The first time I heard this was stop-motion was the day after it aired, and I thought I had surely not read those words correctly so I put it out of mind. Then I saw a GIF of the title scene, and was blown away with love and amazement. No, I had no idea this was happening! I was fully prepared to love it more than anything on this earth and declare it my favorite thing ever, but...it didn't really do it for me.
I wanted it to be some project Abed created for class, a totally AU and self-contained story I could cherish for decades, so when it turned out to be a regular episode filmed with voiceovers and Abed The Already Intolerable being weird, I was mostly frustrated that I could not see their real expressions. I guess I should credit the voice acting, though, because it was almost like I could simultaneously see the real setting in a tiny in-vision screen. I had a fair amount of fun imagining what they really looked like in that room.
And, to the episode's credit, it got a lot better as it went on. Jeff was the only animated character who looked he was barely recognizable and it was bizarre. I loved Teddy Pierce more than the real version, though. Also enjoyed Wizard Duncan. And BallerAnnie, and especially the Troy Soldier ("COOL! Do I have a gun??" // "You have a drum." // "...cool."). The metaphorical Lost season 1 DVD made me laugh and laugh and laugh, even though I do not have the same whiny issues that most Lost fans do (SIDEWAYS WORLD HEAVEN. The end. Or specific to the season 1 finale, SAYID/SHANNON. The end).
Also, when they broke out into group song at the end, I maybe teared up a little. Maybe if I see this ep again later, it will have worked HIMYM-like magic to become awesome in retrospect. Argh, you see what happens when I talk about the show like it has characters with depth instead of just appreciating it as a fun time and watching for laughs? Inner Cynic wreaks havoc.
P.S. BRITTA! My heart, it is yours. Shut it, Abed, she was just trying to prevent you from getting kicked out.
(Also, what kind of mom tells her kid in a card that "I have a new family now"? Was that even real? It sounds like the kind of immature line you'd write in fourth grade to torment an unpopular kid. ...I haven't done that, I'm just saying.)
In conclusion: I am still super proud of this show for breaking out of the box and taking on the supreme effort required to produce this. They have done a good thing for the television world at large. I'm 99% sure I will love it by this time next year? crackers4jenn says nicer and fairer things, please listen to her over me?
The Office, "Classy Christmas"
Turns out this was the best Christmas episode since "Christmas Party." Possibly better? Due to the improved Jim-and-Pam storyline? I'm not sure, because it still had some issues and I've taken to referring to "Christmas Party" as one of my favorite classic holiday eps across TV, which I don't think I would say about this one...but yeah, I really liked most of it. By far the best thing Mindy Kaling has ever done.
The endless cold open with them trying to create a group shot with simultaneous jumping did not give me high hopes for this episode. And then Pam a) shut down the Party Planning Committee and b) threw the box out and just made my heart weep. If I had not been promised a good Jim/Pam storyline by two separate sources, I might have just walked away then.
So I am just going to live in the break room scene forever, K? This is all vicarious enjoyment, because I am not real jazzed about bracelets even if they are diamond, and comic books are just, well, WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE VALUE OF COMICS IN ANY FORM, ESPECIALLY IF THEY IN ANY WAY FEATURE A SUPERHERO, handmade or not.
But. If his gift takes her breath away, turns her teary eyed and results in kissing (multiple kisses, even! someone is making up for lost time this season, and I approve), and hers leaves him speechless, who am I to argue? Reasonably sure this is the prettiest kiss ever, too; something has maybe finally eclipsed or at the very least tied Casino Night. Plus, both of their reactions to watching the other open their gift are priceless & adorable.
I don't know, everything about them in this episode just reminded of the good old days when they had fun, cute interaction all the time, but minus the horrible cloud of angst that always hung over them. Best of both worlds!
Dwight vs Jim: The Greatest Snowball is Fear
This is my favorite thing that has happened in a very long while. *starry eyes* Less that one uncomfortable moment in which Jim inexplicably used a lacrosse stick to whip a snowball at Dwight inside, broke a window instead and got called into the
The unholy gleam of joy in Dwight's eyes and/or diabolical laughter at various points along the way, spring-loaded snowball-in-the-box, and Jim finally exploding with "DAMN IT, DWIGHT!" Also, terrified!Jim twitching and jumping at every shadow and noise (he could be in the ceiling, you don't know!), Dwight offering him an out if he hits Pam in the face with a snowball (I was kinda worried he might? Fortunately, he doesn't even entertain that notion for half a second. "You're a psychopath.")
AND THEN THE END. THE END. Best closing tag in recent memory (especially with Dwight's evil parting words!). It would have been that way just for Jim's "I don't want to go" and Pam reassuring him and walking out arm in arm, but then -- gloriousness.
A parking lot full of a snowman army as they walk out. Which turns into an opportunity for my new favorite thing in comedy this year, scenes that look dark out of context. In this case, I now have a visual aid for various AUs in which their lives are actually in danger. Jim yelling at her to go while he heroically attacks the nearest threat? Oh, show, you already gave me my Christmas present in the break room! But I will happily take this one too.
Oh, and just saying, the outdoor snowball assault works in my Dark 'N Serious AU too.
Holly: Not Single And/Or Ready To Mingle
I enjoyed Woody's appearance in this episode more than hers. I was hoping maybe I'd sort of cooled down to, like, ambivalence about her character? No. Strike one is shorter hair than before, stick-straight and now completely devoid of life, and strike two happens about three seconds later, when she opens her mouth with one of her godawful Michael-mirroring voices. CANNOT BEAR.
I still continue to have no particular Michael/Holly feelings, since I know he's leaving by hook or by crook and thus don't care about the particulars. Extra unfortunately, right before I saw this episode I had a feeling I might be spitefully leaning the AJ/Holly-shippin' way. And then he appeared to surprise her and we got the story behind Woody, and those feelings were confirmed. Sorry! Not listening to your lies about his refusal to commit. Why would you design a house with someone you weren't committed to? That said, I fear this may end up being a case of Old Post Irony:
possibly it's just Dan designing a house, in the manner of McDreamy, and it will exist as a mere idea & hope in his head for like 5 years while Holly is Meredith, all skittish and refusing to commit and continuing to live in the awesome old house she already owns.
Still shipping it until the ultimatum breaks. On another note, Michael should really stop destroying Holly's personal property out of petty jealousy. I'm at the point where, if they do get together, I'll have to hope she doesn't have a cat in case she shows it too much affection in front of him.
(It was hard enough to love Michael when he flipped out and started throwing perfectly good cookies in the garbage; it never really got easier)
Gabe & Erin
What the hell, why do you ask him so often if they are still dating? Quit shipping Andy/Erin, Camera Guys. First you refuse to cover Ryan/Kelly, now this; I just don't know if I trust you can really maintain your objectivity anymore.
Two, re: Erin bursting out with "I'm sorry, I just don't get it!"...dear, "it" could be anything. You're going to have to narrow the field a lot more than that. For all we know this is in reference to her not understanding why pink is not the same color as red and clashes horribly at Christmas-themed parties.
One, please stop giving Pam & Andy plots; they are terrible together. Although I must admit, Andy as the Christmas Star Thief was really pretty amusing, so I understand why they made that last 6 seconds and then reset my Andy opinions to their default. I mean, why make him likable any longer than necessary? But at least Pam got to have some cute interaction with a kid who was not a juvenile delinquent. She's grown!
Two, Darryl is dull and having him upstairs at all is bad enough; at least leave him sequestered in his own office. I hate to hate on anything related to Christmas that doesn't involve Michael being a freak, but I can't have people assuming I am on board with lackluster plots! The only part of this that was bearable was his daughter walking around and giving everybody vending machine treats.
Toby!: Until One Day, We're Just Talking
I feel like I never have much to say about Toby scenes, but he's just on so rarely now that all the thoughts I can really process are TOBY!!!!!!!! behind glazed eyes of happiness. Although I did laugh when Jim was all, "Yeah, can't reconnect with you right this second." And having read the Q&A for this episode, it's nice to hear that even though the Scranton Strangler started out as a throwaway joke, they managed to use circumstances to their advantage and make it a central thing.
Also, lol, Stanley waiting his entire life to be called for jury duty. The appeal has crossed my mind a time or ten, too.
Angela/Robert: Teh Gay Is Interfering With My Ship; or, RS Is Too Blind With Rage To Speak
(insert 10 minute cool-down period)
(nope, that ain't gonna do it)
WHY. JUST WHY. WHY. CAN'T EVEN APPRECIATE IRONY OF PREVIOUS STATEMENTS RE: IMMEDIATE MARRIAGE. Need to not fall behind on spoilers in future. Nasty surprises ruin life. Also, shut up, Oscar. His smugness has gotten so unbearable in the last couple of seasons. Clearly this show needs to get itself a Darren Criss equivalent to balance him out.
-I loved Jim's snowman tie so very much. Then again, I am mildly obsessed with theme ties. For someone who hates the idea of ties and wishes they would fall out of fashion, in the right context I seem to look forward to the designs almost as much as earrings on women.
-Christmas sweaters! Pam's one with reindeer looked like it would have fit right in with the explosion on Glee,
-Pam's hair in a half ponytail! Secret reason this episode was so great?
-DWIGHT AND HIS WIGS OF EVERYONE IN THE OFFICE.
-Otherwise, basically, if it was Christmas-themed I enjoyed it as much as I did on Glee.
What I'm Not Telling You
Despite all the hate, I can't actually remember that many negative feelings half a week later. I credit Jim for making this episode great.
Comfortable 2nd best of the season thus far (it will take something mega-special to dislodge "Viewing Party" from my heart, given my secret desire to call that one among the top 10-12 episodes of 2010 overall).
Caught up on Law & Order: SVU. My thoughts, pretty much, are: "I liked Maria Bello so much more as the mom in Flicka" and "Boy, Olivia in a guardianship/mothering role got real uncomfortably intense, real fast, didn't it?" When will they cancel this show and cut my obligation string!
I love Taylor Swift. If I have a feeling, there is a song. "Never Grow Up" is not going to make the Music List because it's slow and the opening lyrics force the highly unpleasant image of toddlers into my brain, but the other lyrics are amazing. Next time I need to have a self-pitying cry, this is going to be my 1-song playlist. If I had had this in college, it would have been my playlist ALL THE TIME.
Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone
So here I am in my new apartment in a big city
They just dropped me off
It's so much colder that I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on
Wish I'd never grown up
Uh, on second thought, HERE ARE SOME TEARS ALREADY. OK, maybe it will make the list. I don't know! It's exhausting trying to rank tracks all the time; I hate my special brand of OCD. I've been playing my CDs on loop pretty much since I got them, but instead of getting easier, it's getting harder as everything gets better and some of what I originally thought was a lock is now being eclipsed by what I thought was second-string.