A pedantic explanation of why ‘The Office’ was good this week

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, Internet. Starting an Office backlash now that the show has been big for a couple of years and Steve Carell is busting out all over. Anything big must suck, right?

Let’s consider the last episode so I can explain why the people who confuse cynicism with intelligence are, as usual, wrong.

1. Pam and Jim. Sure, we all know Moonlighting lost its spark when Cybill and Bruce finally got down to it. But this is a totally different show. The comic opportunities won’t suddenly dry up because Pam and Jim are (gasp) happy!

One of the funniest moments of the last episode: Ryan asks out Pam. He’s obnoxious and full of it. Pam says she’s dating Jim. Ryan looks stunned. Camera pans to Jim, who waves. (Obviously, words don’t do it justice.)

Another: Phyllis comes in and “reminds” Pam that she needs to split the sales calls evenly rather than give them all to Jim because they’re doing it.

This show has a group dynamic. There’s no reason Jim and Pam can’t face the rest of the group as a couple.

Besides, in this era of realism, would it really make sense to break up Jim and Pam after all that? Wouldn’t the typical misunderstanding be a sitcom cliche unworthy of this show?

No and yes. Moving on.

2. Michael driving into a lake. Did he do it to prove a point? Was he distracted by the conversation with Dwight? Perhaps the scene could’ve been directed a little better to push our interpretation one way or another, but remember, Michael usually does crazy stuff like this.

Besides, as the commenters have pointed out at TVSquad, it’s been known to happen.

3. Toby turning mean. Here, I’ll agree with TVSquad. It’s a little out of character for Toby to be something other than the oppressed conscience of the office, trying in vain to get Michael to adhere to policy or plug his ears while Ryan and Kelly bicker.

I thought everything else was great. Angela is a modern-day Hot Lips Houlihan. Ryan is a dead-on satire of the young kid with good ideas and no sense of how to relate to others. Creed is Creed.

No, this episode wasn’t as good as last season’s finale. But that’s not fair. The season finale may have been the best hour of TV I’ve ever seen. They can’t match that every week. In the meantime, can we hold off on the “tear down” part of the “build up, tear down” cycle for a little while and enjoy the best comedy since Seinfeld?

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2 Responses to A pedantic explanation of why ‘The Office’ was good this week

  1. Neel Mehta says:

    I don’t know if this has been brought up, but the main problem with The Office this season is the one-hour length.

    It’s one thing to make a double-sized season finale, but quite another to do it regularly to meet NBC’s idiotic demands. The show works in 30-minute doses, where only a small amount of time is devoted to the subplots (i.e. whatever Michael’s doing). Basically, this driving into the lake thing came out of a need to stretch out the show.

    Creed is Creed.

    Best character on the show, but I don’t want to see him for more than 2 scenes.

  2. bdure says:

    Yeah, the hourlongs are pushing it.

    And I so often hear, “Oh, I love Creed! I wish we’d see more of him and less of (Phyllis, Ryan, Dwight).” They just don’t realize Creed works — very well — in small doses.

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