Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mid-Season Report Card: The Office

Show: The Office.

Excels At: Once again being consistently funny. I contest that, in seasons one and two, The Office was cashing in on the hilarity of inanity--the everyday ridiculous crap that goes on in typical offices. By the time season three rolled around, those story ideas were running out, and so instead of seeing episodes about healthcare benefits and Take Your Daughter to Work Day, they were writing eps about bird funerals and Benjamin Franklin impersonators. And even though season four brought the Jim and Pam, the Michael stories were exceedingly painful.

This season, however, I'm thrilled to see that they've compensated for the lack of typical-office-antics plotlines with brilliant story arcs like Michael's new girlfriend Holly is the female version of Michael, Angela is cheating on Andy with Dwight, and Jim and Pam have a totally normal relationship.

Needs Improvement: I know you've heard this already, but PLEASE bring back Holly. She made Michael tolerable, finally. Remember when Michael made the Schindler's List parody joke and immediately followed it with "That was inappropriate?" It was, and he never would have realized that pre-Holly. Also, I don't find the awkward-to-the-point-of-painful humor to be as funny as basic laughable situations. I will always love "Safety Training" more than "Dinner Party."

Interpersonal Dynamics: Jim and Pam as happily-engaged is one of the best things I've ever seen, ship-wise, on television. I'm also so entertained by the Andy/Angela/Dwight love triangle and am waiting on a resolution. I'm really hoping for a May-sweeps Jam wedding, and the only thing potentially standing in the way (as always) are Andy Bernard and his stupid plans.

Particularly Notable: My favorite moment so far this season has been from "The Surplus"--Pam trying to butter Michael up with remarks about his sexiness. Her "There's that ass! Aww, don't take it away!" was amazing.

Pay Attention To: I feel like there are a lot of people who could pop up at this point and ruin everything: Roy, Karen (who's rumored to be appearing in an episode this season), Art School Alex, Jan, Todd Packer. Will any of these people show up in the future?

Next Semester: Okay, Jim and Pam, can you at least set a date? And it's time to shake things up again with the storylines. The ones you've got going are great, but the thrill that "Goodbye, Toby" brought is starting to wear off.

Overall Grade: An appreciative A-.

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