Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Office, "Goodbye, Toby": My name is Captain Bruisin'

Spoilers for "The Office" fourth season finale coming up just as soon as I see if our vending machine takes buttons...

I have one complaint, and only one complaint (and it's less of a complaint than a concern), and I want to get it out of the way immediately, because beyond that, "Goodbye, Toby" was perfection, more than living up to the show's great season finale tradition set by "Casino Night" and "The Job."

So, the complaint/concern: I really, really, really hope the writers aren't going to be foolish enough to try to create real strife in the PB&J relationship over how long it's going to take Jim to propose. That's a stupid conflict, and an artificial one, and is the sort of only delaying the inevitable tactice that's beneath a show that's thus far been so brilliant in the way it's let the old Unresolved Sexual Tension trap play out. But I fully admit that I could be misreading Pam's expression when she told the camera crew that she was surprised Jim didn't propose to her at the carnival.

And if I'm being too alarmist, then so much the better for the already wonderful "Goodbye, Toby."

I've written a few times about how Paul Lieberstein-scripted (or, in this case, co-scripted, with Jen Celotta) episodes tend to be a bit more melancholy and set the characters at a more human scale. Michael is still a bumbler, but he's a recognizable, understandable bumbler. Michael as written by Lieberstein is capable of being charming and insightful (see his review of the "Die Hard" series back in "Money"), which explains how -- with a lot of helpful, restraining advice from Jim -- he was able to hit it off so well with Holly.

(Speaking of Holly, I realize I never noticed her before she played Beadie on "The Wire," but is Amy Ryan entering that rareified territory of always giving a good performance and bringing something interesting to the table? I want to scour her IMDb resume and put the lot of it in my Netflix queue.)

A classic example of the humanized writing was the running gag about Holly believing that Kevin was retarded. Here's something where Kevin behaves the way he always behaves, and Holly behaves in a way that seems appropriate (for her and the situation), and you can see exactly how she'd read their encounters as Kevin being slow while Kevin would read them as Holly wanting to get him in bed. Much as I love "The Office," there are times when the show forces its characters' behavior to extremes in order to get a big laugh. This joke in particular, and the episode in general, found a way to get big laughs while letting everybody be exactly who they are, no more, no less.

There were some cartoony moments featuring the cartoonier characters, like the hysterical talking head with Creed having no idea what his job is ("Choir?... Quabbity?"), or Mose (Mose!) showing up with a non-rabid raccoon, but for the most part, the best jokes were subtler. Take Michael's exit interview with Toby, and the pained inflections in Michael's voice as, with Holly and Pam in the room, he has to ask questions like "Who do you think you are?" and "What gives you the right?" in a way that doesn't make him sound like a hostile, vengeance-seeking ass. That was beautifully set up, between the years of Michael irrationally hating Toby and his newfound bond with the Yoda and Lovitz-quoting Holly.

Or take the relieved and yet happy way Jim says "I'm so glad you didn't," when he finds out that Michael restrained himself from kissing Holly. Jim's coaching of Michael throughout was wonderful. I don't know if it's that, as he's decided to fight for his job at Dunder-Mifflin, he's grown protective of Michael or if, more likely, Pam's protectiveness of Michael when he's at his least boorish has rubbed off on Jim. Either way, I liked the idea of Jim trying to work with Michael's social disorders instead of simply standing back and smirking at the camera crew.

After last week's catastrophe, this episode did such a strong job of rehabilitating Michael -- see him acknowledging that, while Phyllis couldn't find an anti-gravity machine, the ferris wheel was pretty cool in its own right -- that I felt genuinely sorry for him when he discovered Jan was pregnant (just at the moment where he had made a connection with his ideal woman), and even worse when we found out that Jan is so evil she got herself impregnated by a sperm bank while they were still living together. (Question: had Michael and Jan not broken up, do you think she would have tried to pass the kid off as Michael's?) Where I think I would be taking an ax to my television if they tried to insert this kind of complication into PB&J (didn't "Ugly Betty" do some goofy story where Betty's would-be boyfriend is stuck with a girl who's pregnant with a kid that might not be his?), it worked here for a couple of reasons: 1)We've only had an episode to get invested at all in the prospect of Michael and Holly, and 2)We've had it drummed into our heads that Michael is obsessed with having children, and so it feels natural that he would let himself get drawn back into Jan's horrifying web by the prospect of being a dad, even if the sperm belonged to a donor at the bank near the IHOP.

Michael being stuck in the parent trap was one of several outstanding cliffhangers in this one. Among the other questions we're left with:
  • Is Toby really gone for good to Costa Rica? I can't imagine Amy Ryan being in this for the long haul, and much as Paul Lieberstein is self-conscious about acting, Toby's too good a foil to Michael for the show to lose long-term. I assumed that, when Pam told the camera guys to not tell Toby that she thought he was cute, they would immediately tell him and he would abandon his surfing dream to hang onto his far more pathetic dream of winning her.
  • Is Ryan gone for good from Dunder-Mifflin? We all knew he was heading for a fall. I assumed it would be the cocaine, but I hadn't realized that, when he was ordering the salespeople to enter all their sales as if they had come through the website, he was double-counting those numbers. (I figured he was just making the salespeople look bad to the higher-ups.) Obviously, Jan has stayed in play on the show despite having been fired by the company; might we see Ryan desperately move back in with Kelly while he tries to rehab?
  • What will Phyllis do with her newfound knowledge of Angela and naked (brrr...) Dwight? I was not expecting to see that at all, but it was both wickedly funny and something of a callback to Jim catching Angela and Dwight in the act last season. If the rumors are right about Ed Helms being part of the spin-off, I think we know what Andy's reason for leaving Scranton will be.
I could go on in my praise of this one, or just do a "30 Rock"-esque list of all the other things I loved (Michael comparing Holly to "a lady baker," Pam and Jim having a completely reasonable conversation about her spending three months in New York at design school), but I have one humdinger of a "Lost" episode to analyze, and I have to leave something for you guys to talk about. Before I go, I ask you this:

Best hour-long "Office" ever?


Anonymous said...

Best hour-long "Office" ever?


Sorry the artificial pulling apart of Jim and Pam made it way way too sicommy for my taste. The rest of the episode was great, but please don't Ross and Rachel Jim and Pam, this show is too good for that

Nicole said...

Have to agree with above. The Pam wondering when Jim would propose was annoying and soured an otherwise excellent episode. It makes her look pathetic, and why can't she ask him? Also, why would you want a proposal in front of your co-workers, especially after seeing how cheesy it turned out with Andy and Angela.

(Felt so bad for Dwight in that moment though)

Despite the Pam moment, I think it was one of the few hour long episodes that was properly paced.

Byron Hauck said...

You guys are morons. There was no Drama with a capital D, which is all they needed to ignore. Pam and Jim acted like real people. They didn't break up, they're not pregnant, nothing out of the ordinary happened to them in a season finale. How less Ross/Rachel can you get?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Easy with the name-calling, Byron. You can disagree without attacking the other person.

Anonymous said...

I'll keep an eye on Byron, Alan...go back to your Lost analysis. I've been hitting refresh on your page since 11:01 EST as futilely as a 75-year old woman trying to vote for Gore in West Palm Beach.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was pretty brilliant, but it would be tough to top The Job, in my opinion. (Though the Dwight/Angela kicker at the end made me laugh just as loud as the "yes" I said after last year's "It's a date" line.) The running Kevin & Holly gag was hysterical.

I too am concermed about the seemingly artificial nature of this proposal thing, though I like that Pam is continuing to pursue art and that Jim is being supportive. I think they are letting the characters grow as individuals but also grow in their relationship. That gives me hope long term that they'll continue to find genuine ways to keep things interesting.

All-in-all, what a GREAT night of TV. Can't wait for your Lost recap, Alan.

p.s. My favorite line might have been the one that wasn't said (when Michael didn't say -- not going for the "That's what she said" on the ferris wheel.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I appreciate the loyalty, Siddhartha, but it's gonna be a bit. Got tied up doing a radio interview (about "Lost," in fact) and am only really getting into it right now.

Anonymous said...

Even if it was sitcommy, the Pam & Jim storyline was at least done in a believable way. So I'm still on board for now. But if they do drag it out too long I will start to get annoyed. Other than that, though, I really think this was a pretty perfect hour of tv. Why are you so convinced, though, that Jan actually went to a sperm bank? There's always a chance she's lying and the kid really is Michael's. Though that may be too "only on tv" for this show too. And while I don't think Amy Ryan is going to be staying with this show long-term, is it possible she's going to front the spin-off? It's not supposed to start until mid-season, so that would give them plenty of time to establish her character before Toby comes back. And since they were supposedly going after Amanda Peet for the spin-off they obviously want it fronted by a somewhat known female and I definitely could have seen Amanda Peet playing Holly.

Rae said...

I think it's understandable for Pam to be disappointed in that situation without it having to be more than that. I've been in that situation a lot (though not with the proposing), raising my expectations only to be unreasonably upset when something I only imagined was going to happen didn't. That's the disappointment I read in her face at that moment, nothing more.

What bothers me more about Jim and Pam is that I won't believe it if he goes another 3 months without asking her to marry him and I fear that means we won't get to see it. Of course, on the other hand, I was glad he didn't ask her because I was afraid of how it would hurt Toby to have that happen at his freaking going away party. Talk about rubbing salt in the wounds.

Hal Incandenza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hal Incandenza said...

Not quite as good as "The Job" (my favorite episode of the series), but it's up there...even if the Jim and Pam thing was a bit of a letdown.

Alan, is there no chance that Amy Ryan will join the cast? If so, that's a shame, because, I agree, she was (as expected) excellent and would make a great addition to the show.

Did anyone else think that Jan's baby daddy was going to be Hunter? No? Just me? Oh...

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think that Jan's baby daddy was going to be Hunter? No? Just me? Oh...

Hysterical suggestion, Kyle!

Byron Hauck said...

I apologize for my name-calling. I forget how quickly internet discussion can get ugly. I hope it goes without saying, however, that I meant it in the same way one might rag on a friend with whom one disagrees on a trivial matter.

Stormy said...

Hunter was the first person my girlfriend & I thought of.

Loved, loved, loved the whole Kevin storyline. That was fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Kyle: my husband thought "Hunter" immediately. So, nope, not just you!

I don't know if it's the best hour long episode ever, but it had me from the beginning and did not let me go. It's high up there for me.

I have to respectfully disagree about Pam & Jim. I think she was just stating how she felt at the moment. If The Office writers work how I think they work, I hope that they keep Pam and Jim as the first real example of a real couple and all the ups and downs a real couple has, not forced sitcomy ones.

If Amy Ryan isn't staying on this show I will be very sad even though I will miss Toby...and I'm gonna ride out that feeling, people! ;)

There were almost too many brilliant things to list: BB played Kevin's storyline perfectly; the end blip was phenomenal!; I agree with Rachel about being so thrilled when Michael didn't say his usual line on the ferris wheel.

If Michael's had 3 vasectomies I don't see how he is the father. It is so in keeping with Jan to do something like that. But then again maybe he is the father and she's too ashamed. Ashamed of what she thinks of him when she should be ashamed of herself. Still loved seeing Melora Hardin back.

Anyone notice that 2 writer/actors were "written out" of the show tonight? Toby and Ryan? I wonder if that means anything at all for the sequel or the next season even.

I've often had a gut feeling the sequel would be at corporate. Things could get ugly/interesting if they pull Karen into Ryan's job. Karen as Jim's boss. Holy Craptastic!

Anonymous said...

Oh and a small gem from Oscar: "I think the beard was the worst crime." (Or something to that effect after Ryan's arrest on YouTube.) Go, Oscar!

Chris Littmann said...

Wow, Alan you and I so rarely part ways on opinion so greatly, but I couldn't disagree more.

I thought there were some good plot developments/gags here and there, but the whole Jim/Pam marriage proposal became a crap or get off the can situation for me. Although with all the Ryan stuff, I sort of envision a scenario where Jim could move to New York and take Ryan's job and be there with Pam ...

Also, the ending and the presumably dissolved engagement with Andy could lead to Andy leaving (and a spinoff?).

I thought the only highlight for me that I truly enjoyed throughout was the running joke with Kevin being "special."

I guess Michael had some good cringe-worthy moments, but my disappointment with the handling of the Jim/Pam stuff just left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't think there was a single "WOW!" moment like things had been built up. That's probably where my disappointment is rooted. I read so much about the secrecy and surprises in this episode that nothing really caught me off guard. I guess it was pretty par-for-the-course Office in my book, which is still pretty good I suppose.

Kenrick said...

Wow. That was one of the best episodes of the Office imo. Probably the best hour long that I can remember anyway.

Everyone acted realistically (I'm looking at you Michael Scott). He never crossed the line to being a caricature of a person. Kevin seen from a "slow" perspective was hilarious. That was a great win for Phyllis after all the mundane parties that Angela throws. I don't understand why Angela said yes to Andy's proposal tho.

Yeah I don't quite know what to make of Pam's talking head at the end. I hope it doesn't inject artificial drama. I was also hoping Jim would do something creative as a proposal and so now there's room for that.

Sometimes Jim annoys me with him just smirking in the background and not offering any help. You mentioned this Alan, and I agree, I liked how Jim actual doled out useful advice to the clueless Michael.

Ok lastly, man I feel so bad for Michael. Here he finds a woman who might actually be good for him and compatible with him, but then Jan shows up. I mean it makes sense given what we know about Michael for him to go back to Jan, but yeesh, that sucks. That's part of what makes this episode brilliant yet depressing.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely see Pam's disappointment in not getting the proposal. What we didn't get to see was the aftermath for Jim - and you know he's just crestfallen about the whole thing. As much as he tries to downplay it, Jim's got an enormous romantic streak in him - and that's not just devoted to love. See also his Second Life as a sportswriter and a guitarist.

But I can't see this momentary lapse causing any trouble. What I could see causing trouble is Pam being in New York City for 3 months pursuing her calling. I don't care how much they work to accommodate the relatively short physical difference. It could be the Beesley version of "how are you going to keep them down on the farm when they've seen the big city". Maybe that could come off as manipulative, but I've seen real-life couples thrown off track by less. Still, it won't change their overall arc, IMO. They're getting together and staying together.

My biggest disappointment was that we didn't get anything from Stanley tonight.

Thinking back to the raccoon, I'm struck by the fact that in the space of a couple of hours, Dwight was able to 1) call Mose and order a raccoon 2) Mose was able to procure and cage said raccoon 3) Mose managed to bike all the way from the farm into the city without being hit or having the varmint escape. Quality supply chain work there from the Schrutes.

I haven't seen it mentioned specifically, but the lighting and arrangement of the final scene struck me as a tremendously corrupt restaging of the "Casino Night" tag.

It'll be interesting to see casting news over the summer. I can't imagine this is the last we ever see of Paul and BJ. I hope we get to see more of Amy Ryan.

Anonymous said...

Holly may be Michael's ideal woman, but it's hard to see how she could see him as her ideal man if he hadn't been on his best behavior. She showed a similar sense of humor and vulnerability, but could she really handle far-out, wacko Michael? In a way, her perspective on Michael was almost as skewed as her perspective on Kevin. If they actually got together, you can imagine her gradually coming to realize that she's with a crazy person, the same way Michael did with Jan.

Meanwhile, although Jim seemed to have matured a little in this episode, it was still bothersome to hear the "kick him when he's down" message he left on Ryan's voicemail. He may have reason to despise the guy, but it would have been nice if he had tried being the bigger man at that point.

I think the botched proposal had to happen in order for there to be at least some tension between PB&J when she went off to school. Too bad almost the exact same plot -- a happy couple nearly breaks up when she goes off to pursue her dreams of making art -- already happened on "How I Met Your Mother." (And that was about the most wrenching thing that ever happened on that show.) Hopefully they'll find a more subtle way of dealing with the situation on this show next year.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with where the story went up, but I think they mishandled the execution. Andy's proposal was too out of nowhere to really be considered anything besides a contrived TV twist. I mean I'm pretty sure he didn't even have a line in the entire episode before he stepped in front of that microphone. They should've given some sort of setup to it. It wouldn't have had to be something obvious, just something vague that we could later point to and say, "See, that's foreshadowing for the eventual proposal scene."

Other than that, though it was quite a strong episode. I don't see much chance of Amy Ryan becoming a series regular, but I'm sure we'll at least get a multi-episode arc out of it for next year. My general prediction right now is that whenever her arc ends, a rehabilitated Ryan will be the new HR guy.

Bruce Reid said...

Pretty terrific overall, but while I agree the "Kevin is retarded" storyline played fair with the characters, it still didn't make any sense: Holly's the new HR admin, after all, and would know upfront if any employees were on such a program.

So that whole bit struck me as more gratingly sitcommish than Pam's "I thought he'd propose" talking head. Not only do I agree with Byron and rtvw that her disappointment in that moment shouldn't be read as anything more than that, the writers have fairly consistently made something of a meta-joke out of Pam and Jim's relationship, delivering a stereotypical setup and then zigging where other shows zag. The way their first kiss is immediately followed by another; how upon Jim's return to the Scranton branch their interactions are tentatively cordial rather than antagonistic. Even tonight I think that was the reason for the curious detail of Pam specifying she hadn't read the entire email from the design school. All episode I expected the deflating complication--too expensive, we only have space in our California campus--but turned out to be only what she stated, a sign of her delight and impatience to share the good news with the man she loves.

Till the tag Dwight's "It was all my fault" had planted itself at the top of my favorite talking heads, so simple and mature in its remorse. I can't decide yet whether the sex scene deepens or cheapens the moment.

And agreed, this is exactly the way Michael should be played: boorish and self-absorbed, but not hopelessly oblivious.

Just like Angela must never let a drop of human kindness soften her magisterial shutdowns of Phyllis or Kelly. Biggest laugh of the evening for me: Angela's immediate response to Kelly's bridesmaid request.

Alan: "Speaking of Holly, I realize I never noticed her before she played Beadie on "The Wire,"...."

I'd have figured you for a fan of I'll Fly Away, where she first caught my eye.

Alan: " Amy Ryan entering that rareified territory of always giving a good performance and bringing something interesting to the table?"

Absolutely; and given Hollywood's propensity for typecasting and Ryan's acclaim for playing bitter harridans, it's doubly nice to see her playing such an open charmer here. I hope she's back for at least a few episodes at the start of season 5; till then can I recommend the little-seen Keane for your Netflix queue? It can be harrowing to watch at times, but features magnificent performances from Ryan and Abigail Breslin, along with a stunning lead turn by Damian Lewis.

SJ said...

Great episode, but where was Stanley?? I always love those small Stanley moments.

Best part was the Kevin story...I couldn't stop laughing. I was trying to see it from Beadie's angle and he really came off as mentally challenged.

Anonymous said...


Since you are a fan of Damian Lewis and Amy Ryan, I would recommend Lodge Kerrigan's Keane. I'll be the first to admit it can be (very) rough going, but all of the performances are uniformly good -- including Abigail Breslin's, a couple of years before Little Miss Sunshine.

And of course there's her post-Wire, highly acclaimed turn in Gone Baby Gone.


Anonymous said...

No, not the best hour-long episode ever. That title is still held by "Casino Night," but this episode did have a very similar feel. It hit almost all the right notes, and was the most satisfying this season. A few things didn't work for me, but almost everything else did.

- I second the idea that Pam's disappointment about not receiving a proposal was out of place. Who would want a proposal following such an awkward display from two co-workers? And in the office parking lot not less? I would think Pam should be happy that Jim showed better restraint.

- Does Ryan's probable firing open that position up for Jim? I don't think it's a coincidence that we've been reminded recently that Wallace likes him. And short of rehiring Jan, what are the options for replacement?

- Was I the only one who thought Jim's failure to propose was opening the window for another love interest in Pam's life while she's away for 3 months? It seems like such brutal, Office-like way of penalizing so many missed opportunities on Jim's part. Besides, what else will they do with the relationship? Either Jim proposes off-camera, or they need some ridiculous explanation for why he can't propose for another 3 months when he was ready to in this episode.

Anonymous said...

If the non proposal is a cause for strife or there's some kind of horrifying Jim/Pam/Toby love triangle next season, count me out.

Other than that, I dug it.


Anonymous said...

Did anybody else think it was a d-bag move for Jim to decide to propose to Pam at Toby's going away party? He didn't know that Toby liked her but still not cool to turn Toby's last day into the day Pam and Jim got engaged.

medusa said...

I'm with James. When Pam acted like she didn't understand why Jim hadn't proposed that night, I thought, is she for real? She expected him to do so after that ridiculous display by Andy ("Mr. Andy Bernard")? Why would she want to share her special-night memories with Angela, of all people? She's smart enough to realize that Jim would put the brakes on his plans rather than link their big moment forever with Andy and Angela. That was the one false moment for me in the episode - I can't believe Pam would even have wanted Jim to propose that night.

Amy Ryan was great in "Gone Baby Gone," and she also had small parts in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (Ethan Hawke's estranged wife) and "Dan in Real Life" (with Steve Carell.) I saw all three films around the same time and it felt a little like she was everywhere - but in a good way.

K J Gillenwater said...

Ugh, i didn't like the proposal set up either. I just wanted him to give up on having some great, big fantastic proposal moment and just ask her on the way back to their car or something. Personally, I am not a woman who needed or wanted a fantastic showy proposal. So women who do and get all disappointed when they don't really irk me. These are the same women who turn into bridezillas and think scheduling a c-section 3 weeks early is the way to go to avoid stretch marks.

But the rest of the episode was golden. I was 40 minutes into it before I realized it was an hour long show. The stuff with Holly and Kevin was pure comedy gold. Especially when she helped him buy a snack and pointed out he had a button in his hand.

Not happy that Michael is now back to thinking of Jan when he has this nice girl who's rather silly and perfect for him. But I guess it may work in his favor that he moves extremely slowly with her.

Oh, and I was really annoyed with the Pam comment to the camera about thinking Toby was 'kind of cute' when only a couple episodes prior he was stroking her knee in a creepy, inappropriate way. That was not realistic to me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

No, not the best hour-long episode ever. That title is still held by "Casino Night,"

I made that mistake myself earlier this season (during all the "Should the show do 60 minute episodes?" debate), but "Casino Night" wasn't an hour-long, but rather one of the first of the show's "super-sized" 40 minute episodes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Thanks for some of the Ryan suggestions. I've seen her in both Gone Baby Gone and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but I may have to check out Keane...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, it got upstaged by a lot of things later in the episode, but I have to say that Jim's Bluetooth prank on Dwight was one of his best ever, up there with putting Dwight's desk in the men's room and then calling Dwight with a random protocol question to get Dwight to start doing his work from there.

Anonymous said...

"Casino Night" was not an hour-long episode.

Anonymous said...

oops, Alan beat me to it. You know, it's 8:30 in the morning I'm a little slow.

Amy said...

Hey everyone! I thought last night's episode was great and everyone was true to their character. I don't think they will cause drama for Pam and Jim, but of course she'd be sad...very human reaction.

What I did want to comment about was I read "Toby's" live blog last night...and yes Amy Ryan is joining the cast because....Toby's (well Paul) is running the show next year!!!!!!!!!! (along w/ last nights co-writer).

I think this is great news for the show. I mean of course we'll miss Toby the character, but to have Paul's direction on stories and's worth the tradeoff. (And it's not like he won't be around for the occasional shot of toby in Costa Rica).

I usually don't go do the nbc online things (and the reader comments aren't worth reading) but just skimming Paul's answers were pretty insightful.

Anonymous said...

I think Pam's disappointment was completely natural. She had expectations, and things didn't go as she thought they would. Plus while Angela and Andy stole the big public moment, I think it's a mistake on Jim's (and Pam's) part to need the proposal to take on that kind of grandeur. Waiting for perfection is what gets you in trouble. But I give Pam the moment to wonder... she wouldn't be human otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Angela said yes to Andy's proposal tho.

Oh, but she didn't! She said, "Okay." I remember after Andy said, "She said yes!" thinking -- um, no she didn't.

Andy's line that "Mr. Andrew Bernard" had a nice ring to it was pretty funny.

Oh, and Ryan coming back at the new HR person? Even in the crazy world of The Office (where the temp gets the corporate job) that really doesn't make sense. I think after a mini-arc at the beginning of next season with Amy Ryan that Toby might be back.

Anonymous said...

And in my comment I meant Ryan (the former temp) coming back as the HR person doesn't make sense, especially after he got arrested. Not Amy Ryan, who obviously already has the job.

Angela -- I rewatched the episode this morning and I tend to agree. Pam was asked a question and answered it honestly. She was surprised.

Leigh said...

This is one of my favorite episodes ever--there were so many moments that made me laugh out loud, and I LOVED the Kevin storyline. He acted just like he always does, and that's what made it so funny.

Am I the only one that suspects Phyllis had a heart attack at the end? She was out of breath in the elevator, and when she saw Angela and Dwight we heard her gasp; then there was a thud. Anyone else think the same thing?

Anonymous said...

I loved everything about this season finale! From Jim's Bluetooth prank to Phyllis catching Dwight and Angela -- I SO did not see that coming!

I was disappointed as was Pam that Jim didn't propose, but how could he after that fantastically awful Andy Bernard display? "Angela, would you come up here?" "NO!" hahaha Jim needs to propose when Pam doesn't expect it -- very tough to do b/c she's pretty sharp.

I loved Kelly's talking head about visiting Ryan in prison! And Meredith breaking into Holly's car -- very multi-talented, our Meredith! And Oscar's comment about Ryan's beard. Classic.

The running "Kevin is slow" gag was brilliant. As was Michael's torment when he couldn't rip into Toby during the exit interview, and then mouthed "I'll kill you!" while bearing his teeth so Holly couldn't see it. OMG!!!

TMC said...

Two things:

1. I'm surprised by all the hand-wringing over Pam's disappointment. It seemed very human to me; you get your hopes up about something, rationally or not, and when it doesn't happen, you feel disappointed anyway, and maybe even a little stupid for having gotten your hopes up in the first place. I don't think she was mad at Jim. She was just expecting one of the best moments of her life, and it didn't happen.

2. Am I the only one who thinks Jim had a hand in Ryan's arrest? That is-- did he turn Ryan in and/or leak info to some authorities? The arrest happens between the two phone calls. During the first one, Jim says he'll do whatever he has to to keep his job. When Ryan's arrested, Jim is the one who has it up on youtube and is showing everyone, smug as ever. He's not shocked; he's gloating from the second it happens.

KendraWM said...

Love this season finale, from the Jim prank on Dwight which I did not realize how much I missed them until seeing the one last night. Phyllis being all excited about her party planning and then walking in on D & A, but even more than that the noises they were making!!!!

Holly and Kevin so good and then when Kevin calls up Michael to get down to the grocery store. I felt so bad for Michael, which is a rarity.

Loved Ryan going down and Oscar explaining it.

Jim and Pam I actually find very true, in fact it reminded me of when I got engaged, I knew he was going to propose to me and I knew he had the ring and he wanted to wait for the perfect moment, so I can understand how when Andy stole Jim's thunder, he looked so defeated and I totally get that he no longer wanted to do it there.

The suck it rock as Toby's gift perfect.

Anonymous said...

"Does Ryan's probable firing open that position up for Jim? I don't think it's a coincidence that we've been reminded recently that Wallace likes him. And short of rehiring Jan, what are the options for replacement?"

I thought of that, too - that Ryan's firing opens up that job for Jim and if Pam's going to New York anyway...

But I thought the episodes last season, with Jim in Stamford, really struggled, so I hope they don't go in that direction.

I loved this episode, although Pam's downbeat talking head at the end was a little sad.

Nicole said...

Someone mentioned upthread that Amanda Peet was considered for the Amy Ryan role... thanks goodness they went with Ryan because Peet has never impressed me as an actress with any depth. I still wonder if Holly is slow herself because she does like Michael after all, but it worked here and I hope she is back for many episodes.

Jenn said...

Loved this episode from beginning to end. The prank on Dwight was the right balance between being funny but not too mean.

I agree with others that Pam's disappointment, while understandable, was a bit mishandled. If she was upset cause Andy and Angela ruined Jim's possible proposal, I'd be on board totally. But that she was upset he didn't propose after that scene was hard to believe. She knew him well enough that he wanted the proposal to be perfect, she should know why he didn't do it then.

I also didn't like the "I always thought Toby was cute" line. She knows he has a thing for her. That was old Pam rearing her head. Hopefully it was just filler and not a foreshadowing of things to come.

Other than that - the rest was brilliant! Amy Ryan was great. I couldn't figure out if she was also holding herself back, so she and Michael were just as crazy or not. But, the two of them made a great combo.

The Ryan YouTube incident was funny. Disappointed the video isn't on YouTube (I'm too spoiled by HIMYM), but loved the concept of it. One thought I had about bringing back Ryan was through a work-release program in the warehouse, with Darryl as his boss. Probably too sitcommy, but I was having fun thinking of the possibilities.

Definitely the best hour-long Office yet.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it odd the Holly would be making an overt play for her boss on her very first day? You'd think someone in HR would be a little more sensitive to that.

Or maybe i've just been working in the wrong offices?

Anonymous said...

Alan (Or anyone) - Do we know why Tob y was written out?

Unknown said...

Any confirmation on the rumours that Amanda Peet is the likely boss for the spin-off and Paul Lieberstein (Toby) is a show runner next season?

Anonymous said...

According to his blog on the NBC site from last night, Paul Lieberstein, along with Jen Celotta, will be one of the showrunners for season 5 (with Greg Daniels exec producing both The Office and the spinoff.) I can't imagine that it'd be easy to be the showrunner while having to also be on set as background for scenes where Toby would be in the office, probably would make it difficult to run the show, too.

Anonymous said...

I loved the episode, especially the opening with a good Jim prank on Dwight and the way normal Kevin behavior perfectly fit with Holly's thinking he's mentally challenged.

Reading these comments I thought it was funny that whereas a few people thought Jim's proposal plans were too grand, contrived, or showy, others complained that he would propose in an office parking lot with co-workers around. He decided to do it there after he realized, while advising Michael, that all his and Pam's significant relationship moments had occured at work. Didn't he give Phyllis money for fireworks right after that? It was a proposal idea that fit their relationship and therefore a good one, though obviously he couldn't go through with it once Andy had proposed. Also obvious was that the Jim's planned proposal would have been private, though in a public setting, not like Andy's.

I agree with those who think Pam's disappointment was natural: the letdown of something anticipated (as soon as she realized there would be fireworks) not happening. I also trust that the writers, having given Pam and Jim a healthy relationship, wouldn't allow this to be a big issue. Eventually Jim will tell Pam about his thwarted proposal plans (he's already told her he's proposing) and they can laugh about it.

I thought the reason Pam's NYC class is for three months is so that she can do it over the summer and be back in Scranton in the fall. I also hope we haven't see the last of Toby, but fear we have from his live blog at

Alan Sepinwall said...

A friend this morning brought up Michael's Supertramp song as one of the episode's highlights, and I thought it worked on the same level as the Kevin/Holly interactions, playing off of what the characters know vs. what we know. Because we know of Michael's pathological Toby hatred, we see the song for what it is (an obnoxious, gleeful kiss-off to a hated rival). Because Holly has no idea and has developed a crush on Michael, she just sees it as Michael giving Toby a really enthusiastic farewell.

Anonymous said...

Michael isn't Holly's boss. They've always made it clear that Toby didn't report to Michael nor vice versa--HR is a totally separate department.

However. It's probably even less appropriate as an HR rep to try to date a coworker. But this is The Office, so that inappropriateness fits right in.

Anonymous said...

Another great moment in this finale was the joy of seeing Micheal dance (hearkening back to his body-heaving antics in "Booze Cruse") and butcher another famous pop song. I love that he has the creativity to specialize these lyrics to the event ("The Dundies") and simultaneously showcase his voice, dance talents, and remind us exactly how he spends his time in the office. Perfection.

Anonymous said...

Who filmed Ryan's arrest? Was it the documentarian, in which case, how did it get on youtube (since apparently nothing else they film makes it there)? And further, if they are filming Ryan, why do they not show us more of him like they did of Jim in Stamford?

Or was the arrest footage on the news, in which case, why didn't they see it on a news site, instead of youtube?

Mr. Andy Bernard has to learn that when making a public event of a marriage proposal, you'd better be sure of the answer. (Whenever I've seen such proposals, the couple had talked about getting married, so it was only the timing of the proposal that was unexpected.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Or was the arrest footage on the news, in which case, why didn't they see it on a news site, instead of youtube?

I'm assuming that, like much of what's on YouTube, it's cameraphone footage, taken by one of the many people at Dunder-Mifflin HQ who consider Ryan to be an insufferable tool and wanted to report his comeuppance.

Anonymous said...

Oh and a small gem from Oscar: "I think the beard was the worst crime." (Or something to that effect after Ryan's arrest on YouTube.) Go, Oscar!

That and his remark about Ryan's fraud. Oscar was on fire!

Definitely the best hour-long ep, IMO. I was laughing out loud throughout. "Mr. Andy Bernard." Creed's inability to remember his job description. Everything with Kevin. Great stuff!

I also felt Pam was merely disappointed, like anyone might be in that situation, and I felt very bad for Michael when Jan turned up pregnant, but said it wasn't his. She's so cruel, and yet he comes back for more, the poor schmuck.

Ryan's YouTube perp walk was fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Alan is probably right about a coworker's camera phone capturing Ryan's arrest. Which would also explain why our characters caught it so quickly: whoever posted it probably sent out an email.

Anonymous said...

Great episode.

--No one's mentioned my favorite line: "You cheated on me...after I specifically asked you not to?"

--Anyone notice a similarity between Michael/Holly and David Brent's dating storyline in the Christmas special?

--When did they first introduce the potential proposal? Three episodes ago? To have it actually happen last night, in the way Jim was intending, would have been minimal payoff for a huge event within the series. Especially when Jim announced to Pam that "it's coming," (do most proposers tell the proposee to expect it?), you knew they were going to milk it for a bit.

--The Creed talking head was over-the-top and unrealistic. I could swear that in the episode where some Dunder Mifflin paper went out with swear words on it, Creed himself says that his job is quality assurance. Sure, it might be consistent with his character to have forgotten, but it still reeked of stretching realism for a cheap joke.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Jan and Michael first became a couple because her shrink was telling her to give in to her destructive impulses and everyone thought "Wow, Jan, you look lovely in those Bad Idea Jeans"? Who'd-a thunk it'd be Michael we'd wind up feeling sorry for?

The PB&J stuff made me a bit nervous, too, but otherwise this was a great way to end the season. Loved all the moments and lines everyone's brought up; the only other one I noticed is the moment when Jim realizes he's going to propose, just before the talking head where he announces it - lovely, subtle work by JK.

And while Jim will let Michael hang himself in just about all manner of work-related situations, he frequently comes to Michael's rescue in personal matters.

Jeff Martin said...

I doubt that Jim was responsible for Ryan's firing...I would think that he knows the line between pranking someone and being an ass. The way Oscar explained it, Ryan's offense sounds like someone that anyone could have reported, not just someone who was pissed that Ryan had it in for him.

Anonymous said...

I think someone said this earlier, but I also loved Michael NOT aying "that's what she said" in a perfect "that's what she said" moment on the Ferris Wheel.

I actually went on Youtibe and someone pieced together most ofthe the "that's what she said" moments -- hilarious!! I'd link it, but don't know how...

Anonymous said...

I hope the spin-off is about Cousin Mose. That is all. :)

Anonymous said...

Good episode... is there something wrong with me that I thought the funniest moment was when Andy grabbed the microphone to propose to Angela and accidentally knocked over Darryl's keyboard?

No one has really touched on this yet: what is going to be Pam's work situation next season? I assume the season will start after her design class has ended, so a few months (3+) of story time would have passed just like in real time. Will she have to quit her job at Dunder Mifflin in order to move to NYC for the summer? Will DM need to hire a new receptionist, or just put Pam on leave and hire a temp? Why would Pam even want to return to work as a receptionist after training to be a graphic designer? There probably wouldn't be a need for the Scranton branch to hire a graphic designer, unless Michael (or Jim) somehow is put in charge of the company's website after Ryan's arrest. Or will Pam totally fail out of the design program and return to DM with her dreams dashed?


Anonymous said...

I liked the subtle comedy touches -- like when the "anti-gravity machine" turned out to be a moon bounce and a ferris wheel, or when adjusting the lumbar support required the complete disassembly of the chair, including the removal of the upholstery. I also thought it was great that Meredith -- the only character on TV who has been treated for rabies -- was involved in putting the raccoon into Holly's car.

Helene H. said...

I was thinking that instead of moving to Costa Rica, Toby might get wind of Pam moving (temporarily) to New York, and move there himself, for some Jim/Pam intervention.
But I hope not.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to think that when the new season starts that PB & J won't already be engaged.

Why would Jim wait 3 months ?? This show is in "real time" correct? The ring is still right there in his pocket..