While new episodes of various shows have come back since the writer’s finally ended, it was last night I was really looking forward to: the returns of The Office and Scrubs. Those are two of the three shows I will not miss (Lost, which comes back in two weeks, being the other). Last night, therefore, was highly anticipated.
Unfortunately, The Office was a major disappointment. One of the mistakes the show makes on occasion is allowing Michael Scott to go too far over the edge and last night was no exception. Also, the descent of Jan from level-headed career woman in a complete psycho loony (let me know if the terms are too technical) has been unconvincing and to the detriment of the show. She was a better match/foil for Michael when she was his superior in intellect and maturity whereas now you have to wonder why he’s settling for her. (Taking her back because of the implants was amusing and could have lasted a few episodes, but it’s gone on too long, and too implausibly.
That said, there were a few great moments:
1. Michael screwing over the whole staff just to trap Jim and Pam into coming over to his place was completely in character and brilliant
2. Jim selling Pam out to leave her at the party was funny, and it got even better when Pam got her revenge
3. Pam’s “Awesome” when she saw Dwight was at the door was hilarious
4. Jim trying to get Dwight’s childhood baby-sitter’s email address to ask her question about what Dwight was like as a child was excellent
5. Dwight leaving the babysitter standing waiting for a bus so he could drive Michael home is just the latest example of the strong man-crush he has for Michael
There were a few episodes during the third season that I was disappointed with on first viewing that got better when watching them again; I truly doubt that will be the case with this episode, though. The show needs to do two things to return to its prior brilliance:
1. Remember that Michael is insensitive and self-centered, not malicious and insane
2. Get rid of Jan, or at least restore her to her previous rational self. She was believable as a successful career woman who had a blind spot where Michael was concerned. After all, don’t we all know women who settle for someone well beneath them. Turning her into a complete loser who Michael’s too good for was a mistake. They can work this into the continuity by having her realize her mistake after hitting rock bottom, but it needs to happen. (Based off the plot summary for next week, it looks like they’re working on resolving this relationship, so that’s a good sign.)
Scrubs was the other big return I was awaiting last night, and this one did not disappoint me. The characters were back to their old selves. Turk deciding not to tell Carla about his understanding Spanish was hilarious, as was Cox revealing it to get them to leave him alone. Cox was petty, childish, selfish and just the way we love him. It seems like they’re setting up JD and Elliott to get back together (yet again) by the end of the series. It still seems to me that if Turk hadn’t married and had a child with Carla, the perfect ending of the show would be for JD and Turk to realize they were meant for each other. While that does violate my religious sympathies and decent morality, it’s a work of fiction. (As we used to repeatedly a former coworker: “TV. Not real.” Yeah, it would be bad, but it would complete the characters’ arcs in a completely appropriate in-series way.) The other subplots were also entertaining, and it was one of their best episodes in a while.
I’m sure the Office will pick up in quality; it’s fallen and gotten back up before, so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this, even given last night’s truly awful episode. And Scrubs appears to have enough left in the tank for its rumored eighth season next year. So, onward!