If you’re at all like me, binder clips, you were completely scarred by the opening of tonight’sOffice, in which Jan’s “terminal” pregnancy led the Dunder Mifflin crew to throw her a baby shower. Oh, holy God, was I ever scarred. Was it because of Dwight carrying a buttered watermelon in an apron to simulate pregnancy? Or Dwight saying, “My cervix is ripening”? Or Dwight screaming, “I’m crowning!” while Andy groaned and squatted behind him? Or Dwight’s “water” breaking over a trashcan? Maybe it was Dwight explaining that he performed his own circumcision? Or Dwight “delivering” said watermelon, which Michael then ate? I do not know. It was like the worst hour of ERimaginable, compressed into three minutes. And if the least objectionable thing that happened during those nightmare three minutes was Dwight instructing Michael to mark his ex-girlfriend’s sperm-bank baby, who’s related to him only through delusion (as Jim helpfully charted out for us), with a Sharpie upon its emergence into the world, I’d say that’s a pretty uncomfortable show opening indeed. Not to mention all the places my brain went while pondering the long history of the Schrute clan in relation to the short history of the Sharpie and what Dwight’s ancestors may have used to mark their children, back in the beet fields of early America. Shudder.
I got an e-mail from one of my coworkers tonight saying this may have been the best Office episode ever. And while I have to respectfully disagree with that assessment (I’m going “Office Olympics,” if not “Christmas Party”), I will go out on a limb and say it was the most Office-y Office of all time. You kinda got it all: ambiguous conference room party, awkward dialogue, hysterical behavior, circumstances so heightened it’s unlikely they’d occur in the realm of reality, and a painful gap between Jim and Pam. (We’ll get to that at the end.) Whether it totally satisfied as an episode depends on your personal tolerance for all those things.
So, Jan’s having a baby, and Michael’s forcing Phyllis and the party-planning committee to throw a shower. Things are, shockingly, not going so well. Phyllis didn’t get the live storks, for example, though Angela ordered personalized M&Ms with baby names: Chevy for a boy, and Astird for a girl. (Wait. Astird? Don’t you mean…um…Astrid? Cause “Astird” kind of sounds like…”Ass-turd?” Yes. Thank you, Meredith.) To make up for not getting storks, Phyllis started walking around the office, collecting money for a sheet cake from her reluctant coworkers, then stopping off in the confessional to grin about how good it feels to be out from under Angela’s grape-headed reign of party-planning terror. Here, she was cut off by Michael banging on the window and yelling, “Make a party, Phyllis!!” Yet perhaps the single most important aspect of the party planning was done by Michael himself, when he went to Holly and, after engaging in a little pirate-voiced back-and-forth, explained to her that because Jan is fat and bloated and Holly is attractive, he was going to have to be cold to her (and Ryan) while Jan was in the office. Holly, poor crashing-and-burning Holly, decided to take this as a compliment. And it was in that moment that Jan walked through the door, pushing a stroller…WITH A BABY INSIDE.
NEXT: Oh, baby, baby