[author's note: *grits teeth* After losing the first 2 hours' worth of typing, I had to start this post pretty much from scratch. It took an additonal 6 hours. Appreciate it, Future Self, or I'll kill you in your sleep.]
I spent approximately 14 hours on Saturday night/Sunday morning watching the entirety of season 2 on DVD, including all the deleted scenes (which provide about 25-33% more material per episode, and unlike most deleted scenes on DVD, consist largely of brand-new scenes rather than mere extensions - a pleasant surprise) and non-commentary bonus features. I kept up a haphazard running commentary throughout, which often just consisted of 2 or 3 phrases that I
may or may not have expanded upon here used as a jumping-off point to write a paragraph or two for every episode.
SEASON TWO: Running Commentary
First impression: Michael loses weight and gains hair. Amazingly, within two episodes I go back to not hating him. I mean, as much. Second Impression: I love how half of John Krasinki's acting just involves raising his eyebrows and making wordless facial expressions at the camera. It's highly amusing. To that effect, I think I am actually beginning to not only tolerate but enjoy the documentary style of filming...I never thought I would say that. My third through tenth impressions all revolve around Jim/Pam, so I'll just save them for the episode commentaries.
1. The Dundies: Bang-up premiere! Although I find it incredibly sad that Pam is now banned from all Chili's establishments, it was completely worth it to see her giddily drunk self fling her arms around Jim's neck and kiss him full on the lips. I may have rewound it about 14 times. With a lot of pausing. And a little cursing that I can't advance frame by frame on the computer. Anyway. I know other, highly amusing things happened in this ep, but that's really all I can focus on.
2. Sexual Harassment: I am choosing not to focus on the fact that Todd Packer exists, because he's gross. Also, my Dwight hate revved right back up for that incredibly gross and tasteless scene in which he questions Toby about female anatomy. It's a good thing this is not among the first eps I ever saw, because I probably would have walked away and never come back. However, I am intensely amused by Jim calmly prodding Michael into another "That's what she said" joke 5 seconds after the latter promises not to make any more.
Also, Pam's mom looks younger than my mom. Wow.
3. Office Olympics: I adore this one. Well, not the part about Michael buying a condo. That was dull. But the part that pertains to the episode title? Hell yes. Jim wandering around the office and joining in on peoples' boredom-killing games is CLEARLY the greatest thing ever (cracked up when he got to Stanley's game - "Work Hard So My Kids Can Go to College"), especially when he turns it into an entire event. With his partner-in-diversion Pam, of course. I love how she'll drop everything to go along with him, and vice versa. Ooh, the reviving Jim when he dies of boredom segment is one of the best moments ever.
Only slightly perturbing moment of the episode was Angela's bitchy quip about how she plays "Pam pong" by counting how many times a day Jim gets up to go to Reception. Killjoy. That's all I'm going to notice for like the next six eps, I swear.
4. The Fire: Oh, Katy, go away. Even though I liked you when you first appeared, and you are 16,200 times better than Karen, your appearance puts a damper on my Jim/Pam cute. Especially when it leads to things like Pam kissing Roy with far more enthusiasm than necessary. Other than that, pretty funny. Poor Ryan the Temp. Being badgered by creepy Michael isn't enough, now he's the one who starts a breakroom fire and gets a nickname. So much for flying under the radar.
5. Halloween: PAM IN KITTY ATTIRE!muzzy_olorea has an icon of this (with Jim in the picture, of course) that is so cute, it singlehandedly made me want to watch further episodes of this show. They are adorably cute as they put Dwight's resume on the internet, at least until Pam makes the unfortunate suggestion that Jim seriously pursue a better job - despite the fact that it's in Maryland - and he promptly shuts down. But I do like the fact that she hangs worriedly outside the door when she thinks he's the one being fired, grabbing his hand when he comes out of the office to ask what happened (is there an icon of that? Because I want it), and as disappointing as it is that he still brushes her off, if he didn't I would have to conclude that Jim had no spine. Once in a while he has a right to be upset. Luckily, all is fixed by the cheerful admittance that Pam would blow her brains out if she had to work here alone. Lock up the firearms for season 3!
Incidentally, I find it amusing that most of the women are dressed as cats. This is what I would go as if I ever dressed up, because it's clearly the best costume possible. So much nicer than in college, where all the girls inexplicably go with "slut" for their chosen costume.
Also, in retrospect, I really wish Michael had fired Creed.
6. The Fight: WRESTLING SQUEE! Much of this episode is dull - excluding the part where Dwight's desk gets moved into the men's room, which may be the best prank since Jell-O Stapler - but Jim and Pam tussling like the playful puppies they are is the new Cutest Thing EVER. At least until Meredith turns around to look at them, which prompts Pam to freak out and instantly go from laughing to yelling at him to put her down. TWoP rather accurately recaps this scene as "Jim looks, for just a second, like he might actually burst into tears." Awww. :'(
7. The Client: My reaction to the episode can be summed up in the following set of quotes --
Michael: *randomly kisses Jan on the lips in celebration*
RS: (calmly) Ew.
Michael: *starts making out with Jan*
RS: *explodes in fit of dry heaves, coughing and retching* BLECH! Who actually has the stomach to write stories about this couple?! BLECH!!
Oh, whoops, there was one other thing, a gleeful thing actually...Jim & Pam's date on the roof. Which CLEARLY counts as a first date. It included dinner and a fireworks show. The fact that the fireworks were on the ground instead of against the sky is irrelevant. Running off with AU daydream scenarios now.
8. Performance Review: *DIES LAUGHING* as Jim calmly takes a pair of scissors and punctures the exercise ball Dwight's sitting on. Although, that seems like a kind of dangerous thing to do...if you don't hit it hard enough, the scissor points are just going to bounce off the rubber and back in your general direction. The potential for self-inflicted stab wounds is high.
Nevertheless. "Oh, um, also it's Thursday but Dwight thinks it’s Friday so…keep that going." For. The. Win.
9. Email Surveillance: I...do not actually have an opinion on Dwight/Angela, so long as I never have to see it. That's unimportant. This episode, like every other, is about Jim/Pam. Really! Awww, it's the Jim's party/room tour episode, which proves several times over that shows about people at work are always better when the people leave work. Unless those people are Michael. Let's consider him unimportant too.
Honestly, I adore the bedroom scene. (that's "bedroom scene" in its most innocent possible context, naturally) Mostly because I love how Pam eagerly dives into the yearbook while Jim just hangs back and watches her, smiling to himself, until he notices the camera watching and casually looks elsewhere. Hah! This is one of many reasons I love them. He's happy whenever she is.
Christmas Party: AW! With the teapot! I love absolutely everything about this, from the miserable look on Jim's face when his gift to Pam goes to someone else, then when she favors the iPod over getting it back, and most of all when it ends up with Dwight...to Pam's pause upon seeing it, look of regret, and subsequent retrieval of the teapot and all its heretofore unknown goodies. Most - adorable - pair - ever. Shame on Jim for chickening out with the card at the last minute, though. I almost wish I hadn't seen Booze Cruise already; I didn't even get to have momentary hope that she would ever read it.
11. Booze Cruise: Oh...it's Katy again. Seriously, although I like her in theory, go away. When I first saw this episode - I think it was the second I ever watched in full - I thought she and Roy would make a good couple, thereby solving a lot of problems. You can imagine how much more I endorse that thought now. Meanwhile, it turns out that the Atmosphere of Awkward scene gets more painful with time. And, and...Jim's FACE at the announcement of the June 10th wedding is just even more CRUSHING than it was before, and...HEARTBREAK. IS IT SEASON 4 YET?
Also, I kind of love the part where Jim brusquely dumps Katy. Is that how he dumps Karen? Because that'd be awesome. He's not a bad guy, really, he's just a guy who happens to be very much in love with someone else, and an attempt at any other relationship is pointless.
12. The Injury: I've decided that of all the amusing pranks Jim pulls, nothing is funnier than using a spray bottle to repeatedly and excessively squirt Dwight in the face.
13. The Secret: Oh, I remember this one...my third episode ever. Actually, I think this is how my Oscar dislike got started. He was intensely irritating in this episode, faking sick to no comical purpose. In an unrelated set of scenes, Hooters is featured prominently, which was...not a good way to attract me to the show either.
14. The Carpet: "Jim's been looking at me kind of a lot all week. I would be creeped out by it, but it's nothing compared to the way Michael looks at me." HAH...poor abused temp. I am once again blocking the acknowledgment of Todd Packer's existence, which is easier because I can focus on things like Kelly's chattering, and realize a) how much I like her and b) how amusing it is when Jim has to sit there and let her talk his ear off. I wonder if I could handle sitting next to someone like that in real life? Normally I hate girls who twitter their day away, but in a real work setting, if it was a choice between someone like Kelly and someone like Angela, I'd be absurdly grateful for the former.
Speaking of talking Jim's ear off...I love his expression when she begs him to ask Ryan if he likes her. Heeheehee. And aw, the voicemail messages to Pam are another one of those gems I got early off YouTube, but they're quite welcome all the same. Aw!
15. Boys and Girls: Poor Jim. Not only does he work with idiots, he has to listen to Roy tell him how glad he is that Pam has a friend to talk to so she doesn't come home and "yap." I feel as though I've neglected to explain how much I hate Roy, who is the biggest meathead I have ever seen in my life, and the mere sight of his dumb face coupled with the realization that this is the guy Pam is planning to spend the rest of her life with makes me want to break things. Is there fanfic about when they first met that might change my mind on this? I could really use it.
Oddly enough, I actually liked Angela a little in this episode, mostly when she complained about how this stupid women's seminar was of NO USE WHATSOEVER TO HER. I feel the same way about most women's programming, and I hear about a lot of it since I attend a women's college in which our president is obsessed with obtaining the same national prestige/recognition as the men's college we are affiliated with. Luckily, I don't have to go to them anymore since I'm no longer a freshman (I'm sorry, "first-year", which is a gender-inclusive term).
Oh, so this is the one with Pam's graphic design dreams...which Roy vetoes, so she immediately crushes her dream, and she and Jim get into a minor spat over it. I do so enjoy when they get into spats over Roy. I like to pretend that one of these times, the fact that Roy takes her for granted at best and belittles her at worst will get through her head. (Honestly, it's like convincing a woman to leave her abusive husband. And actually, it's kinda literally about two steps away from that, if what I read on Wikipedia about season 3 is true.)
16. Valentine's Day: Pam is super pretty this week! Not sure why. Outfit? Hairstyle? Anyway. For the second week in a row, I almost like Angela, when she smiles secretively over Dwight. Even though the bobblehead is the creepiest thing ever.
Ryan is hilarious, and Kelly is fantastic and adorable. I am like, two steps away from reading fanfic about them. Hey, actually, they're like [So You Think You Can Dance's] Neil and Lauren, actually - individually great, and therefore together should be a supercouple. In reality, they lack the necessary chemistry to be a squee-inducing 'ship - entirely Ryan's fault, BTW - but I choose to pretend they have it anyway.
Ahahahaha, Conan O'Brien cameo. Yeah, I'm just gonna skip all the Michael scenes. I do this a LOT, actually. But I watched a couple of them...and I feel INCREDIBLY SORRY for Jan having to put up with Michael's obsession over their non-existent relationship. *smacks him with a 2x4*
I'm not gonna lie, I was half-expecting Jim to at least send Pam a carnation, or something, to cheer her up as her mood steadily worsened. Poor frustrated Pam. *Roy comes in* And that...is just gross. You do not offer Pam a Valentine's Day present of hot se...eh heh heh...okay, you know what, my brain is just not okay with going there.
17. Dwight's Speech: Wow, that was the most boring episode ever. Only interesting part was Jim deliberately planning a vacation so as to miss the wedding. I hate foreshadowed doom.
18. Take Your Daughter to Work Day: SO MUCH LOVE. OVERFLOWING WITH GLEE HERE!
A) Ewww...Kevin has a daughter? Oh, wait, she's his fiancee's daughter. That's actually worse. Poor kid. She's really cute, though. And Abby is one of my favorite names. Also, Stanley's sulky, self-absorbed daughter is hysterical.
B) *gasp* Toby has an ADORABLE little daughter! I heart Toby SO MUCH. Have I not previously mentioned this? Toby is like the sad old hound dog that needs to be constantly hugged. High on the favorite character list. The fact that Sasha is the cutest child ever only helps his case.
C) Words cannot express how much I love Ryan's repressed-panic look in this moment: "I'm learning that 'fun' for Kelly is getting married and having babies...immediately...with me."
D) "Oh my God she is so cute I want to die," Kelly gasps at one point. And I...agree. Oh my God, since when did I switch my viewpoint on children from Angela's to Kelly's?! I can't help it. Sasha is exactly the kind of daughter I want to have.
E) Okay, um, Jim + interaction with kids = HIGHEST WIN POSSIBLE. Even though it seems like this should be awkward given that Abby looks about 12, and is therefore presumably just a little old to be humored into helping an adult work - especially a young adult - Abby seems happy with it, and he becomes a perfect mentor. (*cough* Pam, are you watching?) This is excellent, even though I kind of wish it had been Sasha who wandered over. No, my brain has totally not been spinning out Halpert family daydream scenarios for the last hour. Shut up.
F) I don't know which is greater: the fact that Stanley's 14-year-old daughter Melissa is hitting on Ryan, or the fact that Kelly is actually jealous about it.
G) Or is it the part where Stanley storms in and goes Angry Papa on Ryan's ass? Because, HEE.
H) Awwww, Pam got to bond with the little hellion. That's ironic and yet oddly appropriate.
I) OMG DELETED SCENES: JIM BABYSITS SASHA! I have just exploded and DIED from teh cuteness of the idea of Jim playing dolls with said ltitle girl. Where can I find the fic that discusses this scenario at length? If this fic is not already written, EXPLAIN WHY.
J) Further deleted scene amusement (as Melissa sits next to her father and sullenly focuses on her iPod)
"(sigh) Put that away and LEARN."
"Learn why I'm so cranky when I come home from work."
19. Michael's Birthday: Another boring episode, except for Jim & Pam going shopping. It was so extraordinarily and wonderfully domestic that my heart exploded in little bubbles of glee, and promptly ran off with daydreams.
Also, Ryan's silence + owl eyes after overhearing a whispered conversation in code between Dwight/Angela = MADE OF WIN. Finally, I'd like to make note of the fact that my first reaction to Kevin possibly having skin cancer was "DEAR GOD YAY PLZ DIE SOON." That's how gross I find him.
20. Drug Testing: Heeheehee, Pam jinxing Jim...this is another example of why I love them. Yes, I'm ignoring the part where her mock-serious "You can tell me anything, Jim...anything..." suddenly turns into a very serious and awkward!sad!moment. Is it Casino Night yet? Which in my world is immediately followed by season 4?
21. Conflict Resolution:
"What does Roy think about everything?"
"I try not to bother him about this kind of stuff."
"You mean like your thoughts, and feelings."
Pam chooses to ignore the heavy sarcasm in his tone on the last line and thus avoids another spat, but that's one of the most heartbreaking things I've heard in a while. Seriously. Pam. Wake up. Roy is an ass. It is becoming physically painful to watch Jim have to stand by and let her fiancee take her for granted when she clearly deserves the world.
Aside from that segment, this episode was hysterical. None moreso than Dwight's long list of complaints about Jim. OH MY GOD, I think my face went red from laughing so hard while trying to be quiet so as not to disrupt the other computer lab occupants. I just - the mental image - of Dwight knocking himself in the head with his own phone!!
(Jim: That actually took a while. I had to put more and more nickels into his handset, until he got used to the weight. And then I just...took them all out.)
Without warning, it became depressing again, when Jim stopped smirking at his own prank recountings and decided his life sounded really sad. "I just moved his desk an inch every time he went to the bathroom. And...that's how I spent my entire day that day."
No! No, Jim! Stamford is bad! Stamford has Karen! *quietly weeps in corner, despite knowing what eventually comes later*
22. Casino Night
Yeah, I'm just going to ignore Michael's double-booked date dilemma and focus on the Jim/Pam scenes I already saw with the power of YouTube. (side note: her dress is gorgeous and I want one just like it) Actually, no, bit really. I cannot actually describe what I love about these scenes, due to the fact that I dissolve into a puddle of melted goo every time the tear rolls down his cheek after telling her he loves her, and/or when he takes her in his arms and kisses her minutes later. I attempted to novelize them for my own peace of mind, and couldn't even do that very well. However, the end of it goes like this: Despite the myriad of happier directions in which to take this scene, the writers will be choosing "Season 3."
FINAL THOUGHTS: I think it's time to make a Totem Pole of Characters, ranked in order of preference, and I forgot to include Meredith, Toby, and Roy the first time I wrote this so someone else might have gone missing too...but oh well.
1. Jim & Pam: Irrevocably tied in first place, because it's impossible to decide which one is sweeter.
2. Kelly: Cute, fun, and bubbly. She reminds me of one of my friends, actually. Maybe that's why I like her so much.
3. Ryan: It's allll in the expressions. And the fact that he's the Poor Abused Temp. (much better nickname than "Fire Guy")
4. Toby: See previous description of "sad old hound dog in need of constant hugging."
5. Stanley: Makes me laugh just by looking at the camera with his utterly nonplussed, deadpan expression.
6. Darryl: Warehouse guys count because I say so. Darryl is in position #6 because he cracks me up every time he's onscreen. Especially if he's onscreen while mocking Michael.
7. Dwight: Somehow clocks into the top half...but only because he is the victim of endless pranks, and this makes me laugh a lot. Also because I have slowly come to the realization that very few people actually like him, and he does not have nearly as much power as he thinks he does. This brings me relief.
8. Phyllis: Less pathetic and sad now that she has a boyfriend, I'm starting to like her. If I worked in this office, she and I would be friends within the week. I'm not saying that'd be my goal, that's just what would happen.
9. Meredith: It's not that I find the running gag of her drunkenness all that funny as that...okay, I find it funny. But I also just happen to like her. And upon writing this list, I've discovered that as with many ensemble casts (*coughLOSTcough*), I actively dislike the majority of the characters.
10. Roy: His meathead status has already been mentioned, as has his mistreatment of Pam. These two things do not a likable character make. However, you'll notice he's far from last on the list. This is largely a testament to how much I dislike certain other people, but partly because for some odd reason, he does not entirely inspire a feeling of loathing at all times. I mean, that feeling sparks right up whenever he gets within 5 feet of Pam, but on his own...not quite as bad.
11. Angela: Despite my earlier prediction, I did not get used to Angela's uptightness. In fact, I hate it more than ever. It's just unpleasant. And yet, I continue to hold out hope that I'll change my mind. I have no idea why.
Bottom of the Barrel:
12. Jan: Considerably better when not attached to Michael, if not particularly interesting or intriguing.
13. Michael: He's not the last on the list, but he's close to it. He's just ENTIRELY TOO WEIRD for my tastes. Sometimes it actually is funny, sometimes it's not, but the not-funny times are so embarassing that they wreck the funny ones. Also, he's still played by Steve Carell. Auotmatic handicap right here.
14. Oscar: He bores me. A lot.
15. Creed: As weird and disturbing as Michael, but absolutely never funny.
16. Kevin: Needs to be removed from this show IMMEDIATELY. The mere sight of him induces my gag reflex, to say nothing of him speaking. Blech.
OVERALL: It's weird to think that I just absorbed an entire season's worth of material in 24 hours...I have never watched an entire season of any show all at once before. But overall, I am pretty much in love with season 2. Like, a lot. As in the DVDs are on my wishlist right after CSI: NY. I am reluctant to head for season 3, lest it not live up to the standard - such a feat seems kind of improbable. But I'm going to see about getting it from the library tomorrow - I know it's brand new, but it's listed in the library catalogue, so we must have it. And if I go first thing in the morning, unless someone checked it out earlier today, it should be available (you have to return DVDs the next day, even multi-disc collections). If not, I could probably find it online, but I'm all spoiled with deleted scenes now. There's still plenty of time to finish by Thursday! So what if I still have to research and prepare a 15-minute presentation on Freud as he pertains to the foundations of literary theory?
And no, I haven't started watching Premiere Week yet. Clearly, this is higher on the agenda. *resumes old habit of tagging your posts to read later; grumbles*