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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-???

54
/100

Episode 16 - Blood Drive

27 March 2012

Synopsis: A Valentines Day blood drive affords Michael the chance to meet a nice woman. He tries to cheer up his single employees by holding a mixer in the office, hoping that the woman will show up. She doesn’t but Kevin meets someone. Meanwhile Jim and Pam go out for lunch with Phyllis and Bob.

The Good: There’s not a lot more to this episode than the synopsis suggests. There’s not a lot wrong with that, it’s a simple setup and the characters are pretty consistent.

Michael continues to be well meaning (organising the mixer) but ultimately selfish (aiming to meet the woman again). He is always inappropriate (“Meredith recently had a total hysterectomy”) but he actually makes people feel a bit better by encouraging them to share their worst break up stories. In the end the other employees appreciate the efforts he goes to on their behalf and are willing to stay late to give him the chance to meet his mystery woman again. In a really fun moment a woman walks in looking for the mixer but when Michael shakes his head (to indicate it isn’t the woman he met earlier) the office let out a groan and ignore her. I also enjoyed Michael referring to the blood nurse as a waitress.

Dwight is selfish and dismissive as ever – telling the office that natural selection should let them die out without offspring. But his pride in his abilities (“I’ve trained my major blood vessels to retract into my body on command”) and his dedication to sales (see Comic Highlight) make him fun to have around.

Kelly gets suitably wrapped up in all things valentines, good and bad. Kevin provides the happy ending by getting a woman’s email (“Feel how sweaty my hand is!”). Angela provides a little more back-story on perhaps why she let two men fight over her. Oscar adds some more sympathy \ pity for Andy when we remember the non-refundable deposits (501) he made on honeymoon plans. It’s interesting that Oscar is now more comfortable talking about his own private life around the office.

Out at dinner we get to know Phyllis and Bob a bit better. It’s always nice when someone from the outside world reacts to Michael, Dwight and Andy like a normal person might (“I honestly don’t know how you can work with that jackass, and that other jackass and that new jackass.”). Phyllis and Bob seem more real as a couple after this, even if they abandon Jim and Pam for a quickie. It’s not like Jim and Pam can be too horrified, they did steal Bob’s food while he was away.

I like the consistency and follow up on Kevin (410) and Michael’s (505) previous relationships. People do end up single for long periods in real life and this attention to that makes the show seem more real.

The Bad: The episode just isn’t particularly funny. I wouldn’t say that was a big problem, sometimes jokes just don’t land their punches.

The only other complaint I have is with Pam refusing to buy a new phone system which might make her obsolete. With Creed and Meredith seen playing solitaire again, we are being told a bit too literally that nothing goes on in the office. Office incompetence is funny but there is a line which can be crossed where it becomes too obvious.

Comic Highlight: Dwight zeroes in on one of the women who comes for the mixer. He ends up having this surreal exchange where we learn what really turns him on:
D: “I can untie any knot. I’m serious. Name a knot, any knot. Go ahead.”
W: “I believe you.”
D: “You shouldn’t believe everything you here. In fact there are many knots that I cannot untie. So what’s a woman as charming as yourself find herself employed on a day such as today.”
W: “Umm, I work at a place that does catalogues for community colleges and small businesses.”
D: “You must use a lot of paper.”
W: “Oh my God, tons of it!”
D:  (Deep excited sigh)

That’s what I said: A pretty typical episode of The Office but not very funny.

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