But I have been pretty successful in divorcing myself from Office Tally, so I have only been minimally spoiled beyond this point and am therefore going to write about and post like this just aired on Thursday instead of over a month ago. Was originally hoping to watch more episodes in short order, but not sure if that will happen now that work is back in full swing and I'm also trying to watch 13523 DVDs from the library and get to my nine million requested books at the same time.
The Office, 9x12, "Customer Loyalty"
I fell in love with this episode based on the summary alone: Dwight tries to stop Darryl from moving to Jim's start-up company. Elsewhere, Jim misses his daughter's first recital, to Pam's dismay; Nellie spills the beans about Pete and Erin. Also: A behind-the-scenes look at the documentary comes into view.
But we're going to skip straight to the end (identified in Deluxe Transcripts as "holy mother of where did that come from"), because there is the Pam-as-me breakdown I was waiting for and I literally needed five weeks to finish chewing over every nuance of the scene. That phone call was amazing. My mouth and my brain were saying, "This is the saddest I have ever been!", yet I could not rip the stupid grin off my face the entire time because the conflict was just so satisfying. Better yet, she said and did absolutely everything I could have wanted, because it was exactly how I would react in the same scenario.
This is such an unwinnable situation that I can't actually take sides. I mean, I can -- I've literally never heard Jim be a condescending dick to her before -- but I also think it was really well written in that they both had valid frustrations to vent*, and that needed venting, even in unpleasant ways. He sounded like if he were Phillip's age, he'd be two seconds away from bursting into cranky tears. Meanwhile, I like that he is oblivious to having made her actually cry, and that she had just enough pride to hang up before breaking down. I enjoy having my heart ripped to shreds that she was so excited to share her good news and never even got the chance.
That last sentence kills me, and I still haven't figured out why. Something about that addition takes it from an ordinary sharp comeback to something harsher, like she's not just in the wrong, she's missed the entire point of the conflict (and what is wrong with you that you're not getting it?). Or maybe like he's just dismissing the whole thing, her included, and that's what stings so much.
And then Brian shows up and fandom has a really weird reaction, predictable and yet still managing to disappoint me. I know he's in a few more episodes, but I don't know how Jim's relationship with him is so I'd like to stay unspoiled in that regard. For me, he only gave me pause for a moment -- the weirdest thing for me was Pam looking at him like a marriage counselor; what a bizarre question to open with, rhetorical or not -- and then I just really loved the idea of Brian being a genuinely nice guy with concern for her well being because it's impossible to stay detached from one's subjects after this many years.
Don't take away my belief in him being a Genuinely Nice Guy, show. I need this.
BUT LET'S BACK UP. Other things I enjoyed about the monstrously huge and wonderful and perfect Jim/Pam focus of tonight's episode:
-Jim's demonstration of the Cece Spin and Kick was horrifically embarrassing the first time. It gets cuter the more you watch him Dorky Dad it out. Of course, it's cutest when you actually see the real thing on stage.
-How efficiently Jim messes with Dwight now. (although I kept wondering if the partners were going to say anything about having to keep hauling his delinquent ass back into the conference room)
-Everything about Pam's art mural storyline so far, including the fact that the Senator got do something non-horrible for like the first time since the Hay Place was built.
(but for the record, this is why making your phone do everything is stupid. Separate devices for specialized tasks, please.)
-I love that we got to ride up in the car with Pam and the adorable little "I want Daddy!" ladybug in the backseat. I am so happy we get to spend extra time with their daughter and none with their son, whom I mostly pretend doesn't exist except insofar as remembering they have two kids.
AND THEN IN CASE THAT'S NOT ENOUGH:
-Dwight Schrute and the Quest For The Holy Grail! Thank god the camera guys gave us resolution, because otherwise that would have driven me nuts.
-Pete and Erin's awesome fake Facebook page, ALL THE CHEMISTRY, Nellie unnecessarily freaking out and intervening at every turn (I love her so much), the entire office being very clear on what's going on, and the brief period of delightful awkwardness, followed by Nellie fixing everything again because she is perfect. And:
Angela: I think it would be immoral for Erin to cheat on Andy.
Erin: Oh, I'm sorry, didn't you cheat on Andy?
Angela: Yes. And he didn't like it.
-The dot matrix printer in the annex, omg. (Windows 95, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure is a better OS than Windows 7. It probably still loads the contents of large folders faster, for instance.)
-The Dwight/Darryl storyline was kind of blah, but worth it for Dwight having a milkshake splattered all over him, and this quote:
Darryl: No disrespect to Dunder Mifflin, but if I can have fun at work, I want that.
Dwight, genuinely bewildered: It can't be more fun than selling paper and paper products!
Darryl: It can.
Dwight: Are you pretending to be crazy?
-Toby, making me crow with delight at the way his creepy gestures send shudders up and down my spine, much in the way one delights at being scared by horror movies. He has totally gone to the Gabe school of "I live my life like the lead in a romantic comedy," hasn't he?
Overall, second favorite episode of the season so far. The only reason it's not first is that I love Dwight Christmas so very much -- which I watched three more times before I finished writing this. Or, well, watched once and listened to twice in the background while I concentrated on typing. I have almost memorized the script by accident at this point.
P.S. Filed under "it's kind of a funny story (but not really)"...back in January I openly laughed at the people who voiced fears that this might even temporarily push Jim and Pam apart, just as I have always laughed at anyone who thinks this perfection is ever going to be split up for dramatic kicks/sweeps ratings. But then CSI happened, so on the heels of Glee continuing its season long quest to torment me, I have basically no faith left in anything romantic on television no matter how solid it seems. I legitimately cannot trust even Jim and Pam to stay together, and that is the worst feeling in the entire world. Worse than Blaine cheating! I love how 2013 is the year that made me start wanting television shows to die as soon as possible after premiering, before anyone has a chance to irreparably muck my characters up.
By the way, I like how March 3rd is just apparently designated a Glee Riot Day on Tumblr now. I wonder if anything happened on this date in 2011? Because last year was the beach photo shoot, and [yesterday] they couldn't decide between the Imogene trailer and finally hearing "Come What May."