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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dinner & The Office: Business School

Looking for a fast easy meal to fix? I came home around 630pm, fixed this delicious casserole, and was cleaning up the dishes by 730pm.

Ham Noodle Casserole

Uncooked medium noodles
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
2/3 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup milk
Chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Cook noddles according to package directions; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a casserole dish coasted with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes.

The Office: Business School

After a bizarre wedding episode, The Office got back on track. With some great, awkward Michael moments, a hilarious Dwight prank, and some appropriate punishments for Ryan, "Business School" was an exercise in what works best in an Office episode.Taking Michael out of the office can be hit or miss, as I certainly found during "Phyllis' Wedding." But in "Business School" I got a wonderful twist on Michael being an idiot in public as Ryan mocked the very thing that Michael loves most -- Dunder-Mifflin.

Ryan's introduction to his business class was great, setting the stage for Michael to look like more of an idiot than usual. Michael's Dead Poets Society-like ripping up of the textbook and his bizarre candy bar throwing were excellent awkward-funny moments. The best moment of Michael's speech came when he announced that "real business is done on paper… write that down" as the entire class then proceeded to type Michael's words on their laptop computers.

There may never be a more appropriate episode for Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon to direct than this one. Whedon's direction and sense of humor was both excellently put to use and alluded to in the scenes in which Jim hilariously pretended to become a vampire. Jim and Karen's over-the-top play-acting ("But Jim, this garlic bread is cold") and Jim's suspicious behavior (checking his teeth for fangs, standing right next to Dwight looking at his neck) were the funniest parts of the episode. And if anyone really knows me, you know I was the hugest Buffy fan that ever was. I see it is on TNT at 7am I believe these days.

Pam's story line was decent, but not great. It's obvious that Toby still has a major crush on her, as he awkwardly confessed that his daughter's play is the same night but that he'd rather support real local art because what the kids do "is not art." Roy seems like he's trying hard to support Pam's artistic ambitions, but he seemed much more interested in being perceived as supportive than actually interested in anything Pam made. Roy's dorkiest and most awkward statement of the episode was after leaving the art show: "Your art was the prettiest art of all the art." One would expect that eventually Pam will realize that, as much as Roy may try to change, he may not be the best fit for her. The closure to the Pam storyline was very nice, as we saw Michael Scott at his most endearing, even if he was clueless as to why Pam was so appreciative.

Temp-turned-employee Ryan seems to alternate between a guy who likes to have fun occasionally to a guy without a sense of fun at all. So it was enjoyable to see Ryan get his comeuppance after feeding Michael to the business school sharks. Michael's banishment of Ryan to sit next to Kelly is absolutely hilarious and a perfectly appropriate punishment. Ryan likely would have welcomed being fired and the severance (and likely break-up with Kelly) that would follow. So, now that Ryan's moved, does that mean Jim gets his old seat back?

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