Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Office: Season Finale Mini-Review

[Spoilers Ahead]

After much political discussion, it's time to get back to what I love the most: Talking about TV and movies :)

I love "The Office" dearly (own the 2nd season on DVD, still watch through a bunch of episodes every now and then), but by all accounts, the third season has been a bit bumpy. Episodes like "Gay Witch Hunt" and "Phyllis' Wedding," while at times hilarious, showed Michael Scott at his absolute worst and most cringe-inducing and displayed almost none of the heart that makes the show great. On the other hand, there were also some very touching episodes, such as "Business School;" the final moment when Pam hugs Michael is still one of my favorite moments in television this year.

So what to say about the Season Finale? I don't have much time so I'll just break it down to likes and dislikes.

What I liked:

Dwight's breakdown in Michael's office - Proof that Rainn Wilson deserves an Emmy nod just as much as Jim Krasinski.
Michael's Interviewing Skills - A subtle commentary on the cliches of job interviews, and how to subvert them.
Creed Thoughts - Because sometimes, even hobos need a blog to get their thoughts down on.

What I didn't like:

Pam Becomes a Bitch
- I realize that last week's walking-on-coals was supposed to be a transformative moment for Ms. Beasly, but the 180 degrees they took her character in was, to me, very unbelievable. You can convince me that Pam has courage and tries to speak her mind now; just don't try and convince me she has courage and is now a bitch.
Karen Gets The Shaft - Karen was a good girlfriend: Cute, intelligent, and understanding. She had a lot to put up with, in terms of Jim's history with Pam, and how did she get treated? We all knew it was going to end like this, but I guess a small part of me hoped that Karen wouldn't get completely shafted due to Jim and Pam's will-they-or-won't-they sexual tension. Jim's drive home alone after the interview seemed to indicate that she did not avoid this fate.
Jan's Breakdown - Jan has been in a bunch of episodes by this point, and in almost all the episodes, she has always been calm, collected, and struggling for professionalism in the face of her relationship with Michael (despite her at-times insatiable sexual appetite). Part of the whole appeal of her character is seeing how she gets so flummoxed by Michael's wildly inappropriate repartee. No more of that. Jan's Breakdown was an arc that was sudden, virtually inexplicable, and basically a quick way to flush the character down the toilet for some cheap laughs.


So yeah, I disliked it more than I liked it.

Did anyone else see it? And if so, what'd you think?

[Update: Several people responded to this review by asking: "WTF?" Specifically with regards to my comment that Pam became a bitch. Upon further re-evaluation, I think I definitely exaggerated how she came off (to me at least), but let me explain.

What many people read as Pam being sweet and her ol' self and finally breaking free of her emotional cocoon, I read as an active attempt to subvert Jim and Karen's relationship, a sentiment that is characterized completely in Karen's comment that Pam is "Kind of a bitch." I happened to side with Karen on this one; it seemed like for the last two weeks, and for the season finale, Pam had been slyly, passive-agressively trying to plant seeds of doubt in both of their minds about the irrelationship, which reached a climax in the season finale when Karen asked Pam to xerox the stuff and Pam put that sentimental message in there, as if to say "I'm going to do you this favor, but I'm going to try and win Jim's heart at the same time."

As with all things on this blog, this is just my opinion and people are free to disagree. If I had to change anything I wrote above, it would simply be how strongly I characterized her transformation, and not necessarily that such a transformation occurred.]

1 comment:

Myles said...

Hmmm...I'm not sure how Pam was a bitch in this episode, I need you to clarify this.

Otherwise, you're spot on: while it had some funny elements, it just felt a little bit "off" for me.