Also, I finally made some forward progress on The Office.
Livin' the Dream: That was such a wonderfully classic episode. It was everything that made the olden days great, minus anything (MICHAEL) that made the olden days horrible. By which I mostly mean a) David Wallace! and b) Jim and Pam being in full blown season 2 mode (except now with "wife" instead of "some other dude's girlfriend"). SO FREAKING CUTE I COULD NOT STAND IT. Especially Pam feeling the need to slip in a comment about the pretty good morning they had before work. BEESLEY! (code for "I love it")
And the Jim/Pam/Pete/Erin foursome - that was so simultaneously awesome, because they ARE the same!, and sad, in that for the first time EVER it made me feel like Jim and Pam were in a state of arrested development by not moving to Philly or whatever, shut up. It was weird! It felt like seeing myself when I realize that I'm actually 10 years out of high school and not a teenager, and that what's fine/desirable at that age is not the same 5-10 years down the road. (But then I shook that off and remembered no, they are making A+ life choices right now) [side note: there's a deleted Pete/Erin scene, right? because her abrupt and upset departure seemed weirdly dropped]
(that said, I'm kind of glad I already accidentally watched most of the next episode prior to seeing this - it made that last moment of Pam overhearing Jim turning down that opportunity for her much weightier. That is the kind of angst note I like!)
Dwight becoming manager was a glorious moment. D'awww. Especially when his first act as manager is to kick Clark out of Jim's chair and back to the annex.
The only thing I did not love was Angela being a slovenly mess and THE COUNTY TAKING HER CATS AWAY ARE YOU KIDDING ME DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT KIND OF TRAUMA I AM EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW. I could absolutely relate to her being all alone in the world now...except for her son, I guess. But a son who can't talk yet versus a score of cats, I think the more desirable choice is pretty clear.
It was very confusing to me how Kevin was self-aware and smart enough the entire time to make quips that were actually funny. (Uptight, judgmental types? No, I have no experience with that type of person at all!)
I also really, really, really loved all the Andy-bashing going on. Black hole of charisma! There's just something there you don't want to look at!! I desperately hope someone has made a mock movie poster (with his giant dopey grin in the center, possible title Andy The Untalented) using quotes like that.
Is it OK that until the last 5 minutes, I...didn't really like any of this except the Jim and/or Pam scenes? The Dwight/Angela stuff at the end was nice and I actually ended up laughing hysterically at Darryl's farewell disco, but everything else was SO BORING. (especially the giant waste of time & money on fancy guest stars that was Andy's audition nonsense)
But good lord, those scenes were glorious. Dwight as manager = aces (THE SUMMONING BAG), I LOVED Jim's manic energy to good-naturedly amuse himself messing with Dwight, and the unholy glee he took in being 25 again. I love that Pam was content with feeling "a little guilty" as long as it meant having him there. I love the exact arc that guilt took, and she hit the nail on the head with "no, I know you're 'happy' and today was fun, but what about a year from now? What about 5 years from now?' Mostly, I love that all of these worries did not immediately lead to "I was wrong and you should take that job opportunity"*, but instead exploded in an outburst of anxiety and self-deprecation, seeking reassurance. PAM = ME, COMPLETE.
*maybe it leads there later, IDC, but it's important that this response comes first, because it breaks my heart that this year showed us a reality where Pam can believe she will ever not be Jim's whole universe, and I need to hear otherwise over and over
I love every single inch of Jim's Plan of Action in response, starting with requesting help from the camera crew. (everyone, now that Brian is not there: *falls all over themselves to help their favorite couple*)
Kind of disappointed in the lackluster song choice for the fanvid, but the video itself? ♥♥♥♥♥ And the letter! The letter that fandom wouldn't shut up about hoping Pam would discover, to which I was constantly going SIMMER DOWN, FANDOM, THAT THING PROBABLY DIDN'T MAKE IT TO STAMFORD...! I can't believe they actually pulled that out.
Now if you'll excuse me, I just need to hug the nearest teddy bear/pillow/fluffy object and sob happy tears over Jim's final line:
They're fixed. Finally. They're fixed and I am never ever ever going back into the hell that was the late middle of season 9; it will be considered as disease-ridden as season 3. But this is the most life-affirming thing since...I don't even know when, maybe as far back as the proposal? Yep. I think that was the last time my heart flew into the sun like this.
Eventually I am going to wear this scene out through overplay, but right now I'm on like repeat 25 and my heart still sings every time. I'm going to go ahead and put this on my (currently non-existent) Top 50 TV Quotes Of All Time.
Meanwhile, a ton of really great things have been happening in fandom, and I want to talk about them but I'm soooo tired, so they will have to wait for tomorrow. For now, I will leave you with the most delightful cover of a thing: "Hit Em Up Style" as covered by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. SO GREAT. Frankly it's worth it just for the fiddle; by the time her (fantastic) voice comes in you almost forget it has lyrics too. Bonus!