Friday, January 8, 2010

Peformance Review of Epic Proportions

Hello all! Well, it's been a while since I've posted here (and because my last review was not entirely positive) I thought I'd come back and put in my two cents on how the seasons have progressed since my last post, as well as how my attitudes toward The Office have changed.

At this point I've come to terms with how the show has evolved and no longer expect it to be what it was during the first three seasons. Accepting that the show is no longer based entirely on reality has allowed me to really enjoy the show again. I've learned to appreciate the more farcical quality of it and am rekindling my passion once more!

So, from now on, I will try to review the show whenever I am inspired to do so. There won't be a review for every episode, but I'll post more often; possibly doing season recaps or a review here and there. For now, I'll review the seasons I have missed as a whole starting with parts of season 4.

Season 4:

I was initially excited about the long episodes, but they proved that, while hour-longs are great for season finales and special cases, the show really works best as a half-hour. I say this because it seemed that they were straining to fill those extra minutes and the show kind of suffered for it. Not that there wasn't some great material that came out of those. I just think those episodes (Fun Run, DMI, Launch Party, etc.) would have been even better if they had been trimmed a little (that's what she said).

Having said that, there were some great moments in Season 4. Fun Run's outing of Jim and Pam as a couple was absolutely wonderful. I still grin from ear to ear when I see that scene of them finally admitting their coupledom on camera in the conference room. They're elated, I'm elated. It's great. The Dwight/Angela/Andy love triangle was highly entertaining. I felt awful for Dwight in Money, however, and that scene where Jim consoles him in the stairwell is still highly moving.

The show started gaining momentum in season 4 (right before the writer's strike) that it couldn't quite recapture once the season resumed 5 months later. Dinner Party was awesome, but the episodes following (with the exception of the season finale, Goodbye Toby) felt a little sluggish to me. Who knows, though? Maybe I was just disappointed that Jim couldn't propose after having put so much thought into it. I did love that Phyllis discovered Angela & Dwight at the very end, though. That was priceless!

Season 4 produced some great memories, but all in all it's my least favorite season.

Favorite Episodes of Season 4:
Fun Run
The Deposition
Dinner Party
Night Out
Goodbye Toby

Season 5:

I loved the season opener! Jim's proposal was so unexpected, which is a testament to the writing. They teased us with the idea of a proposal leading up to the season 4 finale and didn't deliver. Instead, they waited and made it more realistic. Rather than a lavish proposal at Toby's party it actually happened more modestly through Jim's spur of the moment "meet me at the rest stop where that soda exploded on me," which was therefor more meaningful and romantic. So sweet.

Otherwise, season 5 had a series of stops and starts. The pace started buliding during the last few episodes of the season starting with New Boss and then really speeding up around Broke. Bringing in Charles Minor provided great tension in the office and all those awkward moments we've come to know and love from the show. I loved (but was also frustrated by) how Charles had no respect for Jim because he initially screwed up on Charles' first day by wearing a tux to frustrate Dwight. Charles choosing Dwight as his favorite because he appeared to be a hard worker was too funny; especially when it blew up in his face during the episode Broke, when Dwight's idea of resolving the Michael Scott Paper Company issue was to release a queen bee into Michael's bathroom. So much fun watching Charles squirm over that.

Dwight: There is a hive of bees outside the front door. We kidnap the queen, extract her alarm pheromones, place them on a flushable wipe, put that in his bathroom.

I also wholeheartedly enjoyed watching the rise and (almost) fall of the Michael Scott Paper Company. For me, that's when the season really started to get fun. Cafe Disco, one of my favorite episodes of the season, was also a smashing good time. I also love the addition of Erin, the receptionist. She's so sweet and naive. I loved Dwight and Andy competing for her in the break room with banjo and guitar and how they didn't even notice when she had left because they got so caught up in their own music. That scene is hilarious!

The Season 5 finale, Company Picnic, was one of the sweetest ever. The reuniting of Michael & Holly was so adorable and, of course, Michael outing the closing of the Buffalo branch was classic. The very last scene, however, was the best. Jim and Pam's surprising news in the hospital was just so moving. Jim's happy tears? Oh my God. I love how in love with her he is. It gives hope to all of us hopeless romantics in the world. Their love is so pure. I love that their storyline progresses with the same goals that everyone hopes for them to reach (i.e. marriage, babies, etc.), but that the writers don't write them in the predictable, formulaic fashion that other shows do. Life is unexpected, and so are Jim and Pam. Things don't always happen the way you expect them to, but they do happen and that in itself is wonderful.

Favorite Episodes of Season 5:
Business Ethics
Lecture Circuit
Dream Team
Cafe Disco

Season 6 (thus far):

Okay, okay. I have to get something off my chest. My opinion has since changed, but because I had waited for 4 years to see the wedding of Jim and Pam, I think my expectations were set way too high. I honestly don't know what I expected, but at first I really hated the famous wedding episode, Niagara. (Here me out on this one).

When I first saw Niagara I was just so anxious for Pam and so frustrated that so many things were going wrong with the wedding (because if that had happened at my wedding I would have been devastated). I just wanted their wedding to be perfect. So all the chaos really made me anxious. In fact, that's what I remember feeling the whole time I watched it; anxiety. It gave me that frustrated Meet the Fockers feeling where I just felt everything was so unfair. I also didn't "get" that the attendees only did that tacky YouTube dance to get back at Jam for being so late to their wedding and making everyone wait. I thought they had planned it out from the beginning and I just thought, "What horrible people! Who would intentionally ruin someone's wedding like that?! How awful of them." It seemed so out of character for some of the cast, but now that I know it was them "getting back" at Jam it makes more sense and I'm okay with it.

So after having watched that episode a few times, it's now one of my all time favorites. I smile constantly through the whole second half. It's so sweet. I love all the tender Jam moments.

(Jim cutting his tie to cheer up Pam)...

(Jim and Pam sneaking off to be married in secret at Niagara Falls...)

(The triumphant second wedding...)

Tears were definitely shed from this blogger. I was moved.

Aside from that, Season 6 has been fun. Like most seasons there have been some great episodes and some not-so-great episodes. Mafia may just be the most boring episode ever. I ended up having to watch that one twice and it felt like torture. Murder, on the other hand, was great fun. I like the new storyline about Dunder Mifflin going bankrupt and being bought-out. I mean, I hope it doesn't spell doom for the company, but I like the uncertainty. It makes things interesting.

I'm enjoying Jim's new position as co-manager. I don't like Dwight's diabolical plot to destroy Jim, however. It got old the minute it started or, rather, the minute Dwight outsmarted Jim (because frankly, I just don't see that happening). I also don't see why everyone was so upset with Jim for accidentally choosing himself as Employee of the Month. I mean, come on. Obviously, he didn't do it on purpose and he said he wouldn't accept the award. I think everyone was way too hard on Jim and very unreasonable. That episode actually made me really angry. Thank God David Wallace didn't seem too upset. I hope Dwight gets his comeuppance soon! Grrrrrr.

And I loved the Christmas episode, Secret Santa, and the return of Dwight's elf costume! It was fun to have another real Christmas episode. Season 4 had no Christmas episode because of the writer's strike. Season 5's Moroccan Christmas was fun, but it didn't really feel Christmasy. Plus, it was a sad episode for Andy. So Secret Santa was refreshing. I liked Dwight's nutcracker build-a-gift and Andy's bird-heavy "12 Days of Christmas" gift to Erin ending with the 12 drummers drumming. Good times.

Dwight: For several weeks, my Secret Santa has been giving me pieces of a machine that I've been attempting to assemble. I'm suspicious of this because I had the exact same idea, for catching Osama bin Laden. I would simply send him a different piece each day. He would assemble it, to find himself... in jail!

(Dwight always gets the best lines).

Now we await the birth of the Jam baby! I'm hoping it's a girl and that they end up inadvertently naming it after Pam's Grandmother, Silvia. How cute would that be? Especially if they really did it for themselves; completely unaware of Micheal's promise to Mema Silvia at the wedding.

Well that's it for now. Stay tuned for more updates and reviews! It's good to be back!


1 comment:

Rickie, Domestic Goddess said...

I am so glad you are blogging again. Your writing style and observations are wonderful.

I agree with most of your blog, except that I totally GOT the Niagra episode and loved it from the get-go. (And, I think Michael told Pam he was going to have to name their child after her grandmother)