Saturday, October 31, 2009

Upright Citizens Brigade

Over the years, The Upright Citizens Brigade has developed a talent pool for TV and film producers looking for new faces. Many an alumni have been plucked up for television and film. Jenny Slate (SNL), Bobby Moynihan (SNL), Donald Glover (Community) and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Rec) are just a small example of UCB people who were performing at the theater as regulars recently as last year and have moved on to Hollywood projects; yet, they continue to be part of the UCB community.

I've just completed Improv 101 at Upright Citizens Brigade myself. It was not only a major blast to learn the basics of long form Improv (aka The Harold) created by Del Close, but it was a profound practice in trust, concentration and the weird, magic creation of scenes that are collectively produced, on the spot, by different imaginations. The result is usually hilarious, or not. But that's the beauty of the process. It's not a practice of telling jokes, but the job of working at "the top of your intelligence". You create a truthful situation, and humor can be produced organically as each member of a team builds and heightens a scene to bizarre levels.

UCB's training center devotes itself to perpetuating Close's teachings in a comfortable, non-intimidating way. It has been my refuge from the drugeries of life, and I can't wait to continue to the next level of work. In fact, I plan on going as far as a can in the UCB firmament. Who knows? And that's the beauty of it.

Some of the UCB trainees who could be the next familiar face on television were featured in NYTimes this weekend. No, I'm not one of them (I guess they weren't there the days I was slamming against walls at the Training Center.)'s a nice display of people holding the Improv flame: Clown College, The Manhattan College.

Here are some videos of UCB performances like Asssscat and MySpace (now Facebook) that have inspired me to sign up for training. The videos might not load up on this site using Firefox. If they don't, just click on the titles to go to original site. Or - to watch more UCB comedy, go over to


MySpace: Dreaming of Sharks

MySpace: Picture Time

Kumail Nanjiani

So many funny people who started out in New York have departed for the warm climes and glamour of LA. Luckily, we still have some talented funny people to enjoy here in NYC like Kumail Nanjiani. Sadly, I wonder how long it will take for him to make the same west coast transfer. Hopefully, we can keep him.

Nice article in NYTimes. "It's Not a Bad Time to be Funny in the City""

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Office: Koi Pond ..."Message Received, Little Soy Bean"

The cold open of last night's Koi Pond installment of The Office, made me shout a "what the what-ie WHAT?" at the vision of Michael Scott in full "Dick in a Box" regalia. Very funny. And weird-ish. Ok, so children are more media savvy today and can handle the "dick" implication in his outfit, but was it a tad...inappropriate, perhaps? That's Michael for you. Thank Thor there were no fire eating jugglers involved.

Really Jim? "Face" book? It will never measure up to 2005's "Three Hole Punch Jim". And Pam. Weird wig? Frumpy dress and slippers? She probably dressed up as "Michael's Mom" in an act of vengeance.

It's always nice to be reminded of why Michael is a big giant baby in the adult world. We've been given glimpses into his lonesome childhood. Little Michael was alone. He hung out with the lunch lady. Kids did nasty things to him. So, when he fell in the koi pond on the way to a meeting, it was just a matter of time before the rest of the gang figured it out, and set out to tear him a new a-hole in his already bruised and wedgie'd heart. Put that together with sweet Andy's delight in pretending that he and Pam were mistaken for a married couple with a "little soy bean" on the way, and you have a storyline with the message of loneliness written all over it. If it weren't so expensive, and if the show was scored, "Eleanor Rigby" would song of the episode.

It was nice to see Jim try to stand up for himself by trying to convince Michael he could fly solo in a meeting, but once again there is a modicum of passive aggressive behavior in Halpert. Stepping back to let Michael fall in the pond? Not cool, Jim. However, as the deleted scene above can illustrate, Michael and two feet of water do not mix...and it's hilarious.

The silliness and un-likability of some secondary characters has weakened any emotional attachment for the viewer. Oscar's snark is getting way out of hand, and they've ramped up Angela's hypocritical judgmental comments so far up the decibel scale that she's down right hateful.

Although the element of loneliness in Michael and Andy struck a warm chord, the execution of the episode didn't hit all the right notes; yet, it was a nice attempt reveal human issues for Nard Dog and Scott that remind you of their spirit rather than being the cartoon figures they tend to turn into.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The League on FX

I once joined a Fantasy Baseball team. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, lost big time, and never joined again. But knowing plenty of Football Fantasy League "widows" out there, I can attest to visiting many a home where husband will be pacing the hallways with a bluetooth, talking out rosters while two TVs are going at the same time. It's like they're brokering on the floor of the Stock Exchange. This is serious business. It's also a little scary.

FX has captured this insanity in the new series The League which beings tonight at 10:30pm and will continue to air on Thursdays at that time. It's produced by Jeff Schaffer (Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiam) and Jackie Marcus Schaffer (Disturbia). It stars two of my favorite comedians Paul Scheer and Nick Kroll. Also starring is Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi and Mark Duplass. Playing Fantasy Football and Wallowing in Real-Life Raunch Off the Imaginary Field

Monday, October 26, 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm

The beauty of the recent season of Curb is seeing David and Seinfeld together. They genuinely enjoy each others jokes, and it's a treat to see how they crack each other up while interacting.

What I had a problem with in last night's episode "Bare Midriff" was how some of the famous exasperating scenarios are becoming more staged to build up to a laugh. For instance, regarding the writer's assistant with the bare gut. First off, perhaps I'm just a kiss ass, but if I were in her shoes, I wouldn't be getting all pissy with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. (And I wouldn't have that flabby tummy, much less show it. There is something to be said for core workouts). Second, in seasons past, I think that this would have been handled differently. The assistant would have taken the suggestion of covering up her big belly with a dose of hurt, but then go home and complain to someone. It would get around to Larry making him have to confront her and set everything straight, only to ruin it.

Also, I can't imagine the LAPD would actually take a call about stolen paper napkins seriously, so the basis of that reality kind of kills it for me. When Larry was pulled aside by the cop because of napkins, it felt like an obvious and easy way to make him miss that appointment with the assistant and her mother's co-signing at the bank.

Despite these criticisms (and who am I to do this, really? Larry David is a genius), this comedy is one of the best shows I hardly write about.

Mad Men: The Gypsy and the Hobo

"You know I know what's in there" uttered Betty to Don. The truth about the past finally came to a head in last night's mesmerizing and jaw dropping episode of Mad Men entitled "The Gypsy and the Hobo". After Betty made her bare bones knowledge of Don's sketchy past known, Draper's soul left his body. Within one minute he went from being the handsome, self assured executive with a mistress waiting in the car, to a man who has aged twenty years, bent, crushed, gaunt and clumsy. If Draper wasn't such a disagreeable man of late, there would be more sympathy; yet, it was hard not to muster some pity toward the man who tried to be someone else.

Past lives also revealed themselves in old flames, such as the case of Roger Sterling, whose encounter with a former girlfriend tested his own will. He and Anabelle frolicked as young lovers on the streets of Paris before the war, eating in cemeteries and being crazy kids before Hitler started gunning down innocent people. But, she left him for another man all those years ago. Now she's back, with her dog food company, known for killing horses for their meat, trying to change an old image, yet not letting go of the old company/family name. Roger knew how to let go because he knew that she wasn't the one. Whether his young wife Jane is "the one" he's referring to, well - that is up for discussion. I think the red headed beauty Joan was his one true love.

And Joan. The jack of all trades, pillar of strength in a pair of nylons, a stifled force known as Joan Holloway-Harris, is living in the embers of some girlish dream that went all wrong. After all, you work as a secretary, kick some executive butt (and occasionally, sleep with one whose name is on the company wall) hoping to one day marry a doctor who will take you away from all this. She dreamed of the big house, the successful surgeon husband and children. Now, she has an apartment, a job in a department store, and a husband who is a lousy doctor and whines. Cut to vase hitting her rapist husband's head and voila...he decides to become an Army surgeon. Not only will Joan be taken care of, but he'll be off at basic training for six weeks. I can already see it: He'll be shipped off to 'Nam, leaving her to find her independence. Me thinks if Dr. McRapist does come back from the war in one piece, he's going to find a very different Joan. But that's years away.

This episode dug deep into the past and shattered facades. This is what good television is all about.

Ricky Gervais to Host Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais will be hosting the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC on January 17th. He's the first official host of the ceremony since 1995. Really? They actually ran that show without an official host? I hadn't noticed. Nevertheless, having seen Gervais appear as a presenter in other awards shows, this should be fun.

Source: Variety

Here's a nice Gervais moment:

Friday, October 23, 2009

That's A Deal Breaker, Ladies...

"Liz Lemon you booger-face, I'm gonna kill you with a bazooka!"

The Office: "The Lover"... or "Pam Loses Her Shit"

Sometimes an episode of The Office comes along that I can't help but love. This one was it. "The Lover" aired last night, and it was a welcome return to funny after last week's 21 minute snooze festival known as "Mafia".

As we witnessed in "Niagara" a few weeks back, Michael slipped away with Pam's Mom. Well, they've been doing it and Pam has been told.

Ok. Beesly may have gone over the top in her reaction...

...but I sided with the hormone jolted, emotionally freaked out Pam. Having your socially stunted, un-self aware boss who lacks maturity and discretion sleep with your Mom is enough world of hurt to be dealing with on top of the simple fact that your Mom is sleeping with your boss. Where is the discretion? How can the sweet Mrs. Beesly, the nice MILF-y lady we met briefly in season two, the Mom that Pam rang up immediately after Jim kissed her on "Casino Night", be so...unhinged. Yes. Unhinged. Mom must be in a shit hole of a bad place if she is so bitter and lonely as to hook up with the dreaded idiot Scott. So, yeah, I'm feeling for Pam here. Sometimes you have to turn on the Bitch. And with the laid back "family" atmosphere that Michael lays out in the office, not to mention his own heinous outburts, I don't think Pam was being out of line in the context of Dunder Mifflin's professional boundaries - because they really have none.

Jim was hilarious, but someone online mentioned that he's becoming the Ray Barrone to Pam's Debra. Halpert lacks a backbone when it comes to his new wife. He could have stood up to Michael a bit, or perhaps given Pam fair warning before the bomb hit, but in the end, it appears that Pam understands him enough to forgive. Having him tell her nice things to bring her down from her anger was nice. Seeing Michael leave for the day, only to try to go to Pam and perhaps apologize, showed that he has some qualms about how thing went down, which is admirable in a small way. However, I think that's what icks me out about this is Michael's unabashed insensitivity toward how Pam would feel about all this, selfish little prick that he is.

Also, I'm convinced that everyone else in that office are dumbasses. Michael turns on the "Why can't I have love" bullshit after everyone almost puked at the notion of him sleeping with Pam's Mom, only to change their minds? Geez, how would Oscar like Michael to sleep with his own Mom...theoretically...BEFORE she was in a wheelchair. (Like he should be exempt from this.)

Dwight planting a "bug" in Jim's office in the guise of a wooden mallard was pretty awesome. Jim finding it out, only to throw a prank in his direction via Andy and opera played at high decibel was magic. Of course Dwight still outsmarted Halpert with another bug planted in a pen. Now Dwight will have hours and hours of Halpert talking about pink paper stock and post it notes. That will sure bring down Jim's dominance. Keep listening Dwight. Maybe you can ruin Jim by revealing his buddy's picks for the football fantasy roster.

Creed crying during the opera stunt? Hilarious.

Favorite line - Michael: "That could have gone one of two ways. But I never expected her to get upset."

2nd Favorite line: Ryan: "Hey! That's my MOM!" (as he wore that stupid hat. God, I love Ryan. He's the only cartoon-ish character I can deal with.)

Although I despair over some pit falls in this show, it feels good to write about The Office with at least a spoonful of love, even though it still isn't the show it once was. (Ouch.)

Frank and Lutz Test Their Knowledge of Porn...

...with Sue Galloway, who is woefully underused in 30 Rock. She's a super funny lady who can be seen at Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC performing with The Law Firm - one of UCB's hilarious Harold teams.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adult Swim Adds Children's Hospital to Line Up

Ok, this lame day has just become a lot less lame. Word has arrived that the super funny online comedy series Children's Hospital has just been picked up by Cartoon Network's room mate channel Adult Swim, promising a season two in store and a solid run on the bigger screen.

Co-created by Rob Corddry (with David Wain as Co-Producer), Hospital is a satirical mash up of all the stupid antics and dramatics of popular hospitals shows like Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and ER. I've loved this series since it first started streaming on I also pledged my love for it earlier this year. It has since garnered Webby and Streamy nominations. The show has also developed a pretty deep fan following.

I salute Adult Swim. It's the channel that brought us Robot Chicken, The PJ's (formerly on Fox) and The Mighty Boosh (to name a few), all edgy shows that don't fit into the frame work of other channels because they have comedy guts.

So, good news for comedy fans like me who love Children's Hospital and are having a crap balls day at the office!

Source: Broadcasting & Cable

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthday Time...John Krasinski

He just hit his third decade today. A virtual happy birthday to a guy whose work I really enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monty Python on IFC

IFC is airing a six part documentary series this week, every night, at 9pm. It started last night so get with the program and start watching! Geez...

Mad Men:The Color Blue

Don Draper is getting careless. He's started a new affair with a local teacher with stalkerish tendencies. He's given out his number to her epileptic afflicted and wayward brother. The key to his secret Dick Whitman desk draw was left mindlessly in his robe pocket for Betty to find. The shaky foundation at Sterling Cooper is about to give way to another possible take over.

This episode, "The Color Blue", culminates in teacher Suzanne, Don's new fuck buddy, comment about a child observing the color blue and how it's perceived differently by everyone. In this episode, everyone sees things differently. Lane Pryce sees New York as a relief from the British class system, while his wife despairs of it's noise, filth and traffic. Peggy sees what Paul feels is his own failure to create as an opportunity to find a smart ad pitch. A single silent phone call will make Betty think it's Henry calling, and Don believe it's Suzie trying to reach him. (Judging from her weirdness, I'm guessing that was really her breathing on the phone.)

But the big deal was that Betty knows.

She was always trying to get into that desk drawer. Only a few weeks ago we found her shaking it's handle. Betty might not exactly understand Don's past, but at least she has a inkling of his other life of which she knew nothing. This is a devastating turn for Bets, and with an historic event about to take place in the assassination of JFK, we are feeling the build up to not only an America tragedy, but grave misfortune about to befall the Draper household. All those skeletons will fall out of Don's closet, with Dick Whitman, his pretend ex-wife Anne, and probably Suzie his current squeeze all come tumbling down on his head.

Adding to Don's doom is the uncertainty of Sterling Cooper. Bertie and Roger are the "last of the Mohegans", and new ownership is already pushing them on the selling block yet again. Yet, amongst all this, Lane Pryce (played wonderfully by Jared Harris) was a nice surprise. He's likable and sympathetic. A toy of the class riddled head honchos in London, he's treated like a whipping boy, made to bring down the hammer on how things are done in New York, while trying to be one of the guys. His wife's longing to return to London was sad, not just for her, but for Lane. Me thinks this lad is rather fond of the United States where "nobody asks me where I went to college." England of the 1960's - pre-Beatles and culture revolution - was a drab post-war straight laced drag. Can't blame Lane for possibly wanting to stay State-side a bit longer.

And Peggy. We can discuss that she's Don Draper in a girdle all day long. She does inhabit the same creative gift Draper possesses; yet, being a woman, she has more against her than Don ever had. The fact she was able to cultivate a gem of an idea from Paul Kinsey's despair over forgetting his own, was magic.

Mad Man has always been riveting television. However, I think we're finally getting to the nitty gritty.

One question: After being a total ditz and mowing off a man's foot in the office with a John Deere tractor, why is Lois still employed?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Office: Mafia

I'll preface by saying that I usually write about why I like or hate an episode of a particular show, but when it comes to The Office, I've lost all energy. I'll simply say this:

I thought "The Surplus" (season 5) was the worst episode ever, but I didn't realize the writers had more crap available in their big-o-bag of poop to dole out.

The only things that made me laugh during "Mafia" was Toby leaving the meeting in the cold open and Kevin admitting he went into Jim's office to fart. Other than that - this episode was just horrible. Really? Everybody is so dumb at Dunder Mifflin that anyone with an Italian name and thick New Jersey accent is in the mob? I've got load of Italian American friends who would beg to differ. Michael thinks he's beaten the mob? What is this, fantasy camp? The only person I liked was the insurance agent everyone feared.

We lost The Office to hell's sitcom dungeon where it rests next to the carcasses of Oliver from The Brady Bunch and Fonzie's shark.

You know why this bothers me? Because after the first three seasons of great writing and solid story arcs, long time viewers expect more from this show. It's now insulting to those who've stuck with it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Balloon Patrol

This whole Balloon Boy incident rang a bell. Took a little visit to The Comic's Comic where blogger and comedian Sean McCarthy helped ring that bell a bit louder by mentioning that Aziz Ansari brought up the fact Human Giant had this idea a while back.

This is one of my most favorite Human Giant sketches ever. I love it so much I had to post it. Really great concept, funny editing and Paul Scheer kills. Too bad these guys weren't on patrol yesterday.

30 Rock: Well That Was Weird

The first viewing of the season premiere of 30 Rock left me slightly cold. Something was missing. The humor Still, even when the show is below par, it's still funny. A second viewing could change my mind.

The end tag was odd. Fey and Baldwin's fourth wall breakage, transferring Rock over to Jay Leno was a staged equivalent to The Daily Show/Colbert Report or local news to Tonight Show "toss" - but not in a good way. What ensued left a queasy feeling in my stomach. Even Tina Fey's look over Alec's shoulder screamed of "get ready for the suck, America!" Well, NBC claims it's giving us Americans what we want: More comedy in the form of Jay Leno at 10pm every weeknight.

Yeah. I want nothing to do with that.

Balloon Boy's Family Is Grade "A" CA-Razy

I don't write about Jon and Kate Plus 8. I despise both of them, and hate how they've used their children for financial gain beyond reasonable means. This is also why I don't watch Wife Swap or Trading Spouses. There are always children involved in the chaos with their bonzo nuts parents getting their fifteen minutes. Yet, due to yesterday's Balloon odyssey, sparking images of the film Up, I'll make an exception and mention it here.

If the Balloon Boy antic was a hoax, that "fringe scientist" father and his wife have some 'splaining to do. When a six year old slips that Daddy told him this whole thing was for television, ears will prick up. And - they've been on the aforementioned Wife Swap showing their brand of nervous kind of crazy to mankind before, indicating they love those cameras.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

30 Rock is Freaking BACK!

Fall season. There's a chill in the air, Halloween's Snicker bars are calling, Dylan's got a Christmas album (huh?) in the bag, and tonight is the season four premiere of Liz Lemon's adventures at 30 Rock entitled simply "Season 4". With the cast of TGS led by Tracy Jordan's brand of crazy, Jack being the awesome conservative Republican greed monster and Kenneth leading NBC pages to revolt against "the man" - its return is a sight for sore, tired, weary eyes for me and fans alike.

I'm chomping at the bit for the new season. However, the 30 Rock backlash has begun. Not to bring this joyous feeling to a complete screeching halt, but there's been some buzz that 30 Rock may have peaked a while ago.

Despite the die hards, there are some viewers who've lamented that the show hasn't been strong as of late. Furthermore, critics who've screened the first few episodes have mentioned the humor may have lagged last season, and this malaise has folded into the first few shows to be aired this month. It's evident in Alessandra Stanley's review (Biting the Hand That Feeds, NYTimes 10/15). Stanley is critical of Fey's acting and the conceit of the nerdy, food loving Liz Lemon. In her view, how do we place her as an underdog geek who loves to eat and is a social retard when Liz is slim, attractive and incredibly pushy, nay, outright bullying (as witnessed in the "Reunion" episode last year, when classmates revealed that they weren't her tormentors, but that she was the real dragon bitch who sent them all to therapy).

Sad. I don't want to be bummed out before I even view the first episode of the season. I've felt 30 Rock was strong in 2008-09. However, I will concede: the latest comments by Stanley is food for thought. No critically acclaimed show can stay perfect forever, as the last few seasons of The Office has proved.

30 Rock season premiere airs tonight at 9:30pm on NBC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rashida Jones Inks Deal on Graphic Mini Series

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have bought the rights to Frenemy of the State, a graphic mini-series created by Jones about a fancy pants lady who grew up with privilege, who likes to spy on her ex-boyfriends and gets into some unlady-like situations while doing so. (At least that is what I can gleen from the blurbs. If I'm wrong. Oops.) She'll be co-writing the script with Will McCormack.

I admired Rashida Jones' portrayal of Jim's love interest in The Office, and enjoy her current work on Parks and Rec. She was also extremely lovable in the incredibly funny flick I Love You Man, thus solidifying my Rashida fan-ship. So, it was good news to hear that Jones' passion project will be coming to fruition.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Office: Niagara

Pam's wedding vlog...Krasinki fans, here's your girl boner shot

The Jim and Pam wedding episode, otherwise known as "Niagara" aired last night to the anticipation of Jam fans everywhere. (Jam. I hate that composite nickname more than I hate the word "squee".) It was a laugh riot for most viewers who did some online post mortums. Andy's pulled scrotum led to hilarity as Pam was forced eight hours before wedding ceremony tee off time to take his balls to the ER. The on going joke about Kevin's stinky feet spawned a bit where the hotel manager burned his shoes, left in the hallway for polishing, into oblivion because the health authorities were two minutes away from being dispatched. This led to ol' Kevin slumming the reception with feet in Kleenex boxes. (Oh, and a wig - to bring in da ladies). Then there was Dwight, who for some reason unknown to me, attracts hot women like flies, only to unceremoniously dump them and then accidentally kick them in the face. Wasn't he a virgin about three seasons ago? I guess Angela unleashed the hottie in him. Finally, we had the always petulant and childish Michael, who you knew was going to bag Pam's Mom about ten seconds after he met her.

This episode had all the romance and goofy humor fans of the show expect. Jim and Pam stealing away to get married on the Maid of the Mist was sweet, and scored amongst the famous viral YouTube inspired walk down the aisle. It was sort of any easy way to create something adorable for this episode. In fact, people were predicting the writers would put this stunt in there. Unforch for me, being the bummer I am, I thought the original video was cute for about two minutes before I found it annoying. The newly minted Halperts were down with it, only to humor everyone who was trying to humor them. But if anyone tries this at my wedding (if I ever have one), I will commit mass bridal murder.

To be honest, I didn't love this episode, but it catered well to the mainstream. It served its network sitcom purpose and fulfilled many an Office fan's love of romance and laughs. The Office has changed to fit with the need for ratings. It's not the smart comedy that hooked me back in the Ricky Gervais days and the US Office of seasons one through three. Back then, story lines reflected real life, jokes were spawned organically, humanity was seen in difficult to love characters, the everyday drudgery of the office drone was palpable, and the everyman found a way to survive. I can't blame the show for changing. The ratings last night prove it alone - this kind of show sells. (Nielsen overnights: 9.10 million viewers with a 4.5 share,coming in second to ABC's Grey's Anatomy.)

Nevertheless, it's nice to see Jim and Pam married. And it was hilarious to see Andy clunk down the aisle during the dance up with a bruised crotch and walker.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

1999 Was A Good Year For Commercials

Commercial circa 1999. I spent that entire year dressed like this because I loved the ad so much.

And I loved this VW Jetta ad from the same year. (It ran through 2000 as well.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Office: The Promotion

I think I need to take back all my hopes and dreams for Jim Halpert. I thought he was a relatively smart man, a decent salesman (albeit a reluctant one), and someone who would be able to go beyond Michael's silly ways in handling an office of whiny weirdos. But I was wrong. Ever since season four, the powers that be at The Office have been trying to prove how clueless Halpert can be when handling managerial situations. Now that he's co-manager with Michael, whatever the hell that is, his brain has obviously drained out of his head. He's caught Michael Scott disease, where all common sense has gone out the window.

So the Scranton branch's funds for annual salary increases are paltry. How does one decide who is going to get a raise? Oh, here's how. Let's get photos of all the employees, lay them out on the conference room table, and place a number of beans on each one according to their merit. Ok. That's how we do it in fantasy land. Here's how it's done in the real world: Performance Reviews. Remember those? The Office even had an entire episode about this process back in season two. That's right - the season where everything was more realistic and all comedy grew organically from regular, everyday circumstance. In my experience, Performance Reviews are an annoying yet necessary evil created to gauge salary increases according to an individual's performance on the job. what does Dunder Mifflin do? The CFO makes a random call, tells the mighty Scranton duo to only give raises to some. That's like giving dynamite to an idiot with a torch. Or two idiots with torches. Jim appears capable, until he announces only the sales staff (people who already work on commission) are getting the bump. Dumb. Real dumb, Halpert. You look like a tool, and it gives Dwight more fodder for his anger and jealousy, stimulating more fantastical super hero day dreams we viewers now have to endure.

Pam is now going around asking for money in lieu of Crate and Barrel goodies for their wedding. Oh boy. I understand the sentiment, but seriously - if the couple is so strapped for cash, why are they having a destination wedding? Niagara Falls isn't exactly Maui, but hell, it's still hotel fees and travel. Why not just have a wedding in your backyard?

Ok. I bitch and moan. It's not easy writing twenty plus episodes a season. Yet, it appears that writers of The Office might have lost track with the realities of the real working world. Yes, it's tough out there, and yes, all companies are struggling, but to conduct business in this type of environment spells certain doom for Dunder Mifflin. Perhaps this is intentional. After all, this show will have to end sometime. What better way to plant the seeds of destruction than now?