarre that Jim/Pam even took the cameras along for the trip in the first place.

When they take the cameras outside the office, they need to do a better job explaining why they're there (such as a character like Michael being involved, since he thinks he's a star and he's always a carwreck worth looking at) or at least have such a funny premise that I can forgive them for showing me a scene with a flimsy basis for having been shot in the first place.

As for Erin, I don't mind the documentary people not intervening with the Erin/Andy stuff.

First of all, they watched the Jim/Pam relationship brewing literally for years without ever intervening to try and help them get together. It wasn't until they caught them secretly driving home together that they actually "confronted" them to make them finally talk about it. Second of all, if I remember right, I think the camera guy only "intervened" that time when they showed Pam evidence of Angela/Dwight because Pam specifically asked them if they'd seen anything going on. Until we see Erin ask the camera people outright what they know about Andy's intentions, I don't have a problem with them sitting back and happily watching things play out.

WJ Collins said...

Longtime reader, second time poster.

So, first of all, when we start complaining about the documentary realism of this show, we have gone too far. At this point you simply have to accept the device--it's either that or no talking heads. I think these complaints are a symptom of the general ill-will this season has had from fans (myself included, to some extent).

As for jumping the shark, I've heard the same thing from people before the branches merged in season three, during the trying early hour-longs of season four, and especially during the Andy-Angela-Dwight doldrums of season five, which some enlightened souls now see as the BEST season yet!

We're over halfway through this season, and I think it's probably the worst one since (painful, though I type it) season one. But let's give the Sabre thing a few episodes to work itself out, watch the inevitable New Halpert finale, and then see where the shark is at.

As to Pam and Jim, I think the writers are subtly (perhaps too much so) showing the couple coming to grips with being married and starting a family--and nerves are frayed. I think that this is a fine direction to go, and that their marriage allows the writers more room to develop conflict in the relationship without the audience griping about whether or not they'll break up. I also think that Andy and Erin are taking over the "heart of the series" roles, and good for them.

And the Suck-It song was one of the funniest bits the show has ever done.

Col Bat Guano said...

I also think that Andy and Erin are taking over the "heart of the series" roles, and good for them.

I find this prospect to be horrifying. We know virtually nothing about Erin and Andy has been a trainwreck from the first episode we met him. To suddenly have to find them the calm center of Dunder Mifflin Scranton would a leap too far.

cassie said...

I have basically written off The Office this season - I didn't even like the wedding episode because I found Pam and Jim smug and annoying then.

The A-story (w/ Michael Scott and Sabre) was okay. It wasn't hilarious, but it was okay. The B-story - well, like I said, P & J are smug and annoying. I laughed when the daycare guy told them maybe they aren't as charming as they think. I think it's silly that they are trying to get their kid into the "best" (or whatever adjective they used) daycare. They live in Scranton, not NYC or Beverly Hills. I highly doubt people are anxiously trying to get their kids into the best daycare or whatever. It's daycare, not prep school.

Anonymous said...

Where the boy at? Where's Wallace???

Larry C said...

I actually liked this episode!

I thought the whole Jim/Pam annoying-thing was a call-out, wink-wink by the writers. Especially when the day care guy told them they're not as nice & cute as they think they are.

C.J said...

I really didnt see anything wrong with this episode. I just miss a lil bit of that PAM JIM PRANK DWIGHT thing. Maybe because they might just be taking there jobs more seriously now. I mean there jobs were a little dry for them before. Nothing better to do but pick on Dwight.

Jordan said...

Bout time you realized that Jim and Pam are obnoxious and smug. They've only been like that the past couple seasons.

paul in kirkland said...

At this point I only watch The Office and 30 Rock out of habit, and Parks & Rec is hanging by a thread.

Sure frees up Thursday nights...

Number Five said...

After so many appearances as an exasperated but pliant David Wallace, the writers definitely owed him an episode where he got to cut loose.

Zombie Wallace in the driveway was the best part of the episode - the kind of humor that could only be done with the documentary shooting style. Best single long take in a car since Children of Men?

I didn't mind the Sabre pronunciation joke - there are plenty of companies that do things weirdly that way, so it's dumb but not outside the boundaries of The Office. And I enjoyed Andy and Erin singing and screeching to a halt every time they got to the rhyme.

I think scanners are an especially good example of Clarke's quote about technology being indistinguishable from magic...I had the same reaction Michael and Dwight did the first time I used one.

It's ok for the company to be bought, but hopefully this is the end of "the office/Michael chafes against new leadership." It'd be funny to see them have to sell all kinds of random products, not just printers.

Surprised more people didn't mention Ed Helms being added to the title sequence. It was a bit distracting since it's been unchanged since season one, but he certainly deserves it, and I liked that they gave him a fairly unflattering shot to match the tone of the sequence.

Anonymous said...

David Wallace shambling down his driveway after Michael's car like a zombie

Brilliant description, and YES that was very funny. The whole time Michael's backing out of the driveway -- a good ten seconds or so -- Wallace is in the shot (in the windshield) the WHOLE time lol.

Also loved Michael first catching the scissors from Erin. His look of accomplishment at catching them, albeit in a very dangerous way, was great.

And, even though it was a bit of a cheap joke, I loved the quic cut to the commercial break as Michael said that the whole Sabre thing "...sucked bal------"

Maybe not a great episode overall, but there were a few moments that made me laugh, which is ok for me after a long day.

And, what is going on with Michael's hair?

Imamarilyn said...

The best part was the unshaven, newly unemployed David Wallace coming up with not-so-brilliant ideas like Suck It. Even clueless Michael knew that was a really bad idea.

I thought Pam talking to the day care guy, telling him they were nice people, and him countering with maybe they are not as charming as they think they are, was brilliant. The progression of Pam as sweet little receptionist to this more assertive Pam has been interesting to watch. She has changed and she has grown. Real people do that. Likewise with Jim. He is married, going to have a baby, bought a house, been promoted, and he is trying to adjust to all of that. Very realistic, in my opinion.

Mike F said...

Gosh, I thought this was a brilliant, BRILLIANT episode...but I've never been one to think that Pam and Jim are perfect.

Both the David Wallace thing and the Christian Slater appearance were brilliant on a level The Office doesn't usually reach.

For those of you worried about your personal fondness for the JAM couple, you're missing the forest through the trees.

dez said...

I thought Jim & Pam picked that daycare center because it was very close to the office and thus very convenient for them? I didn't think they wanted it because it was exclusive so much as it was close by.

David Wallace singing "Suck it!" with his son had me laughing hardest. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

TomV-Piscataway said...

I hate, hate, hate that Jim is a co-manager. It's idiotic. I'd rather he was over accounting, and Michael was over sales, etc.

The daycare storyline was a sad reminder that eventually a baby was going to actually appear on this show.God help us. I always remember that baby killing Murphy Brown as a series.

Wallace was hysterical.
The metallic taste with the juice in the bottles was funny.

Everybody - stop jumping ship so fast - let's see where this goes. I think Kathy Bates has some real potential, especially when her and Michael finally meet in person.

Anonymous said...

I don't really get the Sabre mispronunciation thing anyway. If they were going for the "ignorant Americans don't know how to pronounce foreign words" joke, they botched it: "Saber" is a more "American" pronunciation than "sob-ray" (which actually would be a decent guess if you thought it was a foreign word).

Anonymous said...

I agree witha a post above, the doc crew is a device and it can't be questioned. It's not Lost. This is not a thought out aspect of the show and it's consistency is well, there is none. It makes no sense in the real world on many levels, but allows for show to do its thing.

Not a strong episode for sure, but had its moments. One thing reality based I don't get (other than for a punchline) as noted here, why anyone would say Sabres wrong. Certainly most people in the Northeast etc would have at least been casually familiar with the Buffalo team.

I don't mind how they have taken Jim and Pam out of their comfort zone, but they need to have them be funny and their old selves at times too. Just like sometimes Michael is smart, they can't always be stupid now.

Anonymous said...
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Alan Sepinwall said...

Hey folks, we have a No Politics rule for a reason. Please abide by it.

Anonymous said...

I am so out of sync with the other commenters on this blog right now. The christmas episode where Micheal dressed up as Santa, I just hated. Hated it! yet most people on her liked that christmas episode. This Sabre episode almost everyone hated, but I liked it. Same with this week's 30 rock. General consensus is people did not like it, but I liked it too. I think so much has to do with what mood you are in when you watch it and since I don't watch things live, it depends on what order you watch things in. I watch the Thrusday shows in this order.
Office
30 Rock
Community
P & R
so I always watch the office first. Of course this theory does not explain why I did not like the christmas episode.

Linus said...

This is a show that has become a shuddering shell of its former self. This episode was further evidence of its paucity of ideas: the kind of stunt-casting it never would have stooped to in its heyday, the Andy & Erin plot a sickening echo of Jim & Pam (seriously, can't they let this show function without a will-they-or-won't-they romance? I, for one, could not imagine caring less than I do), Jim and Pam as idiot clowns -- this isn't character development, it's overnight character sabotage.

"The Office" has always had difficulty developing its female characters: Pam went from lonely, sad and angry to FANCY NEW PAM overnight between the third and fourth seasons, to the point that if she hadn't had the same name you never would have known she was the same character. And this year they've done it again -- now she's not sane and assertive, which was a development I always felt had been done poorly but was at least established, she's obnoxious and unpleasant. It's an echo of Jan's "development", in which she went from competent career woman to unfunny cartoon character overnight.

Meanwhile, Jim has been turned into a buffoon. This show was always at its best when Jim & Pam were its anchor in reality -- as Oscar put it, "the coalition of the sane" -- as opposed to what we have now, which is a wacky collection of regulars worthy of a much more conventional sitcom.

The truth is that the show's quality slipped seriously during its fourth season, but now it's just . . . bad. It's a bad television show. It's kind of embarassing to witness.

Rob said...

I agree with what most people have said about this episode - but I'm pretty amazed no one has mentioned how amazing Wallace's son was on the drums. This guy was a revelation! The episode was worth it, if only because they put that kid on TV.

One other thing: I always thought Gervais got it right by not letting the original "PB&J" end up together. Doing so has killed one of the fun parts of the show and has forced us to realize how lame and uninteresting those two really are.

There were certainly some funny moments. The Office isn't unwatchable by any means, but I do think they've run out of storylines and need to end the thing already.

Tully said...

Rob,

It was easier for Gervais/Merchant to keep Tim & Dawn apart since it was only a 12 episode run on the BBC, and the US version is long past that. There's no way seven years of painful glances across the room could have lasted, and the relationship was either going to run its course ala Michael/Holly/Jan or the happy ending was going to make a bunch of people, uh, happy. I think it would have been an interesting path to take by marrying Pam off to Roy and watching that relationship take its toll on Jim; that may have been a little too dark, even for the people who had Michael Scot promise a bunch of poor kids scholarships and then be unable to deliver.

BBC OFFICE SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, all the Pim(?), Tam(?) fans got their wish in the original Office Xmas Special and even David Brent found a possible soulmate, so even that show wasn't as brutal as it could have been.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that so many comments here relate to Pam and Jim checking out daycares prematurely. *My* first thought when I saw the episode was "Wow, she looks like she's gonna pop any second! They still haven't figured out who's gonna watch the baby once its here?!" They're not looking for an exclusive preschool for a toddler two years from now, they need good quality daycare for an infant in the next few weeks. Made sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I just love what happened to David Wallace's character. This has to be the fate of every incompetent and incapable corporate manager. It is just so sad that so many employees lost their jobs before he lost his job. It has to be the other way round, if there are signs that branches are to be closed and people to be laid off, their manager has to be the first to go! He has to be evaluated periodically and huge part of the evaluation has to be based on anonymous employee surveys. That is in the shareholders' best interest. It is great that the labor unions exist to prevent where they can the abuse and protect the rights of empoyees.