Friday, April 27, 2007

"Fact. Bears eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.": The Office

A hit-and-miss episode of The Office, Product Recall still showed off just how much goodwill these characters have built up in the audience by doing an episode where the principal players had very little to do, but no one cared simply because it was fun seeing the supporting players have so much fun with the stuff they were given to do. I don't think I'd like to see an episode that relied this much on Angela and Creed every week, but I love both characters, and it was fun to see them get more to do. In fact, I think that was the most Creed has ever had to do on the show -- practically equaling all of his screentime this season in one scene!

The episode's best gags were those that bookended the show, featuring Jim dressing up as Dwight, then Dwight dressing up as Jim. John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson both did an outstanding job of impersonating each other (Krasinski's non sequitur spewing Dwight was particularly an excellent turn). I'm sure that in the long hours on set, both actors have perfected their impersonations (they seemed too good to have been come up with for just this script), and it was a treat to let the audience in on the joke.

The main plot of the episode -- prom invitations had been printed on stationary featuring a lewd picture on it -- seemed a little too far-fetched for this show. I get that Creed is the worst quality-assurance person ever, but it seemed unlikely that even he would let this slip by him. What's more, I just didn't buy that anyone in the office would be this inept about how to handle the press (or even that there was a need for a press conference). It made for some funny bits, but it didn't quite hang together.

I imagine that some people will be completely disgusted by Andy having dated a high school girl all this time without knowing it, but I found it sort of amusing. His overreaction was on the edge of being too much, but Jim managed to keep him just on this side of plausible. It helped that the actress playing the high school girl was game and funny to boot. You could sort of buy that Andy had fallen for her and that she had used him to buy beer (if that is, indeed, what the kids are still doing nowadays in high school).

All in all, it could have been a better episode of the show, but I laughed at it a lot. The plot itself didn't hang together as well as it might have, but the jokes were strong enough and I enjoy the characters enough that I'm not complaining too much. And let's have some more impersonations!


Anonymous said...

"I get that Creed is the worst quality-assurance person ever, but it seemed unlikely that even he would let this slip by him."

creed said in one short part that "every week I am supposed to do an inspection.... the year I blew off the inspection, and look what happens"

so thats how it slipped past him. He didn't do any inspection.

and I could easily see a disgruntled worker doing something like that in a plant to a production line. It would certainly not be a first time haha.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Sure. I get that that was the explanation, but it still seemed a little off. I know that The Office is about people doing as little as possible to keep their jobs, but it just doesn't make sense that Creed could take a WHOLE YEAR OFF and a.) not get caught or b.) not run into any problems until this particular point. Surely there would have been some tiny, insignificant thing earlier?

I get that some people dig the crazier Office episodes, but I think the show only works insofar as it has a certain realism to it. 30 Rock can be wacky because its underlying tone is farcical; The Office has a harder time because it aims for emotional realism. That's why things like Dwight attacking a chimney fall flat, but stuff like Michael going to Pam's art show soars.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sorry, but you are just... no. First of all the plot is more that there was a lewd picture on a bunch of paper, and prom invitations happened to be on it. That was only part of the slip up. Second, you're overanalyzing. The complete ineptitude of Michael Scott is part of what makes the show and his reaction to what happened is part of his character. He thinks he's so important and thus you get the whole press conference so he can clear everything up. It is his character. Also it is Creed's character to act the way he did. He didn't inspect the paper that week and we saw what happened, so then he made sure to clear his name. That's just how the show is...none of it is realistic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Todd.

B said...

haha, bears, beets, battlestar...the shirt.