Tag Archives: the office

the office: the final season

It’s finally coming to a close: the television show that changed the way comedies were filmed. Mockumentaries paved the way, doing away with laugh tracks.

We’ve all known it’s been a long time coming– and, honestly, I think the last season should have been when Steve Carell left. Ratings, the plot, and the comedy has slowly been going downhill. But I’m positive that the last season will be great.

So far this season we’ve been getting hints that we’ll find out who the cameramen are and why they film Dunder Mifflin. Other things that have happened this season: Jim and Pam are in the middle of a tiff, as Jim accepted a job in New Jersey without telling her.

They’ve also succumbed to Cousin Oliver Syndrome: with two new characters who, admittedly do bring life to the show, are called “New Jim” and “New Dwight,” as they look like and act like Jim and Dwight.

I’m positive that this last season will be one to remember. And, if all of our wildest dreams can come true, Steve Carell will come back for a cameo.

Emily enjoys lots of things: laughing and watching television being one of the top two. She loves smart comedies involving witty repartee, loud actions and gestures, over-the-top theatrics, and a solid plot. 

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the office recapping: pam’s replacement

By: Joe Finch

Andy’s mom is dead. Robert plays the harmonica. Dwight intentionally grabs Jim’s penis. Yep, The Office is getting good again.

For the second consecutive week, the writers got it right. They placed less emphasis on Robert and Andy, and shifted their focus more heavily on Jim, Pam, and Dwight. They’ve also added some potentially developing storylines, which were non-existent up until this point.

Erin sets the tone early with a hysterical yet morbid opening scene, as she bursts into Andy’s office and informs him that his mother is dead due to a horrific bus accident (Andy initially requested that Erin barge into his meeting to tell him that he has an important call on the line).

Andy, Darryl and Kevin are having a jam session in the warehouse together, until it is broken up by Robert’s surprise visit. When Robert reveals that he is a harmonica player, the band (Kevin and the Zits, as Kevin refers to them) relishes the thought of rocking out with their boss. That is, until Robert invites his former band to play with them, and shuts out The Zits. This part of the show fell flat on laughs, but Robert playing an instrument meant he wasn’t speaking, which is music to everyone’s ears.

Meanwhile, up in the office, Pam is training her maternity leave apprentice, who happens to be a hot younger woman. As Pam wrestles with her pregnancy insecurities, she also battles Jim in a test of wits, to try and get him to admit he thinks the new girl is attractive. When she finally turns to Dwight for help, the ridiculousness ensues. After a few failed attempts to catch Jim lying, Dwight resorts to intentionally falling (and feeling) on Jim’s crotch area while he sits with the replacement, in hopes of discovering that Jim has an erection. When flaccid results show up, the only logical thing left to do (according to Dwight and Pam, surprisingly) is to have Jim take a makeshift lie detector test using a blood pressure machine. Although they find no evidence to suggest that Jim is lying, Jim does discover that he has dangerously high blood pressure, which could very well be a plot that thickens as the show moves along.

So far, there really hasn’t been a gripping story to follow week after week. Sure, Andy’s progression as manager and his rocky relationship with Erin is something to monitor, but no character really has a compelling saga. Although this is a comedy, it is refreshing to see a new topic being addressed, as opposed to another relationship issue. There have been a few episodes dedicated to health (Kevin’s skin cancer, Meredith’s rabies, etc), but nothing of this magnitude, so very curious to see how this plays out.

It is worth noting that the last two episodes have really picked up the pace of this sluggish season, and it is no coincidence that both shows were primarily centered on Jim and Dwight. These two are this decade’s Chandler and Joey. Whenever they are on screen together, their banter is sure to please. They have been goofing on each other from the start, and it truly never gets old. They both find new ways to always torture each other, all while having this weird camaraderie.

It appears that the producers are going back to their roots in a lot of ways, yet breaking new ground by delving into difficult topics such as health. Also, it appears that there will be a new fresh face to the cast, with Pam’s fill-in, Cathy. Pam may need to be replaced for a while, but the producers may have righted the ship and secured their jobs after all.

QUOTES

Erin – “Your mother is dead. She’s dead. She was hit by a bus.”

Gabe – “That’s the best way to land a hot girlfriend. You just get her hooked on blow.”

Toby – “You know what would be the hottest thing ever? A pregnant Helen Mirren.”

Dwight – “I don’t see what’s so ugly about him. He has the broad face of a brewer.”

Creed – “How’d I get this long triangle?”

Dwight – “I’m sorry. I fell down, Mr. Balance.”

Dwight – “Does your husband have very soft erections. Cause if not, I just grabbed a very soft penis for nothing.”

Dwight – “Aww, stop shoving me. Stop grabbing my penis. Grow up.”

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the office recapping: doomsday

There were a lot of firsts of the season on this week’s episode of The Office. Robert acted somewhat normal, we learned how paper was made, courtesy of Kevin, and the emphasis was finally on a character not named Andy. Although I felt like I was watching more of a drama then a sitcom, the show at least took a small step forward by avoiding some of the irritating dialogue and plot direction I’ve become accustomed to. Ironically, this episode titled “Doomsday,” might just be what the office needed to save the series.

The opening didn’t set a good precedent, as I found myself irked early when Andy was impersonating a bartender while singing along to “Closing Time.” Not quite sure if it was intentional or not on the writer’s part, but this was the same character he mimicked in “Michael Scorn,” a Michael Scott production. Instantaneously, my stomach churned as they yet again went the repetitive route.

The stomach knots subsided quickly however, as I was pleasantly surprised with Robert’s demeanor throughout the show. Opposed to his usual robotic and creepy self, he resembled a real boss, one with concerns and demands about the mistakes being made in the company. He didn’t convey his message through garbled rhetoric, but simply told Andy what needed to be done. His bluntness actually worked well when blended in with his whacky little tangents about names and iPhones.

In response to Robert’s critiques, Andy must find ways for the staff to be more efficient—Dwight to the rescue. Dwight convinces Andy to allow him to implement his accountability booster, which will track all mistakes made by anyone in the office. Once the group makes 5 mistakes collectively (according to Dwight, 5 strikes equals a homerun, and you’re out), the software automatically triggers an email alert to Robert (the email alert contains other email forwards of staff talking poorly about Robert).

While the staff is focusing less on flawlessness and more on cracking Dwight’s password to deactivate the software, Gabe wanders down into the warehouse to hit on one of the workers. Of course, before doing so, he follows what he believes is HR protocol, and requests that Toby document his new relationship with the woman he has yet to ask out.

After many failed attempts to get Dwight to shutdown the software, Pam, Andy, and Kevin take a trip over to Schrute Farms, in hopes of convincing Dwight that sending this email will be detrimental to everyone. Aside from the group assisting Dwight in digging a horse grave, Pam uses a corny joke (pobody’s nerfect) to try and sway Dwight’s decision, which ends up working.               

The only major flaw in the episode was that they built too much around a few core characters, which eliminated a lot of the quick one-liner outbursts from folks such as Creed, Meredith, Phyllis, and Ryan. Otherwise, the show really showed signs of promise last night. Robert finally seemed to have found his niche, Andy was much more tolerable when the focus wasn’t solely on him, and it was nice to see Dwight return to his roots as the office villain. The producers did a great job of avoiding their fifth strike last night.

QUOTES

Dwight – “As with all my dreams, I’m guessing it was about my fear of immigrants.”

Robert – “We can talk about names all day. Our favorite names, silly names, made up names, normal names said in a silly voice.”

Andy – “You’re the deuce that I never want to drop.”

Toby – “She’s gonna be screaming her own last name?”

Kevin – “Apparently a big client for this company needs to know the story about how paper gets made.”

Kevin – “The man tree puts his penis in …”

Erin – “He’s at some club where you either eat squash or play squash.”

Dwight – “What does it look like I’m doing? Making a grave for a horse.”

Gabe – “So, tonight I was thinking, I‘m gonna go to the cemetery, drink a little wine and thought maybe you’d like to come with me.”

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the office recapping: garden party

Rock’n Roll Musician, Ricky Nelson, once wrote a song based on an experience he had at Madison Square Garden. Nelson was booed off stage for trying out some new, unfamiliar tunes, instead of belting out his classics that the audience came to listen to. In response, Nelson wrote “Garden Party,” a song describing his realization that “you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

The concept behind that song could certainly be used as a metaphor for this week’s Office, which shares the same title. The show certainly isn’t delivering many hits these days, and the new beats and sounds are hardly recognizable to its core audience.

 The writers nail the intro, as Andy finds out that his Sabre billboard campaign has been modified by vandals who apparently felt there wasn’t enough phallic representation in the original ads.

The show leads off with Andy planning a garden party, which will be held at the very prestigious Schrute Farms. It doesn’t take long to be reminded that the Office now marches to the beat of a different drummer, as Andy reveals a Youtube video of his brother (Josh Groban) and father (Stephen Collins) singing a duet. Once again, the cameo appearances are awkward and completely unwarranted.

We are treated to a glimpse of the past, as Jim and Dwight engage in their antics of yesteryear. Jim writes a “How to” book about throwing a garden party and anonymously dupes Dwight into purchasing it. Dwight’s compliance with the advice of the fictitious author, James Trickington, provides a few ridiculously funny scenes.

 Robert California returns after a one show hiatus, and delivers a speech about how he contributes nothing to the office, and acknowledges that it is his employees that make everything work. Anyone that has ever watched the show prior to Robert’s arrival would probably concur with his assessment. His character continues to churn out the same spiel week after week, and yet the producers of the show seem quite satisfied with themselves, as the tired act continues on.

Transitioning from one overkilled theme to another, we find ourselves sympathizing with Andy for a third consecutive week. First, we had to hold his hand while he struggled with the complexities of being boss. Then, he needed coddling from everyone when he got his Nard Dog tattoo. Now, the focus once again shifts right back to him, as he desperately attempts to gain approval from his parents by throwing this “high society” shindig.

Ricky Nelson got booed off stage for trying something new. It didn’t work, but he attempted to break his roots in hopes that his audience would still be engaged. The Office producers simply used auto-tunes, without ever giving us the opportunity to cheer or jeer at a new concept. They settled on a lazy and repetitive script, because they knew they could. The ratings were always there, which meant the celeb cameos would be there, but for how much longer will the audience be there? Like the line in “Garden Party” goes, “you’ve got to please yourself.” Perhaps I will, by switching to a different channel.

 

QUOTES

Jim – “Announcing guests as they enter is the height of decorum. The more volume displayed, the more honor is bestowed upon everyone present.”

Jim – “One of the host’s most important duties is as dance master. A proper courtly dance sets the tone for an entire afternoon.”

Gabe – “I cannot believe I didn’t think of toasting Robert. Get in the game, Gabriel. Why are you talking to Stanley’s mistress?”

Ryan – “I’d like to make a toast. To the troops—all the troops—both sides.”

Andy – “You can’t triple toast someone.”

Jim – “The tableau vivant is not only welcome but expected entertainment at any garden party.”

Robert – “You know difference between a crying baby and a manager? One day the baby will grow up.”

Dwight – “I can get you exotic meats. Hippo steaks, giraffe burgers.”

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the office recapping: lotto

By: Joe Finch

Growing up, there were always adults throwing around clichés that I never quite comprehended, and to be honest, still don’t to this day. What rule does one’s thumb carry? If I can have cake, why can’t I eat it too? And I would never pick a bone with anyone, because it seems a bit intrusive and kind of gross. While these phrases continue to mystify me, the latest episode of The Office finally made sense of one of these adages—addition by subtraction.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying third time’s a charm, but it took Season 8 three episodes to retreat back to its roots of good old fashioned comedy. The show opens with Oscar bashing in someone’s car window (an assumed snowboarder pothead, based on the vehicle’s bumper sticker) for leaving their dog unattended. 

Following the intro, the show hits the snooze button and does its usual lag, before providing more laughs. We learn that all of the warehouse workers resign after hitting the lottery collectively (playing Darryl’s birthday, who wasn’t included on the winnings), leaving Andy with shipment orders and no shippers.

Andy and Darryl team up to recruit new workers, which is a painfully boring scene that is finally rescued by humor when Darryl reveals that he has developed a soy allergy at 35, and Stanley realizes his lunch has been eaten by one of the interviewees.

As the botched search for new employees continues on, Jim, Kevin, Dwight and Erin team up to carry the workload in the warehouse to fill the void, only to find out that their moving methods can’t quite handle the task (Kevin oiling up his body and being slid across the floor with packages on him went into the good idea category). Darryl and Andy resolve the warehouse crisis, but only after they address their personal conflicts. Darryl lets Andy know that he deserved the promotion over him, only to be surprisingly and refreshingly combated with a strong response by Andy that satisfied even Darryl.

This episode should satisfy Office loyalists for eliminating a good portion of what is wrong at Dunder Mifflin Sabre. Robert California isn’t in this episode, which allows us to watch the original cast interact without the nonsense that he contributes to the show. Also, the writers finally let Andy Bernard be Andy the Manager and not Michael Scott Jr. (with the exception of a random Mr. T impression, which was familiar to Michael’s random outbursts). His uninspired and awkward leadership is still hard to digest, but it felt natural watching him attempt to manage.

The approach of simplifying the format of the show is both effective and rewarding. Clearly, the producers felt the need to make a splash once Steve Carell announced his departure, so they pulled out all the stops (another idiom that’s origin is still unclear to me) and brought in a heavy artillery of celebrities. Now that the transition is fully in place, hopefully the Hollywood noise will subside, and the focus can once again be on the people who put Scranton, Pennsylvania on the map in the first place. I can only hope that future episodes are as consistently funny as this one was, but I won’t count my chickens before they hatch.

 

QUOTES

Kelly – “You want to just let him die, you scumbag?”

Meredith – “We’re looking at one suicide and one weird sex thing.”

Dwight – @Jim  “I know what you’d do with the money. “Hey Pam, let’s buy expensive bathrobes and hug.”

Jim – “I’m a barista in your fantasy?”

Meredith – “Get. A. Divorce.”

Darryl – “Hide is investing in an energy drink for Asian homosexuals.”

Darryl – “Who gets a soy allergy at 35? And why is soy in everything?”

Andy – “Does anyone get distracted easily by bubble wrap?”

Darryl – “My future is not going to be determined by seven little white lotto balls. It’s going to be determined by two big black balls. I control my destiny. I do.”

Jim  – “Senor Loadenstein.”

Toby – “I would spend a lot of time launching my true crime podcast, The Flenderson Files.”

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