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I FINALLY FINISHED, HALLELUJAH!

Not my paper, unfortunately, but something I've been almost as anxious to get done:

The Office, 5x01, "Weight Loss"
Which I am so in love with that I've watched it 4 or 5 times in the last two weeks. I mean, with significant fast-forwarding after the first time, obviously, but the copious amounts of good material provided me with endless glee. It has taken me this long to finish it because it has literally taken me that long to wrap my head around every last exhaustive detail I adored (or was repulsed by. Can't have an episode without that, after all.)

I am so-so-so-so glad that I convinced myself to come back. Well, more like Office Tally spoilers and Promos of Squee convinced me to come back. Nice job, marketing campaign. And also, remind me again why all the episodes aren't an hour long? (that was a rhetorical question)

'The General Good
-Jim continuing to coach Michael through romancing Holly, and taking an inordinate amount of pride in the latter's success. More than he should, actually - I refer you back to the principle of "Jim connecting with Michael in any way = universe gets angry and makes it blow up in the former's face" - but he's ridiculously adorable while beaming at the camera. Also hilarious while being accosted on the way to the bathroom by Michael's unending discussion of Holly's butt.

-"One more bite of eclair each! Hold it in your mouth if you can't swallow it." OK, I know Jim smirks like a 12-year-old at that whiile no one else bats an eyelash, but YOU WERE TOTALLY SNICKERING TOO. Admit it!

-Kelly, Kelly, Kelly! Poor adorable little Kelly, hunched up over her desk and shaking from her extreme fad diet, barely able to hold her head up for the TH but clinging desperately to how amazing she's going to look in her size 2 bikini, to make the torture worth it. She breaks my heart sometimes, you know?

And then the poor thing collapses...and then towards the end, when she starts sobbing about how much she hates dieting, and a couple of scenes later she's cheerfully munching down unhealthy food, proud of herself for not caring? I don't even know how many times I can fall in love with Kelly for new reasons.

-Oscar warning Holly that Jan was "clinically insane." Good to see that everyone's acknowledging it now, at least.

-I LOVED Holly storming back to tell Angela "NO! You do not talk to him like that!" I was a special level of truly infuriated, like a teacher coming down on a bullying student. It was made greater only by the fact that Angela took unholy glee in the situation, voice dripping with honeyed sarcasm - "Oh, Holly! That is very offensive" Angela, ILU. And then Kevin's face is all devastated, and I laugh myself sick.

-"Cryogenics. Beer me five." Haven't heard that phrase in a while! And then repeatedly putting his hand on Dwight's shoulder. God, I love how he can mess with him in little ways. (see also: typing about something completely unrelated on IM, but giving Dwight a look while doing so just to make him paranoid. And tsking at him when he tries to turn the computer and see for himself. HEE.)

-Michael giving Jim the condom. I love his non-plussed expression there.

-Oh my God, when Ryan came back AS THE TEMP, even though I either knew or assumed it was coming, I could not stop grinning like an idiot. His fake-apology to Jim, and Jim totally not listening except to notice where he slip in little digs with a pleasant smile. I've watched this part like a hundred times, and every time he makes that smirk with "But he did, right?", I howl with laughter. I also notice how Jim's conveneintly wearing angelic white, while the Prince of Darkness opposes him.

(in a related note: Jim, honey, don't poke the bear. No matter how skinny and/or non-threatening he may currently be, it's not a good idea)

-I WANT AN ICON OF RYAN MAKING A LIST. Seriously. His ominous Stare of Doom is so incredible, surely someone has an appropriate bit of witty text to convey the meaning of this scene in a 100x100 pixel square. *howls with laughter*

-I will never not love Ryan & Kelly or stop wanting them to get back together. I mean, right now, I don't even care that Ryan's being more insincere than Frank Churchill and as transparent as as a pane of glass, and still as arrogant as ever, and probably with every design of using Kelly only until he can find someone better. When he stood up during the Michael Klump meeting and declared that she was perfect, I squealed. Loudly.

That being said, when he came over to make his fake attempt to get back together, and she expertly shot him down with sweet-faced snark to rival Jim's ("Maybe I'll see you around." "It's a small office.") I was cheering for her. I love the knowing little grin she gives the camera as he walks away - it's rare to see Kelly calling the shots. Sick as I am of Super Puffed Darryl, I want her to keep this power for a while longer.

-Speaking of Michael Klump, I didn't think much of it when I first saw the ep, but on second viewing, it is nowhere near as bad as you'd expect, or in fact even as unpleasant as Jim's subsequent mention of it in the TH makes it sound. I mean, it teeters on the line at first, but compared to something like Diversity Day? It is effective. I mean, I still howl with laughter at Oscar's "I think of him more like a monster?" and Dwight's spot-on impression of Michael's impression, but overall, it's almost nice. When he tells them this competition is most of all about being healthy, for example. That's good. I have actually VOLUNTARILY watched this WHOLE scene MULTIPLE TIMES.

I mean, he starts to veer off course with Phyllis's apology, but he does correct himself and end up making Dwight do as he's told. And, well, honestly, when he gently tells Kelly she has to eat, and then has her stand on the chair and have everyone describe what they like about her...yeah, he does a Michael twist by over-focusing on her looks, but for the most part, I actually felt a tiny bit of pride in him being a good boss. He begs her to "stop trying to kill herself," and that's actually really close to what was happening, so, wow! Until he hugged her with his face pressed to her boobs, I was really reaching the point of "awww."

-ASCII ART DWIGHT.

-The visual image of Uncle Jim is so glorious that I've died of squee four or five separate times. UM GUH. (and you know what this means: I get to think about Pam's eventual interaction with them too. Oh, glee! We've for sure got a baby/toddler and a T-ball-aged kid in the extended Halpert family so far...yep, that's pretty much perfect).

-Much more good can be found in the "Jim/Pam" section later on.

-P.S. Aw, poor luckless Toby. That scene felt really, really tacked-on, though, and I think they should have left that part of the deleted scene in, where he's talking to Oscar via speakerphone, to give some foreshadowing. Otherwise it's just like, "Wait, what? Who's this guy? How did I change the channel on nbc.com?" Seriously, even on rewatch 5, I see the guy speaking in Spanish on grainy TV and am like "WHAT JUST HAPPENED - oh, right."

Nice to see Toby, though. Not sure I want him back, having recently re-suffered through his horrible awkwardness with Pam in season 4 and never wanting to see that again, but...nice to see him.

Best part of that scene: the guy in the bed next to him, who just gazes meaningfully into the camera the entire time Toby's talking, blinking once in a while but never diverting his attention for a second. Man, that guy's INTENSE.

The Bad
-I am sorry, but I CANNOT take much more of Super Puffed Darryl. I used to really love his character's dry sense of perfectly straight-faced humor, but now every time I see him it's like looking at an inflated marshmallow and I can no longer stand it. I was really hoping it would get better this year. It's gotten worse.

-Andy and/or Andy/Angela: My GOD! Oh my God there are not enough words or hatred in the world to express my contemptuous loathing of him. I actually start shaking with anger every time people mention him in a context other than loathing. The more people talk about how they're starting to feel bad for him, the more venomous I get. Personally, I don't think Angela is treating him badly ENOUGH. *quivers with barely suppressed rage* I will not be happy unless and until he is a completely broken and miserable WRECK of emotional devastation, self-worth so shattered by rejection that he becomes a completely DESTROYED, crippled shell of a man. *pants*

I don't actually think his brain functions on an advanced enough level to process those types of emotions, but on the off-chance it does, that is how I want him to end up. A crumpled plaything, used up and thrown away.

It's safe to say I've been skipping all of his lines ever since. In fact, even during the original airing, by the second half I found myself flipping the channel every time he went to talk to Angela.

-Just one more thing about them that I must mention - ANDY + HERE COMES TREBLE = HELL FUCKING NO. Oh my God, I have just never forgiven the writers for making her start this whole horrible relationship because he got them to sing to her on speakerphone, as if that was not the most annoying-sounding thing you'd ever heard, and just...Angela, if that's a deal-breaker, you don't think twice befre you take that deal and BREAK THE HELL OUT OF IT.

-I don't like Phyllis. I've never been especially fond of Phyllis, but I despise her blackmailing Angela out of the Party Planning Committee and taking an unholy amount of glee in it. Thus, I was very fond of whatever moments of triumph the latter could get, such as surreptitiously pointing to Phyllis as the cheesecake culprit when Michael went looking for someone to blame.

-Michael/Holly: Can't do it. Can't do it! Nothing in me can ship Michael with anyone, not even a woman almost as dorky and whom I don't like. The only part I liked even a little bit was the "wikka wikka wikka what" moment. I've watched that more than a few times. But everything else with her, I've skipped! For example, The Oscar/Holly interaction was really unpleasant. It was far, far too cringeworthy to hear her joke about being a lesbian, and Oscar getting offended, and then faking her out, and...let's just never talk about that again.

-Pregnant Jan: Still don't know why this storyline was introduced, and getting less invested by the day.

-Dwight spraying down the fruit-fly infested vending machine full of rotting fruit. Iiiiick.

"What up, 2-1-2!" OK, Pam? Sweetheart? Season 2 Pam would never proudly say anything that lame and stupid-dorky. You want to know why I don't like Fancy New Beesly and how she's gotten more outgoing and independent; and/or how I finally determined that Jim ranked above her on the totem pole of favorite characters? This is kind of why.

Entire Subsection of The Bad: Pratt
You know, I knew I wasn't going to like the whole Pratt debacle, but that did not even prepare me for how much I actually, actively despised it. First of all, I HATE seeing college portrayed on film, because every single time it bears absolutely no resemblance to anything like my personal experience. Laptops in class, what? Lecture halls where the professor doesn't take attendance even on day 1? And - this is my personal favorite - bitchy profs who order you to sit down and won't let you get a word in edgewise??

DUDE. You have to expect that at least one person is going to get lost and come to the wrong class on day 1. Usually, even in my upper-division classes, that's the first thing profs say - "This is (insert class name); everyone in the right place?" And even if they didn't, I can't imagine someone would prevent you from leaving. They don't get paid by per-head attendance! There is no reason to be that weirdly controlling! I realize my small, private liberal arts college isn't going to reflect post-secondary education across the board, but come on.

Also, also, why is Pam even living on campus for a three-month program? Furthermore, how is she just suddenly an RA? She didn't even get accepted into the program until April or May, she has no experience at Pratt, and yet she gets a position that requires leadership and guidance (from the sound of the girl crying about her roommate, these are traditional college-aged students) just because she's an adult? What? And - I still don't understand how they have residence halls full of dorm rooms in the summer!

I am probably overthinking this. I am definitely overthinking this, but when TV shows use real-life schools (hey there, The O.C. sending Summer to Brown), I feel compelled to look up their real-life policies. I spent way more time on the NY Pratt website than you want to know about, trying in vain to figure out what the hell kind of program Pam was attending for a 3-month span in the summer. I did finally find the link to 'summer sessions,' which at least explained the existence of dorm residency (what up, Willoughby Hall! Pam in her Finer Things Club literacy must have appreciated that) and partially satisfied my relentless thirst for understanding, but...yeah.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can turn to my annoyance with everything else about Pratt. For example, Pam's friends! Who are, inexplicably, all guys. What's up with that? Wouldn't you think there would be more women in art? Aren't there any other RAs she can bond with? I know that there's as great chance that Funny Guy was set up just to make us freak out, as there is for him actually being an obstacle, but that doesn't mean I still wouldn't feel a lot better if she was hanging out with women.

I'm thinking of her benefit, really. *bats eyelashes innocently* I think it would good for her to have female acquaintences beyond Angela and Kelly. Her mom can't be everything. I feel like going from Roy to Jim, she's probably hung out with more of their friends than her own. Wouldn't it be nice if she had a normal Girls Night Out type of group? I'm not talking Sex and the City here, just...someone. *frustrated RS is frustrated*

(OK, on sixth watching, I finally noticed an Asian girl hanging out in the circle. She blended right in with the guys, though. And she didn't get any lines. Of course, neither did any other friends, but...)

It doesn't help that I find Funny Guy to just be incredibly annoying in his own right. You know how sometimes there are characters you just want to hit, for no apparent reason? He fits that bill! From his very first laaaaame joke about the ex-girlfriend, my "Urge to Kill" button activated and wouldn't turn off. And in retrospect, I realize that he hardly has any scenes and my dislike is probably not proportionate to his screen time, but THAT'S HOW INTENSELY I HATED THIS PART. See?

Ver batim from my original-airing notes: I do not regret getting my all my Jam moments [both kisses] early, leaving no thrill of surprise for the ep itself. I do not, I do not, I do not. That being sad, MOTHER OF GOD, HOW I AM LOATHING PRATT. I hate this. I hate it so much. It is more cringe-worthy and uncomfortable for me to watch than Michael at his worst, and I just, I hate it a lot and WHY. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THE THING, WITH THE GROWING AND THE WING-SPREADING. LIVE THE 50'S FAMILY NOSTALGIA FOR ME.

Not even kidding; Michael Klump was less painful for me to watch than Pam talking to her friends. [< -- that is still true, actually.]

Also: Stop it. Stop it. PAM, DAMN IT, IF YOU WERE ENGAGED, THAT IDIOT WOULD NOT THINK HE HAD A CHANCE WITH YOU (...yes, I am aware of the inherent irony in that statement. IT STILL STANDS).

The...Huh

-Poor Pam, having to endure the silence while everyone automatically started calculating her weight. Or actually...she's kind of a perfect weight with a perfect body, so not so much there.

-I want Dwight & Angela to get back together eventually, but I don't want to witness or in fact know about their secret nasty trysts. I mean, really, Angela? I don't understand how repeatedly cheating on Andy is less reprehensible than just breaking off her engagement. Someone really needs to give me insight into her mindset. Is this how she justifies wanting to be with Dwight but still unable to forgive him for Sprinkles, and thus she carries on without giving him the hope of permanency? Is she trying to get it all out of her system, figuring that once she's good & married that will put a stop to it? I just don't get it.

-Michael was...really, weirdly abusive to Ronnie. In a way where I think she could have complained and gotten noticed. I mean, he's made offhandedly disparaging remarks to Pam before, but this was RIGHT IN FRONT OF her talking about how much he disliked her, basically. Am I the only one that bothered? BECAUSE I WAS BOTHERED.

-I keep thinking everyone's being weird by saying Angela might be pregnant, but then I notice how when Andy roars about who's gaining weight, the camera zooms in on her and she looks very apprehensive. Huh.

-Jim's laptop has an Apple logo. I disapprove of this allegiance with the devil.

-Um...I think I am friendshipping Jim/Kelly all of a sudden. (FRIEND-shipping).
DIGRESSION: Last week, I saw a deleted scene from season 4 where Ryan's telling Jim about running into Vince Vaughn, and Jim asks if he's told Kelly. The former is all "OMGWTF WE'RE NOT DATING ANYMORE" and the latter's response is "...I just meant because she likes that sort of thing."

This week, I keep watching Jim walk into the break room where Kelly's munching pizza, and telling Michael that he's leaving for "lunch with a client," and seeing he and Kelly have no interaction, and I'm sad about it. Not because there's any particular reason for them to interact at that point, but I just...kind of want to see Kelly feeling down and have Jim do his nice-guy thing and buck up her spirits. Without Pam there to distract him, and Ryan's newfound proximity greatly increasing the potential for asshattery, the timing's perfect!  I'm getting increasingly sad that Jim didn't have anything to contribute to the Things We Like About Kelly part.

...seriously, I'm unhealthily in love with the idea of Jim being nice to Kelly. Someone stop me before I take it to the Wayward side, because I don't even know what kind of scenario I could make that work in.

Jim/Pam
*takes deep breath and cracks knuckles* We're almost at the end, promise!!

1. I want to know what they were giggling about on the scale in the first scene. It's probably something tiny and insignificant about, but I want to know! I'm not obsessed.

2. "Come on, man, she's going to New York in like ten minutes." Give me a minute to treasure his tone of voice. OK. I saw the clip of her leaving ahead of time, as we discussed, and I squeed happily over the goodbye kiss, because I am all about those brief, routine gestures of affection (see also: my obsession with Medium).

But I am still disinclined to believe that Pam left for NY a) in the middle of a work day and b) by herself. Because that's just stupid. Moving by yourself, even temporarily into a dorm room, sucks; you cannot convince me Jim wouldn't have driven up too and given her a hand. Probably on a weekend, so as to stretch out the goodbye. 'This was is just an example of being forced to work in the constraints of a mockumentary show, and you know it.

3. I don't know how I feel about the fact that he and Pam talked about their engagement. I was a little bit crushed the first time I heard that, like, 'way to kill the spontanaiety.' Not that there's anything wrong with it, exactly, but it was depressingly anti-climatic. I'm sure someone somewhere has a fic that makes it better - hang on a tic, my brain's running away with ten different scenarios covering every possible mood and immediate aftermath of that discussion - but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. Then again, what I wanted was a ring on Pam's finger in the first scene, since I figured if it wasn't there I'd have to wait until Thanksgiving, so...clearly I fail at predicting things and should trust the writers, always.

(I USED to trust the writers, I did. But then there was 'Goodbye Toby,' and even now my wounds are still kind of smarting from that betrayal. Even when they came up with something better, they did it in a mean way. It's like telling you your puppy died when you were at summer camp, just so you'll feel extra-happy when you come home and see him again.) (I...don't know what kind of parents would do this. That was a very Michael-Scott-ian simile right there, wasn't it?)

4. Also, I believe my exact words on first viewing were "Hey Pam, you know what's kind of like a long engagment? WAITING A LONG TIME FOR THAT ENGAGEMENT TO START." Although Jim's ability to make smirky allusions to Roy was kind of fun.

5. Their video conference was adorable, though in another example of mockumentary constraints, there's no reason Jim wouldn't have done this from the comfort of his own home, where there would be no danger of Michael Scott wandering up and running off with the laptop.

Also cannot figure out why she has that Pratt thing on her wall. In my experience, not even freshmen think their school is cool enough to put posters bearing its name in their room. Wear hoodies/T-shirts sporting the name, yes. Wall decs, no.

6. ARRIVAL AT THE DORM. I...cannot glee enough. The huge smiles, and multiple lingering kisses, and he picks her up, and...oh, and one of my many favorite exchanges in the episode as soon as she notices the camera following him. Allow me to paraphrase:
Pam's Look: What the hell, Jim.
Jim: Right. Hey, look over there!
Door: *slams*

I didn't even hear the sigh the first time (probably because I was heaving my own sigh), but that's hilarious. And I really want to study the dorm room decs, but I get so distracted by the kissing that it just proves impossible.

7. The one thing that resembled my college experience was the furniture in whatever common area Jim was watching the game in. I think we might even have identical pieces. Which are situated in front of a similar huge TV. I'm actually kind of in love with this part, though I'm not sure why. I just like him watching sports. He doesn't have a lot of typical-guy attributes, so this one is nice to know he's not actually superhuman.

8. Adore the TH with a pissed-off dangerously pleasant Jim. "Summer's going great. I just spent 2 hours listening to Michael Klump, I have this weird pain in my left side that I'm convinced is an ulcer...my girlfriend, lives in New York, and I haven't seen her in ten days. How's your summer?"

Frustrated!Jim is always hot.

9. I think we've pretty well covered how I screamed and squealed and squeed like a madwoman over the proposal, but I can't stop watching it. That pretty well takes the cake as far the most sweeping and romantic proposal I've ever seen on TV, and I love that Pam can't even say yes at first, she just starts nodding her head. Or, no, not even that - he has to prompt her for an answer at all, "So?", but then there is nodding, and he keeps breaking "biggest grin ever" records, and then there's a kiss with a spin, and SQUEE! And I love how it's like three kisses in a row, interspersed with little laughs of disbelief and happiness. Seriously, such pretty kisses. So so so in love.

If I have a bone to pick with the scene, it's the fact that it was filmed across a highway and so cars keep cutting across the frame - which gets very annoying when you're trying to watch it in slow motion - oh, and the fact that I always forget how the sound of the rain is louder than anything else in the episode, and so your ears are suddenly assaulted with noise, but you can't turn it down because then Jim & Pam's voices are even harder to hear. Why hasn't someone on the internet with fancy editing software and a Jam obsession cleaned this up and posted it yet?

Actually, I have three bones to pick; in addition to the above two, the wind has blown out Jim's shirt so much that he looks like Super Puffed Darryl. But I'm going to stop complaining now.

On the bright side, this scene has given birth to like 8 million icons in an endless number of designs and color schemes, with or without words, each more beautiful than the last. I refuse to trade in my "bliss" icon, because that was the pinnacle of perfection, and I'm not going to get one of the new icons because I don't need two over-used scenes if I only have two Office icons, but I'm sorely tempted. In the meantime, I just gaze at the pages and pages of icons in rapture.

And, verbatim from my notes: Wait! Rain is not in this - SQUEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL DON'T YOU DARE DON'T YOU DARE SAY NO OH SHE IS
(and then it stops, because I was too busy screaming and my hands were shaking too hard to type, and I was literally, like, exploding with a desperate need to scream and flail and not knowing where or how best to vent it. I had absolutely not allowed myself to believe, for even a second, that I would get my proposal in the premiere. I was so pessimistic I didn't even think the 'momentous event in the rain,' whenever it happened, was going to be a proposal. I was blown away with shock and joy.)

Please don't blow up in my face, show. DO NOT BREAK OFF THIS ENGAGEMENT. Not even for a little bit. I don't care if they have a big fight. I don't care if they get so pissed off at one another over something that they refuse to speak for three episodes; that'd be fine, but I do not want that ring going back to him for even a second. I don't want there to come a time in like, February, where I'm watching this scene all hunched over and bitter, crying miserably about when they (and we) were so full of promise and hope. DOCTOR WHO. *cough*

(See what television has done to me? Or more like, what cynical viewers who hate Boring Jim and Pam have done to me? Only two weeks of honeymoon-like bliss, and then I start having vivid fantasies of how it might go wrong.)

It'll all work out spectacularly, right? Right? There are two other love triangles plus whatever Ryan/Kelly are to focus negativity on, right?-------
*heaves massive sigh* K. Need to finish paper now. 4 pages, 12 hours. I can do this!

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
morgenwrites
Oct. 9th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
Ooh the proposal was so, so good. I've watched that scene a ridiculous number of times myself. Actually, I've watched the whole episode a ridiculous number of times. It was some mighty good Office. And I completely agree that Jim proposing in the rain was by far the most romantic proposal in the history of proposals.

Also, the college stuff. I've had many profs. and never one so mean to not even let a student say something on the first day of class. Oh silly TV college. However, the lounge furniture Jim was sitting on? Yep, I think we have exactly like it at my school too.

And I need to get myself an Office icon. Of Jim and Pam. Sigh...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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