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The Office

The Office is a comedy set in a paper sales company Dunder Mifflin. Shot in a mockumentary style the show follows the exploits of regional manager Michael Scott whose excruciating behaviour can make life difficult for his fellow employees. NBC 2005-???

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Episode 3 - Baby Shower

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Michael is preparing busily for Jan’s baby shower but she arrives having had the baby. Michael is upset but the party continues anyway. Michael feels no connection to Astrid and when Jan leaves he asks out Holly. Meanwhile Jim and Pam are feeling a bit disconnected as the long distance is making communication difficult.

The Good: One thing The Office does consistently well are touching moments. Part of the structure of the show is that the characters are co-workers and not friends. So when characters step out from “professional” behaviour and show true affection for one another it generally comes across well. Michael hugging Holly and asking her out is one such moment. There is a childishness to Michael and when it demonstrates itself in a positive way it can be quite endearing. The fact that he feels guilty for being rude to her and needs to make things right is a nice moment. The way she tears up at this surprising turn of events is some really strong acting.

The writers have done a good job of building their interaction plausibly. They gave Holly a nice scene with Jan where she acted like Michael, cracking jokes and being silly to remind us of why she likes him. Now that they are going out it should be fun to see how the relationship develops and affects the office.

The other nice moment is for Jim and Pam. It’s universally recognised that long distance relationships aren’t easy and so their reassuring messages at the end are a pleasant way to demonstrate their connectedness.

There are one or two good jokes (see Comic Highlight) including Michael explaining that he will be treating Holly badly so as not to make Jan feel bad about how good looking she is. Holly accepts the compliment and sees the charm behind it before Michael adds “and I’m treating Ryan the same way.”

The Bad: I still don’t believe Jan’s character has ever been properly developed. But after last season (see 409 for example) we have no reason to like her at all. So her oblivious behaviour is more annoying than funny.

Comic Highlight: The opening scene is pretty funny. Dwight is simulating the birth in order to test Michael. All the expected screaming and silly comments fly around and then he “gives birth” to a melon. The scene cuts immediately to Michael sitting at his desk eating the melon. Behind him Dwight is busily putting his pants back on. It’s a very well timed juxtaposition and Michael’s facial expression is subtly played.

That’s what I said: A solid episode. Most of the humour surrounding Jan and her stroller is predictable but the story has some really nice touches.

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