With the exemplary premiere behind us, in which we were treated to Jim and Pam’s engagement, Dwight and Angela’s torrid and super-secret affair, Michael and Holly’s evolving ‘friendship’ and Ryan’s return as Pam’s temporary replacement, does the second episode of the Office continue the momentum? The answer, my friends, is …
Definitely. Maybe. Ummm … Not so much.
It’s hard to follow up near-perfection. “Weight Loss” was a one-hour gem, while “Business Ethics” had some nice moments, particularly during the beginning of the show, but it had some disappointments for me as well. I’ll list out my quibbles with this episode first, and then I’ll get to the funny:
1) The Absence of Pam
After their shocking engagement, Pam is relegated to a disembodied voice on the telephone at the beginning of the show. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities for her to take center stage as the season develops, and I understand that sending her to school makes it difficult to include her in the office’s day-to-day, but it was jarring to all but ignore the Jim and Pam relationship right after their shocking engagement.
2) Ryan’s ethics
Reflecting back on an episode entitled “Business Ethics” I guess I was surprised that it focused primarily on Michael, Holly and Meredith, and only tangentially referred to the busted and now-humbled Ryan. I was expecting the episode to center more on Ryan somehow (don’t ask me how, I’m just a recapper).
3) Holding back the crazy
Creed didn’t say or do anything Creed-like; Andy didn’t sing a capella or punch a wall; even Michael and Holly’s “Let’s Get Ethical” intro was a schtick we’ve seen before. So even in an episode with Dwight peeing into a soda bottle, the usual absurdities of the Office family felt somehow muzzled or restrained.
But enough with the criticisms. Let’s get to the kudos. I thought the “personal time” subplot was the highlight of the show, and led to the episode’s two best scenes:
1) Battlestar Galactica.
This scene was so pitch-perfect, especially for a sci-fi nerd like me, that the only way to do it justice was to transcribe it:
Jim: Hey Andy
Jim: By any chance did you see Battlestar Galactica last night?
Andy: No I did not. Is that any good?
Jim: Actually not, it’s really so-so.
Jim: I don’t like all the crazy monsters and stuff, like Klingons and Wookies and all that.
Jim (looking at Dwight): Sorry, is there something you wanted to add Dwight?
Andy: Is that like the original Battlestar Galactica?
Jim: You know what’s weird, it’s practically a shot-for-shot remake
(Dwight crumbles paper in frustration)
Jim: The story is kinda bland, it’s about this guy called “Dumbledore Calrissian” who needs to return the ring to back to Mordor
Andy: That doesn’t sound right …
It’s easy for Jim to push Dwight’s buttons, and it’s easy for us to laugh at it. Jim’s pranks on Dwight have been the stuff of legend, but this was the first time that Dwight had it over on Jim – and Jim didn’t even know it.
The smugness on Jim’s face when he got Dwight to admit that he took “personal time” paled in comparison to the sidelong glance Dwight gave the camera when he admitted that “Yes, maybe I’m not” ethical. The camera panned over to Angela buttoning up her shirt, and we understood how Dwight spent that 19:48. I loved that the writers gave Dwight this moment over Jim – unexpectedly turning the tables and making Jim’s prank just seem irrelevant.
And finally, here are my favorite one-off lines:
“The tall guy got engaged” – Creed
“I’ve listened to Cookie Monster Sings Chocolate Rain 5,000 times” – Michael. (By the way, I tried like heck to find this video on You Tube, but no luck. But here’s the consolation prize)
“You’ve been cuckolded by a stronger, smarter male” – Dwight
So, what did you guys think? Am I right that this episode – while good – did not live up to the season premiere’s lofty heights?
With the exemplary premiere behind us, in which we were treated to Jim and Pam's engagement, Dwight and Angela's torrid and super-secret affair, Michael and Holly's evolving 'friendship' and Ryan's return as Pam's temporary replacement, does the second episode of the Office continue the momentum? The answer, my friends, is ...