Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Office: Dinner Party

Remember when The Office came back in the fall with the hour-long episodes, and how after months of anticipation we were all so excited for a new episode, and then it kind of wasn't exceptionally great and you were like, is this The Office or a kind of a funny show? And then answer is, it's a kind of a funny show. It was daring. It took a risk. And it should never do it again.

The episode had Michael trapping Jim and Pam into going to a dinner party with him and Jan, plus Angela and Andy. Jan thinks Pam is Michael's former lover and cannot stand her. Jim cannot stand anything about the evening. Pam is hungry, but dinner won't be served until three hours after they arrive. (That sucks.) Michael and Jan trade barbs the whole night about how each other is bothering themselves, which keeps escalating the whole night until the police are involved. (It's easier if you just watch the episode on Hulu)

What worked: The acting was superb. Jim and Pam's facial expressions were absolutely hilarious. While she had about two lines, Angela was extremely funny. And Michael and Jan were great to watch. The acting stole the episode.

What didn't work: Eh... it wasn't my favorite episode. First off, having only two or three "interview moments" (are those what those cutaways are called?) made scenes feel a lot longer than normal. And there was really nothing to tie it back to the paper company. Part of why I like this show is because it shows all these really weird moments and how co-workers just have to deal with that in a working environment. It was still fun to watch, but, not as much fun as when the whole rest of the cast is involved. Unlike 30 Rock, whose surreal environment leads to more experimentation, The Office puts things in a fishbowl and leaves everybody to deal. This episode changed fishbowls on us, and I was left wanting the old one.

And, we definitely need more cutaways.

Next week: Michael becomes fascinated with a office supply catalog model. Kevin and Andy try to win back stole parking spaces from the other businesses in the office park.

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