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The Office is on its last legs and while some of the episodes spurt with some creativity, most have been pretty blah.
This week’s episode deals with the aftermath of Oscar and Senator Lipton’s affair. Last week Oscar and Angela trailed the Senator – both suspecting that he’s been unfaithful. Unfortunately, at the end of the episode, Lipton called Oscar on his cell, and Angela was there to see Oscar get the call.
In the cold opening, Oscar nervously suspects that Angela’s figured it out. Her behavior has Oscar believing that she doesn’t know, and he’s relieved that all is well – in his confessional he’s particularly deluded and smarmy when he joyfully believes that his affair hasn’t been founded, and that “true love” wins out. As if what Lipton and Oscar have is true love, and not some gross love affair between a grody office drone and a closeted, married politician. But it’s obvious Angela knows.
Calling on Dwight’s help, she hires a hitman, much to his horror. I love that Dwight is in the throes of a moral dilemma. He figures out that Oscar’s the intended victim and tries to talk Angela out of it, reminding her that they also had an affair, and that more importantly, Oscar is Angela’s friend. This is a new side to Dwight – we saw it last week when he referred to Pam as his friend.
Dwight trying to save Oscar is pretty funny – rushing him out of the office, pathetically luring him “construction workers in their tight trousers, drinking diet sodas.” The hitman is ridiculously inept, and easily subdued, before fleeing. Angela and Oscar have it out finally – and Oscar’s still a tool, trying to wrap himself in some kind of moral superiority, which he clearly doesn’t have, but he does make a good point: Lipton’s gay and was gay before he met Oscar. I never liked Angela, but I felt bad for her – and Angela Kinsey hit a home run, going through the gamut of being nuts and homicidal, to hurt and injured. Always reliable for a good laugh, she’s this episode’s MVP.
So the Jim and Pam story is still lumbering on – Jim needs to work part-time at Dunder-Mifflin so that he can put in the time at his start-up – unfortunately called Athlead. He gets the okay from Dunder-Mifflin CEO David Wallace, as long as Jim’s got cover – he turns to Stanley and Phyllis, but the two offer resistance, so he takes them on an expensive lunch. Stanley orders the most expensive items on the menu, and Phyllis proceeds to get smashed, prying a decorative wine bottle from a wooden partition, hoping it’s filled with wine. John Krasinski’s anguished and pained looks at the cameras are now his trump card, and he pulls them out even when he doesn’t have much to do, as he’s merely there to react to Stanley and Phyllis messing with him. The trio return from lunch, Stanley and Phyllis napping contentedly in the backseat. While sweetly covering Phyllis with a coat, she laughingly tells him that of course they’ll cover for him, “We love you guys,” she says simply, as the two collapse in mirth, and a grateful Jim hugs them. One of the few sincere awww moments on a show short of sentiment.
The third subplot has the rest of the group trying to get Pam to get a complaint, so that they could complete a tower of complaint cards, that’s a card-short of reaching the ceiling. Pam, the resident sweetheart, is the only Dunder-Mifflin employee without a complaint, so she volunteers for the job. And Jenna Fisher’s wonderful, especially when delivering a diss to the customer, in her trademark hesitant way, “Your mama is so fat, when she wears red, people yell, ‘hey Kool-Aid,’ yeah, your mama’s fat! This is Pam Halpert.” And equally wonderful is the collective cheer of the rest of the gang before they realize that they’ve just lost a customer. This subplot gave new guy Pete some moments to shine. When Kevin accidentally topples the house of cards, Pete jumps to his defense, getting the coworkers to band together to reassemble the house of cards – and yes, we all notice Erin’s appreciative grin – watch out, Andy….
While not a laugh-a-minute riot, there were some great spots. It’s great to see Phyllis back – she was hilarious at the restaurant, slipping deeper and deeper into inebriation – and Jim’s shocked and exasperated “wow!” as she pulls the giant, fake wine bottle from its stand like the Incredible She-Hulk.
Also funny is at the end when Dwight and Angela pepper perennial sad sack HR rep Toby with questions about homosexuality. Their questions are creepy and coming out of a place of sheer ignorance – Angela asks if when two mens’ penises intertwine, is it called “red vining” (by the way, just try to eat strawberry licorice after that), while Dwight in hushed seriousness asks Toby where are gay mens’ vaginas.
Now that Oscar’s affair with Lipton is out, it’ll be interesting to see where does his relationship with Angela go? It’ll also be interesting to see if Angela sticks with her senator hubby or will she cut him out.
There was a little bit of Pam painting her mural – I can’t wait to see what it’ll turn out to be – I’m thinking that her finished work will be revealed in the finale.
Also, Jim’s scaling back his time at Dunder-Mifflin – will that change the dynamic of the show? Who will be Dwight’s foil?
What did you think of The Office‘s “The Target”?