Friday, May 04, 2007

The Office: Pervert alert

I was out last night, ironically, at a guy's appreciation night (aka poker night), so I'll be slowly working my way through last night's TV. Spoilers for "The Office" coming up just as soon as I check my toolbox for the Crescent-Allen...

I'm not sure where to start with this marvelous episode. So much disturbing imagery: Michael as a schoolgirl (no wonder Jan didn't seem disturbed that time he accidentally cross-dressed), the realization that Dwight "plays" with dolls while Angela frequently wears doll clothes, the idea of Dwight with a menstrual cycle (which would, in fairness, make him more linked to the moon and tides), Dwight taking a penile self-portrait... sick brilliance all.

This was another one of those episodes where Michael spends the first half making a complete ass of himself and by the end has everyone feeling sorry for him, as well as another one that somehow managed to make Michael's love life into a metaphor for Jim's. (Not that Jim was aware of it this time, but his reaction to Pam's sex predator poster is yet another clear sign that he and she are heading back towards each other.) Yet even when Michael's an object of pity, he's still being Michael, in this case buying the women sexy lingerie (or fuzzy robes) and breaking up with Jan on voicemail. (Under ordinary circumstances, I would lament the fact that he screwed up his chance for break-up sex, but given what we've learned, he's probably better off.) And yet even when he's being Michael (while also being an object of pity), he can be surprisingly wise, as in his "Wizard of Oz" list of wishes he made for the ladies.

Some other thoughts:
  • Meredith speaks! And not just about being a boozer! It's hard out here for a Meredith fan sometimes, but this is the most she's had to do in an episode in, like, ever, and maybe the writers can do something with her sloppiness even outside her van (and her rules).
  • An all-time great Pam talking head: "I don't often miss Roy, but I can tell you one thing: I wish someone had flashed me when I was with Roy, because that would have been the ass-kicking of the year. Especially if it had been Jim... He would not have wanted me to have seen Jim's... Hoo, I am saying a lot of things."
  • Of course Creed's a flasher. Yet he seemed oddly whiny and childlike while defending his lady's room visit: "I'm a pretty normal guy, I have one weird thing: I like to go in the women's room for number two!" I think it was the shouting over the headphones that made that work as well as it did.
  • And of course Angela blames the victim in the flashing incident, especially since the victim was her designated punching bag Phyllis.
  • "Foliage." Who thought of that one: Michael or Jan?
  • Dwight's vampire-killing broom returns!
  • Getting back to the pre-Jan discussion of Michael as 40-Year-Old Virgin, I think Dwight says (with a mouth full of banana, so it's not clear) that Michael's had sex with "less than three" women, and then Michael insists that that info is "not current." So Jan makes it three? Carol and Jan make three and four? And why do I want to know this? Why am I still typing? Let's move on to the next bullet, please.
  • Ryan being that in denial about Kelly doesn't really track with how open he's been about their relationship, particularly the Netflix bet in the safety training episode.
  • Michael's con list for Jan includes both "Breasts, not anything to write home about" and "flat-chested."
  • I love whenever Jim takes advantage of Dwight's love of official protocol, particularly whenever he gets Dwight to talk on the phone when there's no need to, whether it was in the tag here or the time he put Dwight's desk in the bathroom. (The men's room. There wouldn't have been space for his desk in the oasis that is the lady's room.)
What did everybody else think?


Abbie said...

I thought it was a good episode, with my favorite part being where Michael tells everyone that even the hot women in the office aren't that thin, and Pam's insulted reaction shot.

Lots of funny stuff, but I have to single out Kelly's hair as being pretty great this episode.

I also liked that Pam changed the tire, because sometimes Pam acts a little too girly and it would have been predictable for Karen to do it (since apparently she only ever wears pants and such).

So if Ryan hit on Karen, did he ever hit on Pam?

Kris Eton said...

I wasn't clear on that...did Ryan hit on Karen or Pam? I mean, even if Jim's relationship with Karen was seen as nothing serious, they are still 'dating' and not broken up in any way. Would Ryan really try asking her out when it is so obvious she and Jim are involved? But I guess it makes more sense to have Jim relay Karen's feelings about the whole thing (or fake feelings about wanting to 'be friends') than Pam's.

I liked that Pam changed the tire, too, and was proud of herself for doing it. She becoming less shy and reserved, more take charge. It's a good change that will make it more likely she is the one to instigate some renewed relationship with Jim soon...

Loved Pam's discussion about what Roy would have done to a flasher...and the fact that she was secretly thinking about Jim's penis. Hee, hee!

Nicole said...

I think they were implying that Ryan hit on Karen, because the guys were surprised that Jim and Karen had been dating for 6 months. But the bigger question is: why is Ryan hitting on anyone while still with Kelly? I didn't think that he would be a two timer?

There were so many laugh or cringe moments in this one, and I loved seeing Meredith with more than five words to say, and a consecutive week of Creed... Yay!

Definitely one of my favourites for this season.

Abbie said...

I think Ryan's convinced himself that he's not "really" dating Kelly, because he can't figure out how to break up with her. So he hit on Karen by email, which is really pretty cowardly too. So, Ryan is cowardly, not that we couldn't already guess (I mean, why is he working here permanently now?)

Ted Frank said...

Ryan hit on Karen; Karen sent him a LJBF email that she shared with Jim; Ryan's "I don't want to date anyone at the office" remark was a quick attempt to save face without realizing that he made himself look even worse because everyone knows about Kelly.

Great episode, though I'm beginning to tire of the trips to the conference room where Michael tries to prove himself PC and fails miserably.

The pro-con list was brilliant. Especially the two entries for Jan's breasts.

Cinnette said...

I was especially pleased with how they wrote Michael out of the relationship with Jan. Until now the two of them really didn't make sense. But seeing Jan as a freaky dom-type makes it all more likely, at least in my mind. Especailly when Michael described the video taping and how Jan "plays it back right after so [he] can improve [his] form." Ha!

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying: Loved this ep. The scene with Michael "flashing" his finger was soooo uncomfortable, like a speedo full of sand.
Having said that, I think that this show is flirting dangerously with the wrong side of absurd. Jim's made-up demerit word sounded made-up. The details of Michael's sex life, and the bluntness of his revelations, were a little over-the-top. The bouncy castle was, too. All of these things were funny, but this show needs to balance that out with some realistic consequences in order to stay relatable.
For me, the most potentially funny part of this ep was the Ladie's room. It's always bothered me that they get a couch. The problem is, this subtler bit was drowned out by all the zany.
I like the zany, but it's about balance.
The Ryan/Karen email was also pricelessly awkward.
I do wonder, also, if this show is ever going to address the fact that they are filming a reality show that will air someday, like the UK version did. If not, there needs to be some explanation, like, they could only sell it to Kazakh TV.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I need to rewatch the scene, but I took the Ryan hitting on Karen email as a joke between two guys who really aren't that enthused about dating at the office.

Anonymous said...

If the producers aren't careful, cutaways to a mugging Jim for reaction shots will become the next "Hi, Bob" drinking game. They've become overused to the point -- there were at least four last night -- where they're now The Office version of a laugh track: "Here's the joke! Here's the Joke!" It's time to scale back.

Old Man Snap said...

"Like Pam, or, Karen from behind."

There were so many awkward "Wow, tell me he didn't just say *that*" Michael moments last night that I, for one, don't compare the two Offices anymore.

The U.S. version has a nice li'l niche of brilliance, now.

Anonymous said...

Great episode, with the best part being Michael having his finger go soft when Toby started talking to him. I consistently find any interaction between the two of them to be hilarious. They have the best chemistry on the show, besides Jim and Pam.

Isabel said...

Awesome episode. Which is great since last's week was lame-o.

Am I the only one that felt bad for Jan? I mean, I had no idea she was such a freak and I felt pretty bad for her when it all came out.

Your bullet list was super funny and had me laughing all over again. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched last night's episode yet, so I'm doing my best to avoid reading about it.

But I really want to know if you've heard anything about the show possibly becoming an hour next season, Alan?

Anonymous said...

I too loved this episode!

I mean - who can resist this: My point is…my point is, a penis - when seen in the right context - is the most wonderful sight for a woman. But in the wrong context it is like a monster movie.

However - a minor quibble. Kelly is a big talker. That's who she is at her core. And she was way too quiet in this episode. I tried to ascribe it to her "Awesome. I mean awful but sometimes it's awesome" relationship with Ryan. but…it still felt off. Don’t get me wrong – Mindy Kaling was her usual hilarious self – unhesitatingly dashing into Victoria’s Secret, grooving to Michael’s cell phone ringtone, etc. I just thought Kelly would be more chattery on a day like “Women's Appreciation” day.

Still this episode had a great balance of squirms.

Benaiah said...

The second time I watched the show I thought that maybe Ryan was joking about the email, since he was semi-smirking when he said it and Jim's response sounded like a quip: "She read it to me and she said she's flattered but she would rather just stay friends."

However, when Kelly later mentions that things are awful with Ryan, the camera flashes to Karen making face with the clear indication being that she is thinking of the email.

The funniest part of the episode was Michael's deer in the headlights look as Jan sat listening to the voice mail. "It's not me, its you." There have got to be consequences for that one.

Anonymous said...

I thought the first 10 minutes were awful for the Office, but when the women's appreciation kicked off it was gold.

Michael K. said...

Homertojeebus, in defense of the writers, a disadulation - while not really a word - definitely sounds like it could be, at least from an etymological standpoint. "Adulation" meaning praise, flattery, etc. and "Dis-" being the prefix meaning "the opposite of." Disadulation = the opposite of praise, which roughly = demerit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I was just not in a good mood last night, but "Women's Appreciation" is my least favorite episode for the season. I barely cracked a smile a few times and that's rare for me with this show... Even reading the recap, I'm thinking, "Yeah, I suppose it was funny, but not THAT funny."...

Abbie said...

If it makes anyone feel any better, most women's restrooms do not have couches. And if they do, no one sits on them. Because it's a restroom.

Alan Sepinwall said...

My wife says most of the places where she's worked have couches in the ladies room, and I'm told that the ladies room at my office does, too.

It makes no sense to me. If anything, guys would be more willing to spend copious amounts of time in a bathroom, I would think, as we have a higher tolerance for things that smell bad.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And now I've just turned into Creed. Lord help me.

K J Gillenwater said...

The only place I've seen couches would be in department stores. I would use the 'lounge' area to nurse my children when they were babies. Never saw one at work. Just would be the standard office restroom.

Maybe some have extra space because they don't put in urinals? But then I would guess they'd just put in extra stalls.

There were women in my office building who would bring in nice lotions and soaps and air freshener to make it all 'homey' in the usually stark office bathroom. I thought that was nice. One woman even left a variety of perfumes for everyone to use.

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember that there was some local law (NYC) that women's restrooms had to have a couch. Because women, you know, have times when they feel faint. When they're feeling connected to the moon and tides.

I think that law went away, but I can remember many ladies' rooms in older office buildings, in older theaters, with a couch.

Anybody remember a SNL sketch, years ago -- original cast maybe -- where two men put on wigs and sneak into the ladies' room. They find that you can play tennis, get a message, etc.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else call the number on the sex predator poster? This is what happened:

You have reached Dwight K Shrute, Commander of the Lackawanna County anti-flashing task force and assistant regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin. If you have any information leading to the capture and/or castration of this pervert press 1.

If this is the flasher, let's talk.

If you need a friend right now, and I can help you, just tell me where you want to meet and I promise to help you with whatever it is that you need.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Oh, and if you are inquiring about any of our paper products and would like a catalog, please press 2.

Finally, if anyone, not the flasher, is interested in a kick-ass 1985 maroon Firebird, I could be persuaded to sell mine. Please press 1 for that too.

RJ said...

Did anyone else do the math on the demerit escalation? It worked out to something like 120 or 240 'demerits' before you get to the written notice to Jim. So basically come in late every work day for a year. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was the most Meredith has ever had to do. But judging by that photo--which we never saw in the episode--a lot of her scenes probably ended up on the cutting room floor again.

Anonymous said...

I'm beyond late on this one, but in case anyone is still reading these I'll mention one thing: it was obvious everyone was meant to side with Michael over Jan. I thought the scene between Jan and Michael was brilliantly played by Melora Hardin. One, I thought it was amazing that her character drove all that way to apologize...very unexpected. Maybe she is growing? Maybe she does the dom stuff as a defensive wall? Anyhoo, I loved how cute/flirty/happy she was to realize she had a message from Michael. Then MH broke my heart with her facial expressions as she heard what Michael was saying. My heart swung her way...let's hope those 2 crazy kids get back together! I'd miss MH too much! Wait a minute, rumors I've been hearing about the contens of the last 2 eps are making me have a possible unhappy realization....hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I love your blog. I was googling "crescent Allan" I am an office late bloomer, (just getting into it now and going season by season) thanks, you rock.

Mervis said...

This must have been an extended size Office because the whole Ryan/Karen thing has been exorcised on the repeats. Oh well.