”The Office” recap: Saving Dwight Schrute
This week’s episode of The Office was filled with tenderhearted moments between Pam and Jim, Jim and Dwight, Angela and Andy, Oscar and Michael, Michael and Jan, and maybe even Dwight and his farmhand, Mose, who (or is it whom?) I would have enjoyed seeing more of. I know you Office fans don’t dig negativity, but I have to be honest: I’ll be glad when we’re back to the 30-minute episodes next week. I felt there were a ton of interesting little moments tonight, lots of things with expansion potential that were shot past in an effort to try to keep things moving. I found Michael’s moonlighting subplot distracting, even though it provided the lead-up for the bankruptcy reveal. (Speaking of which, Michael’s literal declaration of bankruptcy by shouting it in the office deserved to be rewatched a couple times.) I’ll admit there were some pretty humorous little bits at Michael’s telemarketing job (like the awkward and insulting conversation with his coworker Vikram, during which Michael wondered what career he would have had ”back home,” one-upping Vikram of course), but overall it slowed the action down.
The episode started out with a comic bang, as Michael threw his coat at Pam in an hommage to The Devil Wears Prada. (Michael likes to watch DVDs during downtime at the office. Who doesn’t?) Pam guesses Michael’s latest disc by his references to her, which seems like a running joke that could last all season. But I get the feeling that these crafty writers have a million ideas like that, and maybe it’s something we won’t see or hear again.
I do hope we see a lot more of Schrute Farms, Dwight’s beet-generation agrotourist trap. Talk about potential! Jim and Pam seemed to have had a totally okay time, what with the table-making demonstrations, beet mashing, field work, manure flinging, etc. Not to mention their charming irrigation-themed room. And how sweet that Dwight honored their request for a bedtime story! (Not that they expected Mose to join them….)
Dwight continued his quest to get over Angela. He claimed to be interested in sowing his wild oats, but the Schrute family has a very literal definition of that, involving oatmeal, bread, ”whatever you want — they’re your oats.” We witnessed his true feelings when the sounds of ghostly mourning led Jim to find Dwight holding a cherub statue that Angela had left behind (because Dwight intentionally kept it). He hit rock bottom later on when Andy finally won over Angela with a stray cat and a note about destiny. (Guess Dwight should have used poetry when he offered her Garbage.) I can’t believe I had to wait more than half the episode for the Andy-Angela story line to pick up! That cat’s awkward stance in Angela’s arms as she accepted a date with Andy was priceless (a tightly wound cat for a tightly wound girl). And if Andy moonwalked 10 times past accounting to try to get Angela’s attention, why didn’t we get to see any of that?
Instead, we got an appearance by Ryan, hopped up on Red Bull, who told Michael he had to quit his telemarketing job (which had left him unprepared for his PowerPoint demonstration) or he’d be fired. This opened the floor for Kelly to get in a few good Ryan digs by laying a big kiss on Darryl and then throwing in a totally random, wonderfully bitter ”Ryan used me as an object” during the conference room discussion of whoever versus whomever. (It has to do with subjects and objects, and Pam got it right!) Darryl’s going to be good for high-maintenance Kelly, I think. He tells it like it is, which had Kelly calling him ”complicated.”
NEXT: Oscar and Jim to the rescue
Michael’s money woes were the talk of the office, but one of the evening’s sweetest moments between pairs came when Oscar showed off his mad PowerPoint skillz while helping Michael understand his money problems (caused in part by purchases like the $1,200 Core Blaster Extreme). He stood by Michael as they conference-called Jan to tell her about Michael’s plight (this after Michael called him a ”tool”). Jan’s following phone tirade sent Michael running from his problems right toward a freight train, which he had much trouble hopping. (But he effortlessly got in an apropos shout-out to Soul Asylum and their hit ”Runaway Train.” Right on!) Meanwhile, Dwight left the office to moan some more over Angela. Unable to stand any more of down-in-the-dumps Dwight, Jim ventured out into the hallway, sat down, and told him why he left Scranton (Pam) in another of the night’s sincere, genuine moments. But those emotions can only last so long in The Office, so just as Dwight was about to reach out, Jim was gone — back inside to lay a breathtaking smooch on Pam. Yay, Office love! A concerned Jan rushed to Michael’s side too (after throwing her Porsche keys at accountant-turned-valet Oscar). One more for sincere, genuine moments: She found Michael on his freight train bound for nowhere and vowed to stick by him as he had stuck by her. But it’s a sitcom after all, so they walked off together, side by side, with Michael asking Jan to not sell her ”cute” breast implants in response to their money problems. And Dwight’s broken heart finally seemed to be on the mend as he returned to his desk and gave a ruler shove to the encroaching paper pile from Jim’s desk.
But where do we go from here? There’s been a great deal of character development (and tender moments) in the four hour-long episodes that have started off this season. Can they keep it up when they return to the 30-minute episodes next week? And where’s the extremely competent, maybe even talented, Michael Scott of seasons yore? He hasn’t been able to catch a break yet this season: He’s broke, his snack baskets failed, and he’s wrecked two cars. I sure hope he gets a chance to kick some smarmy, 5 o’clock-shadowed, former-Temp butt soon! And I hope it’s not too long before we find out what broke up Scrantonicity!
What do you think? What did you like last night, and what are you looking forward to when the show goes back to 30 minutes?