Friday, October 17, 2008

The Office: "Baby Shower" or "Who Let Crazy Out of the Cage?"

Last night's episode, "Baby Shower", was a mixed bag of horror, eye rolls, disgust, laughs and heartfelt, tearful moments. The cold open was an assault of the senses as Dwight and Michael prepare to give birth to a watermelon. Dwight pushing out a butter smeared gourd was disturbing. If Jim hadn't intercepted the vision of Dwight's water breaking with his sane rundown of the absurdity, I would have run for the Smirnoff's sooner than expected.

"?" = "Delusional". Glad you said it, Jim.

Meanwhile, back to the A-story. The baby shower gets underway. Phyllis, whose Olympian success in making the Dunder Mifflin parking lot in "Goodbye Toby" an outdoor Chuckie Cheese, and earned her promotion over Angela as head party planner, is losing her touch. This shower makes Angela's previous party bore fests look like a ballroom wedding.

Michael warns Holly that he's going to have to pretend treat her like crap in front of Jan, so her witchcraft spells won't hatch and hurt them both. Holly is befuddled, but seems to understand.

The Bitch Fiend, AKA Jan, walks in with a newly baked baby, fresh from the oven, much to Michael's disappointment. He was all ready to help with the birthing of Astrid, AKA "Astird" too! He had Dwight's Magic Marker! Gotta place an ID on that baby or else she'll get scooped up by a mother who isn't crazy.

Suddenly, with no warning, Jan starts singing a Dusty Springfield classic to the comatose Astrid, and to entertain the group with her voice of poison. Twenty minutes go by, and it's "Jan Levinson, Live from the Break Room Lounge!". Jim walks out. Eyes glaze over. Shut up, Jan.

Cue - The Cold Winds From Hell: Holly, in all her Michael-type dorkiness, made a funny to Jan. Jan summoned the bats from Hades to descend upon the receptionist desk and humiliate Miss Flax to hell. God help us all. There is no humor, only ice water flowing through the Levinson veins.

If I have to view another episode where Dwight acts like a total cartoon idiot, I will cry. As soon as Jan's baby carriage was revealed to have cost $1,200, it was only a matter of time before Dwight would give it the inevitable Schrute test of doom.

Meanwhile, back in the land of Jim and Pam, it appears their separate lives are causing miscommunication and various language barriers. "Stacy Comesinagin" is not from France, but from England, and is a guy - as per Pam. Oh nevermind...she has to run into Digi-whatever class before her brains spill out. Jim is perplexed. Suddenly, the stomachs of thousands of Jammers are heaving from the pain of Pam being all swept up in a new foreign land called New York, where she's been brainwashed into learning an indecipherable language, while being all hip and cool. But all is well, as we see Pam, in a noisy laundry room, also fail to understand Jim's account of how Jan's toxic sing-song fumes are wafting through bull pen. Even Steven. Pam hasn't gone all funky town. Jim isn't lost in her artsy dust. They are just having a busy day where phone tag and noisy laundry machines rule. She misses home. She misses Jim. He wishes she were home. He misses her, concerned for her safety in the weirdness of a laundromat. As the day unwinds, and phone tag is turned into perfectly timed voice mail messages eerily speaking of similar stories, we realize that when they are not in synch, they are always in synch. "I'm being safe" she assures him. "Stay safe, Beesly".

With a sense of smell shared only by a hound from hell, Jan sniffed out a possible Michael and Holly attraction. "Don't date Holly", the wicked Levinson said to the shivering Michael. But Michael wasn't shivering in fear. He was quaking with courage and an awakening. He couldn't be Astrid's "baby daddy", and Jan made him feel horrible all the time. Yet, Holly's Lady Baker goodness made him feel better. In a lovely, unexpected moment, he gives Holly a very tender hug, filled with love and relief. The tears in Holly's eyes said it all. "Want to go out?" "Yes." Moments like these remind me why I love this show.

It's a good thing that Michael grew a pair before Jan turned him on to a 529 college fund for Astrid.

Here's a two minute replay of "Baby Shower":

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