“The Office” continues to rebound from a mostly water-logged and massively inconsistent sixth season by capitalizing on the hot streak that began with “Happy Hour,” while also carrying forward the arc which that episode created—the budding, painfully awkward attraction between Michael and bar/ nightclub owner Donna. They also offered up a B-story that actually equaled the main plotline in terms of hilarity and strangeness. This season may not be “The Office’s” best, but its ability to pick up speed after a weak start and end with a bang (that’s what she said) is certainly reassuring.
- Director: Mindy Kaling
- Writer: Justin Spitzer
- Honorable Mentions: Greg Daniels (Developer), Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant (Creators)
- Cast: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Ed Helms, David Denman, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Paul Lieberstein, Oscar Nuñez, Craig Robinson, Phyllis Smith, Amy Pietz
“The Office” is a mockumentary following the mundane, yet hilarious, lives of employees of the paper company, Dunder-Mifflin, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Title of this Week’s Episode: “Body Language” Season 6: Episode 23
“Body Language” starts with Pam and Jim teaming up to make a printer sale to Donna, the sexy bar owner who bonded with Michael at the end of “Happy Hour.” Things of course go awry when Michael hijacks the in-office sale in an attempt to woo her.
The B-story finally found a way to make decent use of Dwight, a character who has floundered this season from office nerd to machismo-sweating hunk to cartoonishly unrealistic supervillain. He’s returning to his roots as a pathetically obsessive, Machiavellian overachiever who wishes for nothing more than to someday rule the office with his iron, totalitarian grasp. He finds an initially-willing puppet in Kelly Kapoor, whose Indian heritage makes her eligible for Sabre’s “Print in All Colors” minority executive training program and a possible puppet for Dwight to place in a seat of power. That is, until Ryan outmaneuvers him and convinces Kelly to eventually make him office manager instead.
- Michael/ Donna: It was nice to be reminded of The Office’s ability to turn even the most mundane of rituals (remember the horridly perfect “Dinner Party”?)—in this case, a printer sale—into an agonizing series of hilarious and absurd set pieces. And it was a nice payoff to see (spoiler ahead) Michael kiss the girl at the episode’s end, even if she looked like she was regretting it as it happened (echoes of Jan but at this point, if the echoes are funny, I’ll take ‘em).
- Dwight/ Kelly: Watching Dwight’s clueless interactions with an equally clueless Kelly (“You could be the Indian Bill Gates!” “I want to be the Indian Julia Roberts!”) before she becomes aware of his meddling was the sort of absurdist, just-this-short-of-reality fare that “The Office” plays so well when it doesn’t teeter over the deep end as a live action cartoon. From the moment Dwight tries to double-cross Kelly by pointing out that Indians may really be Caucasians (“You’re welcome, America”) to Kelly’s veiled threat at the end (“I won’t forget what you did for me. And I remember everything, Dwight.”), it was a B-story that didn’t feel like an obligatory add-on for the episode to kill time.
- Jim/ Pam: I’m not one of those Jim/ Pam haters (though the marriage and childbirth Very Special Episodes this season were both a bit too much), but “Body Language” highlighted the writers’ continued inability to find something interesting, or funny for the office couple to do. And I’m all for character development, maturity, and change—especially since I constantly complain about the series not doing enough of that—but damn I miss when Jim was a little less mature and a lot more funny.
That’s What He/ She Said:
- Creed: You ever notice you only ooze two things? Sexuality and pus. Man, I tell ya.
- Dwight: If you want people to put the best face on something, why would you get two people who have probably not cut the face off of anything in their lives?
- Michael: (greeting Donna) Did somebody order a hooker over here?
- Dwight: (Defending his various minority statuses) Uh, glasses wearers, cholera survivors, geniuses, non-organic family farmers—the list goes on and on, want me to keep going?
- Andy: You know, when I tore my scrotum, I was seeing this really hot urologist about it, and I thought she was into me but now I think she was just doing a bunch of stuff to bill my HMO. She was touchin’ around stuff down there, it’s easy to get confused.
- Dwight: If you had told me this morning that today I’d be creating a monster capable of my own destruction, I’d have thought you were referring to the bull Mose and I are trying to reanimate.
While not the best this season has had to offer—it was missing that extra bit of endearing heart that the best “Office” episodes tend to have mixing the awkward and the absurd (making this episode kind of like Rocky III in that regard but without the awesome cameo of Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips the Wrestler)—it was far from the worst. It still feels as if some kind of shakeup is necessary to keep the show from endlessly repeating itself; however, until that time comes (if it even does), “Body Language” did a fine, funny job of keeping us distracted.