"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Office: Safety Training

I'm back to visiting an old friend - The Office. There were so many good TV shows this past season, that I just didn't have time to watch everything. But now that most shows are in reruns, I'm catching up on some of my favorites that I have neglected.

Moments of greatness in the Safety Training episode:

1) The blue collar/white collar dynamic that was the core of this episode. Sometimes Michael doesn't feel like a real person. Though you could argue that him jumping off the roof pushes him into that annoying cartoon character that he sometimes becomes, I thought that the impetus for his actions came from a very real place. I'm sure Michael is not the only fellow who feels uncomfortable whenever they are around "manly men".

1a) The build up to the jump and the eventual talk down ("You're Braveheart") never felt forced. Side note: did Creed discover the castle when he was peeing outside??

2) The betting. Even Cheers didn't have an ensemble this big and rich and defined. Each vignette existed solely because of what we knew about the characters; no awkward exposition was necessary. The high point was Kelly talking to Ryan while people just went up and placed money on his desk. Brilliant.

3) Shun. Unshun.

4) Stanley and the watermelon. Imus, take note, this is how clever racial humor is done. I'm not sure if one look at the end of an episode is enough to win someone an Emmy, but Leslie David Baker needs to be considered for it, doesn't he?

I think this episode proves that there needs to be a term for the opposite of "jumping the shark." If we use "jump the shark" to indicate a moment when a show peaks and can only get worse from that point forward, we need something for when a show defines its greatness and starts moving towards its place in television pantheon. I'd like to submit "jumping the castle" as a candidate for this term.

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