Sunday, November 8, 2009

What I’m Watching: The Office

The Office: Season 6, Episode 7 “Double Date” (C+)

This show has always been at its best when it utilizes its fantastic ensemble and gives all of them something to do. Usually, this show does that well, evidenced by the wedding episode from earlier this season which was really spectacular in its use of characters like Kevin and Oscar. Jim’s promotion seems to have shifted the focus onto the primary five characters, with Andy replacing the still-credited Ryan as the fifth, and away from any of the other office workers, who now serve as observers only and, if they’re lucky, get the opportunity to emit one funny comment in the span of an episode. It’s actually Pam, interestingly enough, who’s been at the center of the majority of the plotlines recently, and while it’s great to see as much of Jenna Fischer as possible, they’re not always strong, and the episode feels unfinished and incomplete when there’s only one big event per episode. It’s always important to note that Dwight and Andy will never be Dwight and Jim, and their attempts to constantly be the last to do the other a favor were funny a few times, but not as the only supporting storyline in a whole episode. In this episode, Pam’s discomfort and disgust at Michael’s affection for her mother was quickly done away with, and perhaps it’s the way that Michael never changes that’s so frustrating. His delayed realization of Helene’s age feels so expected from Michael, and also seems like such a both minor and predictable thing to end his highly buzzed-about relationship. It’s not as if their encounter allows Jim much to do, and Pam’s ultimate decision to punch him as the way of getting back at him is sort of dumb. Toby’s eagerness to show her the proper form and the subsequent panicked look on Michael’s face was fun, but nothing great. This episode isn’t using its best assets, and needs to realize that and correct the error.


Greg Boyd said...

The third season has been a blast so far. Merging the Stamford branch with the Scranton branch was a stroke of genius, as it introduced us to some terrific new characters. It's almost a pity that Jim and Pam are so obviously made for each other, because I really like Karen. Andy is also terrific (and the prank involving the cell phone in "The Return" was priceless). Dwight is still my favorite character, though. His attempts to kill the bat in "Business School" were hilarious. The humor involving Michael is still hit or miss, but has gotten much more consistent (apart from his cringe-inducing behavior in "Phyllis's Wedding"). This show's still not as brilliant as some of the classic sitcoms I've seen ("Arrested Development", "Dick van Dyke", "Taxi", etc), but what I really like about it is the fact that the characters are so realistically portrayed and likeable. Even when it's not very funny, there's always something worth watching because of these great characters. I'm looking forward to finishing up season 3 and moving on to season 4.

Movies with Abe said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much. If you really like Karen, you should definitely be watching "Parks and Recreation" because Rashida Jones is great on that. I agree that Michael's awkward sometimes, but I think he's generally funny more often than not.

Greg Boyd said...

I didn't watch "Parks and Recreation" when it first started because I heard it was awful. But from what I can tell, it's gotten a lot better. I probably won't get to it for a while. Rest assured, it's on my to do list.