I don’t know about you, but I cringed so hard, my face froze that way. Thankfully (finally) after a string of iffy, debatable episodes that made us doubt our own sense of funny, The Officekicked off the new year with an instant classic so awkward, so painful, even David Brent would get squirmy.
First, a bit of housekeeping: Your regular recapper, Whitney Pastorek, is Sundancing in Utah for the next two weeks, so I’ll be your sub. I’d regale you with updates of her marathon movie-watching in Park City, but the talkies scare me, what with their giant screens, and I only know Utah is purdy because last year my Southwest Airlines flight was diverted there for an hour. Besides, I’d much rather be with you. (And of course, by “with you” I mean “alone, on my couch, swigging hard cider, and not getting paid overtime.”)
Before we dive into Dwight-Angela-Andy triangle (polygon of sin!), let’s acknowledge a pretty genius opening few minutes. In a total throw-away joke, Michael and (most of) the rest of the staff used the new radar gun outside the office (thanks, Angela!), to clock how fast they can run. In case you doubt that this kind of inanity actually goes on in the American workplace, let me tell you about the afternoon my newspaper editor bet us all that it was so hot, you could literally fry an egg on the sundial outside. We left it there for half an hour, but it only got leathery and never fried, which meant he lost. So he ate it. (That wasn’t a condition of the bet, mind you, just something he felt like he needed to do.)
Anyway, before Kevin could get a handful of Hot Tamales down his gullet (“Maybe just try one first,” cautioned Pam in her best kindergarten-teacher voice, “then if it’s okay, have a couple more.” She’s gonna be such a good mom to the Jimbabies.), Andy strolled in, miffed that no one had RSVP’d to his wedding with lying-whore-hussy-slut Angela. Uh oh. Does he still not know? Here’s where the scant quibbles with this episode intruded. Do we really believe that for a whole 17 days none of the following scenarios would have occurred?:
1. Kelly drops dime out of spite that the lying-whore-hussy-slut gets to have her wedding cake and eat it too.
2. The awful truth spills out of a bottle of Jim Beam that is Meredith’s very best friend.
3. Dwight gets an I’m-Schruting-your-fiancée tattoo…on his forehead.
4. Phyllis decides to finish what she started — y’know, to be consistent.
5. Creed tells Andy. Just because.
6. Michael explodes after trying to hold it in for 12 seconds, killing himself instantly, but having hastily changed his will to read, “I hereby bequeath all my sympathy to Andy, because that poor shnook has no idea Angela’s sleeping with Dwight.”
NEXT: The big reveal