Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Office, "The Delivery": She's having a baby

I said a fair amount about tonight's "The Office" in today's column, but I'll have a few additional thoughts on the arrival of Baby Halpert coming up just as soon as I cradle a gourd...

Whether you view "The Delivery" as a one-hour episode or as a two-parter that wound up airing together, there's no doubt that the first half was far stronger and funnier than the second. Nearly everything was clicking for the first 30 minutes. The pre-credits scene, with Dwight becoming jealous of Jim and Pam's impending arrival on both a personal and professional level, was the funniest the show has had in a while. And Pam's obsession with not going to the hospital before midnight was a believable kind of insanity that opened the door to lots of funny business, including Jim's growing panic about his wife not listening to reason, Michael's sheer joy at hearing the sentence "Distractions are good" (possibly the greatest collection of words Michael Scott has ever heard), Kelly compulsively reading up on pregnancy issues, and the various distractions concocted by the staff(*). And the random funniness just kept on coming: Meredith having a shirt with nipple holes in her car, or Oscar reacting to Michael's need for a dictionary with, "The hospital provides dictionaries! Bring a thesaurus!," or Stanley holding up the elevator because he's going to be damned if he has to leave work even a minute too late.

(*) Phyllis's offer to apply lipstick like Molly Ringwald in "The Breakfast Club" was a reminder, however, of how much "Community" has come to own the films of John Hughes among NBC's Thursday comedies.

Jim and Pam still got their sweet moment in the car when she told him that they were having a girl, and it was a very smart touch to keep the documentary cameras out of the delivery room. (Steve Carell also nailed the expression on Michael's face after he saw too much, even if the joke itself has been done many times before, notably in "Knocked Up.")

After little Cecilia Marie Halpert arrived, though, the pace and the laughs cooled down quite a bit. Having spent a few days and sleepless nights in the hospital with a newborn not that long ago, I could relate to a lot of what Jim and Pam were going through with their nursing panic(**), and the montage of Jim diapering everything in sight (including Angela's cat Bandit) was a nice touch.

(**) Not to open up a Nursing vs. Bottle-Feeding debate - which I feel would become so heated that I would need to invoke the No Politics rule somehow - but I will say that the nursing side has by far the better PR people. My wife and I took a parenting class before our daughter was born, which mainly involved a nurse showing us movies about things like diapering and baby-proofing. One week, she showed a pair of films about feeding. The one about nursing was bright and lively and full of testimonials from really excited, happy women who couldn't possibly convey all the joy they felt at being able to bond with their babies in this way. The bottle feeding one was maybe one-third the length, seemed to have been filmed on a very gray day, and had only one testimonial, from a very pale, sad woman who said, in a very resigned tone of voice, something like, "Well, I really tried hard to nurse, but it didn't work out, so I wound up using the bottle, and... it was... okay... I guess." I can only imagine Pam saw a very similar juxtaposition of videos, and was thus extra-freaked about getting the baby to nurse.

But overall, the second half was much flatter than the first, and the stuff with Dwight ripping up Jim and Pam's kitchen was just ridiculous, even for Dwight. Fienberg argued in this week's podcast that Dwight needed Angela to stay grounded, so I was pleased when it looked like they might be getting back together to produce a mutually-beneficial baby. But then Dwight got the hots for Pam's bridesmaid again (and she seems to not care that he both blew her off the next day and kicked her in the face during the ceremony) and seemed to recognize that it wasn't right to have a baby with a woman he no longer loves, so it looks like we won't be returning to that relationship.

On the plus side, Michael used the baby's arrival as an excuse to play matchmaker around the office, and Andy in turn used that as an excuse to finally ask Erin out. And about time, too; much as I like those two characters together, it was getting incredibly stupid that neither one would just up and say, "I like you; wanna go out?" This wasn't like Jim and Pam in the early days, where there were other people in the way most of the time. It was on the verge of getting stupid, and now we get to see what these two goofballs are like when they're together instead of just pining.

So, not an instant classic like the wedding episode, but still very funny and sweet for a while, and the show had problems with its hourlongs even in stronger seasons than this one. I can only hope that this is the start of a comeback and not a one-time anomaly.

What did everybody else think?

91 comments:

Myles said...

Did Jim and Pam not see Marshall's chart?!

Ryan said...

I completely agree. Solid episode, but nowhere near the wedding episode, which I thought was one of the best this show has ever done.

Bix said...

No mention of the male lactation counselor? Really? That scene was the highlight for me.

Byron Hauck said...

I think it was such an instant classic that I hope the next episode takes place years in the future, with Cece and Morpheus old enough to do stuff (not to mention Andy and Erin a unit).

Tom said...

Dwight was far too cartoonish this week, but for some reason, the moment when he stopped his car to point out the spot where he saw a deer made me laugh out loud.

Mike said...

The switched baby thing was also very funny. Yeah, the second episode was slower, but as you said it captured that ethereal postpartum hospital vibe fairly well. It's just not a madcap comedy time.

Dan said...

I enjoyed Dwight throwing swords and axes out of his car as he was getting pulled over by the cop, and the cop knowing it was Dwight before he even got out of the car.

What about Pam nrsing the wrong baby? The new parent stuff wasn't as funny as the first half hour, but it's more relatable in a lot of ways. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I loved The Office coming into this season but I'm falling out of love with it. This episode - what I could watch of it - epitomizes why. I just can't continue trading brain cells for the occasional, weak laugh. I was optimistic that this episode would rival the wedding episode, but it didn't for me. It started strong with Kevin and Pam and their feast but just went downhill for me. I guess I'm done suspending belief. Sorry to be a downer. I'm just disappointed.

Anonymous said...

OK, the cop calling Dwight out by name was funny.

Anonymous said...

Was Pam's refusal to the hospital really realistic? I found it so ridiculous I could barely watch without cringing. Hell, Dwight's ridiculousness seemed more realistic than the outright sitcomy mess that was the baby storyline.

Anonymous said...

Have I just missed it before or was this the first episode where Ed Helms had his picture in the opening credits? I wonder why he got the bump up. Maybe because of The Hangover?

Pancakes said...

to the person who asked if Pam waiting til midnight was realistic - my mom did that with me - although she did wait directly outside the hospital in the parking lot.

Bix said...

As far as the insurance thing, does that exist anywhere in real life? I could see 2 nights after she gives birth, but not 2 nights after she's admitted. What if she's in labor for a loooooooooong time? I know that insurance companies can be illogical but that didn't seem realistic.

Nicole said...

With friends who have had babies recently, some of whom were unable to nurse and given extreme guilt trips by the nurses when it didn't happen "naturally", I certainly thought Pam's worries were true to life. Although there are certainly benefits to breast feeding, this issue has become almost political and it is unfortunate that women who are just recovering from the hormone dump that is giving birth have to deal with it almost immediately.

As mentioned in the podcast, I do think that these episodes would have worked better spread over two weeks, because the second part is a drop from the first.

Anonymous said...

The 2nd half was slower, but the moments between Jim/Pam and the hospital staff were great, and very accurate. The "Oh, so you know everything" line got me.

Lannes314 said...

I really liked it. The first half was faster, but it was great to see Andy and Erin get together, and I'm intrigued by what a legit Dwight/Isabel coupling means for several characters (Jim, Pam, Angela, etc.). And Andy's story about his botany class was hysterical.

Anonymous said...

I also found the Pam not wanting to get to the hospital and being willing to put up with the horror ... the horror ... of giving birth at that office in front of that crowd to be just weak - cartoonish is the right word used by someone above.

But I think I've been further biased by having watched the entire UK office (two seasons and Xmas special) during the break. I don't want to open the 'which is better' nonsense; I just wish to recommend that anyone who wants to see it take Netflix up on their two weeks' free offer. That's plenty of time to watch the whole thing through their live streaming mode. The UK version is sort of more like a documentary with Curb Your Enthusiasm-ish moments.

In short, this was not a good time in the US series' arc for me to be juxtaposing the two; and yet I recommend it!

Sort of off-topic inquiry: Anyone know if there's some way to watch the French or Quebecois version?
- anonymoose

JasonR said...

Wow. I really disliked almost everything about the episode, but I think I can chalk it up to real life ruining TV. My wife and I had our second child only a week ago, so I guess the experience is too fresh in my mind. I found everything to be too fake and distracting to be funny.

As a parent, I know how your outlook on life changes when you have a baby (especially the first). I am curious how the writers will have Pam and Jim change - Jim more so. Is Dunder Mifflin now a career for him? He weirdly moved up the corporate ladder only to be shuffled back down to salesman.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I found tonight's episode weak at best. I've been off the bandwagon all season but gamely hanging in there hoping the show will find its way again. After this episode I think I've given up completely.

Steve Carrell was particularly annoying to me in this episode, they've pretty much stopped trying to show any redeeming side to him and now just go for the cringe. That's fine when you occasionally see something nice from him but the character has turned into a caricature.

I realized a few episodes ago that I no longer watch the show actively. I find myself checking email and doing other things while it's on. It's a clear sign of how little appeal it has to me now.

Flap Jackson said...

I saw where most of the jokes were going, but it was still entertaining. Just not up to the standards of the old Office, or even the Office from the wedding episode, which I thought was much better overall.

ryan said...

I remember when every character on this show wasn't a parody of themselves.

Anonymous said...

The Office stinks now" is now the new way to seem cool and edgy in tv blog land.

This was a very funny episode. I actually thought the first 20 minutes were the least funny part. After Dwight got in his car things really started rolling. You also forgot to mention Michael setting up Erin and Kevin, to hilarious results (I love Carrell's response that it's "debatable" whether Jan and Holly were too good looking for him). Erin and Andy were fantastic in their last scene.

Also, the poster who thought there was nothing nice to see from Micheal must have been watching a different episode. He showed genuine love for both Jim and Pam. He was great and I loved his "you don't want the baby to become a lawyer" line in the car.

Seriously, what is really hurting the show is the sheer familiarity of it. It doesn't sneak up on us as much with its biting humor and occasional great moments of drama because we know it so well. Is it time for the creators to set an end date? maybe, but it's still one of the best shows on television.

P.S.-I loved Creeds "Have fun" line as Pam, Jim,and Micheal left the office.

Joseph said...

I tuned in tonight out of some sense of loyalty to The Office I loved a couple seasons ago. I don't mean to be negative, but the show really is a shell of its former self. I giggled a few times, cringed a few more, but The Office just isn't appointment viewing anymore. Kevin is still funny, though.

It's too bad American teevee shows can't ever end before they get tired.

Jim said...

(*) I was watching Community, thinking that Pierce is like Creed with more lines.

Some good stuff. I thought the scene with Michael intruding on Jim and Pam's intimate moment worked only because of the addition of Kevin. The jerkwads at NBC blew what could have been one of the show's best moments by showing Jim diapering Bandit in commercials. I'm glad Erin and Andy finally got together-- Erin's wide-eyed joy at taking part in MS's nonsense is irresistible. And Stanley telling MS to mind his own damn business, and quasi-bragging about having two lovers, nice bits of unemphasized comedy that are one of the strengths of this show.

Mike said...

Any more room on the anti-Office bandwagon? It's starting to feel like double-digit Simpsons seasons now, where they just get more and more ridiculous and schticky as time goes forward. They're losing sense of the characters and heading toward caricatures.

However, for whatever reason, Meredith doing the "Clooney" read and hand motion made me burst out laughing.

SR said...

I think you're giving Dwight too much credit. I suspect he sees Pam's sister as better breeding stock.

What I found most interesting about that subplot was Angela's eagerness to hook up with Dwight. Always great to see the actress get to play a chink in Angela's armor.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dez said...

Angela's eagerness surprised me. She looked so pleased that Dwight asked her to be his brood mare. They are both so weird.

Loved the joy on Michael's face when Jim & Pam let him hold the baby. Also loved it when Creed raised his hand when Michael was asking who was single in the office, yet was ignored.

tribalism said...

This was definitely one of the strongest offerings since "Niagara". Was anyone else reminded of the Hobbits eating habits as Kevin described all the meals he and Pam would meet up for?

I'm happy that Andy's scrotum is on the mend enough for him to finally aske out Erin. Come one, he must of seen how impressed she was when he did the evolution of dance.

Favourite line of the episode for me belongs to Dwight:

“No, no, no. Ambulances are emergencies only. If you call the ambulance, I call the cops.”

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts about this episode at my blog where I go into detail about why this episode will define the show's story momentum from here on out. Click my username for the link.

BigTed said...

To me, it seemed entirely out of character that Angela would agree to have a baby without being married. She hooked up with Dwight when her passions overwhelmed her prudishness, but she's still highly religious and a rule-stickler, and this scenario didn't ring true.

The other real weirdness to me is that the office hasn't really changed one bit since it was taken over by the new company. In fact, despite Jim and Pam's ability to scrounge up sales based on her pregnancy, it seems as if even less work is getting done than ever. So Kathy Bates' hard-nosed businesswoman is just leaving Michael to his own devices, even after seeing for herself how dysfunctional the place is?

One thing I did like was that they're giving Erin more screen time. The scene where Andy finally asked her out and her expression went from really upset to really happy almost instantly was as funny as anything in this episode.

Anonymous said...

OK, Pam nursing the wrong baby was pretty darn funny

Scott said...

I love the Office, but I've not liked this season after the wedding episode. Someone mentioned they remember the show when the characters weren't caricatures of themselves. Especially Pam. I haven't been able to stand her since she acted like a baby in the episode where she found out Michael was dating her mom. I may be in the minority on that, but I know I'm not the only one who can't stand Erin. She's too broad and annoying.

There were some funny parts, I'm not hating just to hate, but the show seems to have lost it's heart. Watch some episodes of past seasons, and watch an episode from this year. It's like someone sucked out the fun from the show.

Henry said...

Throughout the episode, I kept asking myself, "Has everyone on The Office gone psycho?" And very much of this episode seemed to answer a resounding "Yes" to that question, which really depresses me. At this point, Dwight is certifiable (should be proven by the police officer pulling Dwight over and addressing him BY NAME) and should be put in an asylum. I think the part where Pam and Jim are too tired to realize they're feeding the WRONG baby was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. It was just far too ridiculous for two supposedly smart people (I do recognize that they're exhausted, but they put that on themselves for not listening to the nurse) and I threw up my arms in disgust over it. I normally don't react so strongly to an Office episode but I think part of that is the overall despairing feeling over the direction of the season in general (aside from the wedding episode and where Pam finds out about her mom and Michael) and part was the fact that Community took most of my laughs for the night, so the show is teeming precariously on my giving up on them. I really hope they can pull things out by the end. I'm not asking for an end date like most fans, but I should only hope for a small uptick in quality so that it can maybe resemble The Office when it was good. It's kind of frightening that the two seemingly more sane people in the office have grown to become much more arrogant than usual (this episode kind of proved it in the Halperts' interaction with the hospital staff and Joey Slotnick in the last new episode). *Sigh* Oh, where has The Office gone? Our nation turns its lonely eyes on you...

Henry said...

The male lactation consultant had me going, "Really? They're going to go there?!" I knew what was coming. I was cringing because, lo and behold, they went there! The guy felt up Pam and, honestly, I was thinking back to when Michael was ruining Jim's chance at advancing in the company and telling myself that Jim should slug Michael. I honestly wouldn't have blamed Jim if he had slugged Clarke.

belinda said...

I really enjoyed the whole hour long episode, even though the first part was much tighter, comedy wise. But compared to the rest of the season, this is definitely one of the few highlights for me. I would love it if they could continue on getting out of the lull with this episode.

While the whole Dwight ripping apart the kitchen was really, really, stupid, I do like (and choose to believe, even if it's Dwight) that he actually had a real human moment where he realized he might not want to start things up with Angela again. So, for that glimpse of a real person underneath Dwight, maybe I could at least pretend the crazy kitchen stuff didn't exist.

I don't think it's too crazy to mix up babies when they're not even a day old (happens more than you think) - so I thought that was pretty funny. But yeah, I've never come across a male lactating coach, so that whole joke was too easy and kind of lame.

There's a part that I really liked about Andy/Erin is that they were the only ones in the office who genuinely liked and joined in the fun of Michael's 'shooting'.

CB said...

I thought it was pretty good. Not great,but solid. And who is the actress playing the nurse? I thought she was riot. As far as Angela being out of character for wanting to have Dwight's baby,remember she was sleeping with Dwight while engaged to Andy. And she and Dwight had an affair for years. She is all about appearing to be this button down Christian woman. But she is just the opposite which makes the character great.

Otto Man said...

As far as the insurance thing, does that exist anywhere in real life?

Yes. Happened to two different friends of mine.

The breast-feeding v. bottle stuff was dead on, from my experience, as was the nurse's "oh, you read the book" deadpan. And the car seat gag was subtle -- though they should have mined the experience of trying to get one of those things secure the first time.

Chris said...

Good episode, as always. Disagree on the first vs. second part, though--Pam's refusal to go to the hospital didn't work, while nursing the wrong baby was priceless.

This many years in the show still runs laps around stuff like Community or Parks & Recreation.

Anonymous said...

Really terrific episode. Dwight was just too funny.

Grunt said...

Was Pam's refusal to the hospital really realistic? I found it so ridiculous I could barely watch without cringing. Hell, Dwight's ridiculousness seemed more realistic than the outright sitcomy mess that was the baby storyline.

Yes, this was enitrely too realistic. I gave birth to twins in October and I started having labor pains on Tuesday morning. I was due to have a c-section a week later. It wasn't until Thursday morning, when the contractions were every 4-6 minutes that it occured to me that it MIGHT be time to go to the hospital. I called my doctor and then woke my sleepy husband, told him we had pleanty of time and not to rush. An hour later I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and was 5cm dilated by the time we got to the hospital.

Really, first time mothers can be really dumb. Perhaps because I JUST had the babies in October this episode really resonated for me.

Captcha: Monions: Minions flavored with oniony goodness.

אורי said...

Two moments I liked that were kind of meta or meta-esque were:

1) The simple-yet-highly-amusing (to me) reference to Anchroman; Michael mentioning 'afternoon delight', which Carell's Brick took part in the beautifully ridiculous singing of the song that goes by the same name.

2) Michael's breaking of the fourth wall in the car, right after his "Do you want your kid to come out a lawyer?" Joke; the shots in that scene made it clear that there was noone sitting in the passenger's seat, and so, I am pretty sure it was intended as lampshading the whole 'this documentary crew doesn't make sense (anymore)' criticism and the absrudness of the premise et al. (And as a side effect/benefit, a wholly different breaking of said wall, hurking back to classic breakage, ala Zack Morris.)

Thoughts?

Alan Sepinwall said...

They've done car scenes before where there clearly wasn't a cameraman in the car. The idea, I think, is that the docu crew has rigged some of the subjects' cars with those cameras that mount on the windshield so there doesn't need to be an extra body there.

Anonymous said...

I was really disappointed by the episode. I don't think it had nearly the emotion or heart of the wedding episode or the one where they found out they were pregnant. Those were very touching, IMO, and this one didn't grab at my heartstrings.

Agree with many others that Dwight ripping apart the kitchen was ridiculous.

I'm bummed, I was hoping for another heartwarming episode (mixed with the usual funny, of course).

Anonymous said...

Some quick notes on the show:
*Angela Kinsey is a mom in real life and talked about having info about breast feeding in the episode with BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling, who took notes and worked with Danny and Charlie to get the material into the show.
*The male lactation nurse was played by Jenna Fischer's real life fiance (or fiancee, I don't know which spelling refers to the engaged guy), Lee Kirk.
*The Coen brothers said that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was as close to an action film as they would ever do; the entire car dash to the hospital sequence felt like the same notion applied to this show (I think Dwight or Michael + car + insanity = OFFICE action).
*The two faces of Michael Scott: awesome in getting Pam and Jim to the hospital, and an ass regarding Kevin and Erin (the only person who should ever be that rude to Kevin is Angela).
*If anyone knows, can you let me know if it's possible to have contractions only 2 minutes apart and then remain in labor for another 19 hours?
*It wasn't as good as the wedding, but still a terrific hour of TV.

Anonymous said...

I love when Alan tries to rationalize the absurdity of the documentary style in which this show is presented.

Let it go Alan. The length of this documentary and the personal stuff they film have long gone past ridiculous.

And you know what... it's okay it's ridiculous. The documentary style is just the way The Office tells it stories. The same way 24 uses the real-time style. (and that can be ridiculous sometimes too.)

Anonymous said...

At this point in the game I think an office spin off would be funnier than the actual show. The show ha become DVr filler and nothing more. Nice run.

Anonymous said...

I might be the only one, but I loved all the Dwight stuff. Sleeping in their bed, eradicating their mold, breaking in after saying he didn't need a key. I loved it, whereas I thought stuff like nursing the wrong baby was a little creepy.

Something seems off about MIchael lately.

Marc said...

everyone here is always ripping Modern Family doc. It makes no sense that the doc crew would be following Jim and Pam in the hospital and their house. They are supposedly making (an interminably long) doc about "the office". My point is people here are very forgiving formata and shows when they want to, yet The office uses the doc format ridiculously, I think.

Anonymous said...

@ Grunt:

Thanks for the perspective. I'm not a parent, so I was sitting there boggled by the sheer ridiculousness of the refusing to go to the hospital after her water broke only because my friends who have given birth have told me stories to make me think it wasn't possible to just sit there and wait.

It still bothered me since it seemed "I Love Lucy" level absurd, but knowing that someone in real life might actually do that helps a bit.

Robin said...

I enjoyed last night's episode, but I didn't LOVE it. There were some golden Office moments, but there was also Dwight acting completely insane. What human being in their right mind takes a sledgehammer to someone's house? I know, I know...Dwight isn't in his right mind. But that was seriously criminal.

Oh, and the whole "nursing the wrong baby" was just disturbing and WRONG.

I've been watching old Office episodes in syndication, and it's probably not a good idea. The brilliance of the early seasons really does highlight what has gone wrong in this season. My take on it is that they've stopped focusing on what happens IN THE OFFICE. In the early seasons, the human drama between the characters took place in their cubicles: Jim and Pam's romance, Michael's relationship with Jan, Dwight's relationships with Angela. As a result, the peripheral characters were always involved (whether they should be or not!), and Michael had a genuine reason for deluding himself that they were a "family." The comedy came from workplace-specific things that were very relatable. But now, we seem to spend way more time out of the office: Pam and Jim go visit daycare, the board meeting, Pam's mom's birthday lunch. Not only does this take away from the simple comedy that takes place in an office, it takes away opportunities for the characters to interact. When is the last time that we had an episode brought Pam and Angela together, or even Andy and Oscar, on a work-related matter?

I'm not ready to give up on the show, but I do wish they'd go in a different direction.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the documentary format has long gone well beyond the point of reason. A cameraman hanging out, filming Jim and Pam (or Dwight in their home bed) sleeping for hours is silly, but at this point what can you do?

Also I know it's a convenient way to do exposition, but I just wish they hadn't stuck Parks and Recreation with the same albatross.

Anonymous said...

Sucked! Sucked really bad. Nothing funny. I think I am done with the Office.

Community and P&R (and Big Bang)are now my 'look forward to' shows every week.

Bix said...

Henry-

When was it implied that the lactation counselor acted inappropriately? As far as I could tell, it was the opposite: He was being completely clinical and Pam had no problem with him but it got to Jim.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also I know it's a convenient way to do exposition, but I just wish they hadn't stuck Parks and Recreation with the same albatross.

Parks & Rec has never been as overt about the camera crew's existence as The Office has been. On The Office, we see characters take off mic packs, or talk to the camera crew, or see strangers react with surprise when they see the cameras for the first time. With P&R, you could always pretend it's the same approach Modern Family is taking: documentary-style, but not as if there's an actual documentary team following the characters around.

Kaiser said...

After reading Alan's article and listening to the Podcast, I think I had the reverse-hype effect. I kept looking at the clock and when we were hitting the half-way point. When we got there, I thought that the second half was going to be a real dud, but being a recent first-time father I could relate to the second-half more than the first. Therefore enjoying it more.

My wife and I had tears in our eyes after seeing Jim physical try to show Pam how to squeeze the milk out, then push the call button and comment that Pam must have sat on it. I realize that's not going to hit home as much with everyone, but for us, it captured parts of our post-birth hospital experience and was enjoyable. (I wish our nurses had that kind of response time)

I hated the holding out to Midnight piece and was irritated with that too much to enjoy the comedy of the first half. When it was finally over, I think Oscar's thesaurus comment and glance at the camera was the turning point for me enjoying the episode. I was cracked up by that.

Here's another NBC Olympic complaint. I wish I hadn't seen 100 promos of Jim diapering anything. That joke would have been much more funny on first view with the show and not during the Winter Games.

Anonymous said...

The Fonz' girlfriend!!! That's Pam's mom! That had been bugging me forever. I had the biggest crush on her.

And I'm surprised no one mentioned that the other mother was Wolowitz' girlfriend from the Big Bang Theory.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, with such a strong supporting cast I can't understand why the writers continue to press bad ideas for Michael, Dwight, Pam, Jim, and Andy rather than take a couple of episodes to focus on guys like Creed and Kevin and Meredith, etc. In fact, they seem less involved in the show than the first couple of seasons. And once they got rid of Roy they pretty much eliminated the entire warehouse from story arcs, except for occasionally bringing Darryl in.

Oh, and I always thought that the actress playing Phyllis wasn't really an actress, that she was working with the casting director and running lines with people trying out for the show and the producers liked her so much that they cast her in the show. The other day I was watching an episode of Arrested Development and she was in one of the boardroom scenes.

Anonymous said...

I stayed home as long as possible, not b/c of insurance but b/c I didn't want pressure to get an epidural. Anyway, it made sense to me. And that line about talking through contractions means you're ok, that was right-on. I also loved the lactation parts--it's true, it's hard for some people! So, that was so true to me, I could deal with it not being hilarious.
Yes, the kitchen stuff was absurd, but I came around at the end with the look that Jim & Pam both gave Dwight--that sold it for me. They're all so dysfunctional, but it was somehow ok. Michael holding the baby and being so happy about it was great.

Imamarilyn said...

So many great moments. I like all the various relationships within "The Office." Pam and Kevin bonding over food. Michael finally getting Pam to agree to go to the hospital. Interesting because she is able to get through to Michael whereas others can't. So it works both ways.

Fabulous showcase for my favorite character Dwight.

Olessi said...

I liked Erin's listing of racehorses during the distraction scene in the conference room, showing that she isn't a complete idiot.

Col Bat Guano said...

I could buy Pam wanting to wait until midnight, but not waiting at the office. Would she really want all of her coworkers witnessing her contractions? I've suspended my disbelief on the documentary format for the most part, but a crew in their shared hospital room at night? Or witnessing the lactation consultation? Who was male?

I wasn't a fan of the pregnancy story back when they introduced it and I have to say it really has added nothing to the show this year except that they wrote Pam as irritable for much of it which I didn't enjoy. Can we just stash the kid whereever they put sitcom babies and never speak of it again?

filmcricket said...

All I could think during the kitchen-destroying sequence is "That's not how you get rid of mold!" Clearly I've been watching too many episodes of Holmes on Homes.

I didn't laugh much, but I did find it enjoyable to watch. To me, the moment that hit home the most was Pam admitting that she wasn't just worried about the insurance, she was genuinely terrified. You could interpret that as being afraid of labour, afraid of being a mom, or both. I liked the ambiguity of it and it was well-played by Jenna Fischer.

אורי said...

Alan: Ah, I see, thanks for the clarification, I thought I might have read too much into it.

Linus said...

I pretty much disagree with the premise of this post from the start. I thought the first half of this episode was symptomatic of everything that's gone wrong with this show in the last three years, and one of the worst half-hours they've ever done.

Anonymous said...

I thought the 2nd half was good too. The whole scene with the male nursing aide was pretty funny. Also, when Jim and Pam realized Pam was breast feeding the wrong baby. Overall, pretty good episode in an otherwise pretty stale season of a show that probably needs to wrap it up after this season.

Dave T said...

The Dwight/Angela scenes in the second half won't make sense to people who didn't see the opening of the first half, where Dwight concludes that a baby is the key to increasing sales.

When aired in syndication, that's a likely eventuality.

When was it implied that the lactation counselor acted inappropriately? As far as I could tell, it was the opposite: He was being completely clinical and Pam had no problem with him but it got to Jim.

It wasn’t about being inappropriate - he wasn't. It's that no man wants to see another man touching his wife’s breasts for any reason.

I liked Erin's listing of racehorses during the distraction scene in the conference room, showing that she isn't a complete idiot.

Not just racehorses, but Triple Crown winners in reverse chronological order.
I don’t think it’s been implied that she’s an idiot.

And I'm surprised no one mentioned that the other mother was Wolowitz' girlfriend from the Big Bang Theory.

We didn't see her much up close to make the connection. I only knew, and I suspect others did too, after seeing Melissa's name in the credits.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it, and as with so many shows, wish that all the people who threaten to stop watching would go ahead and do so instead of leaving generalized "it's so terrible" comments. (Specific criticisms can prompt interesting discussion, but what's the point of posting just to say one hates the whole show and plans to stop watching it?)

I thought that Pam's last minute panic before going to the hospital was an additional explanation of why she was putting it off. She was in denial, pretending that if she didn't go to the hospital she wasn't actually about to have a baby.

I thought the obnoxious condescending nurse was funny, while also a bit painful to watch because of real nurses who treat real new parents that way. I thought Pam nursing the wrong baby was very funny, especially as I didn't see it coming, and I don't understand why people found it disgusting. Jim's reaction to the lactation consultant was pretty funny too, though I wonder if male lactation consultants actually exist.

I enjoyed Michael's matchmaking back at the office, but thought Dwight was over-the-top for most of it (though his escorting was pretty funny: the stopping for the deer, the throwing weapons out when he was pulled over).

Bix said...

Dave T-

I agree with you about the lactation counselor. I was referring to how Henry portrayed it as "The guy felt up Pam."

blinky said...

The Office is reaching the Robin Williams stage. As in: Please stop, you are embarrassing yourself.
I loved the Office but it is past its due date and starting to smell bad.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there are so many negative comments on here as I thought this was a very funny episode. Dwight throwing the weapons out of his car was great. Michael's excitement about the distractions and the baby in general were very well played.

JamesG said...

I really did not like this episode. I'm not going to say it wasn't funny, because there certainly were a great deal of moments that made me laugh out loud (loved Stanley getting into the elevator, Dwight stopping to point out the deer, etc.). However, those few moments aside, the main plot fell flat for me, and the utter ridiculousness ruined the episode.

Some things that really annoyed me:

- Everything about Dwight being in Jim/Pam's house, including Jim's underwhelmed reaction at the end.

- No one from Jim or Pam's family being at the hospital except Pam's mom.

- The entire office hanging out in the hospital for hours on end before delivery.

- Michael throwing Jim's car keys away, which didn't seem to become an issue when they left. Also, the fact that his car would remain untowed in an ambulance zone for several days.

Stephanie said...

I liked, but didn't love this episode. Moments like Pam letting the gender of the baby slip and Dwight throwing the weapons out of his car as he was pulled over by a cop that knew him were, to me, a terrific balance of heartwarming and hysterical.

That said, as happy as the new baby made me for Jim and Pam, there was too much in the second half that bugged.

- I didn't find the nurse funny. I found her to be obnoxious and I'm not sure that's the writers' intent here. If she's supposed to be a bad nurse, that's one thing, but I didn't get that impression.

- Pam breastfeeding the wrong baby was not funny. I wasn't disgusted but I can't find humor in something like that. It's just wrong on so many levels. I think they could've used the joke of Jim tiredly reaching for the wrong baby in a different manner and still achieved the same effect.

- I thought the orderly leaving Pam outside on her own to wait for the car was absurd. I can only assume this is true everywhere, but here you can't leave the hospital with a newborn until they see that your car seat has been properly installed. And Jim with his four books about having children didn't know to have the seat put in before going to the hospital? Come on. If the gag was that Jim wasn't prepared, that's one thing, but he clearly had read up on everything.

Overall, the excitement over the baby finally getting here was enough to make me happy, but I agree that this episode wasn't nearly as strong as the wedding one.

Jeff Smith said...

I usually agree with your reviews, but I have to disagree with this one. I haven't been feeling this show for quite some time and while I wasn't expecting some groundbreaking episode, I was still left disappointed.

There were funny parts, to be sure, and there's no way that I will stop watching, but if they stopped this show after this season, I'm not entirely positive I would be disapointed.

The majority of the comedy for this show in its golden years was centered around the sexual tension. Without that there anymore for Jim\Pam and without a clear and static comedic spotlight on Andy\Erin (there was a veritable goldmine there that they mostly left untouched in favor for more sappy, non-comedic Jim\Pam action) there's just been too much lacking.

Interestingly, this has made me reconsider my desire for some other shows (namely a certain NBC spy comedy) to follow a certain plot arc.

Anonymous said...

some one asked:
If anyone knows, can you let me know if it's possible to have contractions only 2 minutes apart and then remain in labor for another 19 hours?
It's entirely possible. I could raise the fictional 19 hours to 26. Human bodies respond very differently to pregnancy.

I must be wierd because I liked the second half more than the first. The part in the conference room was cringe inducing and not in the comic way that the Office is known for.
No way that Jim walks back into his destroyed house and doesn't go postal on Dwight.

Henry said...

I would've been in the same mindset as Jim was, helpless to do anything about the fact that there's a male lactation consultant who's touching his wife's breasts. I just cringed at the whole sequence because I could see the payoff for the joke coming. The guy walks in, Jim's waiting for a female lactation consultant, and the camera crew's gonna film the awkward reaction. And I just didn't find it funny. If the show is gonna telegraph their jokes in such a not-so-subtle manner, it hurts me to watch an episode like that. Jim and Pam are the de facto "heroes" of the show and I openly root for them to have somewhat normal lives compared to the rest of the characters in the show. It didn't feel that way in this episode. I dunno. Just didn't like the episode overall.

Diana Frost said...

Many, many inconsistentcies throughout but still very, very funny and I thought the second half was just as funny as the first half.

Savvy Veteran said...

Overall, I really liked the episode. Based on the podcast, I was expecting the second half to be horrifically awful, so I was pleasantly surprised when it actually turned out to only merely have a few less laughs than the very funny first half.

For the pure randomness of it, Michael chewing out the IT guy for his unfunny casual joking made me laugh.

Dwight's behavior was insane and not at all believable (and since when would Dwight willingly miss work?), but I really don't see how it's any LESS believable than his actions in "Stress Relief," when he cut the face off of the expletive-ing CPR doll and wore it around like Anthony Hopkins. (I was one of the few who didn't care for that episode.) Why can THAT just be chalked up to the writers "going a little broad," and this instance be the unspoken limit of acceptable Dwight behavior?

bones said...

For some reason, I didn't like Dwight in this episode but it's really funny how the cops knew it was Dwight even BEFORE he came out of the car!

Mike said...

To the people saying "why is it cool to hate on The Office all of the sudden?" I have one thing to tell you. Go watch an episode from Season 2 and then watch this episode again. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Don't even try to say that it is close to the same show. I'm going to keep watching, but now it's more out of habit than actually looking forward to it week after week. That's not to say that there aren't "funny" parts in new episodes. There are (few). However, the jokes are all "HEY THIS IS A JOKE YOU SHOULD LAUGH NOW." Take, for example, Dwight throwing stuff out the window of his car. Yeah I got a chuckle, but come on. Where is the subtlety? Where is the smart office parody? Everyone who said that the characters are all caricatures of their former selves now are dead on. I miss the old Office, but there is no way it's coming back. I hope for it's own sake that next season is the last, because I want it to have a good end. It will keep embarassing itself it goes on much longer than this. It pains me to see a show I loved so much fall so far. I watch The Office after Community and Parks now, which I didn't think could have happened.

lar said...

I thought this episode was absolutely hilarious--the fact that Dwight was using Mose's goat fungus (!) to get pity sales had me falling out of my chair, and I laughed out loud many times throughout the hour.

As for those who thought the baby-switching was unfunny and/or unrealistic--it actually happened to a friend of mine, the nurse brought her the wrong baby during the night and she tried to nurse him before realizing OH CRAP WRONG BABY. Not funny at the time, but funny now, and even though I saw it coming when Jim picked the baby up they played it out long enough that I giggled when Pam finally realized it.

Anonymous said...

All you Office haters who spend WAY too much time/words yammering about its "declining" quality? Have you SEEN the last four or five years of M*U*S*H or Frasier lately? Remember when your kind thought Frasier was so wonderful & so much better than Seinfeld? Anybody thinking that way now?? So go watch Overrated Community with the reanimated corpse of Broken-down Chevy Chase and 30 Crock, along with Real Waste of Time With Shill Maher, because that seems to be the kind of hip, with-it trendy programming you latte drinkers seem to prefer!

Anonymous said...

I am confused about the love of early seasons office. Micheal and Dwight have always been over the top and cartoonish with their behavior from the beginning.

Ginny said...

Talk about telegraphing the jokes--I knew as soon as they had to share their hospital room what was going to happen...especially when that 2nd woman came in nursing. I found the whole thing not funny for a lot of reasons, but the "wrong baby' thing really hit home. I took my brother down to the nursery to see my new baby and proudly pointed him out. We both admired him until my mom said, " Honey, I don't think that's him..." And I'm all, "Yeah right, Mom. Like I don't know my own baby!" And, of course, it wasn't my baby. So Pam, Jim and I are all idiots. Also? It can take quite a while to get the hang of nursing, so while Pam's stress was real, the easy outcome by the time she got to the parking lot was not. Or, perhaps, I am once again projecting my own sit-commy problems.

Anonymous said...

for all the people debating the insurance component, Pam really didn't want to go because she was afraid of becoming a mom and was postponing it as long as she could..

also, the line about Toby's grundle and Creed running after Pam & Jim as Michael takes them to the hospital yelling "Have Fun!!!!" like they were going on a cruise had me LOL

also, anonymous on March 6, 12:24? The time you spent coming up with those punny names was well worth it. MUSH? 30 Crock? Bravo, sir, bravo.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

More Trivia: Jenna Fischer's sister went into labor the same day, the first episode (of this 2 parter was filmed). Her sister came home the same day they filmed Pam's homecoming. The name of Jim & Pam's baby is the same name as Jenna's new niece.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, no talking about the previews. It's one of the commenting rules.

Captain Badger said...

Surprised by how negative a lot of people are as this was a good episode. Community and P&R have surpassed their Thursday predecessors but I missed the part where I now have to badmouth 30 Rock and Office. They are still good shows which provide more laughs than most shows on TV. Granted, TV is a lot better now that it used to be but there still isn't that much great stuff that I can afford to ignore shows like The Office and 30 Rock.

As for this episode, I enjoyed it more than I expected purely because the whole baby thing doesn't interest me that much. However, as Alan said, it likely won't be a focal point for the show and the way they handled this was good.

As for Dwight being too "unrealistic" ... yeah, kitchen cabinets, now he's gone too far. Everything up until now was perfectly reasonable.

Pat said...

This was my least favorite episode in a long time. It was the first time I found my self completely annoyed with Pam. The whole waiting until midnight was funny at first, but they went with it too long and ran it into the ground. Also, they would never let Michael drive them to the hospital. It just wasn't believable.

Steve said...

As a loooong time fan of both versions of the Office, I think that alas the series is running out of steam. It's not really the cast & writers' fault, it's just that here in the U.S., there are too many episodes to produce and it waters down (with few exceptions) a series. There's only so much to convey in an "Office". The best The Office will offer will be weak bits of business interspersed with laugh out funny moments until it jumps the shark....

JMC said...

I thought it was fine, but I'm commenting about folks here who thought the nurse was obnoxious? I didn't see that at all. It was Pam & Jim that were playing the clueless, obnoxious first-time parents. Hanging around until 3pm on the dot, or insisting on keeping the baby out of the nursery for the nite are great examples. ("The baby needs to socialize"??)

Difficulties latching on can be a little traumatic at first but it is on a spectrum so it's certainly possible that all Pam needed was some another go and a change of location to get everything aligned just right. Then again it took my wife about two months until our firstborn latched on a got milkdrunk.

Anonymous said...

Count me with the "this used to be funny" camp. The strength of The Office was how an ensemble cast played off of each other. That has been completely lost with the focuses on Pam/Jim, Michael & Dwight.

For me, the few truly funny moments of this episode was when Stanley & Oscar excused themselves to go look at the internet, when Phyllis offered to aplly the lipstick and Kelly's commentary. If the show doesn't get back to the basics of the ensemble soon, it's probably going off of my DVR rotation.