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The Office Recap: "A Benihana Christmas"

The Office Recap: "A Benihana Christmas"

In last night's one-hour holiday episode of "The Office," Michael learns that it's always bros before ho-ho-ho's. This was the perfect holiday episode, touching on all of the ongoing stories for each character. There's not too much drama that you're left crying (remember "Casino Night"?), and every joke is on-key for each of the characters.

The show opens with Dwight hauling in a dead goose and plopping it down on Pam's desk: "Don't worry, she's dead. No wait... he's dead. I accidentally ran over it. It's a Christmas miracle!" After some argument, Tobey convinces Dwight to put the goose in his car.

Michael enters, riding his old bike with a bow on it. After greeting Pam with, "I would like a slice of Christmas Pam, side of candied Pams and perhaps some Pam chops, with mint," Michael proceeds to place his old bike in the pile of gifts for needy children.

In his office, Michael reveals that he's bought tickets for a Sandals vacation in Jamaica for himself and his girlfriend, Carol. She soon comes into the office, however, and asks Michael why he Photoshopped his face over her ex-husband's face in an old family photo, creating a Christmas card featuring Carol, her kids, and Michael's face on Carol's ex's body. Jim calls this a "bold move." After some bumbling explanation on Michael's part, Carol breaks up with him.

Meanwhile, Pam tells Jim about her Christmas gift to him: She's been sending Dwight letters from "the CIA," and she tells Jim that he can be the one to decide what Dwight's "top-secret mission" should be. Jim says he thinks he shouldn't be doing these kinds of pranks anymore, "because of the promotion," though it's clear he also thinks he shouldn't be in cahoots with Pam when he's dating Karen. But that's only a taste of the drama, so

Michael, newly dumped, declares that Christmas is canceled, prompting the following exchange:

Stanley: "You can't cancel a holiday."
Michael: "Keep it up Stanley, and you'll lose New Year's."
Stanley: "What does that mean?"
Michael: "Jim, take New Year's away from Stanley."

Meanwhile, during the meeting for the Party Planning Committee, Angela shoots Karen's ideas and then kicks her out of the Committee. Feeling bad for Karen, Pam befriends her, and the two form their own Committee to Plan Parties. They tell everyone that they will be having a more fun party, with margaritas, karaoke, and a raffle. There are several shots of Jim looking nervous and uncomfortable about Karen and Pam are getting so chummy, which is oddly satisfying

Andy, in his continuous efforts to brownnose, takes Michael to Benihana's for a cheering-up lunch, and Jim and Dwight come alone. This is when Michael declares:

"Bros before ho's! Why? Because your bros are always there for you. They have got your back after your ho rips your heart out for no good reason. And you were nothing but great to the ho, and you told her that she was the only ho for you and that she was better than all the other ho's in the world, and then... then suddenly she is not your ho no mo'."

It's war of the holiday parties back at the office. Pam and Karen start their party 15 minutes earlier than Angela's is scheduled to begin. When Angela calls Dwight at Benihana's to see if she can get permission to start her party early, Dwight exhibits a rare moment of rebellion, and tells her to go ahead, without consulting Michael first. Pam lures Meredith with the promise of vodka, while Kevin goes to Angela's party for the brownies and cupcakes. Most everyone ends up at Pam and Karen's more fun party, where Roy and Pam are getting along so sweetly, it's almost like they're flirting again.

Can I just say that Roy looks hot for once? What happened to him? His body looks more trim, and the beard is really working. Okay, I'm done.

At Benihana's, Michael and Andy decide to invite some of the waitresses back to the office party. When the two walk in with their waitress companions, Angela demands, "Where's Dwight?" Michael's waitress asks, "Is he the hot one or the giant baby?" "The giant baby," Michael says quietly.

Pam and Karen reconcile with Angela and suggest merging the two parties. Suddenly, Angela is able to locate the power strip needed for the karaoke machine, and we are treated to Kevin's rendition of Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know."

The Pam-and-Jim thing continues, as Pam watches Jim and Karen exchange gifts and then hug, and Jim watches Pam and Roy exchange gifts and then hug. Looks of longing all around, as it should be. Of course, many viewers are rooting for Pam and Jim, but if the writers give us their relationship too soon it could prove disappointing. It's more enjoyable to keep getting these little moments heavy with feeling to let the anticipation build.

In true clueless Michael fashion, he can't keep straight which Benihana's waitress is which. Finally, the two women decide to leave, and Michael tells "his" waitress, "I like you. So much I'd like you to accompany me on a Sandals trip to Jamaica."

She responds, "Nah. I have school," and wheels away Michael's old bike. Soon after, Michael admits to Jim that he'd marked the arm of "his" waitress so he wouldn't confuse them. Jim then makes a speech about rebound girls that clearly parallels his own experiences with Pam and Karen:

"You just had a rebound... Which, don't get me wrong, can be a really fun distraction. But when it's over you're left thinking about the girl you really like. The one that broke your heart."

As the episode wraps up, Michael is on the phone, asking a mystery person to go on the Sandals trip with him. Oscar and his partner walk into the party, see Angela singing "Little Drummer Boy," prompting Oscar to say, "Too soon," and they leave. And Jim tells Pam about the CIA prank he'd decided to play on Dwight. In the last scene, Dwight is on the roof, awaiting a helicopter when he gets a text message: "You have been compromised. Abort mission. Destroy phone." He throws the phone off the roof and hurries away.

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