The Office

Episode Report Card
Miss Alli: B+ | 2 USERS: A-

In one of the conference rooms, Michael asks Ryan if he likes prank shows like The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and tells him they're going to prank Pam, so Ryan should just follow Michael's lead. The short version of this agonizingly uncomfortable scene, which is approximately as uncomfortable as watching Jennifer Aniston host the Angelina Jolie Celebrity Roast, is that when Pam comes in, Michael tells her that she's fired. For stealing Post-It Notes. The whole time, Michael is transparently certain that this will be absolutely hilarious later, and he can barely contain his laughter. Pam can't believe the news of her sacking at first, but as she takes it in, she feels her structure further eroding, and she puts her head down and cries. It will be a long time before you see Pam cry again. Michael abruptly cracks up and tells her she's been pranked. Michael spreads the guilt by insisting that Ryan was "in on it," but when we look over at Ryan, who felt it when this turned from idiotic to horrifying, he's silently shaking his head. Great moment. It's funny, because Ryan is right to be horrified, but Ryan is also the most conflict-avoidant and self-interested person in the office. He's right, but for the wrong reasons. Pam is dumbfounded. "You're a jerk," she declares angrily to Michael, which she would never, ever do now, and she storms out.

Michael has recovered by the time he THs that the most important thing in a company is the people. His proudest moment, he says, was being asked to be the godfather to the child of a recent immigrant. Michael remembers his own greatness for a moment, then adds, "Didn't work out in the end. We had to let him go. He sucked." Apparently, Michael will only see him again if he dies and Michael has to raise the kid. [Smile merrily, cross fingers.]

Pam is still half-sniffling as she walks past Jim's desk and asks him what's up. They awkwardly stammer their way into an agreement to walk out together, but Roy the fun-killer starts honking the horn outside, so she takes off. Jim waves after her. As the theme music kicks up for one of the only scored moments in the show's history, Jim motions for the cameras to follow, then carries a large item into Michael's office. When he whisks off the cloth, we see that it is Michael's "World's Best Boss" mug, floating a large Jell-O mold. It's the kind of thing we'd all do, or we'd all like to think we'd do, if we were braver and younger and had prop departments.

You know, the first episodes have kind of a mixed reputation, and the tone is definitely off in certain ways -- Michael is a bit too gross, and Pam is too afraid of him and lacks sparkle, and so much of the humor is based on discomfort that you can barely sit through some of it because it's so effective, and there isn't the richness to the supporting cast yet. But in little moments, you can see Jim's mischievous but pained need to torment Dwight just to keep himself from going insane, Dwight's Oedipal need to defeat Michael while also gaining his approval, and the way Jim and Pam use each other as life preservers. There's plenty to come, but there's plenty here, too.

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The Office




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