After two weeks of Dunder-Mifflin bliss, “Christening” was an unwelcome turn of events: Forced, off pitch, and strenuously unfunny. I for one do not feel like this episode renewed my soul and welcomed me into the community of the light.
It was baby Cece’s baptism, and everyone from the office was there — even though the Halperts hadn’t invited them. Michael called the infant a “b-i-t-c-h,” and Pam had to make him swear out loud that he knew he wasn’t the baby’s godfather. Who was? Oh, just some rando Pam met through a mommy and me class. Wait, what? They don’t have any long-term friends or relatives they’d ask? I kind of wish Michael was Cece’s godfather. Maybe that would have been funny…
The Dunderheads were also crashing the post-service brunch, where despite Pam’s hopes for a loaves-and-fishes situation, there just wasn’t enough food. Everyone got grumpy! Ha, ha?
Other hungry mouths at the baptism brunch included a group of college-aged kids heading off to do relief work in Mexico. Their enthusiasm (and the glowing response they got from the congregation) coupled with the Dunder-Mifflinites acting like “mean girls, from the movie Mean Girls” pushed Michael, and then Andy, to get on their bus and head south. We’ve seen Michael react intensely around teenagers before — his nephew this season, “Scott’s Tots” last season, the kidnapped pizza boy back in the day. Seeing it again didn’t add any development to his character or to the show’s broader arcs; it just seemed weird, and not that humorous.
The only high point of the ep? Sabre Hygiene Day. The opening segment found Pam educating her officemates about the dangers of germs and the best ways to stay healthy, only to have Dwight undermine the entire process. If he had his way, there’d be bowls of dirt, vomit, and feces everywhere, but he settled on just having everyone sneeze on him. Hee.
++ Kelly’s “yo mama” joke
++ “Does the Nard Dog want Nard pups?” Oh, Andy.
++ Creed and Darryl leaning against each other in the church
++ Erin sighing, “I wish I had a job I could just leave”
++ Toby’s “Two Cathedrals” moment, walking into the church and lamenting, “Why you always gotta be so mean to me?”
++ Jim believing Angela stole his baby
I don’t know, Officers. “Christening” just didn’t hit the way “Costume Contest” or “The Sting” or even “Andy’s Play” did. Where was the emotional heft? Where was the moment of transformation? Why would Stanley come to a baptism for the child of coworkers he doesn’t even care about?
But maybe you loved it. So let’s hear it: What did you think of last night’s episode? Did The Office do a better job with the stand-up-and-ask-for-prayers bit that Glee and The Big C, which just showcased very similar moments?