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I...don't know how these go together.

While I was doing dishes and cooking today, as opposed to being productive in an academic manner, I decided it was time to finally bust out those DVDs of The Office, season 3, that I bought back in June and haven't watched yet.  They were supposed to be background noise, but I ended up sitting down and watching episodes 1, 2, 5 and 6 straight through.  Well, actually not straight through; there was lots of fast-forwarding involved, but still. 

This is the first time I've seen most of these since the first time I watched them - a year ago - and I wondered how much my perspective would change.

I wondered this because over the summer, on one of the rare occasions that I actually remembered the TBS reruns, I landed on "Phyllis' Wedding" and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, my Karen hate just came roaring back.  It was a touch scary how fast it came back, actually.  She gets up there and bounces around doing the cutesey karoake thing, and my eyes flash fire.  Even now!  Even now, with a whole secure season of Jam sweetness, the sight of her flips all my buttons to "kill."  I honestly thought I'd feel more benevolent towards her after Team Pam won, but apparently not.   

I just...season 3, it is not good for my blood pressure.  I mean, there's keeping Jim and Pam apart an extra season, and there's rubbing my nose in it.  ARGH!  *shudders*  I hate that it exists.  On some vague level, my brain acknowledges that it was maybe kind of necessary, and that conflict probably made them stronger in the end because they both know what it's like to want and not be able to have, but, but, BUT!  Jim dating Karen, my brain violently rejects this on eighty different levels!

 
Anyway.  So, yeah.  Again, even after a whole season of Jam sweetness, knowing that waiting at the end of this is a long streak of bliss with scarcely a ripple, the manufactured-flashback scene in Gay Witch Hunt TEARS MY SOUL INTO EIGHT TRILLION PIECES.  It huuuuurts!  *sobs*  Hurts, hurts, hurts!  God, it's awful watching him go from relieved happiness back to misery in the space of 3 seconds, possibly more awful now than it was the first time around.

1. Incidentally, I'd forgotten how terrible the season 3 premiere was.  It's really, really terrible, in a way where at least 60% is just unwatchable.  And I don't mean the aforementioned scene, I mean any scene with Michael and/or Oscar in it.  Blech.  The Stamford scenes aren't much better.  Even in his very first episode, Andy achieves the same level of needs-to-be-bludgeoned-in-the-face-with-a-spiky-metal-object annoying he has today.  Only difference from season 3 to season 5 is that his hair looks a little better now.

Roy doesn't bug me anymore, though.  Unlike Karen, that relationship I can let go.  She says.  Watch her try and rewatch season 2, and then see how she feels.  I don't know; knowing it's well in the past, I can even feel sorry for Roy, who was clueless about how little he deserved her.

2. "The Convention" gets a lot better.  Turns out it's one of the rare times I have sympathy for Michael, when he's a heartbroken wreck because he thinks Jim left because of him and likes his new boss better.  Although on second thought, considering that sympathy doesn't kick in until Him finds him dejectedly sitting in his darkened room, and takes pity on him, it might be that I am just easily swayed by Jim.  Because it is a really sweet scene when he tells Michael "You're a great boss," especially because this was back in the day when Jim connecting with Michael didn't immediately backfire on the former and cause everyone in the universe to hate him. 

This is more painful than I remember, though:  "I kind of put it all on the line.  Twice, actually.  And...she said no.  Twice."  *weeps and tries to think about 'Money'*  

(But oh, God, on the bright side, I could not stop rewinding the 'Dwight got a HOOKER!' scene.  I swear to God, that may be my favorite funny moment in the entire series)

Also, somehow I've been under the impression that Stamford was in New York and never quite realized it was Connecticut until now.  I DON'T KNOW WHY.  Don't mock my lack of geographical knowledge!

3. Pam's really, really pretty at the Diwali party, and adorable on the dance floor.  She's having a good time!  She's happy!  Every time I glance over, I really just want Jim to be there, see them having fun together.  Another stellar example of how season 3 crushes my soul at unexpected moments as often as expected ones.

4. So, funny thing about Karen, she's actually pretty innocuous over the first couple episodes, and I was almost getting over my hate.  Then I watched the video game tournament again.  Yeeeeeah, that right there, never fails to renew it.   And then she starts being charmed by Jim, and...the hate, it snowballs down a steep incline.

5. Also, when Jim and Pam finally have their first phone conversation in way too long, and it's actually going pretty well, and they're chattering away...and then all of a sudden it ends in misunderstanding and awkwardness?  CRY.  Seriously, no matter how many shiny happy thoughts I think about season 4, their physical separation, followed by the remaining emotional distance of that season...it really, really sucks.  I do not even know how you people lived through this without jumping off a bridge.

6. I'm going to go to my happy place now.  Tthe one that consists of "Oh, and...Jim dumped my ass and left me crying by a fountain in New York City."  *glees* That mental image never fails to make me grin like an idiot.  All cheerful now!  Tee-hee-hee!    

  

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'Private Practice, 2x01, "All in the Family"
OH MY GOD.  HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU HONESTLY THINK WE NEED TO SEE COOPER AND CHARLOTTE GOING AT IT?!  *screams in frustration and takes half a dozen showers*  No, really, I gave a yell every time I saw that starting up again and angrily slapped the skip-forward button.  Sure hope nothing significant is revealed in those scenes, should they happen again!  Because I won't know about it until the recaps go up.

Other than that revolting bit of wasted screen time, however, I'm pleased to report that this show is back for a second round of kicking ass and taking names.  It's been ten upsetting months without this show in my life, but the rest of the episode was as brilliant as I remembered.  I love Addison to pieces.  Sam reduces me to speechless utterances of "guh."  Violet is the most adorable creature in the universe.  Cooper is still awesome when not within 200 yards of Charlotte, Dell is...still not back in my good graces after kissing Naomi, but that's OK because it turns out I don't even hate Pete anymore. 

(I know, what??  Maybe it helped that he wasn't in this episode much, but I find that, not unlike Torchwood's Owen, he might be on a redemptive arc this year.  In a way where I will probably never be able to forgive his first-season jack-assiness, but maybe we can shake hands and move on agreeably in the future.)

Ways in Which This Episode Was Amazing
-I'd forgotten how much I love Violet palling around with Cooper, teasing and nudging and cajoling.  I love that they blow half their bonuses and take exotic vacations together every year!  As opposite-sex best friends go, they really are one of the greatest on TV.  I only wish this show hadn't made me start shipping them; maybe there would be less crushing disappointment when he brushes her off.  I mean, some disappointment, just...less.  But hey, let's cling to their adorable opening scene and how Violet kept trying to charm him with the promise of touchable monkeys.  (*snorts with laughter*)

-Naomi wants Sam back, awwww!  Let's pretend it's because she really, honestly cares about and loves him and wants to fix their marriage, and not because she's just overwhelmed with everything going wrong.  I mean, he walked out on her, originally.  So really the battle's won, if he wants her back too, right?

-Dell actually backed down without a fight, what?  I mean, he's still lashing out in a passive-aggressive way ("I get it, you don't love me.  Fine then, I QUIT!"), but I felt so much relief when he wanted to talk to her about financial problems and not their non-existent relationship potential.  Because I really did not want to rehash that all over again.

-The ad for the practice.  Which was not at all too ridiculously long and fairly dull to be any kind of effective.  I'm willing to overlook that for its charm, though.

-Addison and Naomi's friendship covered all kinds of ground, from the silly to the serious to the fighting to the tough-love.  Loved it all. 

-They brought back HIV+ kid with the stupid parents!  I love how this show's patients boomerang like that.  Pity he had to go and be an uppity young thing and declare himself in love at 14 and that therefore he was determined to have sex (which, seriously?  I could easily have declared myself in love at 14, but I was also thoroughly aware that was too young for sex.  Kissing was only just starting to become a thing I would have found acceptable.  I DO NOT UNDERSTAND ADOLESCENTS), but still - I love getting to follow along with that storyline.  Anxiously looking forward to future updates, starting with whether or not he infected his poor girlfriend.

(if he did, at least she's probably cornered the market on the worst-first-time story!  Look on the bright side, I say.)

-I'm really intrigued to find out how they deal with the practice being broke.  I also loved the ending, even though it broke my heart to hear Sam turn off his emotions and be all brisk and cold business in taking the reins.  Show, this is how you do conflict!!  Forget your trysts and triangles.  Between Naomi leaving in a combination of fury and misery, Sam separating himself as the leader and everyone attacking Addison, the interpersonal conflict here has heaps of potential storylines.  Not to mention dealing with the fallout of Dell quitting.  

-The premature baby storyline.  Well, I cannot lie, I puffed up with indignation and had to hate Addison for a little while, but at least it was compelling.  Who was on the mother's side?  *wings hand up* Right here!  No hesitation, I saw it all from her perspective.  Six months is not a death sentence, Addison.  Three months is a death sentence; six is just...extremely tricky.  Meanwhile, their other child actually does have a death sentence! 

Besides, these parents weren't anywhere near as callous as some fictional parents who use this tactic are.  They did seem to genuinely want a second child, but as the mother says, "We don't know her yet!"  But they do know their son, and that's who takes priority.  Which, YES, MOST SENSIBLE PARENTS EVER!!  When you're pregnant, what you love is an idea.  You nurture potential.  And it's very real love for your child, but it also means that until that baby is physically born, you're attached to hope and promise.  Not a family member.  Doesn't mean you couldn't or wouldn't still be devasted if you lost it, but the grief would be easier to get over. 

And when Addison was raving about how this family didn't even want her except for her cord blood, I desperately wanted to point out, um, how much do you think they're going to want her 3 months from now, if she's born on time and healthy, but meanwhile their son has died?  Because I think that might make them resent her.  I would resent her, anyway.  They would probably have a less vitriolic attitude, but I don't think it would be a particularly wonderful relationship.

P.S. Even though I found it silly at first, turns out I'm sad that they changed the 'In Which...' format of the title.  :(

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P.S. More of you should give me topics in the photo-taking meme.

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