Friday, October 24, 2008
"The Office": Crime Aid - Not a Recap, But An Unpopular Rant
Why is my rant unpopular? It’s because I'm in the minority of people who weren't thrilled with this episode. I'm missing Pam in the offices of Dunder Mifflin. Her absence ruins the fine balance of the characters as an ensemble. Also, as a Halpert fan, I'd hope that Pam being away would provide Jim an opportunity to discover his own independence and self as a manager. But that's not happening. Pam is in New York City studying art. Jim is in Scranton, not reaching beyond his comfort zone, not improving his ability to supervise with confidence or find his own interests.
For instance, last year we saw him try to take charge, only to be cornered by the staff when he faltered, as seen in the "Night Out" episode. Instead of the writers creating more situations that will hone his own strengths, he remains static. The only person he continues to be is the guy who loves Pam, who has encouraged her to spread her wings and get an education as he dwells in sameness, waiting for the day he can hit the highway to Manhattan. He's still stuck. In the first few episodes of Jim living Pam-less in a paper world, he spent an episode timing Dwight every time he wasted company time; he struggled to understand Pam's strange new Pratt speak about people he doesn't know, and he provided the Halpert face-into-camera as the crazies at Dunder Mifflin continue to mystify him. When is he going to have his Pratt moment? Does he even want one? It's dampening my worship of the Michael/Holly union when the main coupling is in this odd state of limbo.
Perhaps there are too many romances on this show. Andy-Angela-Dwight, Michael and Jan, Michael and Holly. Jim and Pam were the original. In season one and through season two, we saw the drudgery of a branch office in an industrial town where dreams are suppressed. The very existence was to just survive the crazy boss so you can punch out at five o'clock and get that paycheck. Brewing amidst all the drone-like routine was a lovely relationship between a very unhappy receptionist, engaged to her high school sweetheart, and a young salesman, who tried very hard to show that he was not in love with her. They had their talks, their pranks, their undeniable chemistry shown in subtle ways until the viewer knew that these two should be together. What followed was a transfer, a canceled wedding, a new girlfriend, and a very distraught Pam, who gained courage through her own journey - which we are still watching at a painstakingly slow pace.
Where did "The Office" I loved so much go to? It wasn't as if last night's episode was bad. It wasn't. There were a few laughs, and a bit of heartfelt sadness over Dwight's plight against the Andy/Angela wedding. Phyllis getting involved to help him was touching, and was symbolic of how this show can show humanity.
An office crime brings the crew together in an auction to raise money for...what, I'm not sure. Doesn't Dunder Mifflin have insurance?
Michael and Holly are officially dating and having sex. A drunken Pam butt dials Jim at 3am while having an all nighter with friends. She's having fun with other people - not Jim. Good for her, but still, it hurts. A bit later in the day, Jim runs into Pam's ex at Poor Richards, and a friendly conversation ensues, but not without Roy putting the seed of doubt in Halpert's head about Pam's fidelity. One can't blame Jim's for a sudden need for an NYC road trip, but I'm glad he decided he "wasn't that guy". After all, Pam's not that kind of girl.
Granted, it was great seeing David Denman back, even if only for a minute.
I love David Wallace. For some reason, seeing him was a sight for sore eyes. He reminds me of every 40-something executive I ride the Metro North train back and forth with everyday. He's professional in a dysfunctional company, and has a big heart. Will his discovery of Michael and Holly break their relationship into little pieces? It looks that way.
Enough with Pam in New York. Get her out of the corporate office. Finish her classes at Pratt. Bring her home.
Here's a two minute recap of "The Office: Crime Aid":