The Office: Chair Model
The following review will be split into three segments of unequal length:
I) Venting my frustration at the negativity surrounding Jim/Pam, and combatting unwanted opinions on their two major scenes with my interpretations
II) Subsequently devoting appropriate squee to those scenes
III) Reacting to the rest of the episode
Seriously, I couldn't even live in my squee-induced bubble for one day before I got to my first class on Friday and had to put up with a bunch of girls talking about how Office has just been all downhill since season 2, and how Jim/Pam are clearly about to break up soon. IT'S JIM/PAM. They do not follow the rules of normal TV relationships any more than Joe/Alison or Charlie/Amita do (Charmita, that was not a jinx, so don't even think about it).
And why does nobody care that Turk and Carla managed to meet, date, and get married without immediately causing Scrubs to explode in flames? In a related note, Chandler and Monica did not destroy the infrastructure of Friends. And How I Met Your Mother is currently thriving with Mr. & Mrs. Erickson, and they only dealt with one year of angst.
Yes, it vaguely worries me that they've gone along without any particular conflicts so far, but can't we all agree not to care? I know at the time "Casino Night" must have seemed like a godsend and then "Gay Witch Hunt" was the cruelest knife twist ever, but I refuse to believe that's happening again. And why would you even want to entertain the thought? Shut up and squee, dammit!
Honestly, let me give you my initial reaction, from before I did anything stupid like read recaps, official reviews, or comments from the general viewing public:
Pam started it. Pam could have said a lot of things in response to his joking "You just got kicked out of your apartment." She not only brought up moving, she then suggested moving in with him. And even if she was just playing along with the joke, when he agreed in that still-joking-but-clearly-dead-serious-un
Considering her very elephant-in-the-room past experience with that, you can't possibly put that on the table as nothing more than a joke. But here's the really significant part - she takes a deep breath before she finishes the last part of that sentence (still time to change the subject!), and swallows afterwards. She knows exactly what she's saying, and that last little look is a sudden fear that she read him wrong and just overstepped their boundaries.
But then Jim is adorable and not thrown for even a second, so it's OK, and...yeah, I've seen this scene approximately 500 times and I still explode from squee every time I see it. And that's what's so lovely, really; in not so many words, they propose to each other. It's Jim's romantic call, ultimately, but they are so very much on equal footing here. (I WILL NOT HAVE MY SQUEE INTERRUPTED BY DISSECTION OF THIS "LOOK" AFTERWARD. SQUEE, SQUEE, SQUEE! *sticks tongue out*)
And one last combatant: there are the people who think she looked unhappy/like she was dreading it when he got down on one knee. Huh? She looked like anyone would look on the cusp of porposal. Very still. Breathless. Because you've joked and you've teased but now it's real, really happening and oh so very serious. And its intensity stuns you silent. (Plus, I'm sure there was also a bit of "Wait, you're doing this now? Here? In the middle of a random street?!")
In related news, despite the lack of definite confirmations, I feel a lot better after stubbornly reading through the
II. Your regularly scheduled review will resume here.
I heard a rumor somewhere that Steve Carell's contract only goes through season 5 and shows no signs of being extended. This brings tears to my eyes...tears of joy! Oh, I hope this comes true, because an Office without Michael Scott would make my LIFE.
I know this because throughout the first half of the episode, I was gearing up a big batch of hate to complain about yet another Michael-centric plotline, and how I could draw a direct correlation between his increased screen time and the show's recent downward plunge into suckitude. One more crappy episode in a row, and I was kicking it off the watchlist until summer. But then out of nowhere I was blindsided by talk of living together and future proposal, and all the horrible parts of the episode just vanished.
Actually, I was prepared to be happy with just the opening scene. I don't know, the way Pam looks up and quips "Tell them what we saw today, Jim" is just really cute, and that's been about the extent of their cuteness in the last two episodes. But the rest was better.
Not gonna lie, I cringed with horrible anticipation as that scene began. There was just such potential for things to go so very badly; I was sure we were about to get another piece of awkwardness as painful as the "You can tell me anything, Jim...anything" moment. When they managed to find the perfect blend of humor and seriousness (sidebar: can I say how happy I was with little glimpses of their time at home? The ideas of Klutzy!Pam and watching TV/movies feel me with glee) , I had to remember how to breathe. And even then, with Jim's faux-shocked face and "Have I not proposed to you yet?" I was just sitting there with my jaw hanging wide open. If not for my roommate making similar noises of faint squeaking disbelief behind me, I would have believed I had fallen asleep in boredom and dreamed the whole thing.
The atmosphere in the room at that point was hilarious, by the way. We were both on the verge of squealing and trying to hold it in so as not to miss a word of that scene, or the following TH. Just little mouse-squeaks of anticipation. And yes, as soon as it cut to commercials, there was an explosion of "Oh my God!" and "Cuuute!" and giggling fits and a lot of excited clapping.
I feel like I keep talking myself into circles, but Jim is just so perfect in this scene, between his expressions and inflections and, I don't know, everything. And I love Pam's "Oh - right now?" and "No. I'm not gonna do it right here; that would be rather lame." And I'm pretty sure Jim is the only man in the world who could include the phrase "kick your ass" in conjunction with proposal, and still have people smiling stupidly afterwards.
Also, Pam is very, very pink and yellow in this scene, between her shirt and her lipstick and my favorite gold butterfly pendant. The bright colors make me happy. This is a sign of optimism, yes it is!
As for his having bought the ring a week after they started dating...if one more person brings up how this is weird, creepy, or otherwise over the top, I will sic
Or maybe not. See, the whole reason I never felt even a modicum of sympathy for Karen is that she really never had a chance. Does this finally prove that? It's always been about Pam. Always and only Pam.
As for the last scene with them, I did the same wince and cringe in anticipation, because as much as I've found their marriage inevitable since I started watching the show (which...was in September, so that's not saying much), this episode seemed jumping the gun.
NOT THAT I HAVE ANY STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.
You know, I wish I had 17 spare hours to picspam this episode, because as hard as I'm trying here, my words completely fail me. Nothing I say is even half as good as just watching it/looking at pictures. Although if anyone knows of an existing picspam, feel free to point me in its direction.
III. I think I vaguely remember a few other scenes, too:
-I squawked with outrage when I heard that Stacey dumped Kevin, which I fully admit was only because now we'll never see Adorable Abby again. Not that that was very likely anyway, but still, I had some hope! Eventually I came to realize that this is actually super good news for Abby, because now the gross and creepy man is out of her life, so I'm quite pleased with this.
-I think Andy & Kevin should star in the spinoff. Because I cannot think of two people I would be happier to get the hell off my screen forever. I mean, as much as I hate Michael, this 2-for-1 deal would also make my life.
-JAN! GONE! YAY! I suppose it's too much to ask that this is a permanent exit, but I'm going to pretend it's not and do a fist pump of joy for getting my way. *fist pump*
-Yep. That's all. Just because the stupid Blind Date of Pain and Embarrassment brought me my Jam moments doesn't mean I have to acknowledge or credit it as such.
-I think I used to occasionally admit when I found scenes with Michael funny. What an odd notion.
-I feel like my reviews have been very polarized lately. I apologize. Maybe someday characters like Toby, Ryan, and Kelly will exist again, and I'll be able to have reactions other than blind-to-anything-not-colored-rose squee or seething rage. That would be nice.
P.S. In the most impressive 180-degree turnaround of the year, from last episode to this one The Office has gone from being in danger of getting thrown on the back burner...to the show I'm whipped into the biggest season-finale frenzy over. None of my other shows even come close to this "OMG is it time for the next episode yet???" anticipation right now. It's even knocked Doctor Who out of its reign and reclaimed the throne at the top of my favorites list.
Does anyone remember when I used to be all about crime drama? The genre still makes up 50% of my fandoms, but only just. It feels weird.