Monday, February 2, 2009

The Office - Stress Relief

It's a tough act following the Superbowl--especially a game as exciting as the one between the world champion Steelers (I love saying that...) and the Cardinals. But last night's episode of The Office managed to exceed expectations. Despite being an hour long, the episode was pretty much "chuffa-free."

It also reinforced why I love Steve Carell so much. Sure, he's hysterical as the bumbling Michael Scott--but he's equally fantastic conveying a range of emotions beyond being the slapstick fool.

Dwight causes chaos in the office when he stages an all too realistic fire drill. Oscar tries escaping via an air duct, Michael throws a chair at a window, Kevin throws a chair at the vending machine. Stanley, overcome by excitement, has a heart attack.

The resulting fallout lands Michael and Dwight at corporate, called on the carpet. Dwight defends his actions saying a lot of things don't seem like good ideas at the time--electricity, shampoo... Michael suggests that Dwight be stripped of his title of Safety Officer and be forced to donate a portion of his salary to a cause he doesn't like--such as PETA.

On the ride home, Dwight gloats over getting off so easily and tells Michael he's planning a bomb scare but Michael vetoes that idea. He takes over as Safety Officer because he doesn't want people coming to work afraid that they may die. "That's what a hospital is for," Michael opines.

His first act as Safety Officer: CPR training class. Michael is less than enthused about the instructor, but--as he put it: "You can't the practice dummy unless the instructor comes with it." The poor instructor is baffled when the office segues into a performance of Stayin' Alive from Saturday Night Fever, but such things are normal for the office.

Michael insists that Stanley practice CPR on the dummy since they can't always be there to coddle his heart back into action should it go berserk again. "What are you going to do if you're by yourself when your heart stops?" he asks Stanley.

Michael tries to demonstrate proper CPR method, but the dummy--which is just a torso--gives him pause. "If we come across someone with no arms or legs, do we bother resuscitating them?" he queries the instructor. After being told by the instructor that his delay caused the dummy's death, Michael asks the group what should be done next. "Bury it," Phyllis volunteers but is overridden by Dwight who says the correct answer is to check for a donor card. "We only have minutes to harvest."

Dwight--armed with a knife as usual--cuts off the dummy's face and uses as a mask ala Hannibal Lector. This lands him and Michael back at corporate where Michael explains that this is what we have training for. "Now, Dwight knows not to cut off the face of a real person."

Yeah--I'm sort of doubting that...

With two strikes, Dwight's punishment is to deliver an apology to the office and have the rest of the employees sign it. "I state my regret," he says stiffly. Phyllis objects to the lack of remorse telling him he almost killed Stanley. "Like I filled him with butter and sugar for fifty years and told him not to exercise," scoffs Dwight but no-one will sign his letter.

Michael's next act is to conduct meditation and relaxation exercises, but when Stanley's biofeedback meter goes off every time he approaches, Kevin offers, "Michael, I think YOU'RE what's stressing everyone out."

Michael solution to that is "Honesty, laughter and comedy" in the form of a roast. Oscar says, "I consider myself a good person, but I'm gonna try to make him cry." Michael looks forward to the roast saying, "I hope YouTube comes down to tape this."

Dwight has the roaster "sign in" before the roast, but Phyllis objects when she sees that it's his apology letter his collecting signatures for.

Angela--who claims, "I don't normally enjoy making people laugh"--jumps up to be the first roaster. Meredith tells Michael he's the reason that she drinks, Oscar delivers his roast in Spanish (way to make Michael cry, Oscar...), Pam pings Michael's gulliability claiming that he's supporting 29 Nigerian princesses, Jim pokes fun at Michael's malapropisms like "Spider face." Dwight defends Michael, but after being called an idiot goes off on a rant about how Michael has no family, friends or land.

Michael waves Toby away saying "Friends only." But the best roasting was Andy's song "What I Hate About You" sung to the tune of The Romantics "What I Like About You." With lines like "You're dumber than applesauce" (rhyming with "jerkiest boss") and "Stanley tried to die just to get away," Andy earns big applause for his efforts.

Michael, however, is overcome with the outpouring of animosity and ends up walking out. He goes to a playground and tries to feed the birds whole slices of white bread and texts Pam saying he's taking a "personnel day."

Back at the office, Andy, Jim and Pam watch an illegally downloaded movie featuring Jessica Alba, Jack Black and Cloris Leachman (Were you wondering how the writers would fit the special guest stars in?). The completely ridiculous romance has Andy thinking Jim and Pam are movie geniuses when, in fact, they're not discussing the movie, but the situation between Pam's parents. Says Jim, "50% of marriages end in divorce. So, it was either her parents or mine."

Pam urges Jim to talk to her Dad to help him to work things out with her Mom. Jim reluctantly does so, but the result is that her Dad decides to rent an apartment. Turns out, that Jim talked about how he felt about Pam and how he knew from the start she was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and Pam's Dad realized he never felt that way about her Mom.

Such a lovely bittersweet moment!

Dwight manages to trick Phyllis into signing his letter by pretending to have a package delivered to her and having her sign for it. Michael reappears to deliver some zingers to the staff which causes Stanley to laugh hysterically (Leslie David Baker has a great, infectious laugh!) and all is well again in The Office.

No comments:

Post a Comment