Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback: The Office

Last night's episode of The Office entitled "The Banker" was a flashback clip show. The premise was that Doug (David Constabile) from Flight of the Conchords is a banker employed by Dunder Mifflin's new owners. He visits the folks in Scranton to check their finances and possible liabilities. And boy, what a trunkful of liabilities to behold, all told thru clips of zany moments displayed by those wacky office drones. It was sometime after the cascade of scenes of Michael being careless in the warehouse, Dwight lighting a trash can on fire, and seeing that fucking cat crash through a ceiling again, when I turned it off. Yes, there were new scenes laced throughout with Michael zipping around on a Segway, Dwight acting like an Idiot-bot, Pam playing up the international sales queen and the fake Stanley. Nevertheless, it was all filler to set up old scenes we've seen many times over in first run, syndication, iTunes and DVD. Also, Jim was no where to be found - except in flashback.

Flashback shows have always shown up like that odd weird looking candy drop in a package of Skittles. The machine will be running along, one Skittle after another, some good, some not so much, until suddenly the candy drop machine malfunctions for lack of substance, and a strange formation has arrived in the bundle. That's what a flashback show is for me. The only difference it - that weird candy is a fun curiosity. The odd TV clip show in a string of episodes on a long running series like The Office feels like wasted time and laziness. What was also a very bad two weeks for the NBC network was made a little worse when promos for "The Banker" built up the viewer for a new episode after six weeks of repeats - only to find a plethora of space filler. And Angela's damn cat.

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