The Office: "Stress Relief"
And then The Office broke my brain in ways I can't talk about yet. XD :o *\o/* :'(
So not kidding. 4 days later and my brain still hurts, it is so conflicted about how I feel. I think the only way to explain my feelings is to use the emoticons as category headers.
*immediately has problems*
Oh, gosh, how do I start this...still so torn about my primary emotion, cheers or tears? Because those two are inextricably linked to the same moment.
OK. Let's try this.
Wishlist Item: Emotional Pam being comforted with a hug from Jim
Haaaallelujah! I hoped against hope, and then there it was!! You dream about this sort of thing, you stare at screencaps from "Frame Toby" and apply them to other scenarios, you wonder how in the world the show's format and genre are ever going to give it to you, and then BOOM. Tears, need for emotional support, the tightest embrace ever - complete with rocking - and not only not cut away too abruptly, but followed up with a Pam TH so that I have something nice to listen to in the few seconds it takes to hit the rewind button. The Office Gods have smiled upon us!
Only fair, since they just drowned me in sorrow.
*sobs in a corner for a while*
I was *so sure* they were going to fix the sad thing with Pam's parents fighting, and then they...didn't. That sucks.
And you thought Jim Halpert only set impossible standards for single guys.
So, Pam's dad is kind of an ass, huh? I don't care if they've allegedly been fighting for weeks; the deciding factor in giving up on your marriage doesn't get to be "I realized it wasn't a magical fairy tale." (Seriously, dude, comparing your marriage to Jim and Pam is not the way to go. That's like an NBA player saying "I suck at basketball because I wasn't picked for the Olympic team.")
And maybe it could be, if not for the fact that you've already shown us Pam's mom, and she was delightful, exactly like Pam, and I am fairly certain she does not deserve to have her husband walking out on her! Furthermore, Pam doesn't deserve to have to go through this. Regardless of the fact that she's all grown up and with a pending marriage of her own, having your parents divorce sucks at any age. She already failed a class at art school. Can't that be enough? I don't want bad things to happen to Pam! Most of the time. When she's not at art school.
*frustrated table kick* I want to be happy that I got the hug, but I can't because there's still this knot of anxiety in my stomach that there's such a thing as Jim being too perfect, that this technically traces back to him. That maybe if he hadn't caved in two seconds under flattery and puppy eyes, and stuck to talking about cereal, he wouldn't have been the catalyst. I huuuuurt.
*\o/* (verbose redux)
Jim and Pam, you guys, I don't even...have words to tell you how much I loved them and how wonderful and perfect their interaction was, especially considering how long it's been since they last had any. Of course, everything is overshadowed by the magnitude of the end, so we should talk about that first. About how much I love and will never tire of Pam's tear-filled eyes. About how just when I think she's taking all this for granted, along comes this speech where she gets a look of wonder like she still can't believe how much he loves her. About how I'm pretty sure Jim asks if she's okay just so he can go hold her when she falls apart.
(but GOD, stupid stomach twinge; it hurts me so much when he asks if it's his fault and she says "Yeah" and the thing is she means it. And it's not his fault in a bad way and she can't blame him and she doesn't blame him; quite the opposite; but it is still a TERRIBLE HEARTBREAKING FACT.
But it's okay, kind of? Because I cannot treasure this moment enough - incidentally, it is now the desktop picture on the computer with internet, so that when the internet crashes and my blood pressure rises, I can stare at it for a while and calm down - nor can I get enough of repeating "How you never doubted for a second that I was the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with" under my breath, or that BEAUTIFUL beaming-despite-the-bittersweet TH of "My kids are gonna be right about that." *skips and dances merrily*)
Continuing in backwards order...
-Even before I knew it'd be OK, I really enjoyed the part where she comes in breathing fire and accuses him of breaking up her parents. It is totally worth it just to see poor flabbergasted Jim stammer and stumble in complete bewilderment, looking horrified at the idea that he might have made things worse. The interjection of "truly" stuck out like a bad line of fanfic, though. I can't explain why that word bugged me so much, but it did.
-I love that they can still have shy and bashful moments. Like when she tells him he's good to talk to - I haven't seen that much blushing since "Fun Run."
-Dear writers: thank you for having Pam's dad stay with them for a couple days. Those wonderful little glimpses you gave out will spark 82,352 (actual number) pieces of fanfic, and I will read them all.
-Weirdly meta statement: "They just need to communicate. If they said to each other what they've been saying to everyone else, then..." I'm not sure if that was supposed to remind us that Pam and Jim finally learned that lesson after season 3, or to reassure us that since they do know this lesson we can all stop worrying about even the chance of a breakup, or to serve as horribly ironic foreshadowing when Pam and Jim have the same problem but don't realize it when it happens. I choose to believe it's not option 3. *pause* Thereby increasing the likelihood that it is by 500%.
Although I'm very fond of Jim's concerned glances at her every time she answers her phone. I've even perfected the art of blocking out both Andy and the film (guess which one was more annoying - the answer may surprise you!) as I remember those lovely scenes.
-There need to be way more joint Jim/Pam THs. They're so cute. Also, I kind of love the continuity factor with the window behind them being boarded up.
*is exhausted* Did other stuff happen in this episode? It did? Hell. OK...
1. I hate laughing at Michael lines. I hate it; I hardly ever do it, but...I will howl every time (including the 3 times I saw it in the previews in the space of an hour) I see the following part: "You will not die! Stanley! Barack is President! YOU'RE BLACK, STANLEY!"
(however, as proof that I still find Michael useless - I don't care if he's wearing all attractive black! - I know I was supposed to feel bad or heartwarmed or something by his childlike visit to the park, but I still thought that was a waste of time and should have been spent watching Angela pet her cat, or something. The best I can say is that I found him more bland than abjectly unpleasant in that moment)
2. The wonderful flashback sequence reminded me just why Stanley is so amazing - I haven't seen nearly enough active snark lately, but he used to be one of my very favorites. "I'm going to die" sort of brought it all back.
3. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Andy's singing...for the first time ever, was put to good use? Dude, if you wanted to win me over the way you pretended to have Angela be won over, why didn't you skip the Here Comes Treble BS and go straight for "What I Hate About You"?? It was so great I feel a need to quote it in all its glory:
What I hate about you
You really suck as a boss
You're the losiest, jerkiest, and you're dumber than applesauce
We're stuck listening to you all day
Stanley tried to die just to get away
Well it's true
That's what I hate about you
*howls with laughter and replays several times* Are there extra verses? Can I get this on iTunes? (without the ridiculously drawn out ending?) Hell yeah, I'm dancing to this. This could be my workout playlist. All by itself. I've never felt so energized!
4. Among the many brilliant things about the roast was Angela's beaming, flushed, proud-of-herself smile as she clumsily but no less successfully took Michael down a peg in her own special way ("how to tell if you might be Michael Scott"). Is she not the most adorable creature you have ever seen? (also! The bit where she was kind of dancing to Andy's song, until she noticed the camera over her shoulder and quickly stopped = hee)
5. JIM. Everyone's talking about Pam's zinger, but I'm pretty sure he took home the red ribbon at that roast, because that was a masterful bit of comedy. "Several times a day, Michael uses words that are waaaay beyond my vocabulary! Remember spiderface?" Darn it, show, with your cuts for time! I want the complete list of Michael Scott-isms, as mocked by Jim Halpert.
1. I want to love the fact that Angela randomly keeps a cat in the office (can it breathe inside the file cabinet like that?), but...show, throwing a cat into the area above the ceiling tiles, and then having it crash back through and bounce off a desk is IMMENSELY UN-FUNNY. Why do TPTB hate cats? Jenna Fischer, could you perhaps put your big mouth to good use and speak out against this?
2. OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD THEME SONG, NOOOOOOOOO! *howls* You can't just change it up like that! I don't care if you're recruiting new viewers and the old one was horribly misleading and this one has 50% more B.J. while actually featuring everyone who stars in the show, I - oh, look at that, the kiss from "Money." Never mind, I'm good.
3. In a creepout contest between the Burger King and Dwight wearing the CPR dummy's sliced-off face...well, the King would still win, but Dwight would be a very close second. *shudders* That is a thing I never need to see again, ever.
1. Worst part of the episode: the end tag. I'm positive that less than 5% of the viewing audience felt like they wanted to see more of that film, and even fewer were expecting there to be further resolution. I KNOW you have piles of hilarious deleted scenes that would have been much more worthy of the last few seconds, and it faintly disgusts me that you would throw those over just because you have "guest stars." Incidentally, let me show you my feelings on said stars:
Jessica Alba: Awesome!
Jack Black: FIERY BURNING HATE.
Cloris Leachman: FIERY BURNING HATE.
The screen time ratio of Jessica Alba to Jack Black, in other words, was ass-backwards. (I'm just denying CL's existence at this point)
2. Kevin breaking open the vending machine and stuffing snacks in his coat, however, was the most disgusting part of the episode, narrowly edging out the THING IN THE FILM THAT TOTALLY NEVER HAPPENED. In a related note, while I appreciate the sentiment behind Kelly's roast joke, I would still make out with Michael before I made out with Kevin. It wouldn't even be a choice.
3. "50% of marriages end in divorce, so...it was either her parents or my parents." Oh, Jim. Bad joke. You know how I've never really had a problem with anything you've done or said, ever,
-Whoever said this was one of the best cold opens ever is sorely mistaken, as the CO's of both MC and PFP were better than this. In case this was not previously clear, the rule is that unless Jim is pranking Dwight, it is not eligible to be in the running for "best cold open ever." This was good, yes, but also full of confusion and unpleasant noise...albeit spiced up with Jim's "Yeah, I'm not dying here," the existence of a cat (let's just stop there), and hot!angry!Jim ("WHAT?"). Of course, Jim manages to be hot even when he's coughing into his sleeve.
-Seriously, how does Dwight still have a job? Roy got fired just for storming furiously towards Jim (intent can't be proven!). Does directing a non-specific threat that endangers everyone really make it better, especially when the ensuing panic causes a heart attack and prompts massive destruction of company property?
Conclusion: Whatever I didn't mention...probably fell under the "hilarious" category. There was too much to love - this episode's fighting to be named best of the season, which is a problem since "Weight Loss" and "Customer Survey" were already battling for that title (all episodes have ridiculously strong cases, but they all also have detractions). The point is, it was incredibly well done and I'm worn out from watching it. That, my friends, is the mark of something wonderful.
And there's more joy tomorrow! I must admit I'm sort of flabbergasted that Karen is pregnant. I just...didn't think they'd go down the easy route after they already went there with Jan. Besides, what sort of delightful Karen/Pam tension will there be now? I probably shouldn't ask that question, or they'll be sure to drum up something unpleasant.
All right, I've only got room for one big-ticket item at a time; that's it for this post, now let's try some smaller bits.
How I've missed my little DuBois family! I was afraid that after the long, long hiatus (longer than Lost's, even, geeze), I would discover I'd grown bored with Joe/Allison after the shiny delights of all my other ships. But nope, one glimpse of Joe's
And I did say "family," so despite Ariel's total absence and Marie's appearance in only one scene, leaving the focus on my least favorite daughter, that was still wonderful. How can you not love Marie, all sweetly and innocently looking at the drawing and declaring "That man is naked!" HEE! And as for Bridgette, well...for as much as I dislike her, I love the father/daughter bond they have. It seems particularly strong with her, as evidenced by his reaction to her sobbing outburst that she didn't want to draw anymore but she couldn't help it.
Personally, I was sure that he was going to turn out to have been molesting other girls in the class - I'm sure the last time I saw that actor, he was playing a pervert - but I suppose I'm relieved that the drawings turned out to be because he had a growing and perhaps malignant mole on his chest. Why he needed to be completely naked in those drawings to show that, I'm not sure, but hey. It is kind of cool that both parents are starting to recognize when the girls are showing medium-type tendencies, and take them seriously.
Case-wise, there were delightful parallels to the current
In a related note: does "the bottom of the lake" really seem like the best hiding place for a manuscript you need to refer back to, really? I don't care if it's in plastic wrap. Plastic tears. You know what ruins paper really fast? Water. At least put it in a lockbox and bury it deep in the garden, or something.
House, "The Greater Good"
To quote TWoP: It's House's 100th episode! Let's celebrate with yet another Hadley Health Crisis! . . . As for Cameron and Chase, they celebrate 100 episodes by being invisible. Same old story.
You know what I never need to see again? Foreteen in bed. Especially after I learn that they've been dating for two weeks. And there is no epic UST, or even actual friendship in place to make that timeline seem a little more reasonable. Can we be done with them now, please? Or at least her? Because at this point it just insults my intelligence that TPTB claim they don't understand why people think that the show is all about Thirteen, and/or why people might be sick of her as a result.
Of course, I also maintain the less popular opinion that I'd like to be done hearing about how Amber was Wilson's True Love Whose Death Traumatized Him Forever, So In Love Was He. It worked extremely well for two weeks last spring; Wilson does "emotional torture" beautifully. However, now that she's not actively dying and he's not crying all over the place and pleading for her life, I have enough perspective to remember that "she" was Cutthroat Bitch. It pissed me off when he was "in love" with her before the bus accident, and it pisses me off now. Grieve on your own time!
I do highly approve of Cuddy pulling childish prank wars on House. EXCELLENT. Every episode should be like this, with Cuddy stealing canes and setting trip wires and House not fighting back at all. It's so nice to see Cuddy win stuff, even when she's eventually undone by her own guilty conscience. It almost made up for the part where she has no actual excuse for doing this, because she was clearly miserable at home due to the fact that she had nowhere else to go, and work is both keeping her sane and making sure that she develops a loving bond with Rachel.
And I also approve of the ex-doctor refusing to give in to the pressure and judgment that she was being irresponsible by quitting her research. I hate people who act like that. You know what, just be glad she contributed to the field at all. It's exactly the same type of irritating as people who think the rich should donate all their money to starving people rather than buying nice things.
I go hot and cold on seeing Mrs. Taub. On the one hand, she's a very good cuddler, which is nice. On the other, he is inevitably wearing a grubby-looking white undershirt and boxers during said cuddling, and being as it's Taub, that frequently grosses me out more than anything. I'm always under the impression that it's been a while since he showered.
Lastly, best line of the ep: "You should go see Wilson. Rationalization Man needs a faithful sidekick. Now Rational Man needs to go save a life."
In other news, you know Secret Life has taken a spin on the crazy train when Amy makes the most sense in an episode. No, really. It was like her brain power tripled overnight (and here I thought pregnancy had the opposite effect!); everything she said was perfectly reasonable and on the mark, while everyone else sounded ridiculous. I can't really blame her for
a) getting frustrated with people who insist that since she wants to have a face-to-face talk with the baby's father whose consent she needs for adoption, it must mean she's in love with him, or
b) breaking out the heavy sarcasm button when said baby daddy wants her to keep it but wants no actual responsibility for its care, or
c) looking at her boyfriend like he's insane when he throws a temper tantrum because she didn't tell him about the meeting as soon as she planned it. (see "a")
I also need to stop reading the comments posted below the videos on the official site, because they're full of 10-year-olds with poor typing skills and crazy people who think that Ben and Amy should break up and/or that the show should focus on other people more. Both of which enrage me to equal degrees. I realize this show has a lot in common with fanfiction.net and I shouldn't expect better quality from the fans than the show itself...and yet I keep falling into that trap.
P.S. I'd just like to note for the record that my favorite running joke (it has to be a joke at this point) is when Ben asks to talk to the counselor in his office - as opposed to the middle of the crowded hallway - and then as usual, they leave the door wide open. On said crowded hallway.