I KIND OF MISS THOSE DAYS.
See, what frustrates me about this episode is that despite all the buzz about their super-secret CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS, and the promise that the finale would totally blow my mind - which I believed - ...from the spoilers we *did* get, MTT folks were able to piece together almost every "shocking twist." There was nothing we were more confident about than Jan being pregnant. Hey writers, you know what would have made that twist a lot more shocking? Not letting the media know there was going to be a pregnancy. Because really, with that detail available, how many options were there?
We were also pretty sure that Ryan's arrest was going to involve his Website of Fail. Not a big twist there, either. What was exciting was Oscar's interview about it. "This is what we refer to in the business as 'misleading the stockholders.' Another good word for it is 'fraud.' The real crime, I think, was the beard." HEE, OSCAR, WHEN DID YOU SUDDENLY BECOME AWESOME? (don't get too excited. I think it was mostly by default as I steadily found lots of characters I hated more)
I admit I didn't see the Dwight/Angela sex coming, but a D/A reconciliation of some kind wasn't outside the realm of possibility. I just didn't know it was going to be of the variety that BURNED AND SCARRED MY EYEBALLS LIKE HYDROCHLORIC ACID. Ew ew ew ew ew, unsee! Unsee! I rescind my membership in Club Dwangela. I was always kind of a reluctant member anyway, and it was mostly contingent upon the fact that they were extremely hands-off. THIS crosses twenty different lines.
OK, didn't *quite* see the Andy proposal coming either, but that wasn't out of the realm of possibility either. In fact, just about the only thing I didn't see coming was Andy's proposal trampling Jim's. Which was sucky and horrible, and really not the way you want to go about having your lone surprise. In other words --
"A finale that will NOT disappoint": you're doing it wrong.
And - seriously, SERIOUSLY! You threw an evil wrench into my Jam happiness? After I specifically asked you not to?
Hang on, Jam is gonna get its own special section; I want to get something out of the way first.
That's odd. According to my notes, for the first half of the episode, I was laughing out loud - "I haven't actually *laughed* at the show this much since before the strike!" I was giddy with anticipation, and in a much more forgiving mood than usual. Let me see what I can salvage from behind the all-consuming fireball of seething rage.
* The cold open - HEE! I saw the shortened clip of this earlier, but it is still one of the best parts of the episode. I have missed Jim & Pam pranking Dwight *so much*. Could not stop giggling. They're such a good team.
* My favorite new Angela quote: "I don't want your foot money!"
* "And down the road, if we have a family, I couldn't go then either..." EXCUSE ME. I HAVE TO GO HAVE A HEART ATTACK AND DIE FROM JOY RIGHT NOW. Because Pam! Has overshot the engagement thing already and is thinking about a future family! With Jim! As an actual tangible possibility! Glee glee glee glee, I could not be giddier right now! Am also vaguely worried that Pam is using the word "perfect" 6 minutes in. This feeling will surely be unimportant later.
* Ahahaha...everything with Jim in Michael's office was wonderful. Let's leave it at that. (But especially: "...we've been through this.")
*HEE, that sounds like it could be a question on the training I took for work: "Hazing is a fun way to show a new employee they are not welcome or liked. True or false?" (I'm not kidding. The training quiz has things like "True or false, high heels are the best footwear for slippery surfaces?")
* Oh, Ryan. After your "congratulations...on doing your job" comment, I am afraid I have to hate you for real now. That's a shame. It'd be more of a shame if I wasn't so busy being giddy/enthralled with Jim's AWESOME MESSAGE OF THREAT LEVEL RED. My God, that was too great for words. Angry!Jim is hot.
* KELLY. Her awesomeness speaks for itself.
* MOSE! Two points!
* ACTUAL RACCOON! SEVENTEEN POINTS!! Outside of Jim/Pam, this sight was literally the highlight of the episode for me.
* There was a tiny, tiny moment where I actually felt sorry for Michael. For the most part, I don't care about his screwed up relationship with Jan, but my heart kind of broke at the idea that he had to specifically *ask* her not to cheat on him.
* Come to think of it, there was also an amazing moment - right after the raccoon - where if you didn't know better, you'd believe that Michael is a competent boss, rightfully telling off rogue employees, and otherwise generally being a decent human being. That's the only time I've ever rewound a Michael scene in my life. I'm still in shock.
* I wish the writers would stop focusing on Angela's stupid love life, and highlight more of her Bitter Bitch side, because I love that side. The feud with Phyllis is one of the greatest things this show has - I was quite literally rolling on the floor laughing at her "accidentally shredding" her list of vendors. HEE. SO GREAT. More vindictive Angela, less idiotic Michael from now on, please.
OK, look. I knew living in the MTT bubble was going to expose me to harsh reality eventually. But they were giddy last week, and look how well things turned out! Why shouldn't I have been giddy this week, with season finale fever and a long history of excellent shippy goodness in finales? And come on, I'd already gotten myself to admit that they were not going to run off and elope at any point. I don't think it was fair to expect me to work out the formula that season finale shippiness only came after a season of separation angst, and that I should expect a reversal of fortunes in the Season of Coupledom.
And I mean, it was good, at first! There was pranking! There was a cheek kiss and two hugs, the second one being particularly adorable. ...of course, now that I think about it in retrospect, I was kind of cringing through the whole scene. And even watching it back, knowing it's temporarily OK, I cringe. I don't know why, but everything in me hates the idea of Pam and her art career. Apparently I'm secretly Roy. Who knew?
I don't know why I feel like this. I want her to *eventually* get this opportunity, her and Jim both; at the end of the series I want them moving on to better things. And maybe if I knew there actually was a family in the future, I could get on board with this in the here and now. But as long as they're confined to the show, I feel like all it's going to do is add unnecessary drama and stupid fake tension, and so the fact is - I don't want Pam to spread her wings. I'm clingy and needy and I fear change, and I fear that if Pam sets foot outside Scranton, she's going to be distracted by all the shiny possibilities of the world - like Jim was a giant step beyond Roy, but maybe now she'll just move even further on.
And even if I have nothing to worry about there, I'm sick of all the message boards talking about how Jim & Pam can (eventually) move out of Scranton and get on with their lives. What is this obsession to move to cities? I want them out of D-M, but I really don't want them out of Scranton. Why can't they have happy and fulfilling lives right here?
Now I'm just projecting. But the hatred of Pam's art career still stands. I am not AT ALL excited by any prospects for advancement she has. As long as she's on my screen, I want her right there at the reception desk, doing what she's always done, just with a nice dose of Cuteness on the side. No major upheavals! No major character directions! I'm still bothered enough by her change of hair & clothing style. In conclusion: the whole business makes me nervous and uneasy, and I just want it to go away.
So...Jim/Pam in general. You know how I knew it was going to end badly? I didn't realize it at the time, but subconsciously, as soon as Jim started talking Michael through how to approach Holly, I knew we were headed into bad territory. Because whenever Jim starts to understand Michael, or connect with Michael, or in fact interact with Michael in a way that is not at least slightly mocking, bad things happen. The universe gets angry.
Still! Still, I had hope. Because the uncomfortable-ness of the break room conversation was completely negated by the moment where I had a heart attack and died of joy (*is still gleeing several hours later* "If we have a family." JAM BABIES ARE ON THE EVENTUAL HORIZON, I TELL YOU). And then I delighted in Pam's smile, which she unsuccessfully tried to hide, when she saw the fireworks and put 2 and 2 together. Forget all the doom-predicting from the naysayers back in "Chair Model," she was *excited* about the proposal. Could hardly contain herself. This is good!
And then the fireworks started...oh my God, her head on his shoulder was enough for me, but when he leaned over and kissed the top of her head?! I cannot tell you how many times I've dreamed about that. As much as I like the cheek kisses and handholds, this is a particular little gesture of loving affection that transcends a lot of others, because there's something faintly protective and possessive-in-a-good-way about it, besides being just plain sweet. Plus the way she then turns her head and just *gazes* at him...hello, new desktop picture, because I can't stop staring at the screencap! I was all set, good to go.
AND THEN THERE WAS ANDYGATE.
So, OK, one of TPTB's predictions did come true; I was yelling at my TV all right. Yelling "DAMMIT JIM! DON'T YOU DARE CHICKEN OUT! I HAD ENOUGH OF THIS WITH JOHN CARTER!" (honestly, this is *exactly* how it went down on ER) In retrospect, I really liked the slow buildup, for nervous!Jim is unbearably cute, especially when combined with the hand squeezing her knee. And oh, I seriously don't care what else - if anything - the writers come up with; nothing could possibly have been greater than starting off with that soft "Hey" and the amazing smile between them. If I ever watch this episode again, I'm stopping the second the music does, and pretending it goes black and *that's* the "cliffhanger" they leave us with. Because that would be amazing.
And because the rest is too goddamn heartbreaking to watch as Jim's face just falls. This is where the yelling came back. I believe my exact words were "NO!! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT WHY WHY." And then a long string of cuss words that would impress a sailor.
I cannot believe our last sight of them is Pam looking disappointed about the fact that he didn't propose. I hate, hate, hate the fact that she clearly thinks she's heading for another eternity-long engagement (I'm sorry, even worse, an eternity-long *lead up* to an engagement), that she clearly figures if he didn't do it now, when it seemed so perfect and obviously right, that he's never going to. And I hate the fact that I fear this is going to lead to her questioning their whole relationship, and whether it really is as obviously right and perfect as it seems. And I hate the fact that at no point does she seem to connect either the fact that he was about to say something to her, or that maybe it would be weird and completely unromantic to propose right after *Andy* did. DAMN IT, WOMAN! Put 2 and 2 together! You did it earlier with the fireworks; why have your adding skills just suddenly up and died on you?
I may have actually yelled the part in capitals at the screen. And I may have followed it up with "IF YOU DON'T GIVE ME A FUCKING END TAG WITH THEM, I SWEAR..." I definitely followed the decidedly-not-Jam end tag with a message that shall live in infamy, in my memory anyway, "DAMN YOU, OFFICE. DAMN YOU AND ANDY BERNARD TO HELL." Whereupon I stormed off and spat tacks in irate rage for several hours.
Whoops, I Forgot to Mention Some Other Bad Things
* GOD, Toby, let it die! What was with that whole debacle? Pam always thought he was "kind of cute"? PAM. DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED APPROXIMATELY THREE EPISODES AGO? Hell, does *Toby* remember what happened approximately three episodes ago? How does that translate to hanging out at her desk and begging picture time? And how could Pam's creep!radar not have been pinging like crazy at any point? I am just...excessively frustrated by all of this.
* I've never heard of Amy Ryan before, but Holly was pretty cool when she first showed up, and I thought I'd get to like her - which would be a first as far as new characters on this show go. That hope quickly died as soon as I realized what her storyline revolved around. I do not understand why Holly warrants the attention of two guys, especially when the interested parties are the two grossest men in the office. Whichever writer thought up this ill-conceived idea, please die now.
* I did not need a Bob/Phyllis kiss. I really, really didn't.
* I'd like to find whoever dreamt up the Andy/Angela subplot and kill them. Not because it fills me with violent loathing on the same plane as, say, Michael THs, but because it is so. Deathly. DULL. It goes nowhere. Nothing happens. It tells the same tired joke week after week, and I hate to break it to you, but your attempt at a running gag is not actually funny. So we have this thing that goes nowhere, utilizing a character I STILL can't believe you didn't drop-kick along with the rest of the Stamford crowd. It doesn't really endear me to you, and the fact that you dragged it our for an entire season, shortened or not, makes me angry.
But then you go and do something like you did in the finale, and my anger expands tenfold. You not only bring your lame, uninspired non-plot front and center, YOU DO SO AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR BEST STORYLINE. *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* Did I not recently explain to you, using three sitcom and two drama examples for illustrative purposes, exactly how a straight shot of Jim/Pam happiness will not harm your show, and additional angst is both unwarranted and unnecessary? I cannot understand your lame, lame, blockheaded "rationale." Was I supposed to gasp and be so amazed by the strangeness of this proposal that I'd forget all about the one I was waiting for? Am I supposed to spend the summer buzzing about how "OMG ANGELA'S CHEATING ON ANDY"? It's a little hard to be shocked when she and Andy are hardly together in the first place. I give you a big fat "MEH" for the whole business.
I have been an incredible supporter of season 4 as a whole so far, but this is not only the worst finale I've ever seen, it has produced the bonus effect of making me not even slightly excited for season 5. I don't care. In fact, I don't even think I care about the show, period. In one night, Office has gone tumbling down from a #1 position in my show list into something I don't even want to watch anymore.
And wow. Over the course of the three hours I've been writing, I've moved from boiling, spitting rage to tears. I think I feel betrayed. Yes, that's it. Betrayed. How can you take something so good and turn it into something unwatchable? That's it. I'm done.
*starts writing review*
I'm sorry, it appears I still need another ten minutes or so to cool down from my Office-induced rage.
*3 hours later*
Yeah, not happening. Which means this review isn't happening either; I have nothing to say about the ep. It set up storylines. I can't appreciate it on its own. But here are some things I noticed.
1. Oooh, traditional gender roles at their finest! "Take care of the baby." And with that, the men dump the baby in the woman's arms and continue storming off to adventure/fight. On that note, I do love Sawyer's stubborn refusal to let Jack go alone. I've kinda missed their weird quasi-brotherhood.
2. Also, heart still broken over Sawyer's "We lost her."
3. Wait, how come in that giant room of reporters interviewing the Oceanic Six, only like 3 of them got to talk, and they got to ask multiple questions? I think that stretched credibility more than anything I've seen on the entire series to date.
4. "Eeeeeeeh!!" Screw Jim/Pam. And screw doomed OTPs; it's not like there's any other kind on this show. SAYID/NADIA IS MY OTP OF THE WEEK. Awwwww, the entire episode is completely worth it just for their reunion. Just for the torrent of emotions that runs across Sayid's face after he practically bolts outside to see her, and the pull and tug as they almost kiss, but not quite, but maybe...and then there it is. *hugs show* Thank you for not depriving me of this entirely.
5. Heyyy, it's the Others! Haven't seen you in a while. Can't say I miss you, since all the awesome ones are either dead or on the beach right now. Although you are still an improvement over the stupid freighter people.
6. "Do it do it do it do it do it! Awww..." Not that I don't love a good gun-bash-to-the-head where Ben is concerned, but this was one situation where trigger-happy Keamy would have been exceptionally welcome. Sigh.
7. THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, TWO WEEKS?! Did I know this was coming? Why did I not know this was coming? Freaking A, I pick like six shows to keep current with, and one of them has a hiatus week thrown in just for kicks and giggles. Who thinks this girl is going to be unable to resist reading the finale synopsis early for the second year in a row? Yeah, me too.
OK, as sad as I am about Megan leaving, I have to give serious kudos to this show for the way they did it. No dramatic mental breakdown, no death - no death is huge, by the way - no surprise reveals, nothing that would make me weep with either legitimate sorrow or rage. I honestly couldn't believe how up-front and matter-of-fact they were being about the whole thing. I think I shall call this phenomenon "maturity," and highly applaud TPTB for demonstrating it.
What I've always loved about this show is its heart - always more about the interpersonal dynamics and strength of continued storylines than big ratings-grabbers, that paid off in a big way here. I loved Megan's goodbye to Colby & David, gentle teasing leading to the reveal. I like that they're both saddened by the news, but they also take it in stride, and they couldn't have been more respectful of her decision. I like how that was handled. It was handled so well that even *I* am kind of happy/proud of Megan for her plans to counsel women in prison and finish her doctorate. I think it's really cool. And THAT is the mark of a good send-off, one where even fans who were dreading it aren't upset. Thank you. More shows, please to be following this example. I GLARE IN YOUR GENERAL DIRECTION, CSI.
Even better: NO OFFICIAL MEGAN/LARRY BREAKUP! wOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
WOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO! (that scene in the park was unbelievably sweet, wasn't it?)
I do feel vaguely unsettled that we had to end on Charlie angst & uncertainty between the brothers (not to mention a horribly meta reference from Alan)...but I figure if this show can undo Colby being a TRAITOROUS SPY, they can fix anything. So I'm not worried. *settles back for a comfortable summer hiatus*
*frown* I just wish I'd had one last shot of Charmita Cute to tide me over.
Nothing to write home about, case-wise. I was hardly even paying attention for the first 2/3 (it's a bit scary how much I rely on Charlie/Amita to judge an episode's overall worth), and then all of a sudden things happened very rapidly in the last quarter, almost too fast to keep up. The last part might warrant a rewatch; the rest, very forgettable. And yet, my overall impression is that it was a good episode. Funny how that works.
P.S. KOI KOI KOI! KOI WHICH HAVE NAMES! Charlie wasn't kidding when he said he loved those fish. :D This is one of my favorite scenes EVER.
Oh...and to end this on a downer, New Amsterdam got canceled. I feel peevish about this fact, despite my lack of true surprise. Must find time to actually watch series at some point.