Welcome back, Dunderheads! It's been a long few months since we last hung out at The Office, and it was unquestionably good to see the crew back on screen this week. It was almost a relief — just like Michael releasing that pent-up "That's what she said!" must have been.
That said — and it's so hard to quibble after so much time off — I spent more time cringing than laughing in this episode. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as The Office does squirmy humor better than anyone else on television. I think for a first night back, I would have preferred something awkward but laugh-out-loud funny, and maybe something also set in the office so we could have reconnected with more characters. I've complained before about The Office leaving the office too much, and the same applies here — though, in the end, it's outweighed by the goodness of some serious Michael/Jan dysfunction and the wonderful feeling I get just from having the show back. Here were some of my favorite parts:
- So, we know Michael's desperate to have friends, but desperate enough to stage a overtime work assignment for everyone, even the folks he's not inviting? Then again, once you get turned down nine different times, it must start to feel dire.
- Michael's excuse for not inviting Dwight: "It's couples only. And besides, I only have six wine glasses."
- Which is funnier: The version of the opening when Dwight runs away from the camera crew after the dinner party question, or the one where he sat there and sobbed? I'm going to have to go with the running-away one from the commercials, personally.
To read more of my thoughts and add your own, just
- Jan on Jim and Pam's nice wine: "This will be great to cook with!"
- OK, so it was squirmy, but I loved every moment of the tour of the condo — from Jan's office and workspace, to the video tripod by the bed and the spanking, to the bench Michael sleeps on. But the living room, with the plasma TV ("I will just stand here and watch television for hours") and the handmade table (Michael: "It's either pine or Nordic cherry." Jan: "It's pine.") was the best.
- Michael on wine: "That was sort of an oaky
afterburnafterbirth." (Even more cringeworthy than I originally realized — ew!)
- Fantastic how Pam wouldn't let Jim get out of the party alone: "You can buy new stuff, but you can't buy a new party!"
- Ack, Michael told Jan he dated Pam? Love Pam's response: "Not ever, not now, not then, not now, not ever . . . ever."
- I suspected Dwight would show up with a date, but I didn't expect it to be the "sometimes I question your commitment to Sparkle Motion" woman from Donnie Darko . . . playing his babysitter. Also, how fantastic that they brought their own containers full of beet salad.
- So, things really went downhill at the dinner party once Michael dragged out the St. Pauli Girl sign. Doesn't St. Pauli Girl always make things go downhill? I love the blue light it cast on everyone — especially during Michael's vindictive "that's what she said!"
- Angela's face during the vasectomy talk so closely resembled mine. Too far!
- As messed up as she obviously is, I felt kind of sorry for Jan gluing the Dundie back together.
- And finally: Is it wrong that I kind of want to download that vaguely nasty song by Jan's ex-assistant now?
Your thoughts? Did it satisfy your Office cravings? What were your favorite lines?
Photos courtesy of NBC