Everyone was anticipating last night’s return of The Office (and 30 Rock), after the five month writers strike hiatus. Well, fuck you guys. That’s not me saying that, that’s The Office saying that. Last night’s return was one of the most tortuous, painful episodes ever. And also one of the best.
Here, let me take you to obvious school: the major difference between the U.S. and U.K. version of the show, is that where the U.K. worked hard to increase the tension, the U.S. version (which, admittedly, has already made, like, log10 more episodes, so chapeau to them) has stayed much closer to the comfortable line of traditional sitcom humor (that line is demarcated in powdered sugar.) But last night the show came much closer to the Ricky Gervais style of cringegaze humor. And it did so by actually humanizing the buffoonery of Michael Scott et al, in the way that humans are really sad and miserable and ugly but also trying their best and just wishing people liked them. Except for Jim and Pam, who are cute and perfect (see: boring) and want nothing to do with reality. They should go to jail.
Here is just one of the night’s proudly abusive (to your heart) moments, which still doesn’t even include Jan’s scented candle making operation, the bedside video camera, or Michael’s soft teeth.