As the Scranton office tries to drop pounds in a company competition, we catch up with our favorite paper pushers

By Aubry D'Arminio
Updated September 27, 2008 at 03:51 AM EDT
Chris Haston/NBC

You can’t beat an episode that begins with a fountain of cheese. My only hope is that Pam and Jim will also have one at their wedding —now that they’re engaged! Sure, it happened at the show’s end, but I thought we’d jump right in with what everybody cares most about anyway. Well, that and discovering the identity of Jan’s real baby daddy (sperm bank, shmerm bank). And seeing Mike and Holly’s Pam Beesley-and-Jim-esque will they/won’t they relationship unfold. Or watching Phyllis blackmail Angela with her first-person knowledge of the latter’s Schrute lust (in her words, “I guess I was just in the right place at the right time”).

But I’ll tell you what worries me: With Pam out being “the little fish in the Big Apple” and flirting like mad (get it? He’s from Mad Men) with Rich Sommer, the PB&J nuptials are destined to hit a road bump. At best, they’ll have that dreaded long engagement. At worst, Pammy will send Jim the way of Roy (out of her life, out of a job, out of his mind). Doubtful, I know, but it could happen. Some meanies people might call it edgy.

They’re not the sole characters I’m concerned about. First, there’s Holly. Not only is she perfect for Michael (she laughs at “ex-squeeze-me” and loves the Counting Crows), but she’s also stolen Dwight’s role as his little buddy. They’re rapping together! Finishing each other’s stupid sentences! Answering each other’s inane questions! Those are Dwight’s duties! He’s the assistant to the regional manager after all. The next thing you know, Holly’s going to be agreeing to rent a room in Mike’s condo and Dwight will be hatching some twisted revenge plan that’s much worse than having his weird cousin Mose stick a rabid raccoon in her car. (PS: Mose/Michael Schur fans must check out the commentary and deleted scenes for the “Money” episode on the season 4 DVD set. He’s hilarious.)

I’m also fearful that Andy will get his heart broken. Yeah, he’ll never be Angela’s one and only, but let’s see him dump her, not the other way around. His speech about being ready to “marry you in the eye of a hurricane in the middle of a snowstorm on top of a monsoon” just so they could “spend the rest of our lives together” was probably the sweetest thing I’d heard all year. That’s what was so great about yesterday’s episode: I’ll admit I wasn’t rolling on the floor laughing, but I did find myself clutching my hand over my heart several times. Last night had those tender moments only The Office can pull off without seeming corny: Jim’s proposal in the rain in front of a rest stop, Michael pumping up Kelly’s self-esteem by having the staff point out her beauty (Creed: “Hell of an ass”), and Angela realizing that she’s been terrible to Andy, then smooching him in front of everyone.

NEXT: Making weight

I also enjoyed when Kelly stuck it to Ryan — who’s back, by the way, tail between his legs (he’s temping again), and apparently in a 12-step program because he’s apologizing to everyone for how he’s treated them over the years. Even his nemesis, Jim. When Kelly turned Ryan down for a date because she loves Darryl (whether that was true or not), I wanted to hug her. When he said he’ll see her around and she replied, “It’s a small office,” I wanted a high five.

Other episode milestones: Besides Stanley losing seven pounds, this is the first time we got to see firsthand what goes on at Dunder Mifflin Scranton over the summer break. This year? Corporate sponsored a weight loss contest between the branches. The group that ditched the most weight got five days vacation (up from the original three). Scranton lost to Utica (go, Karen Filippelli!) by eight pounds, but not without trying. Oscar took hot yoga. Andy fasted. Creed sold Kelly a fake tapeworm (did anyone catch him cutting rice on a scale as if it were cocaine?). And Dwight dropped Phyllis off five miles away in the bad part of town and forced her to exercise by walking back to the office. Her anger was palpable. I just couldn’t believe that no one suggested they shed those last seven pounds by weighing themselves naked. That’s how I do it.

We also got to see how Toby’s fairing in Costa Rica, which is not very well. He’s been in the hospital for five weeks following a zip-lining accident. It sucks when your life’s dream (in Toby’s case, moving to Costa Rica to live on the beach) doesn’t come to fruition, it’s worse when you break your neck chasing it.

So what did you guys think? A good way to start the year? Did you enjoy the Biggest Loser plotline, or did it put you off? Can you pick a favorite line between Andy’s “Pubey Lewis and the News” and Dwight’s “One more bit of eclair each. Hold it in your mouth if you can’t swallow”? I certainly can’t.