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Thursday, 25 of February of 2021

Tag » The Office

The Office – “Secretary’s Day”

“In the foster home, my hair was my room.”

Andy just after admitting he and Angela were engaged.

Andy Bernard: Cake Face.

Is it weird to anyone else that Erin is the most intriguing character this season?

Sure, Pam and Jim had a baby and Stanley is openly cheating on his wife (yeah, remember that?) but everyone else’s backstory is so vanilla compared to the (albeit relative) complexity of their secretary. She confirmed this week that she was not just from a foster home (like her biological parents fostered children) but that she was actually in the foster care system (like her biological parents didn’t raise her). What seemed like a sunny disposition suddenly became a beard for something darker and maladjusted. And it’s fitting that possibly the most superficial character on the show (in terms of background depth) draws out the crazy in her. Read more »


The Office – “St Patrick’s Day”

MEGADESK!

Dwight shouts to the heavens as Jim dismantles Megadesk.

Save our show.

Let’s make a sandwich, shall we?

Something good, something good. Oh, so this felt like a great dedication to actual work environment. It’s been so long since we’ve seen The Office actually tackle common issues of the American workplace rather than get wrapped up in its own idiosyncrasies. I know the theme of the season has been how much the economy has devastated business but what makes The Office enjoyable (and, probably, the reason for its being) is that, like Office Space or any other workplace comedy, it hits on the commonalities of working in an office. Everyone has been in that situation where either they are new or a higher-up is in town and you don’t want to be the first one to leave, no matter how much work you have left. For them do it while dressed up for St Patrick’s Day, which is, let’s face it, a lesser holiday, makes it feel all the more ridiculous. There was a strong showing by the bit part characters in this episode, especially Meredith (one of those characters that rarely gets enough screen time). Michael showed up by eventually standing up to Jo and dismissing his employees. Completely believable and true to Michael’s character. Which makes the entire first act strange.

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Psych – “The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Episode”

“Do not invite me to shut it.”

Detective Lassiter has new vigor after some of Shawn's inspiring words.

Lassie is officially on the train to Crazy Town.

Dear Writer’s Room at The Office: did you see this past week’s episode of Psych? Pretty funny, right? I know. I had a lot of trouble choosing which quote to use as my lede. It was between this (from Juliet), “Dear God, what am I doing? This is half a man” (from the coroner), and “Fishing is one of my top 5 skills, right behind profiling and ski ball” (from Lassiter). Well-crafted dialogue, situations that were germane to the plot, and, in an episode that was pretty much filler (since it didn’t tackle any of the continuing threads like Shawn’s slump or the question of a relationship with Juliet), it didn’t feel like a cop out.

I mean, how cool was it that Lassiter was going to follow in Shawn’s example? An insane Lassie is gut-busting. The fact that Shawn didn’t really even put clues together until the second half of the show as we followed Lassie following his gut was pretty remarkable. Though weren’t you guys a little disappointed that they didn’t go all the way with that? They could’ve let Lassie finish out the case with the Tao of Shawn. But at the same time, that wouldn’t be true to Lassie’s character. So, and I think you’d have to agree, we have to applaud their restraint.

Speaking of which, Office writers, I think we should commend them on their dedication to character. That’s certainly something you can appreciate. Lassiter doing things like pulling his badge and shooting wildly into the water for the sharks to appear (information we gleaned anecdotally from Juliet) is priceless. Shawn wanting to egg Lassie on is also a great use of character since all Shawn’s ever wanted to do is pull the stick out of Lassie’s you know where. You know where, Office guys! Ha ha! Classic.

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The Office – “The Delivery”

“Bear my child.”

Pam and Jim look on at their newborn baby.

Behold, the Jam baby.

Surrounded by the maudlin quirks of their coworkers, Jim and Pam try to wrap their heads around bringing another life into the world. This episode was filled with all the things that put the series in such a distasteful state: flat jokes, half-finished stories, and a lack of excitement. One would think the urgency of an impending baby delivery would provide loads of excitement for an episode but, somehow, this one comes off dull.

That being said, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer were great. Jim losing his cool, becoming “frazzled,” demonstrates a vulnerable side to him that creates more depth for his character (much like what falling on his face does for Shawn Spencer in Psych) and some great business for him. When people talk about the “little moments” that make this episode, a lot of them are from Jim. Pam as the stubborn and, at times, vicious mother-to-be was inspired, especially in the transition from killer to woman insecure about the event she has no control over. Although the scene where this occurs is a little thrown together and stilted, she sells it the best she can with the limited time allowed to her.

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Psych – “Think Tank”

“I may not be a planner, or a detail man, or a tax payer. But when push comes to shove I work and I get the job done. Now follow me back in there and let’s blow these guys’ minds. Scanners-style.”

Shawn warning Boyd not to touch his giraffe made from Big League Chew

“Check this out. Not only is it juvenile but just a tad creepy. Gum Giraffe! Ha! Like that Fruit Stripes gum. Or was that a zebra? Doesn’t matter. It fulfilled my ’80s Nostalgia Quota for this scene.”

I hate it when Shawn is in a slump.

I mean, it’s great characterization. The writers do a good job of sticking with Shawn’s quirks when he’s not as accurate and James Roday does an amazing job being the most annoying person on the planet. But it’s hard to watch Shawn try so desperately to make up for his lack of sharpness, partly with his half-hearted “visions” but mostly with his inappropriate joke-cracking. There have been several times this season where he has been all over the map (“You Can’t Handle This Episode” and, notably, “Shawn has the Yips”) but never have I wanted to walk out of the room so often out of sheer embarrassment than during this episode.

The most-offending scene is the one with the initial meeting of the think tank minds. This episode has Shawn and Gus taking jobs in private security to help protect a billionaire from suspected assassination, an opportunity Shawn leaps at despite his “powers” being restricted to clues he can pick up on in real-life scenarios. Conjecture in a sterile room puts Shawn at a serious disadvantage. So not only is he suffering from a slump threading through several episodes but he is also completely clueless without a real-life situation to be a part of. So, while the other members of the think tank bandy about ideas of how to better secure the asset, Shawn makes sculptures out of Big League Chew, tries to prove his psychic ability with simple observations about people in the room, and cracks wise to an audience not amused by his antics. When Gus suggests they should go, I yelled at the TV, “Yes. Just get out of there. It’s too painful, Shawn!” Maybe not literally. But in my head for sure. Shawn’s jokes fall way flatter when Juliet is not in the room to silently giggle.

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“You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m coming to join ya, honey!”: In Defense of the Conventional Sitcom

I’m not a fan of the mockumentary sitcom. It’s become a barrier of entry for me with shows like Parks and Recreation and Modern Family. Indeed, I think it’s a crutch that sitcoms are starting to rely on, much to their detriment. I was going to let my dislike of the format speak through my silence on the shows.

But then Matthew Gilbert over at the Boston Globe had to go and poke the bear. Gilbert extolls the format for providing the “still-needed alternative for the sitcom genre as a whole” and for shows that use the format as the “essential weapons in the battle against sitcom predictability.” And he pays the shows that use the format the ultimate compliment by declaring them “anti-sitcoms.”

At this point, I feel it’s best to crank the laugh track dial up to 11. Read more »


Why I’m Still Watching The Office

Michael rides a Segway to greet the office visitor.

The show sells out during an episode where the company is trying to be bought.

The short answer to why I still watch The Office: habit, investment, and I hate myself.

Really, last week, with the clip show, should’ve been the last straw. There is nothing more self-indulgent and uninspired as a retrospective of what you’ve done in the past masquerading as “new” content. When a show like Lost does it, it’s because serialized drama has a learning curve (and it doesn’t get steeper than Lost’s). There’s no real learning curve for The Office, nothing that can’t be explained in a thirty second recap. “Jim and Pam are recently married. Andy likes the receptionist. Michael is inept and needy but has a heart of gold. They work at a paper supply company that’s going under.” Done and done. The major continuing storylines in a neat little package. So a clip show is nothing more than a look-back at yesteryear and, I would defend, at better times.

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3 comments

Initial Reaction: The Office – “The Banker”

Really, guys? A clip show? Of all the self-indulgent — Ricky Gervais is rolling over in his grave right now. He heard about it, dug his own grave, and is spinning around in it. It’s mainly ceremonial and not any indication of his health. But you get the point.

Why a cllip show, guys? So we can catch up on the complicated storylines? Get everyone up to speed? Or was it so we could see how good this show used to be and reminisce about better times? Either way, we get filler. Weak.