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-Aww, "Holiday in Handcuffs" was on last night and you'd better believe I watched every second. I love this movie. I think it might possibly be turning into a new Christmas classic for me.

-Why is it that the harder you try to keep a wagon train alive in Oregon Trail, the faster they succumb to disease? I swear, when I name the members of my party after favorite characters and get invested in their fate, and spend painstakingly long minutes haggling and trading to get the maximum amount of food for the minimum price, and make sure everything's stocked and carefully planned out, chances are extremely high that someone will keel over and die for no reason before I even get to the Big Blue River.  Whereas if I do a "quick start" game and focus on nothing but hunting, pushing them 12+ hours a day, they're liable to make it at least two or three hundred miles before one of them so much as catches a cold. WHY IS THIS?  I feel like there should be a graph on GraphJam explaining the odd correlation here.

(Why yes, Graphjam.com is my newest obsession.  The lulz are many and endless, and thank you afteriwake</lj> for bringing it to my attention)

The Office: 5x09, "Frame Toby"

-------------------
The Good
-Michael's horrified "NOOOOOOOOO!"

-My stomach literally did a triple flip of joy upon seeing Pam in the conference room like she'd never left, and later seeing her back at the desk answering the phone...the memory of art school melted away like it was all a bad dream. Now watch Alex come back and turn it into Nightmare on Linden Ave.

-The next time my brother and I get into a fight, I am so going to call him an "evil snail."

-I kind of love that the camera crew has to resort to the documentary equivalent of sending Michael and Toby to the principal's office to work out their issues.

-JIM/PAM

The Bad

-You thought I was mad about egg salad sandwiches, hah, that has NOTHING on my feeling about how brownies have been ruined for me. Brownies are, by FAR, my favorite dessert in the entire world. Were. Were my favorite. They have been ruined permanently for me, if not by the sight of Kevin and Michael stuffing them into their mouths, then certainly by the fact that every time I think about having one, I hear "pastry cubes of sugar and fat" echoing through my head and feel nauseated. Damn you, show. Can't you at least wait until after the holidays to start your subliminal diet messaging? 

-Ryan, you ass, you're already being passive-aggressive about Kelly's weight? I really don't want to say this, but I think I might have to hate you a little for that. Sigh. Why do you consistently square off against all my favorite characters? There are only three people ahead of you on the totem pole of favorites; it should not be that hard for you to pick a fight where I'm actually on your side!

-Michael's maturity without Holly around...regressing...

-Real cops, real guns; Michael, at what point do you think this might be going REAL DOWNHILL? I think the last time we reached this level of insanity, to be honest, was when they held the pizza boy hostage.

I didn't find this segment funny at all. Because even with Michael in charge of the framing, I don't think it was completely inconceivable that he might have managed to find some actual illegal drugs for sale (high schoolers manage it every day! It can't be that hard!). It escalated to a point that was borderline scary, and I just got really depressed thinking that only Michael's incompetence stood between Toby and a possible jail sentence.

-I AM STILL REALLY UPSET THAT RYAN DUMPED KELLY AGAIN. The whole of season 5 feels like a disappointing waste where his character is concerned. I don't know what I would have done differently - I'm not even upset by Kelly's sort of confused/complacent response, because that felt really in character for her, to be taken advantage of with a bit of fast smooth talk - but I just...I'm sad.  And my crazy daydream scenario in which Ryan's car happens to spin out of control while driving Kelly home, and he dies in the crash, is becoming increasingly more vivid.

-The ending tag, which went on way too long to no point or funny purpose, exactly as bad as closing with a Michael TH.  That looks like a deleted scene to me. 

Speaking of which, I wish they'd kept at least one of the two actual deleted scenes in...even though the first one makes me want to slap Pam for the part where she claims she experienced more in a New York week than 3 months in Scranton, or something stupid like that (SCRANTON IS TEN TIMES MORE INTERESTING THAN NEW YORK, BITCH.),  and I really really wanted to hit Oscar for his snootiness (Finer Things Club!  What happened to you when Toby left??)...

...I swear there were things I like...

...I liked the slight advancement in the plot (and her hushing Jim because this was "serious").  I'm sure they could have kept it in if they'd just altered the bit with the penis drawing so that you couldn't actually see it.  (which, by the way, that was an unfair assault on my eyes.  BAD SHOW.  BAD.) 

The Microwave Plot
Raise your hand if you are 300% on Pam's side? OOH, ME, I AM! Notes are not obnoxious, Oscar (who incidentally, after seven episodes of climbing the totem pole of favorite characters until I was ready to endorse his delightfulness in fifth or sixth place, went PLUMMETING downhill in my estimation. How can I put this...you remember that huge, boldface capslock of angry rage at Pam a couple of episodes? IT'S DIRECTED AT OSCAR NOW. Every time I see him, I am consumed with a desire to punch him square in his smug little face. This feeling was greatly helped along by the first deleted scene, but it started in the episode proper).

Notes are an effective way of communicating. Would you rather someone walked up to you and told you they had a problem with something you did/failed to do? No. That's far more embarassing. And I know that in this case she couldn't turn towards a specific person, but you know what? It was disgusting, and if you just clean it up without saying anything, then people assume you don't have a problem with it and will do it every time thereafter. IT'S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING. I'm very big on principles. So kudos to Pam for not backing down.

I especially loved her staredown with Ryan (see, told you, he's always picking fights with favorites) - "I guess that's why we have a temp, huh?" That is a delightfully bitter/vindictive side of Pam that we do not see very often - in fact, throughout the whole episode, her temper had the shortest fuse I've ever seen.

I thought that was a fantastic way to show her frustration with the stifling world of Dunder-Mifflin after being out on her own and getting to experience both a little more authority (RA) and having interest shown in what she loves to do (the one professor talking about her potential). I really don't think she regrets coming home, per se (SHUT UP, DELETED SCENE. JUST SHUT UP), and I do think she missed this just a little bit, but there's a lot about it that's not great. I like seeing that expressed.

Of course, I also got a flash of what Pam might be like ten years into marriage, and I gotta say, she's a little bit scary. No wonder Jim started inching away from her craziness at the desk. (Oh, who am I kidding, that was one of my favorite scenes in the whole thing...says so many things about their dynamic.)

Plus I'm in love with the fact that Jim is busy fumbling with his phone the whole time, probably setting an alarm to ring within the minute and give him an excuse to escape the Wrath of Pam.

Lone complaint: I, personally, would like to know where the mess came from. This plot was basically the entire episode description; I demand resolution! DEMAND IT.

JIM/PAM
First, let us take a moment to examine the house, which I frankly found goregeous and picturesque from the outside.  My initial disappointment that it looked like a 1-story rambler dissipated after someone pointed out the dormer windows and the fact that the master bedroom seemed to be near the top of some stairs, allowing me to focus on the positively gorgeous flowers and shrubbery framing the pretty little doorway and front windows.  Enchanting cottage look, achieved.  (seriously.  Do you see the garden to the right?  DO YOU? 

(and whatever, I don't even mind the plastic deer.  It reminds me of home.  Er, not my home, but home as in "the general neighborhood I grew up in.")

More importantly?  Jim and Pam are not living in some horrid townhome/condo/etc for their first house.  I didn't even realize how frightened I was of that possibility until it was taken off the table.  Not that I was really worried about Jim's parents' house being of that variety, but it's a huge relief to see it looking like a proper, normal suburban house on a proper, normal street that's not ridiculously landscaped and has mature trees and everything.

I am desperately curious to know what Jim paid, though.  Now is probably a good time to confess to you that ever since I was about 14, it has been part of my weekly Sunday habit to look at the color real estate ads on the back of the classifieds.  (Even back then, I was trying to figure out what kind of house I could afford...I still fully intend to buy my own house someday, and I also flatly refuse to go over 199k).  I don't have the patience to figure out what the Scranton housing market looks like (that is a lie; I would LOVE to devote hours to scanning real estate listings, but school and other TV prevent this happy joy), but I'd peg this one for $187k on my home market.  I also know that my home market is not the nicest or most reasonably priced of markets, so you can probably adjust that lower.   

Three full paragraphs and I still haven't gotten past the first frame of the house storyline.  Yikes.

I've come to the conclusion that as much as I adore the sight of casual!Jim - and he did look very, very good in the jacket & jeans, and furthermore I really get a bit swoony at the idea of handyman!Jim fixing things around the house - I think I might possibly find him more attractive in crisp office attire.  Don't know why.  Not, of course, that I'm going to argue for one minute against getting to see him show us around the house-in-progress, especially the old family room...can you hang on one second?

BREYERS OMG BREYERS MODEL HORSES DO WANT YES-YES.

(I may have flailed more about the sight of those horses than at any other point in the episode, including the ending.  BEST DECOR EVER.  Well, that and the boxes full of board games.  But back to the horses, um...it's really bugging me that I'm not actually sure if they're Breyers or some cheaper brand.  Because I think I recognize the black draft horse on the windowsill, but the ones on top of the TV look like poorer quality, but then again, if they're also 70's/80's models, that could explain it.  It's been too many years since I pored over a catalogue, darn it!)

And as always, I am very fond of Jim when he goes from being overly confident to suddenly insecure.  "She's gonna love it...right?" 

By the ending scene, I was starting to flip-flop on whether I was actually as on board with the whole buying-of-parents'-house thing as I thought I was.  For example, the thought about the master bedroom really made me go "...yeah, how is that going to work?"  While I am terribly pleased that my canon wins - told you it was the house he grew up in! - I'm also now irrationally worried about how the holidays are going to work.  What if Jim's mom used to be the one who did Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone came back to that house, and...you know, on second thought, I'm mostly irrationally worried about how the dynamic between the Mrs. Halperts is going to work. 

It worked in my family because my dad's parents were both deceased by the time he married mom; his mom had died some time before that.  So this house really did instantly become my mom's.  But this, I don't know, wouldn't you think Pam would feel kind of weird taking over the home someone else had spent 20+ years making a home for her children...a home she (and they) are more than likely to come back and revisit? 

The MTT discussion boards put me somewhat at ease with the idea that after remodeling/refurnishing etc, it really will be their own, but...I'm going to shut up now because this post is becoming epic and I really need to talk about the ending scene.  Sufice to say that aside from those quibbles, I am mostly on board with it, and will staunchly defend its romanticism to the death in the face of adversary. 

Jim/Pam, Ending Scene
I cannot lie, it literally took me fifteen minutes to get through the less-than-two minutes of Jim and Pam's house tour the first time I watched this, because I kept stopping every few seconds to freak out.  Even when I knew that it was going to turn out all right, somehow, watching Jim get increasingly stressed as Pam's expression remain unchanged I was a total wreck.  I had to type out everything that was happening just so I could process it/keep myself sane.

One quibble: ...really, the garage seemed like it would make a nice art studio?  How does a garage with no windows have great light?  Is she just supposed to keep the door open and let in all the flies/heat/cold/snow/gawking passers-by?  Someone please enlighten me, because I'm extremely confused.  Also, I would think the garage would be a place you'd want to keep for the cars.  Out of the snow, hail, etc.  THAT'S JUST MY OPINION. 

(I do love that he set up an art studio for her, I do, it's just that...I want something more attractive.  Possibly something that looks like an art studio.)

Skipping to the happy...yeah, three and a half days later and I still can't wrap my head around the wondrous joy of Pam interrupting his self-deprecating ramble with "I love it."  (Transcript quote: Well, that shuts him right up.)  She is ON THE VERGE OF CRYING here (with happiness!  Those are happy tears and by this point I was just writing "FLAIL!" with many, many "a"s in th middle).  And by this point I just kind of go into a state of paralyzing glee at how brightly her eyes are shining.  I don't think I've seen her that happy since the beginning of this relation...EVER.  I have never seen her this overjoyed ever

And I honestly have no words to describe the kiss other than "plants one on him," which causes further squee because the number of Pam-initiated kisses in canon is, well, not that big.  I kind of want to randomly break out singing "Joy to the World."  I don't even need a holiday episode by this point, since Christmas was just built right into this one.

(That, too, is a lie.  You have a lot of work to do to make up for depriving me of Snuggly Puppy Love for Christmas 2007.  Bastard scribes.)

But nothing, nothing is greater than the embrace at the end.  Which is silly in context, but who cares about context when you can gaze at screenshots and imagine all sorts of better reasons for it?  I expect there to be dozens upon dozens of icons and wallpapers making use of this, people.  I cannot get over how angelic she looks with her head bowed and face all tucked into his shoulder like that.  I'm seeing soft edging, darkened background, some of that curly-script text (legible or not)...maybe even banners with lyrics from Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," and I don't even like that song.  It just seems fitting. 

Assorted Notes I Couldn't Transfer From Present Tense
(on Phyllis thinking Jim's house-buying is romantic) "Ugh.  Don't listen to her either, Jim, she's very split-personality on your relationship - she seems to change her mind on a weekly basis whether she finds it sweet, or whether it's more suitable for making passive-aggressive swipes about the placement of one's hands and such." 

 "I'm actually not allowed in here, so..." OK, that part was a little cute.  (As to the rest, WHY IS THIS WEIRD I DON'T LIKE WEIRD MAKE IT STOP) 

 

General Question

Hey...didn't Jim used to be properly clean-shaven?  This 5 o'clock shadow thing he has going on 24 hours a day is beginning to bug me.  At first I ignored it - I ignored it for a really long time - but increasingly now it just looks scruffy and a little bit dirty (in the literal sense).  I just want him to look fresh for once.  Can you do that for me, at some point, maybe?  As a Christmas present?  


Up Next
-Still flailing with ridiculous excitement for the producer's cut on Tues...tomorrow!  Producer's cut tomorrow, YIPPEE!  WIth my luck it will be like three minutes of new material, divided evenly between Michael and Andy, but a girl can hope for good things!

-In case that + the first websiode aren't enough to tide you over during the supposed drought of Thanksgiving week, may I direct your attention to a Special New Episode?  "Sleepover."  

 So, I would hope that it's obvious enough this is fanfic, but you know, this is the internet and I'm writing a public entry.  One really cannot underestimate the intelligence of random passers-by.  So let 's just make sure everyone is aware that I am aware this is not actually a leaked epsiode script.  But it could be!  It's that good!

That being said, seriously, go read it and alternately be euphoric, laugh your ass off, and be charmed by how brilliantly every character is captured, and how seamlessly the story weaves into the current framework of the series.  It will quite literally make your life.  Or at least your week.

Comments

dollsome
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you for the rec, my friend! :D

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