Thursday Night Comedy Catch-Up: The Office

The name says it all. There’s no way I can catch up by writing out full reviews of every episode of every show I’m behind on, so NBC’s Thursday night comedies are getting the short shrift, with my thoughts about the last few episodes all lumped together. But on the bright side, my new house is looking awesome. Mediocrity. Enjoy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that The Office is an unforgiving bitch goddess. She gives with one hand and takes with the other. After a more or less solid episode in “Secretary’s Day,” it yanked the rug out from under us with “Body Language,” setting up what has to be Michael’s most unbelievable relationship yet.

At the center of many of The Office’s problems is Michael Scott. I’ll explain in a roundabout way. I think Erin’s a likable character, but having said that, I still thought Michael’s attitude toward her for much of last week’s episode was really funny. She’s kind of a rube? Hilarious! She’s the new Andy. She annoys Michael so much that he can barely bring himself to talk to her (for this episode at least). But later, when he finds out how upset she is about the whole Andy/Angela situation, he does his best to make her feel better, sitting and joking with her outside. I like this Michael. The believable, adult Michael. But this week that Michael disappears, and we’re left with the weird kid in

It’s consistency, or rather inconsistency. We’ve seen a wide range of Michaels over the past six years, and now he’s basically whatever the writers need him to be that week. Forget what he did in the last episode, or whatever he’ll be doing in the next. And Michael isn’t the only character used this way. Pam holding out hope until the very end that maybe, just maybe, Donna had some interest in Michael just didn’t ring true. After how pissed off she got after learning that Michael was dating her mother, I have a hard time believing that Pam is much concerned with his personal life.

But because this is how the show works now, short of getting rid of the characters and trying to start fresh, I don’t think there’s a quick fix for these problems. I would to hate to see the show lose these characters, have the show take place at a Sabre training facility and change its name to Scrubs: Med School. I mean, wouldn’t that SUCK??!? It’s entirely possible that this is just a slump that the show will pull itself out of. It’s coming back for a seventh season, so let’s all meet back up in a year and compare notes.

Now that we’ve talked a bit about Michael, let’s move on to Donna. After Michael sat her in the office all afternoon and acted like he’d rather be spending his time with her in his own personal sex dungeon, she still waited out in the parking lot for him after their meeting. I’m guessing that there’s either something wrong with her, or she’s playing Michael for something. With only a few episodes left this season, getting used to her character probably isn’t a good idea.

A few other random observations about these past two episodes. There was no mention made about Andy and Erin’s relationship this week, which I thought was a little strange. But it’s something the show has done a lot of this year. Jumping several episodes without mentioning potential love interests that it had set up.

Am I the only one who thinks that the big reveal of the show is that Kevin is actually mentally handicapped? The whole Cookie Monster thing provided a few yuks, but did anyone pay attention to the things he was saying? What’s the difference between a tostada and a chalupa? Well, fine. I don’t really know myself. But for me — and I’m really the only one I can speak for — his character’s just become too stupid for me. And the whole thing from “Happy Hour” with Pam’s chest, I’m still having nightmares.

The Office is a show that on the surface is still enjoyable, and funnier than a lot of comedy on TV these days. But they’ve really fallen into a rut this past year, and with it being one of the only successful comedies on NBC (the only successful comedy, depending on who you ask), it’ll probably be around for a while yet. We’ll see if it can pull itself up.


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