Tonight’s episode of The Office felt like the concluding act in a short string of episodes that’s told fans, “We’re sorry. We’ll try to do better.” I think that so far this season, we’ve seen the show pass up opportunity after opportunity to do something special, to change things up. It’s sort of like when Rachel Maddow is on, and the remote is all the way across the room. Yeah, I mean, I want to get up and get it. Change the channel and watch something better. But meh, Maddow’s not so bad.
What I mean is that the show, especially this past season, has become very comfortable with itself. Michael is zany and over the top, Dwight is annoying, and watch out because he doesn’t like Jim very much! And Jim, well, him and Pam got married. What the hell else is the show supposed to do? In addition to the show, the characters themselves have become more and more passive. When Oscar went along with Michael and gang to the Dunder Mifflin shareholders’ meeting, they both had a chance to get in there and change some things, instead, they ran away in the limo. It was all a little dissapointing.
Now that Dunder Mifflin is out and Sabre (remember, that’s SAY-ber) is in, it seems like the perfect time for the show to reboot itself. As funny as the show can be when Michael puts himself and the rest of the office into uncomfortable positions, I think it’s hit some of its highest moments when Michael proves how levelheaded and competent he can be. Jumping in his car and speeding away after walking out on his new boss (in a great cameo by Kathy Bates) may not exactly have been level-headed, but I do think it showed that Michael was looking for some sort of solution to the situation he found himself in.
He thought he’d find this solution in David Wallace, but it wasn’t meant to be. David, now unemployed, spends his days eating marshmallow spread and playing music. After Michael realizes that David isn’t going to be any help — and that scene of him backing out of the driveway while David followed and waved was the funniest beat of the night — he heads back to the office. I thought the orange juice he brought back and the half-toast he gave was his way sticking his thumb in his new boss’ eye. Michael is Michael, and in the end he’s going to do things the way he’s going to do them, Sabre, Kathy Bates and Christian Slater be damned. I feel like he was coming back to the office with a renewed vigor, and it feels like that is translating to the show as a whole. I guess we’ll see.
Stuff I liked:
- The tag at the end, with David Wallace and his son jamming out with each other. He’s not so bad on the drums.
- Michael and David in the hot tub. “There are very few things that would make me not want to team up wit David Wallace, and ‘suck-it’ is one of them.”
- Pam asking the guy at the daycare if he wasn’t going to let Jim and Pam in because Jim walked in on him in the bathroom.
- I like the fact that Erin likes Andy, and that Andy is too dense to know to do anything about it.
- Christian Slater.