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

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Office: The Job

Since I always The Office during the summer (conflicts with CSI), this was the season finale of the third season. And once again things have been shaken up at Dunder Mifflin. Of course, Michael isn't leaving.

Instead, the show pulled off some rather brilliant turns, the first of which is Jan. It turns out Jan was having a meltdown in more than just her relationship with Michael. She comes back to Michael with a breast job, which sways Michael into taking her back. Only after that does he find out that the job at corporate he's interviewing for is Jan's job. Turns out Jan has neglected her duties of late, spent too much time in Scranton and done a lot of online shopping on company time. David Wallace has her escorted from the premises and decides to give her job to someone other than Michael.

The other crucial story element is the triangle between Karen, Jim and Pam. After last week's confession at the beach, Karen considers Pam to be "a bit of a bitch." The two women's friendship seems to have been short lived. As for what the future holds, Karen tells Jim that even if she were to get the job in New York, he can't stay in Scranton as "there's one too many people there." The episode does a great job of building up to the final moment where Jim is being interviewed by Wallace and he is asked, "What do you want?" Crucial to understanding this are the scenes that cut back to the beach where I see Jim come over to talk to Pam after her outburst.

The episode is weakest when it goes back to the office in Scranton. I know that Michael is coming back, therefore Dwight's takeover lacks impact. It is fun to watch Pam egg him on, and it helps emphasize how she misses Jim. Kevin steals some scenes as he compares Karen and Pam in great detail. Watching Angela barely able to conceal her glee at Dwight's exercising of his new found power is also a treat.

But the truth is, I'm far more concerned about what's happening in New York. Who will get hired, and what happens between Karen and Jim (and therefore Jim and Pam) are the real issues. Jan's life is going over a cliff, and she's just stepped on the gas. Her best line, augmented by Michael's reaction is "I'll make our relationship our full time job. I'll wear stretch pants and wait for you to come home at 5:15."

Hopefully she'll be back next season (which I won't be watching until mid-May) as Michael tries to get out of the relationship all over again. When the final scene comes, it's as sudden and unexpected as the first time Jim told Pam he was in love with her. Her reaction when Jim asks her to dinner is as honest and believable as any moment on television and reminds me why I care so much about this relationship. The tag at the end tells me who really got the job, and it makes for some interesting scenarios for next season.

All in all this was a funny episode that wrapped up some key story lines while still leaving open some questions to b answered this new season. It wasn't a home run finale, but it certainly has me eagerly await until I watch the reruns in the spring.

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