Tonight’s post-superbowl supersized episode of The Officesomehow managed to remind me that the show has lost it’s way while also reassuring me that the things that I loved about it in the first place still linger there somewhere.
There was a lot in the episode that was hopelessly idiotic. Falling, once again, into dangerous and re-curring patterns of absurdity, Michael and Dwight reached new lows this week with moronic plans, out of line behaviour and a general annihilation of the English language.
Aside from how incredibly depressing the un-funny absurd humour can be, the episode was, for a large part, depressing on purpose. The cruelty that the employees displayed at Michael’s roast showed not only that they don’t appreciate their boss but that they don’t understand his fundamental sensitivity and desire to be liked. Michael may not be a great boss but he’s a really good guy and for a big part of this episode his co-workers seemed to forget about that. Add on to that a B story about divorce and you’ve got yourself an hour of unpleasant TV.
But there was hope.
Michael was able to show back up at work after the roast and stand up for himself, showing that he’s stronger than you might think. Stanley was able to laugh with Michael at himself and his co-workers, showing that there are no hard feelings left in the office; because, after all, all Michael wants is for people to laugh with him. And America’s favourite TV couple, Jim and Pam, resolved their story with an incredibly corny but sweet reminder of why they are America’s favourite couple; if anyone didn’t understand how perfect they are for one another, Pam set them straight at the end of this episode.
But the one thing in this episode that most reminded me why I love The Office was the opening credit sequence. Gone are the days when only the 5 top billings are part of the theme song. Starting tonight, the all-important supporting cast has a new spot in the credits. I’ve always said that what makes the NBC version of The Office better than the BBC one is that they developed their supporting cast, so it’s about time that the credits reflected that. After all, tonight’s best laughs came from Andy’s misunderstanding of Jim and Pam’s movie critique prowess and the pleasure Angela got in her comedy routine.