Afternoon Baseball

Common-sense ruminations on baseball and culture.

With the return of regular-sized episodes and following the season-saving "Money," "The Office" gave an episode that felt most like Season Two and the best of Season Three.

There are differences, of course. Andy Bernard is now Dwight Schrute's primary tormenter, not Jim Halpert, although the torment is purely unintentional. Andy just really is excited to tell his buddy Dwight how he's macking with Angela, the secret ex of Dwight.
(By the way, between whatever hair and costumes is doing with Angela and her Letterman appearance, isn't Angela getting way hotter?)

But the similarities are there: Michael force-feeding his concept of something corporate on the office (like diversity or sexual harassment), with his mindless interpretations of political correctness (like assigning Oscar to costumes, Stanley to play the reformed felon, and Kelly dancing in front of the Taj Mahal).
There's also Pam's quiet giddiness and underappreciated (though never by Jim) efforts at being an artist, Jim's late turn toward sympathy regarding Michael (a la "Office Olympics," "E-Mail Surveillance" and "Benihana Christmas) and another staff gathering for booze. Seriously, I don't think Meredith is the only one with an alcohol problem there.

This episode is also an example of the show at its best: highlighting the mundane of office life but, ever briefly, rising above it. Yes, the show will have its plot-moving episodes (Karen's impending return among them), but when that's not happening, these shows are far better than Michael Scott lurching off into some sitcom fantasy that doesn't resemble any real life, even the exaggerations of Dunder-Mifflin.

Of course, I say this in part because the show has anticipated my recommendations and incorporated them for two weeks now.


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