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Tag Archives: Michael Scott
Michael Scott had just hit Meredith with his car. Jim and Pam were already together. That’s where I started with The Office.
I don’t normally begin television shows in the middle. In fact, I’m pretty doctrinaire about avoiding spoilers and slogging through a series’ early growing pains to understand the foundation on which later stories and character developments will be built. But a friend had invited me to a watch party for the Season 4 premiere. I was hard pressed to say no.
And it cracked me up.
Oddly enough, some fans point to the fourth season as the beginning of the series’ decline – when it stopped being a realistic if fractured look at modern office life and descended into the wacky adventures of an increasingly cartoonish workforce. But the laughs got my attention. Every week, Michael Scott had some great line that tickled my funny bone until the next episode aired. From something as weird as “You don’t know me; you just saw my penis.” to confused statements like “New ideas are fine, but they’re also illegal.” to the even more whimsical pronouncements like “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!” each episode had more than its fair share of entertaining and quotable bits.
But while the buffoonery of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute drew me in, it was the show’s emotional core – best exemplified by the relationship between Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly – that made the show something special. When I first watched them hold hands and pick out ridiculous items from a garage sale, I had no idea of the strain and struggles the characters had been through to get there. I just saw a cute couple who had a fun repartee and seemed to really enjoy each other’s company. That was what kept me coming back.
In “Threat Level Midnight” Michael finally reveals his much ballyhooed, self-produced action film to the office. More importantly, the audience finally had a chance to see this oft-alluded to bit of comedy. Unfortunately the end result, and this episode as whole, were a let down. It might be that the expectations for “Threat Level Midnight” were impossibly high. In the course of the show, the audience has had many glimpses of Michael’s misdirected little spy film. In season two’s “The Client” we had our first look at it when Pam discovers the script and instigates and office-wide table read. We’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie since, including Michael reverting to his “Michael Scarn” character during all of his improv classes and off-hand comments about his situation with Jan has reaching “Threat Level Midnight.” With a gag built up this much, it may just have been too much for any comedy show to deliver on.
The Office took a very long mid-season break between their holiday episode and this most recent one. The last new episode happened all the way back on December 9th, but I have to say, it was certainly worth the wait. In a season that has had its ups and downs, “Ultimatum” was a clear highlight. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re finally getting into the long-teased Michael and Holly situation, or we’re just in an upswing with the show, but this was not only a stellar episode, but one of the best of the season.