Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Office- Company Picnic


No one does a barbecue like a mid level paper company. This episode had a little for everyone: Volleyball, Rolf, and branch logo t-shirts. (Spoilers ahead)

Season 3 ended with Pam and Mrs. Channelup crying. This season ended with Jim and Mrs. Channelup crying. We'll get to that in a second.

First, the company picnic gave a chance for the writers to find doppelgangers for some of the characters. We met Dwight's friend Rolf, Toby's HR compadre, and the obvious Buffalo branch version of Jim. I talked last week about writers apparent goal to make each character as ridiculous as possible. I thought Company Picnic scaled it back to classic-Office sensibility. (Is it too early to call something "classic Office?" Its been around long enough I suppose.) Tonight we saw the characters little flaws more on the periphery rather than throwing the absurdity right in our faces. Where I thought last week the cafe disco was over the top, the volleyball game offered the perfect chance to laugh at how each Office member would react to an inter-company competition.

Where that storyline worked for me, the Michael/ Holly arc just confuses me. Bringing it back in this episode may be part of some grander scheme, but I just don't see it. It's not that I can't see them being together; they are obviously perfect. It's that I don't understand the waffling or the long term implications of their separation. Michael imagines them taking years and years to find each other, and while the sweetness is implicit, the arc just may extend needlessly over another season. I don't particularly look forward to another season of Michael pining over Holly, because as much as he wants to believe he likes the time and distance, Michael Scott is just not that kind of person.

And finally, the BIG NEWS!!!!! In season 3 we were (sort of) surprised at Jim's asking out Pam. Her reaction was classic and touching. Tonight's baby announcement (we assume because they never actually said it) was a perfect a way to let viewers in on the joy this kind of thing brings. Turning the mics off and allowing us to just watch without any punchlines or crazy remarks made it that much better. I felt like I saw a real couple actually get the news. A truly great television moment.

Highlights
- For the fifty thousandth time this year I am reminded (and almost scolded) for not having seen Slumdog Millionaire

- Anyone else hate Charles Minor (Stringer Bell) as much as me? Probably not, but their handling of that situation worked out well and I am very glad it didn't end in some kind of awkward fight between he and Jim

- Michael and Holly unknowingly announcing the closing of the Buffalo branch probably does mean they are meant to be.

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