Michael and Holly get inappropriately affectionate, which doesn't sit well with grumpy Gabe
The Office
Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
S7 E16
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Love! Valor! Compassion! This installment of The Office had them all — well, minus the valor and compassion. Maybe a different group of words would better describe what this week’s episode, titled “PDA,” was all about: Love! Groping! Sex in closets!

Tonight’s A-plot centered on Michael and Holly, who are understandably overjoyed about being together at last. They’re so blissful, in fact, that they can’t go more than a few seconds without holding hands, or giving each other backrubs, or shuffling around with their mouths mashed together. Even when they’re surrounded by their uncomfortable coworkers. (Holly explains in a confessional that she just can’t help herself, since “everything Michael does is sexy”: the way he throws candy near his mouth, the way his face gets covered in “cheese” dust when he’s snacking, the way his pants ride up just so when he leans over…)

Naturally, this behavior prompts one of Dunder Mifflin Scranton’s patented all-office conference room chats — one in which Gabe, who somewhere along the line became the new, less lovable Toby, lays down the law by declaring that PDA is not acceptable in the workplace. What sort of behavior falls under the umbrella of PDA? You know, boob honking, butt honking… pretty much all the honkings, Gabe explains.

To no one’s surprise, Michael doesn’t take kindly to this news: “Whispering and tickling have their place in business!” he protests. As a compromise, the boss proposes that the office designate one closet as a hookup zone. It’s a resonant joke, since as Dwight reminds us, most members of the show’s cast — including Creed (!), apparently — have gotten lucky inside the office at some point. (Note to sitcom writers: This is one of the perils of setting your show largely in one location). Michael’s brilliant idea, however, is rejected. Michael and Holly are then reduced to petulantly bemoaning the fact that they can’t touch each other, thereby becoming even more irritating than they were when they were constantly attached at the mouth.

In the midst of all this silliness, though, there were a few moments of real poignancy. Michael and Holly’s relationship takes a few great leaps forward: They confess their love for one another for the first time – shaking afterwards rather than kissing because of Gabe’s pesky new rule – and have a surprisingly adult conversation about what might happen to them when Holly has to go back to Nashua.

In the end, Holly declares that the two of them can’t let Sabre control their fate, and they decide to move in together. I was surprised by this development; up until tonight, I assumed that Michael would make his exit from the show by moving to New Hampshire to be with Holly. That can’t happen, of course, now that she’s apparently in Scranton for the long haul. It’s good to see that even seven years in, this show can still keep us on our toes.

Next: Andy and Erin go looking for love

As Michael and Holly fondled, then stopped fondling each other, Erin roped Andy into helping her reach the end of the Valentine’s Day scavenger — sorry, treasure — hunt Gabe designed for her. The subplot was cute, though I’m definitely a little frustrated by the way that the show won’t just let these two crazy kids get together again. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad if the writers hadn’t suddenly decided to make Gabe a jerky wet blanket; what’s the fun in having a love triangle if one of its points clearly isn’t worthy of getting the girl?

And then there were Jim and Pam — hey, remember them? They got lunch-drunk, then, after several fits and starts, had sex somewhere in the office. Drunk Jim and Pam are so fun! (Remember The Dundies, in which Pam introduced us to the marvel that is Second Drink?) Can we find a way to hang out with them more?

Other notes:

++ The cold open, in which Darryl discovers that his ignorant officemates have confused a sympathy card for a birthday card, was surprisingly dark. It reminded me of a side of The Office we haven’t really seen in awhile.

++ The way Michael strokes Holly’s hand is simultaneously sweet and incredibly, incredibly creepy. It’s like his hand wants to devour her hand.

++ Andy got a lot of practice doing jigsaw puzzles during the summers, while his brothers went sailing without him. When did Andy get so damn tragic?

++ This was a good episode all around for Erin. I especially loved the way she growls “Come ooonn!” at Andy to get him to help her with the hunt. She sounded like the most adorable monster.

++ Kevin, too, has hooked up in the office. With whom, you ask? “She goes to another school!” One in Canada, right, Kev?

++ “Holly and I are like Romeo and Juliet, and this office is like the dragon that kept them apart.”

++ Love the way Hank couldn’t care less about playing a part in Gabe’s treasure hunt: “Look for a heart or some s–t in the breakroom when you’re through.”

++ Ryan shares his thoughts on Valentine’s Day: “Anybody can be Prince Charming one day a year, with the dinner and the flowers and all that. But you know what impresses me? When a guy can do that no days a year.”

How did you like the episode, my little Slumdunder Mifflinaires?

Episode Recaps

Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

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