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Auctions and Ultimatums: Crime Aid on "The Office"

I have to say that I really quite enjoyed last night's episode of The Office ("Crime Aid"), written by new writer Charlie Grandy (Saturday Night Live) and directed by first-time director Jennifer Celotta (who also serves as an executive producer and writer on the series), who turned out a gorgeously filmed episode and has proven that she's just as talented behind the camera as she is writing dialogue for the employees of Dunder Mifflin. (Well done, Jen!)

While the Jim and Pam fluff bored to me to tears (is anyone quite as sick of these two as I am?) and the cold open was a whole lot of nothing, the rest of the episode was filled to the brim with the stuff I love best about The Office: genuine emotion (as opposed to forced or trite sentimentality), hysterical moments, and character growth.

How fantastic was it that Holly tricked Michael into returning to the office so she could make out with him without the cameras filming them? (I also loved the fact that they directly addressed the cameras' presence AND made it funny by having Michael turn his mike all the way up instead of down.)

I'm absolutely loving Michael and Holly as a couple, even if David Wallace didn't look too pleased to learn that these two were dating. Holly is such a perfect female version of Michael that is seems perfect to put these two together... and it's nice to see Michael happy for a change (which makes me just know that things are going to come crashing down for these two lovebirds very soon). Their exchange at the beginning of the episode about going out that night was adorable and very funny.

The fact that Holly knew that Michael never had any Springsteen tickets for their crime aid auction was a nice touch that belied her love for Michael and the realization that some things are just too good to be true. There was no explosive fight, no shouting (as there would have been from Jan), but just good-humored acceptance from Holly.

And how incredibly touching and, yes, earned was it that Dwight would bid on Phyllis' hug after taking her advice (and then getting slapped when he was ungrateful) and issuing an ultimatum to a Disney World-bound Angela? Instead of inane baby carriage pranks, we got some actual character growth from Dwight Schrute this week as he realized that perhaps he does need--and deserve--some actual warmth for a change. His exchange with Phyllis in the break room (during which he engaged in a conversation with himself) was absolutely hysterical (among the things he learned about from Angela: pasteurized milk, monotheism, sheets, presents on your birthday) and touching.

Pam's six-plus minute drunk voicemail to Jim? Irritating. While I once loved Pam, she's seriously irking these days and I don't enjoy their long-distance relationship storyline in any way. I'm glad that Jim turned the car around on the interstate rather than go see Pam in New York because I would have really pulled out my hair had that been where the writers were taking this plot point. And I was glad to see Roy, even if it was just for a 30-second scene at the bar.

Best line of the evening: "You’re making a knife with a knife?" - Phyllis.

Next week on The Office ("Employee Transfer"), Pam is horrified when she is the only person at corporate wearing a costume on Halloween; Holly and Michael get some shocking news; Dwight torments Andy.


Anonymous said…
I think this was the first episode where someone actually really acknowledged the camera. Very refreshing!
I really liked this episode, and agreed totally about the Jim and Pam thing.
Anonymous said…
Also agree about the Jim/Pam story. I'm bored with it. Michael and Holly were perfect in this episode. Where the Michael/Jan relationship was excruciatingly awkward (albeit hilarious). Michael and Holly manage to be completely awkward in a very loveable way. Steve Carrell & Amy Ryan have fantastic chemistry.
Anonymous said…
Not to sound repetitive but I'll echo the above sentiments as well and add my own to the discussion. Jim and Pam were interesting a few seasons ago but I find their romance to be really boring these days. Michael and Holly though are incredibly interesting and funny. I wish Amy Ryan could stay on the show forever!
Unknown said…
@PixelGurl: They've acknowledged the camera before, taken off their mics, tried to hide, etc. (even if you don't count the "interview" pieces they do).

I like Jim and Pam's in-perseon interactions; long-distance isn't making it. Pam's doing a solo act, which doesn't work well. I hope they bring her back to Scranton soon.

When Jim started driving to NY, I thought 'Oh no. He'll arrive and see some guy coming out of Pam's room, and it'll turn out to be a big misunderstanding.' Ugh. Glad I was wrong. So far...
Anonymous said…
Michael and Holly are much, much more interesting than Jim and Pam this season. I only hope they can keep the wonderful Amy Ryan around for awhile as she's breathed new life into the show.
Pavement Runner said…
I thought the "it squeaks when you bang it" line was the best "that's what she said" in the history of the office. I was laughing my ass of watching it and am still laughing about it today. Great!
TVBlogster said…
At first, I wasn't over the moon about this one. It took me a few viewings to love this episode, but I did get there. So many funny moments. Dwight and Phyllis were wonderful. Michael and Holly were sweet in all their dorkiness.

I kind of agree with you on Jim and Pam. I'm not so much bored with them as I am bored with their long distance relationship. Pam's voice mail also bugged. Glad she's having fun, but yesh. I wish they had Jim do a little self improvement rather that just be pining for Pam.

Great editorial!
Anonymous said…
I thought this was the best ep of the season, so far, and it's NOT because i am biased. :)

Like SKST, I had the same thought - Jim seeing another guy coming out of Pam's place (Rich Sommer?). SO glad that didn't happen (though, a similar misunderstang happened on Skins, and I didn't care for it there).

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