Oh, The Office. It’s so much nicer laughing at you than it is bitching about how much better you used to be. Satifyin’. Tonight’s episode continued with the fallout from Sabre’s purchase of Dunder Mifflin, this time with CEO Jo Bennett visiting the Scranton branch. What I liked so much about Kathy Bates’ role on the show is real it all felt. If Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise guested on the show, their star power would be too much for the role. Kathy Bates is a big talent, but that fact wasn’t stuck in my head while I was watching the show tonight. I think she was able to blend into the Office universe better than a lot of actors would have been able to. I also like the fact that the Jo Bennett way of doing things is different from the Dunder Mifflin way of doing things. She definitely has her own style, so it doesn’t seem like the writers are just looking for a rubber stamp, just someone else to play the mean corporate bigwig.
Obviously most of the episode was built around the Michael/Jim co-manager setup. Now, I understand that so much of the show is built around the idea that Michael is incompetent, but I think there have been times when the show has really beaten that premise into the ground. And I mean they’ve really beaten it. People like Stan, Darryl and even Jim have all had opportunities to be complete asses with Michael, who more or less has taken it all with a smile on his face. My point is that it’s always nice to see Michael give a little back. So when, after being told he could stay on in sales, Michael leaned over to Jim and said, “Have fun signing my commission checks, boss,” I laughed out loud through the entire commercial break. It felt good. Michael deserves to win every now and then. And plus, Jim’s a great guy, but sometimes he’s a smug bastard. It was good to see him get played.
For a split second there I actually thought that Jim would stay on as manager for good while Michael would return to sales. Fool me once, shame on me, I guess. I don’t dislike the idea of Michael going back to being the office’s sole manager, but the entire thing with Jim coming on as co-manager now seems like sort of a cop-out. Too often TV shows find ways to hit the reset button with different creative decisions they’ve made. This one was more plausible than most, but in the end it feels like the show was just marking time rather than changing the status quo in any meaningful sort of way.
I’d say the biggest letdown tonight came at the end of the episode when Dwight and Ryan were heading out. They shook hands and congratulated each other on the successful conclusion of their plan to bring down Jim. I felt a little cheated because earlier in the season, when Ryan told Dwight that he wanted in on his plan, it sounded like they were setting up something big. Then it disappeared until tonight, when it ended, without really going anywhere. Hmm.
A few disappointments, but it feels like the show is really coming back. Overall, color me happy.
Stuff I liked:
- Jo’s dogs stuck in Andy’s crotch the entire episode. What did they put down there to get them to do that?
- Andy’s email to the office and Kelly’s reply: “Don’t you know telling me that you don’t like me only makes me like you harder?”
- Jo Bennett’s autobiography, The Good Look.