Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Office: Ain't No Party Like a Dinner Party

Hey, guys, remember that show The Office?

Me, neither, but apparently it's coming back to television on April 10. People say it's, like, really funny, y'all.

All kidding aside, I couldn't be more jazzed for the post-strike premiere of The Office. It's called "Dinner Party," and I'm actually hosting a dinner party at my apartment in honor of "Dinner Party." Only Jim/Pam-obsessed viewers need RSVP.

Obviously it's just coincidental, but the last pre-strike episodes of many of my favorite shows (Lost, Grey's, The Office) ended on a really unsatisfying note. They were good episodes, but just NOT season finale material--and, clearly, they weren't meant to be. Thank GOODNESS there's more. I've come to expect cliffhangers, and I really need a lot of good, fun exciting stuff to keep this blog afloat during the hiatus months. I mean, come on. Aren't you all getting tired of hearing me talk about Lost? I need to be able to speculate and theorize and squee for months and months. I need more drama than "The Deposition."

Now, we've been hearing about "Dinner Party" for, like, six months at this point--Steve Carell and others say it's the funniest episode they've yet to shoot. I'm excited for it, but what's really got me intrigued is the third post-strike episode, called "Night Out."

Whose night out? The whole office's? Michael and Jan's?

Jim and Pam's?

We've been told that the season is going to pick up where we left off, but that after "Dinner Party" it's going to jump ahead significantly in time, to compensate for the missing strike time. (Why shows feel they have to keep up with the calendar is beyond me. Lost has covered a grand three months of real time, and who freakin' knows what the deal really is with time on that show. Grey's Anatomy's first three seasons covered one measly calendar year. We don't care!) Now, Jim and Pam's storyline is GREAT just the way it is. I've actually LOVED the way it's being handled. Mostly in-office stuff where they get a B-story about their behind-the-scenes romance, and occasional episodes like "Money" where we get to see them outside of the office being super-couply. It works.

But is it realistic for them to stay boyfriend/girlfriend for too long? If the strike hadn't happened, I'd feel pretty confident in saying that Jim and Pam would be engaged by/in the season finale of this year. They would have been able to exhaust normal couple-like scenarios and move on to normal betrothed-couple-like scenarios. But now it might feel rushed. Calendar-wise, they're still on target for engaged-dom. But episode-wise, they've only been together for a short while.

I just feel like Jim and Pam don't need a long courtship. When you know, you know, and Jim's known for, like, years. Pam came a little late to the party, but one need only look at her presh all-smiles face in "Fun Run" or her delighted post-kiss silent squee in "Money" to know that she's pretty much figured this one out, too. Could we see a May-sweeps Jam engagement? Gosh, I hope so. Could you imagine if I got to see a "spectacular" Jate kiss, a Jam engagement, and Mer/Der together forever all in the course of one finale month?

I would just die. Like, I think my insides would all melt and I would just be reduced to a pile of squee.

That's three times now that I've used squee in this blog alone. That is sad. Whatever, it's the best descriptive word for what I'm trying to express.

The way I see it, if Greg Daniels & Co. want to give Jam fans a cliffhanger, there are a couple of options. You've got your tried and true pregnancy scare, engagement, or break-up, and those all just seem too used for The Office.

What I could see, and this is obviously early in the game, seeing as the first post-strike episode hasn't even aired yet, is Jim and/or Pam quitting Dunder-Mifflin. Before the strike, it seemed that both characters were nudging each other toward bigger and better things. Pam was getting into the graphic design, Jim was wishing he could be more like his Second Life self. That would definitely be a game-changer for the show, but whereas Ryan's exodus left us with plenty of opportunities to see the corporate newbie, Jim and Pam aren't moving to corporate. So it's not like they'd have the chance to have a Dunder-Mifflin story beyond, you know, Pam bringing Jim his lunch. So while ultimately Jim and Pam are destined for life beyond Dunder-Mifflin, maybe now's not the time story-wise. I'm sure the crew will come up with something better for them anyway.

This whole discussion is surely premature, seeing as literally all I have to go on is that the title of that episode is called "Night Out." But a girl can dream, right?

In any case, I'm just glad to have it back. I sort of forgot what it's like to have four nights of appointment TV a week. I'm realizing now that I should probably get TiVo.

One more thing: Jim and Pam's wedding? Ring exchange: "Absolutely I do."

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