Music and jealousy play big roles in the “Pam’s Replacement” episode of “The Office”, delivering some funny one-liners, a cute temp and a certain R. California playing a mean harmonica.

Check out the complete review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Matt Sohn
  • Writers: Allison Silverman
  • Cast: Rainn Wilson, James Spader, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Paul Lieberstein, Oscar Nuñez, Craig Robinson, Phyllis Smith

Episode: “Pam’s Replacement”

A comely new temp stirs up jealousy in pregnant Pam while Robert California joins Andy, Kevin and Darryl with their warehouse jam band session.a musical proposition.

The Good:

  • “Midnight Rider”: The famous Rolling Stones song makes an appearance as Robert California quickly co-opts Andy, Darryl and Kevin’s warehouse jam session. Who knew Robert California plays harmonica?! Once Andy discovers the boss’ musical talent, he figures asking him to join the jam will do wonders for shoring up that personal connection. It goes down hill fast when Robert invites his local buddies to join in and soon Andy, Kevin and Darryl are on the outs. What lacked in comedy was made up for with good music! The conclusion, with the trio out by the dumpster playing and singing Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way,” was excellent.
  • Phone Call: The cold open worked for me, highlighting Erin’s inability to ‘get’ the simple stuff. But she’s so darn cute and wants to do well by Andy.
  • Jealous Pam: I liked seeing Pam go a little off the rails with her silly worrying about whether or not Jim thinks the new temp is attractive. She is, but Jim is smart enough to say nothing to his 9-month pregnant wife. Getting Dwight on board to prove Jim is lying did provide laughs, but as noted below, the conclusion was awkward.

The Bad (but not that bad):

  • Conclusion: The Pam/Dwight/Jim storyline didn’t move me one way or the other, but I was confused with the end. So Jim has high blood pressure? And he lied about the hot temp? Maybe I’m just tired, but I didn’t get it. Or, it just wrapped up sucky. I’m not even sure what payoff I would have preferred, but I do give Jim credit for sticking to his guns and not admitting the truth!
  • Cast Away: Much of the ensemble was missing in action save for a line here or there. B.J. Novak’s Ryan actually fired off some funny lines. But I feel the show is strongest, especially in the post Steve Carrell world – when the a-plus ensemble is involved.

Overall:

Yes, I laughed here and there and happily went along with the episode, but it definitely lacked this week. Maybe it’s the no-show from the ensemble, but overall a few solid lines and some damn fine jam band music in the warehouse wasn’t enough. Watching Robert California go to work on the harmonica is awesome on a variety of levels, and I did spark to the two main story lines (Jim/Pam/Dwight – Andy/Kevin/Darryl), but nothing really took off. Pam’s jealously of the hot temp was a good starting point, but it did not really go anywhere – besides the local pharmacy to take Jim’s blood pressure.

Jim has high blood pressure is what I remember most right now. Let’s hope he takes care of that!

I thought watching Dwight grab Jim’s crotch might do the trick, but no, I wasn’t moved. Episode seven happened Thursday night, it was okay, and now I am hopeful next week the show rebounds strong!

Rating: 7/10

“The Office” airs on NBC at 9pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?