Friday, May 11, 2007

Recap of The Office: "Beach Games"

Man. Whew. Rough episode last night. No thumbs up for this one. And come to think okf it, there will be no huzzahs either. In fact, I think I'm going to take a page from Comic Book Guy and call this the Worst Episode Ever. Of the season, anyway.

Here's what happened: Michael is interviewing for a job at Dunder Mifflin's New York corporate office. As part of that, he has to find his potential successor at the Scranton branch. So in typical fashion, he comes up with the idea of taking the office to the lake and giving them a bunch of hare-brained tests, including walking over hot coals, a hot dog eating contest, and wrestling in those sumo fatsuits.

That actually sounds pretty funny, right? wasn't. And I think somewhere along the line, the producers realized that as well, so they stuck in this big ending to salvage things. Pam walks over hot coals, and afterwards she goes over to the group and tells them how she thinks it sucks that they all think she's invisible, and that she feels really great and alive right now, and then as the BIG capper, she tells Jim -- again, in front of the entire group -- that she broke off her wedding for him, and that she really misses him. Whoa. So, apparently, the aforementioned hot coals were made of Ecstasy? Sweet. I didn't know they made coals out of Ecstasy, but hey, this is how you learn things.

So that little Deus Ex Machina revelation was the only thing really noteworthy (on a positive level) about the episode. But on the negative side, I have a major beef with one aspect of the show. I have
previously articulated my concern that Jim may be getting soft. Well, after this episode I think we can drop the "getting" out of that phrase. Ladies and gentlemen, Jim Halpert is a wuss. Jim is what, 6' 4", 210 pounds? And yet he ran away like a girl when freaking heart-attack-waiting-to-happen Stanely came at him in the sumo ring. And he never sticks up for himself. Michael tells him he's not cut out to head the Scranton branch, and Jim just looks into the camera with that same old smirk (and seriously, mix in a new facial expression, buddy) and just says "that's harsh." Wow, don't pull any punches Jim.

When I'm really happy, I make this face.
When I'm full of rage, I make this face.

And it's not only that. Part of the non-funniness of this episode is Jim's fault. Anytime the action swings his way, he makes some clipped little comment ("Nope, that's not right," or "Way to go, Dwight") and the momentum falls like a sack of potatoes. I know he's a quiet, sensitive guy, and I don't expect him to become some big ball of energy, but get a presence, Jim. Stop staring off into space and mix it up a little. He's the heart and soul of the show -- really the central driver of the entire plot. Can we give him a little emotion? Is that too much to ask? And let me ask you another question: Do I have to change my blog icon? Huh? Do I? I don't want to. But I will. Jerks.

So there you have it. Bad episode, Jim's regressing, and who knows. Here's hoping they finish the season strong and John Krasinski retools Jim a little bit on the hiatus. Here's hoping.

The Office [NBC]
Previous recap of The Office [No One Appreciates Me]

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