”Oh, hello, Mutter. Good news, I’ve married. Tell Vater…”
I bow down to the writers of last night’s episode of The Office, Paul Lieberstein (a.k.a. Toby) and Jenny Celotta. What better way to start off the fourth-season closer than with a classic Jim/Pam prank on Dwight — complete with an allusion to Dwight’s creepy Amish/German/Roman Catholic/who-really-knows ancestry? (I’ll never forget when he said his travel visa was protested by the Shoah foundation in ”Dunder Mifflin Infinity.”) Then to follow that intro by kicking it old-school with an episode set almost entirely at Dunder Mifflin, with Michael chasing a lady (guest star Amy Ryan as the new HR rep replacing Toby), Phyllis and Angela fighting over party planning (sorry, Monkey, a bouncy house beats butter-cream cake any day), and both Jim and Pam (almost) getting what they want out of life? Timeless.
I hope we can all agree that yesterday’s show was tops. Just one complaint: not enough Oscar! Not enough Stanley! Not enough Kelly or Darryl! Maybe next year Greg Daniels, producer extraordinaire, can get NBC to give him an hour and a half for the finale. I wouldn’t have lost a second of last night’s goings-on, I just feel a bit sad that, minus Leslie David Baker’s Stanley, these excellent actors/characters haven’t been highlighted nearly enough since the series’ return in April.
So where should we start? Dwight’s cousin Mose hiding a raccoon in Holly’s car, or Meredith knowing how to break into it? Angela having only two pictures of Toby, both taken in the office kitchen? Or Michael carrying his senile Nana’s birthday money in a secret compartment in his shoe? (A Get Smartallusion?) Creed asking the cameraman, ”Really, what do I do here?” Or Jim setting up the perfect night — fireworks! — to ask Pam for her hand in marriage?
I pick Jim and Pam. Unlike with the previous three seasons, I don’t feel that their story line concluded on much of a cliffhanger — this is a good thing, not a bad one. Sure, Jim didn’t get to propose, and damn, she looked sad (which always makes me sad — Jenna Fischer does the best ”hurt” face since Marcel Marceau, and his was painted on). But I still think he’ll do it at some point. Plus, I was so high from Pam’s acceptance to Pratt’s design school and Jim’s unflinching support of her career (hateful Roy didn’t want her to take courses in the city) at the beginning of the ep that it was hard to get too disappointed at the end.
NEXT: Ryan’s fate