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THE OFFICE Review
TV Review by Andrew Kosarko


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The Office

The Office Review
By: Andrew Kosarko

Episode – Season 5, Episode 6: “Business Trip”
Directed by: Randall Einhorn
Written by: Brent Forrester
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

CFO David Wallace sends Michael to Winnipeg, Manitoba for business. Andy and Oscar accompany him and become unlikely friends when they drunk dial Angela. Although Michael makes the sale and has a one-night stand, he rebukes David for transferring Holly. Jim counts down the days until Pam gets back from art school; she fails a course but comes back to Scranton anyway. Ryan seduces Kelly (who breaks up with Darryl) and they reunite. 

Review:

It seems like the show is finding a way to get a good balance in terms of episodes. I like this episode for everything that it contains. It’s funny and it keeps the side stories going. But for the reasons I love this episode, they are swapped out for the reasons I criticized last week. I mean this to say, if you took this episode taking on the little side stories of other characters and the quick cut aways and the focus that the prior week’s episode had, then it would be a perfect episode. To be blunt, the show needs to expand it’s time frame from a ½ hour show to a full hour. But that’s just my humble opinion --- can you change the time length of a show? I don’t even know.

Anyway, so let’s talk (and by “let’s” I mean, me.) The business trip taken by Michael, Andy and Oscar opens up some great comedic moments for the minor characters of the cast and still advances the storylines of the show. I love how in one sentence a shocker that we all already knew jumped out at us. I’m, of course, talking about Andy drunk dialing Angela and hearing Dwight on the other end. I was rolling when I heard it happen. Excellent storytelling technique. It said so much of what was going on with out going in depth with it. I love me some Dwight but still, this was great.

Andy getting drunk with Oscar was handled very well. I’m glad the show didn’t dip into the whole “I got drunk and made some bad decisions” route. Granted, they played with that in the whole drunk dial aspect, but I’m glad Andy didn’t end up shacking up with Oscar. Michael’s storyline trying to get over Holly really speaks volumes about how important she was to him. More so than any of the ladies in his life prior. Now on to the biggie; Jim and Pam. THANK YOU GOD, she’s back and back for good. When she said that she was going to have to stay again to retake the class…I admit it. I almost swore off the show. I was incredibly angry that I thought the writers were going to continue to drag this out. But then she showed up and declared that she’s staying. So I’m a happy camper lol. All in all, this was a pretty solid episode.

Missed opportunities: To be honest, I wish we knew a bit more about what was going on with Dwight most of the time. I can’t get enough of him. He’s the show’s backbone. But aside from that, there really wasn’t a moment in the episode that I felt was “missed”.

The Office Review - Season 5, Episode 6: “Customer Service”
Directed by: Stephen Merchant
Written by: Lester Lewis
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

Dwight and Jim are shocked when they get the results of the annual customer survey report. Pam and Jim decide they want to spend every minute together using their bluetooth phones. Meanwhile, Angela and Andy pick an unusual location for their wedding.

Review:

One word describes this episode; Bingo. That is what I’m talking about baby, yes it is. The Jim / Dwight rivalry was re-instated and right on the money, it was even more interesting to see them team up. Meanwhile they found a way to solve the gap between Jim and Pam. Having them connected all day involves her in the day’s events and adds a commentary to it. It made for some great moments and solid comedy. The drama was littered throughout the laughs, which is exactly what this show is supposed to be about. Meanwhile Andy and Angela’s wedding is

being set up to take place at Dwight’s farm….I can’t wait. I just can’t wait. I’m pumped. Sounds good. Where do I sign? They’re hinting at some kind of Dwight interference. They have the potential for two things with this plan; 1) Dwight will be there for sure and can step into Andy’s place and marry Angela,

2) Dwight can ruin their wedding down to a “T”. The thought of the possibilities makes me happy. I just pray that they take advantage of the situation as best as they can. Not very much else happened in this episode besides the fact that Pam is now facing a choice and has to make it soon. I’m glad we’re going to find out what she chooses and she’ll either be moving back to Scranton or she’ll be staying in NYC. I personally hope she moves back to Scranton, not just because I’m invested in her relationship with Jim, but from a comedy standpoint she provides a raw, dry comedy flavor to the show that no one else seems to fulfill.

Missed opportunities:

I did miss the fragmented aspect where everyone in the office throws in their 2 cents onto the situations going on, it makes everything even funnier. Kelly’s storyline was interesting, and made for some great comedy, just didn’t have anything too funny for her to play with. I was waiting for some kind of Ryan moment or involvement to add to it all, but it didn’t happen. Michael was surprisingly….normal, this episode. I was shocked to be honest. He didn’t fly around too much. I was expecting something a little crazy to happen or for him to escalate the situations so much more than they were. But I’m glad he didn’t actually. This is a missed opportunity that I’m glad they overlooked. The Jim / Dwight battles had been gone far too long and they deserved to be front and center. This is everything I love about the Office personally. Throw in fragmented commentary by the rest of the office members and a B plot with Kelly and Ryan and it would have been a grand slam. For now, we’ll settle for a home run. Good job show.

The Office Review: Episode – Season 5, Episode 5: “Employee Transfer”
Directed by: David Rogers
Written by: Anthony Farrell
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

When corporate transfers Holly to Nashua, Michael (with Darryl's help) moves her back to New Hampshire. Their plans to continue dating are dashed and they breakup, and Darryl teaches Michael to sing the blues. Pam meets Jim's brothers who pull a prank on her. Dwight torments Andy by becoming a fan of Cornell University. Pam is embarrassed when she is the only person at corporate wearing a costume on Halloween.

Review:

Ok so this episode was kind of sub-par. It had all the right elements but it just never hit any great moments. The main talking point is definitely Dwight going after Andy. It’s almost as though Dwight has come into Jim’s shoes of screwing with the mind of another employee. Character growth maybe? Or, maybe a lack of actual Jim in the episode. I don’t know what exactly the writers have up their sleeves, but the entire Pam/Jim seperation thing is going on a tad too long for my tastes. For the first 4 seasons it was a strong dynamic of the show. I understand the notion of the show growing, but it feels as though a lot of what’s been happening isn’t comedy that makes fun of working in an office. It’s a slightly humerous soap opera at the moment. Before it was a comedy with dabs of romance. I’m becoming more and more uninterested in the romantic going ons of the characters and more stressed for something to laugh about. The opening teaser was fantastic. Mocking pop culture as everyone and their brother went out as Heath Ledger’s Joker this Halloween was a great idea. An episode about how the people in the office got along and changed their personas based on Halloween costumes would have been great. So many comedic opportunities that could be taken with that. But instead, we got a romantic drag on about Michael moving Holly away. The show is becoming more and more focused on creating a bunch of Jim/Pam love stories and not on the comedy. We don’t need any other love stories, that’s why we have Jim and Pam in the first place. The only other relationships that matter are the ones between Ryan and Kelly and then Dwight and Angela. Only because the three differ from each other in so many different ways. Jim and Pam are perfect. Ryan and Kelly are very drama and game oriented. And Dwight and Angela are opposites and secretive about it all. There’s just no reason to drag out the drama so much when you have so much potential for comedy. It’s maddening. And I blame it all on the loss of the Pam and Jim storyline. Lets get back to our roots shall we show?

Missed opportunities:

I think I’ve pretty much already stated but I’ll go a little into the storyline I dissed and ignored above. Michael and Holly. It just wasn’t funny to me. It could have been. But it wasn’t. And it was missing a wildcard 3rd element. No, I don’t care if Jan came into play. That’s just drama. Me? Personally? His name is Toby boys and girls. And what a perfect way to make Michael hate him even more. I’m sure that’s where the show is going with it, but still. Why do we have to wait? The car drive to Holly’s didn’t HAVE to be that long. This is not 24, it’s not in real time. Why couldn’t Michael come back to the office and see the new HR Rep be Toby come back? Ah that’s right, because they’re waiting to bring Pam back because of God knows only the reason so that Toby can drive some kind of wedge between her and Jim. Once again, all the problems stem from Jim and Pam being separated. And That brings me to another thing. While Jim’s brothers playing that prank on him is annoying to him and supposed to be funny because we all know people like that….the joke dragged on too long and was not taken as well as it could have. Jim didn’t go off on one of them and defend Pam’s honor? Same reason why he didn’t slug her ex-fiancé last week? Jim had better be reaching a breaking point or some kind of emotional bust because I don’t know any guy who could just take all this without having to take it out on someone else. All in all, I think the comedy is lacking and we need to get the show funny again. There’s so much missed opportunity….lets not try and reach “outside the box” till we have nothing left in the box mmmmk?

The Office Review - Episode – Season 5, Episode 4: “Crime Aid”
Directed by: Jennifer Celotta
Written by: Charlie Grandy
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

Michael and Holly date, having sex in the office and inadvertently leading to the office being robbed. Michael holds an auction to raise money for all the items lost. On Phyllis' advice, Dwight gives Angela an ultimatum to break up with Andy, which she refuses to do. Pam gets a part time job at corporate to pay for art school, and Jim is further unsettled after Roy insinuates Jim is losing her.

Review:

Now this is what I’m talking about. THIS episode, was “The Office.” Elements are missing from great comedy, but it’s only because of the storylines. But that’s ok. It still works. This episode was the one we were waiting for. Storylines are leaping off the page and getting interesting. No more set up. Michael and Holly are an item. Perfect. I was under the impression that Michael would sway away from Holly after Jan’s threat and that the audience would get dragged out for another few episodes. But alas, I was wrong. And I’m glad. So let’s get into that while we’re at it. Michael is funny again. Sometimes his dumb egomania

is just annoying, other times it’s hilarious. This go around, they had it in the latter. My absolute favorite moment of the episode, had me laughing more than anything ever has this season so far, was Michael under the impression he was turning down Holly’s mic. so that they could become intimate but in actuality was turning it up. Furthermore, the second best moment was Phyllis acknowledging to Dwight that the audience and cameraman where there, thus breaking the 4th wall.

Most critics would be like “it took me out of the show.” Me? It brought me in. The show is intended to be a mockumentry. Thus, the characters know the cameras are there and that people are watching everything they do. For them to point it out themselves is so realistic that you wonder why more mockumentries don’t do it. I love that Michael and Holly are dating and their “dorky love” is just….cute. Not as cute as Jim and Pam, but in it’s own way. (And yes, I’m comfortable enough in my straight manhood to say “cute” and mean it.) The episode plays on one of those real life situations where it was “one of those nights that if I only I had….” kind of deals. The place gets robbed, which allows Michael to hold an impromptu auction for things to give away to raise money to replace things that were stolen. Which opens up a plethora of opportunities for one characters to showcase what they think are their best attributes, only to be shot down by the rest. GREAT premise. The “little” characters of this episode, I hate to call them that, but they are the supporting cast, were perfect. Ryan hiding in his seat when the Exec showed up. I don’t even think Ryan had a line the whole episode and he still made me laugh. Stanley’s off look when Michael makes a comment about “auctioning off people in the old days.” Creed’s comments about the last person who stole from him. It was exactly what it needed to be. The story stayed on point and focused while playing comedy from it on it’s characters. Furthermore, Dwight and Angela’s confrontation was what this episode needed. As I’ve been rallying for, the show needed more comedy, but it did still need that strong skeleton of drama to make it meaningful. Dwight finally giving Angela an ultimatum and then her choosing Andy was just so heartbreaking. But you can guess that Dwight ain’t done with this yet. There still is the actual wedding where no doubt something will occur. I’m sure the Jan storyline isn’t over either, and not to mention the Exec knowing about Michael and Holly now. You can place good money on the idea that things are going to get really really bad for Michael eventually.

Missed opportunities:

Ok so, get the little thing out of the way first. Kelly. I miss having her and Ryan having some storylines or her in general. She’s a good looking gal and she’s really funny. Like I would like to hang out with Mindy if she acts anything like Kelly. It’d be a good time. She’s a funny character and severely under used.

Now that that’s out of the way – Jim and Pam. Let’s get her out of NYC already can we? I mean, come on. Enough is enough. And now it’s being hinted at that Pam is going astray from Jim and Jim’s losing his confidence/trust in her? That’s no good. I want to see this work out, and I want the answers now. Not only because I’m invested in their relationship, but because I want Jim back in the game. Once all this drama with Pam is cleared up, we can get him back to battled with Dwight and Michael and Ryan. AKA – more comedy for us the audience.

So let’s get a move on that shall we? Also, while talking about Jim, bringing back Roy tonight was an interesting move. But that fell flat really quick. While Roy did his job, I was expecting some kind of a bigger dramatic showdown between the two of them, given their past. A fight? Sure. I think that’s what the writers were leading us to believe would happen from Roy’s ‘relaxed’ approach to Jim. But still, I would have liked to have seen him and Jim go at it again.

All in all, this is what I was waiting for. We are full steam ahead and laughing all the way. I love it. Let’s hope the show stays on track and keeps this up while tweaking the opportunities that I talked about. Things to keep in mind – Tobey’s still alive. That’s all I’m saying…. The Office Review - Episode – Season 5, Episode 3: “Baby Shower”
Directed by: Greg Daniels
Written by: Aaron Shure
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

Michael practices for the birth of Jan’s baby by having Dwight go over possible birthing scenarios. When Jan arrives for the office baby shower, she has already had baby Astrid, excluding Michael from the process, and he feels disconnected from the baby. Meanwhile, Michael pretends to dislike Holly for Jan’s benefit, but Jan senses their connection and asks Michael not to date Holly. Michael goes to Holly for comfort and they agree to date. The separation between Jim and Pam starts to take a toll on their relationship.

Review:

To quote one of the greatest Star Wars lines ever, “Almost there….”. This describes my feelings towards this week’s “The Office.” We started off with a hopeful segment of Dwight pretending to be pregnant via watermelon to help Michael prepare for the big day that Jan has the baby. Immediately my hopes were sky high. This is the kind of stuff I was waiting for. And then opening credits and we dipped back down low again. The basis of the episode was Michael dealing with Jan already having the baby and not telling him about it. The party is therefore, a disaster and not going to work out. Problem here is, there’s not much going on otherwise. We have Jim and Pam trying desperately to stay connected via the phone but their busy schedules prevent them from doing so. Michael, Holly and Jan are caught in a (not) love triangle which is awkward and mysterious and everyone else….yeah. Nothing. The only comedy comes, once again, from Dwight. “Testing” a baby carriage that Jan got for her child. He comes up with the most absurd tests and it’s these cutaway segments that give the show it’s meat. Otherwise, it’s more and more set up for things to come, losing a lot of the potential comedy along the way. They have their heads on right because they know they can get comedy out of Dwight, but they take him out of the mix for 9/10 of the episode he’s on his own beating the tar out of a baby carriage. Meanwhile the “drama” continues to unfold inside. It’s like having a plate of spaghetti and a jar of sauce, it’s only perfect when you mix the two together.

Missed opportunities:

So we have Dwight’s comedy re-integrated again. That was good. Now, we need to pick up the slack with Kevin, Andy, Jim, Angela, Ryan….etc etc. There’s just too much comedy being overlooked for the sake of the drama. In my humble opinion, the show needs to start focusing on the drama so much and let the comedy take stance in front. Rooted in the comedy should be the seeds for the drama. Little subtle moments that both make you laugh get you excited.

Overall:

It was nice to see Dwight being used appropriately and moving full steam ahead with the Michael/Jan/Holly thing. Jim and Pam….let’s speed that storyline up shall we? Having them separated is as painful for the audience as it is for the characters. I approve this episode because it was really strong in terms of the drama, and sure, those episodes are important. But the Office needs to get back to being a constant roller coaster of laughs. Right now it feels like we’re on the carousel, stuck on one of the plastic horses that doesn’t have a place to put your feet. The Office Review: Episode – Season 5, Episode 2: “Business Ethics”
Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz
Written by: Ryan Koh
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

Following Ryan's recent scandal at corporate, Holly must hold a business ethics seminar. The meeting gets out of control when Michael lets everyone speak freely about their unethical behavior at work. Meredith, in particular, causes a rift between Michael and Holly when Meredith admits a supplier gives her discounts on products and steak coupons in exchange for sex. Holly is ostracized by the staff, but when she is humiliated by the Head of Human Resources, Michael once again supports her. Meanwhile, Jim makes Dwight comply with the company's "time theft" policy by timing his every second of personal activity.

Review:

The Office is……not “back” quite yet. But after the season premiere, this episode was a good giant step forward. Jim and Dwight’s “timing of the personal time” battles are a shot back to the olden days of the Jim VS Dwight. It was well done. Storylines about Michael and Holly were moved forward in a great way. At first you start getting the impression that Holly will quit/be fired, but Michael’s last move at the end of the episode speaks volumes. He comes in and saves Holly when she needs it most, moving her closer to him. Regardless of the fact that he put her into the situation in the first place, all it did was reveal the “loving” aspects of his character to her. Which, in turn, will make her fall for him more. Well done show, well done. This is no doubt now heading for a Holly VS Jan showdown somewhere along the line. Basically the same situation that was attempted between Jan and another woman in the earlier seasons, but never came to full fruition because the audience never got to know the other woman as much. Here, we’re getting to know Holly, which is what will make for some nice compelling drama when we get to the confrontations. And of course, some good comedy as Jim will be trying to figure out how Michael always has 2 women fighting over him.

Aside from those stories, it was nice to see Meredith get some play in the show for once. While I’m not particularly fond of her character, I had mentioned previously that the other characters of the show might be getting the shaft a little too much lately. So it was a breath of fresh air to have her get a chance to be a prominent character for once. Maybe it’s because we haven’t gotten a chance to get to know the type of character she is that I don’t like her, but time will tell if she gets more chances to step up in the future.

Missed opportunities: More Dwight please. Seriously, lets light a fire behind this cause. Dwight is one of the best sources of comedy for this show. He should literally be in every scene. While it’s dabbed at here and there, he’s not at Michael’s side as much as he used to be. Now granted, one could argue that it was because he was trying not to waste time in the workplace this episode, but still. That’s never addressed in the show, which would have made for some interesting comedy in my opinion.

Also – Pam? A two second phone call and that was it. No more Pam for this episode. I was under the impression that her 3 month graphic design program was for the season opening “summer” episode only. But I guess I was wrong. It’s ok, it’s just more interesting to see things happen between Jim and Dwight with her help.

Overall: Good episode. It had the backbone of what makes the office great, just skimped a little on the meat of the comedy. I realize it’s still early in the season and they’re positioning a lot of storylines for later. But I say this to the showman of the Office – we still need jokes now. The drama is fine and a great touch, but I don’t find myself laughing as much as I’d like to be.

The Office Review
Episode – Season 5, Episode 1: “Weight Loss”

Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by: Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak

Synopsis:

Over eight weeks of the summer, a Dunder Mifflin weight loss initiative causes the branch to diet and become obsessed with their weight. Michael pursues a friendship with his new HR rep, Holly. Andy plans his wedding to Angela, while she continues her affair with Dwight. Jim misses Pam who attends art school in New

York, and he finally proposes. A disgraced Ryan returns to the Scranton office as a temp.

Review:

This episode of The Office delves into new territory….kind of. We’ve never seen the summer months of the show and while it’s the same old office, things are very very condensed and just cut down to the absolute.

Main Story:

Corporate is sponsoring a competition between the branches so that the offices will lose weight so that they may gain extra vacation days. As always each character has their own take on it. Michael is using it as an excuse to exercise with Holly and gawk at her figure. Dwight, Kelly, and Andy let the competition run away from them for their own personal reasons. Dwight….well, he just wants to win. Rainn Wilson never misses a beat as Michael’s crony vying for his boss’s affection. Mindy Kaling, who plays Kelly, slams a giant hammer onto a tiny nail. That’s a weird analogy, but just know that she takes an old joke about beauty obsession and still makes it hilarious. Hits it out of the park with a little help from Creed. And lastly, Andy wants those extra vacation days for his honeymoon with Angela…

Which leads us to our B Stories:

1) Andy is trying the best to plan his wedding with Angela, who doesn’t seem to be all that committed to him. Instead, she pages Dwight every time Andy brings up the wedding plans. Following the page, Angela and Dwight sneak off to the paper warehouse and….well, come out half undressed and all sweaty. Things don’t look to good for Andy and Angela. Meanwhile Phyllis, who caught the two being intimate in last seasons’ finale, has used the affair as blackmail to take control of the party planning committee.

2) Michael and Holly are dancing around, metaphorically, the notion of getting together. Michael, as always, is using his same old “charm” to try and win Holly over. Which seems to be working until Jim suggests that he try and take it slow and be friends with her first. Holly then tries to go on a blind date with Oscar’s yoga instructor, who ends up blowing her off. Holly

turns to Michael, who, returning to his own ways of “woo’ing” Holly, of course blows it.

3) Ryan’s return. Ryan returns after his brief stint in prison for scamming the investors….back to the role of temp. This time, filling Pam’s spot as the receptionist. The great thing established in this episode is that Ryan is holding grudges against the people who belittle him for what happened. Numero uno on that list? Jim, who also had tempers with Ryan prior. What’s so great about this is that Pam will be returning soon, most likely looking to have her old job back. And that sets up some great conflict between Jim and Ryan. So let’s back track to…

4) The best of all; Jim and Pam. Pam is leaving for NYC for a 3 month graphic design program. Jim decided not to propose after Andy stole his thunder and figured it was best not to make Pam go through a prolonged engagement after the fiasco she had with her ex-fiancé in season 1,2… Pam communicates with Jim via her web cam throughout the summer, and it never seems to work out. So Jim just goes to see her one day and spend time with her. But sadly, Pam is an RA (A job this reviewer sadly identifies with) and has no time to spend with him because of the trivial troubles of college roommates. Because of this, Jim decides he’s prolonging the actual engagement and throws caution to the wind. He and Pam meet at a gas station along the high way, in the pouring rain and he finally drops to one knee and asks her to marry him. And of course, she says yes. So many things about that moment scream “lame”, but I assure you, it couldn’t have been more romantic. (Forgive me, I’m a sap for Jim and Pam).

Missed opportunities: Ok so, this episode was “ok”. It wasn’t the Office at it’s best though. I miss the dynamics of the Jim-Dwight battles. Some of the great storylines were killed before they had any real significance; such as Holly thinking that Kevin was mentally retarded. While the joke may have run it’s course (I still thought it was funny), Holly finding out that Kevin was not retarded served no purpose in the overall story. The only significance I could see it playing is making Holly feel uncomfortable and unwanted, but only because of her odd “gay” trade off with Oscar and seeing Michael spending time with a pregnant Jan. That was also the biggest gripe I had with this episode. Even though it was an hour long opening, it seemed to be a little scatterbrained. The main focus never stayed on one or two characters the whole time, giving them some kind of prominence throughout the episode. Creed, Kevin and Stanley are some of the great characters of the show and are only used in bit pieces while we get stuck with the not-as-funny-anymore stunts of Michael. In addition, Dwight needs to be more prominent. I don’t care how or why, but he is the oddest character on the show. In entertainment, the general rule of comedy is to make characters so far removed from reality that you can’t help but laugh at them. Dwight is that best kind of character and he needs to be used more to stir up the comedy in what can be some flat story lines.

All in all – it was a “meh” episode. But it’s only the start of the season. The Office is notorious for starting off slow, and then hitting the gas and going 0 to 60. Hopefully next week’s episode will be better….


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