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Weekly The Office Discussion- A Bad Day For Big Tuna

November 2nd, 2007 · Leave A Comment

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This is our weekly wrap-up and discussion of NBC’s The Office. This is your spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, then stop right here.

If you’ve already seen the episode and want to add your two cents, then click right through and join us!

Well, Karen is back! I was wondering if we had seen the last of her. It turns out she is managing the Utica branch. In the brief scenes we get of Utica, it’s clear she’s managing this branch in the professional, efficient, non-Michael Scott way you’d expect.

When Karen tried to poach Stanley to come work for her, Michael is so distraught at the thought of losing his “sassy” underling that he declares war. After pleading doesn’t work, Stanley’s efforts to be bought off are rebuffed and Michael’s attempts to reverse-poach from Karen are a failure, more stringent methods are called for. Jim is essentially kidnapped by Michael and Dwight who bring him along on a “pantie raid” to… do what?… I guess just humiliate the Utica branch. This of course ends in hilarity and Jim is brought face to face with Karen, who is, to say the least, not quite “over” things.

I haven’t agreed with the general criticism that this year’s The Office was too much on the wacky and not much on the funny. I think this is the best the show has ever been, so far. But I can concede that the return to 1/2 hour episodes is a plus. When restricted to the 22-minute format, the laugh-per-minute ratio is decidedly improved.

I was hoping we’d get a full-on Stanley episode. More than any of the other supporting characters, I’m eager to learn more of his back story. He’s never really had an episode revolve around him like Oscar, Kelly and even Meredith has. I thought this was it, but he was just the appetizer. If the writers are reading this, please give us a Stanley episode! Maybe Michael has to come to dinner at Stanley’s for some reason, and while he’s girding up to enter “da hood” as he expects, he instead encounters a well-rounded middle class family environment that he’s actually jealous of.

The Finer Things Club subplot was fun. Notice that Andy is so dead set on being included that he actually bothered to read the book (he knew enough to know that the George Emerson character in A Room With a View is a Free-Spirit). Jim obviously has no such level of commitment. Oscar was right… he tried to get by on his wit alone.

This is the second time this year that the documentary camera is not only openly acknowledged, but actively intrudes on the action. If you’ll remember, when Michael’s car went into the lake in the gift basket episode, Dwight turned to the camera man in the back seat and yelled “Swim for it!” This time, it’s the camera man in the back seat that gives away Jim’s hiding place, despite Jim pleading with him to stay down.

The mention that the Scranton branch might be worse than even the Camden branch got me thinking. We’ve never seen the Camden branch, right? What if it were true that there was a MORE dysfunctional branch out there than Scranton? What if there was a branch so incompetent that even Michael could look down on them and feel superior (I know, he always feels superior by default, but what if for once, he was right?)? I’d love to see an episode involving this branch. Maybe they’d have an office with odd, mirror-image characters, like in the Bizarro Jerry episode of Seinfeld.

Line of the Episode: “The eyes are the groin of the head.”

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