On ''The Office,'' Pam cracks under pressure when Karen confronts her about Jim; meanwhile, a stripper sends Michael into a panic

By Abby West
February 04, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
  • TV Show

”The Office”: The naked truth

Okay. I have to start this off with a question, guys, because I’ve exhausted my DVR trying to figure it out and I simply must know: What the heck did Jan say just before she hung up on Michael’s stripper confession? My closed captioning didn’t get it and I need to know!

More on that later. On to the really interesting moment of the evening.

The Pam/Karen confrontation was as uncomfortable as I could possibly hope for. It’s so gratifying to see Pam’s armor cracking. It may have started with that cry in the hallway a few weeks ago, but her subconscious is throwing her big clues about her attraction to Jim. Pam was totally flustered when Karen announced that she knew about the kiss that Pam and Jim shared and asked if Pam was still interested in Jim. Yes. No. I misunderstood the question. Awesome. She’s running so far away from the truth that it’s heartbreaking. (Her asking Ryan to set her up with a business-school friend was the most obvious thing in the world to everyone except for Jim, apparently.) Karen wasn’t much better, what with the calculated hugs and announcement that she was Jim’s girlfriend. Between Pam’s nervous talking and Karen’s overcompensating smothering, it’s no wonder that Jim had the look of a drowning man and chose a blond stripper instead of brunet or redhead. (Did Dwight give him that choice on purpose?)

Back to yet another ridiculous Packer suggestion that gullible Michael ran with. In a way it’s always nice to see Packer. His visits are brief, and they inevitably end in Michael doing something stupid and entertaining. Hiring a stripper for an office party and then freaking out that he’d done it completely followed Michael’s act-now-think-later pattern of behavior. (Yay for Roy’s “Pam’s art is sexy” line. That guy plays earnest so well.) So it was no surprise that Michael felt compelled to pull Jan out of a meeting to confess.

Even though none of the guys was gung-ho about the stripper, the girls had decidedly fewer options, since Jim booked an educational impersonator instead of a male stripper, much to the chagrin of everyone except for Angela. The look of rapt attention on Angela’s face as creepy Ben Franklin started his history lesson was priceless. I love the subtleties from Angela, like the little flutter of revulsion she had when the stripper praised her babies-playing-instruments poster.

Creed-Creep-O-Meter: 3 Watching him tear into that steak cooked on Michael’s grill (yes, the same one he stepped on back in the day) made me queasy.

There was no sign of Andy, who is probably still off in anger-management training. (For those who didn’t watch the producer’s cut on NBC.com last week, after punching a hole in the wall, Andy was sent to anger-management training, which he planned to complete in five weeks instead of eight by employing his killer personality-mirroring method.) But don’t worry. He’ll definitely be back, because actor Ed Helms is now a regular on the show. I think Helms can be a very funny man, but the only way I really could stomach his insufferable Andy was because I anticipated his exit. It’s kind of like childbirth: You can take the pain because you know it’ll end at some point. But now what? Where do we go with this character and his dynamic with Michael/Dwight/Jim (and everyone else, for that matter)? PopWatcher Annie Barrett is pleading for personal development. That would be nice. I guess that since I love the writing and acting so much, I’m willing to trust that the writers will make this work.

How about you? Are you howling with laughter in anticipation of Andy’s return, or howling mad that there’s no end in sight? What kind of madness do you want to see at Phyllis’ wedding next week?

Episode Recaps

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
  • TV Show
  • 9
  • 03/24/05-05/16/13
Complete Coverage
Available For Streaming On