Instead, I have been basking in my season 7 Office DVDs some more. And while it took a definite quality dip after Christmas until Elf dunked himself out of commission, it perked back up in the last two episodes, and there were some decent-ish bits along the way. Let's talk more about them.
-You know how Dwight K.Schrute, (Acting) Manager is almost the greatest episode of season 7? Still true, but did you know it also comes with adorable bonus Jordan footage in the deleted scenes? Following her deleted TH from The Inner Circle (deadpan: "No. I do not like working here so far"), we get Jim gleefully confiscating her notepad and taking over the job of "recording what everyone is secretly up to" before she reports it back to Dwight.
Jordan TH: OK, there's one guy in the office who's pretty funny.
SHIPPIN' JORDAN/UNREQUITED CRUSH ON JIM HARDER THAN EVER. Still so angry we lost her in season 8. Also angry that so many of her scenes got cut, when there was so much obvious potential there. I think Cathy got more lines that made it to film, and Cathy is just a transparent sheet of emotionless background scenery by comparison. It's kind of astounding how much more interesting Jordan is to me, actually, and yet I feel like I'm the only one who picked up on it. Come on, people! You should have rallied and demanded more.
-Speaking of fabulous DKSAM deleted scenes (fact: all of them are fabulous), JIM/PAM/PAST RELATIONSHIP POTSHOTS:
Pam: It’s not like he did it on purpose. And he did once pepper spray Roy to protect you.
Jim: Okay, so we’re going to give the guy who shot up the office a free pass just because he’s less violent than the goon you were engaged to?
Pam: Roy was a lot smarter than Katy, though.
Jim: Okay, how did this become about that.
It's very fanfic cliche to reference past relationships they've had on the show, and yet, when canon acknowledges it, it is always brilliant. (p.s. Katy remains my favorite, and the only acceptable person either of them has ever dated besides each other.)
VERY LONG SECTION BREAK/DIGRESSION STARTS HERE
-And last but not least, GABE-AND-ERIN: THE GREATEST ATTEMPTED LOVE STORY EVER TOLD. I ship, have always shipped, and will forever ship this mess of glorious awkwardness.
On the commentary, they talked about how Gabe is basically living as the lead in a romantic comedy in his mind, so he keeps making all these grand gestures that, in a movie with the right person, would be fantastic -- but because it's Gabe, it's just creepy and weird. JOKE'S ON YOU. I BELIEVE IN HIS ROMANTIC HEROISM. This is what we get, Grey's Anatomy Sweeping Speeches Club Style, in the episode proper:
Gabe: Erin, I am in love with you. I don't believe in much. I don't believe in horoscopes, I don't believe in Christmas, I sure as hell don't believe in God...
But for all of the disbelief, I believe in us. I believe in love. You have made me believe that for all of the hokum out there...
(And then the rom-com fantasy is interrupted forevermore by an incessantly ringing phone. Damn you, reality. Be more like the movies.)
And here's what else got cut out:
Deleted Scene 1:
(with added RS-exclusive narration commentary)
Gabe: You know, I've been watching all those Pixar movies that you always wanted us to see? And if you shut off your critical thinking - they're not half bad!
Erin: (attempted smile)
Gabe: Wouldn't it be funny, if when we left at night, all the office supplies came to life? (Erin starts to smile. It won't last.) So the highlighter, and the stapler were best friends, right? High, and Stape? And, uh, the shredder, would be a murderer, and he'd kill paper, but the paper couldn't move, because it was stationary.
(Gabe is very pleased with himself)
Gabe, endearingly earnest and hopeful: Do you feel better?
Erin: Yeah, thanks. (translation: you are such a freak omg get away from my desk already)
Gabe: That is the kind of stuff that you can expect from me from now on.
(And then he attempts to be playful by drawing a line down her nose with the highlighter.)
Gabe: Neon nose!
(It is precious. Erin somehow remains unmoved.)
The important thing to take away from his scene is "Awww, look at him clumsily trying to make her feel better!" She's upset about Andy of all people, and he's still trying to make her feel better. This is the way to my heart. Aggressively threaten (with no actual force behind your threats) all dudes who stand in your way while being a puppy dog to the girl you want. Did I mention the neon nose bit?
Deleted Scene 2: In which Gabe approaches Erin to read a charming poem he has composed:
You charm me
With a smile, a wink
And make me laugh
Like Monsters, Inc
We'll go and eat some Ratatouille
I sure hope it's not too chewy
In the great blue seas
Be my Jessie, please?
(BE MY JESSIE, PLEASE. With accompanying bow & imaginary hat tip! How are we not swooning right now.)
Gabe: Please go out with me again. Please. Please?
Gabe: I'm sorry that I said you spend too much money on stickers.
Gabe: I'll take you to a water park. They scare me, but I'll do it.
Erin: No, Gabe, I just have to be single right now.
Gabe: You're going to be lonely. And you will be scared at night. The world is terrifying.
The rest sort of falls apart in a way I don't feel like remembering, because I'm still fixated on "they scare me but I'll do it." His face! I don't know why I find his neurotic insecurity endearing, especially since he's an insensitive oaf the rest of the time when it comes to emotions, but by god, I can't help but root for him to get the girl, every single time. The world is terrifying! He can't be alone!
P.S. I still find all the Gabe vs. Andy scenes hilarious. The one where you can just barely see the Gabe having a meltdown through the conference room blinds still has me in stitches. ("Andy, do you like being alone with me right now?" / "No, this is horrifying." / "No, I don't like being alone with me either. I have to get Erin back!")
END SECTION BREAK
-"China," if you totally ignore the title plot, is actually pretty good. It no longer seems like the most pointless episode in the world; (The Seminar is way worse.) Pam's showdown with Dwight is the stuff of legend, and good for even more than just a Jim/Pam comfort hug.
-Why does Training Day have a producer's cut?? I gave it the ol' college try, but CeCe footage aside, it is an even bigger piece of crap than I remember.
-The producer's cut for the finale, on the other hand, is pretty decent. The interviews with everyone except Nellie and Dwight are still excruciating as hell - and I am still pretty peeved we had to deal with James Spader full time instead of Ray Romano's schedule being free and clear, if we couldn't get Catherine Tate until later - but otherwise, there is a lot to love, especially with Jo, and Pam intervening with Creed all day (
It's also pretty sweet to see all the glimmers with Andy gunning for manager, knowing how gloriously well that is going to work out. Oh, Manager Andy. So much better than Failed Salesman Andy.
Meanwhile, every forced second of Robert California is like drinking poison. I blame him and him alone for making season 8 so unmemorable.
-FINALLY saw "The Third Floor" webisodes, which I have avoided up 'til now because I didn't want to deal with more of Erin's face than I had to. Happily for me, it's way less about Erin than Ryan and Kelly. And Gabe has a starring role, and Andy is nowhere to be seen. It is fantastic.
-Blooper reel was underwhelming - though substantially better than not having one - except for Jenna's marvelous "What? What, let's keep going" after that thing from the ceiling floats down and lands on her head, every time John breaks (always the cutest thing ever), and Rainn & Mindy repeatedly breaking on the awkward crotch-pointing.
-Best deleted scene in "Goodbye, Michael" - the "goodbye" with Grouchy Hank, whose scenes always seem to end up deleted for some strange reason. ("So now I'm buying you coffee?" / "It's still a $14 tip."). Maybe tied with Ryan's, "Michael had quite a...way with words. *pause* And now you can play clips of him messing up words. Or not, I'm not gonna tell you how to do your job."
-I just re-watched Goodbye, Michael, full producer's cut (which I did not know existed! apparently it aired post-season in late May that year), and I legitimately started crying during the last scene with Jim and didn't stop until the end. Damn it, show! I hate when I am manipulated into feeling things about his character.
50% of the time when people claim that Michael makes you feel for him, I still feel nothing because he is the worst, but then this comes along and just wrecks me because goodbyes and change are horrible. This one was especially horrible because he was so attached to these people and this place - this is the same degree I attach to people/places, regardless of how they feel about me in return - and bittersweet because he left it for the only thing that could possibly be better. "Holly is my family now."
The goodbye with Pam is even more tear-worthy, after he's sadly accepted that he's gone and you don't always get the last moment you want...AND THERE SHE IS.
And then, for the first time, I thought about what it meant that Michael really just left one day and didn't say a proper goodbye. A very old Grissom quote from the early days popped into my head - "When I leave CSI, there won't be any cake in the break room. I'll just be gone." Ugh, oh, my heart.
Also never failing to break my heart: that last shot of Michael proudly surveying the room, with everybody going about business as usual. Which is riiiiight about when it hit me, for the first time, that we have to say goodbye like this in the spring too. Permanently. No more Jim, no more Pam, no more zany Dunder-Mifflin workdays. And...nope. I've been pragmatic and pretty okay with "the final season" up until today, but now I am a quiet wreck. After a short meltdown I can box up this feeling for the next several months, but it's going to get ugly eventually.
All right, I think I'm good...off to return these adventures to the library two days in advance, because I'm a nice person, unlike the jackass before me who kept it two solid weeks overdue. *forever bitter*
P.S. Why am I so in love with my new plush bunny? I have her hanging around the computer for now and have her constantly in my lap; she just makes me smile. I'm calling her Francesca. I don't love it but it popped into my head and I can't get it out. (the china figurines are great too, though. I woke up this morning and looked across the room at them, and for a moment I couldn't even believe that I hadn't just dreamed that estate sale. I haven't been this jazzed about non-book purchases in ages.)