A major story arc of “The Office“ that has spanned this season and last arrived exactly where we all knew it was headed tonight, although it felt fairly anticlimactic. Maybe it’s hard to make a moment that everyone foresaw feel poignant, but it’s disappointing to think that something we waited this long for had little effect. Add to that an absence of good jokes, and we can’t say we were too thrilled with this episode. Read our review to find out why…
- Director: Michael Spiller
- Writer: Brent Forrester
- Cast: Steve Carell, Amy Ryan, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski
Episode Title: “The Search”
Michael is eager to get into a relationship with Holly but she’s not ready to commit to someone again. However, on a car trip with Jim, Michael uses a gas station restroom and is left behind when Jim must rush home after hearing this his mother-in-law locked his baby in the car, and Holly, Dwight and Erin go searching for him. In the meantime, Pam holds a “caption contest” at the office, but Gabe’s rules make it difficult for anyone to participate.
- Creed’s photo: The best comedy shows (“The Simpsons” springs to mind) pay attention to all the little details in a scene; if there’s laughs to be had, a good comedy writer will find them. Case in point: Michael dines at a Chinese restaurant but is unable to pay, earning his photo a spot on the “thief” wall. As it turns out, a coworker of his was also on that wall…
- Dwight: Hunter, gatherer, personal security guard–if it’s a “manly” occupation, Dwight thinks that he’s already mastered it. His insistence on proving himself as a “tracker” in this episode isn’t unique, but classic Dwight moments like that one are still funny. His extremely racist treatment of an employee at the Chinese restaurant was also very entertaining.
- Michael and Holly: A nearly telepathic mental connection between Michael and Holly leads them to the same rooftop, where they share a long-awaited kiss. But it feels rushed. Maybe it is because we know Michael will soon be off the show, and it feels like everything is wrapping up too quickly, but for some reason, it just didn’t have the same emotional impact as moments like Jim’s proposal to Pam.
- Caption Contest: Going back to what we were saying about squeezing as much comedy into one episode as possible–”The Office” used to be good at balancing a few subplots within an episode to get the maximum amount of jokes in. Sadly, while half this episode is spent focusing on the occasionally amusing search for Michael, the other half is spent focusing on the barely amusing caption contest side story. In the early seasons, these kinds of plots either allowed the personalities of the office workers to shine, or highlighted the budding relationships going on among the the characters. Now they’re just becoming filler material.
- Jim and Pam: These two used to be the emotional core of the show. Now they’re little more than background characters. It would be nice if any of the other romantic subplots were as effective as theirs was, but all the other ones involve goofy characters who are hard to take seriously on an emotional level. We miss what these two brought to the show.
It’s hard to view an episode like this objectively because given the momentous nature of what is happening, we want it to be the best episode of the season. We want it to warm our hearts, but if it can’t do that, it should at least be able to make us laugh. It fails in both respects, so it’s safe to say this episode was a disappointment.
“The Office” airs every Thursday night on NBC!
How did you feel about this episode? Did it live up to your expectations?