Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Office - Cafe Disco


The Office hasn't been the same since Michael came back. At least that's his claim and it precipitates the inception of the "party room." Who wouldn't love this in their job? A room where they played techno music and everyone raved all day? Scratch that, I would hate it.

Michael doesn't have the same connection with the larger staff at Dunder Mifflin as he had with his workforce of three at Michael Scott Paper (Pam and Ryan). He yearns for the same connectivity and tries to achieve it through exxpresso (sic) and house music at annoyingly loud decibels. He turns the old Michael Scott Paper into a meet-and-greet disco type place for office workers to kick back and relax. Unfortunately, no one can take it easy with Michael around. Nor do they want to.

It isn't until Michael gives up all hope of the space that the two Kelly's (secretary and customer service) take it over and make it into the party atmosphere Michael dreamed off. I loved how their cliche'-airhead-party girl mentality actually spurred this party room into entertaining functionality. They (as I imagine Ms. Kapur saying), "brought the party."

As entertaining as the party room became, I am not sure this episode works in the overall Office spectra. It seemed like filler writing with much of the comedy coming through the characters dancing their way through their respective roles. That's fine and some may even see it as a way to inject physical humor into an otherwise dialogue format. I would argue though, that it diminishes the comedic effect in the name of almost slapstick humor. Sure I had a few laughs watching each office member navigate themselves through the world of an "underground" dance hall. Kevin made out with his true love from somewhere else in the building, Angela stormed off, Meredith acted as if she always belonged while Andy and Kelly K. got into a dance off. All that was missing was Toby standing awkwardly in the corner telling stories of Costa Rica.

Even Jim and Pam got into the act by making an abbreviated appearance to waylay Michael and appease the staff. I am not sure if I am being too hard on The Office. I may be but, I expect a great deal from this comedy because it has given so much already. I expect to be kept thrown off-kilter, surprised by new events, amused by the characters and to discover new things about each member of the crew. I don't feel that has happened. Have there been laughs? Sure. Are we moving anywhere? No.

Highlights:

- As soon as I saw Bob Vance(Vance Refrigeration)'s secretary I cried, "Uh-oh." What do you think the casting was like for that part? We need a Phyllis look-alike?

- Dwight using horse remedies to cure Phyllis's ailing back right down to feeding her a carrot and stroking her mane.

- Jim and Pam pulled the same thing Mrs. Channelup and I did in getting married. We were thiiiiiissssss close to doing it on the sneaktip (and then having a celebration post facto) but didn't.

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