The Husband:

In the final episode of The Office before the new year, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin throws yet another Christmas party (remember the one a couple years back where Meredith flashes Michael, and Michael freaks out about the White Elephant game?), and now that Phyllis is leading the party committee, she decides upon a Moroccan theme, complete with hookahs (which Creed is happy to indulge in) and sitars (likewise for Andy). While everything seems to be going well on the surface, underneath there is deceit, secrecy and disease.

Dwight, for instance, has bought up every available Princess Unicorn doll in the area so he can prey on last-minute buyers (such as Toby) and turn the dolls over for a profit. Phyllis, meanwhile, blackmails Angela into doing her bidding (including cutting perfect triangles of pita) by threatening to reveal Angela’s affair with Dwight to the office (and Andy). But Meredith, ohhhh, Meredith, she’s the crux of the whole episode.

Look at me! The driving force of this episode!

Look at me! The driving force of this episode!

Knowing how very little we know about Meredith (she once had rabies, for instance), we finally get the return of her biggest characteristic – that she’s a raging alcoholic. Upon getting trashed at the Christmas party, she accidentally sets her hair on fire, so Michael stages an intervention right in the middle of the party to get her to admit her faults (she won’t). We learn from here that Michael seems to have some odd access to Mormon pamphlets (à la the “are you an alcoholic” questionnaire), and that in addition to alcohol, Meredith is addicted to porn. (And Outback Steakhouse, as we learned earlier this season.) Michael decides to “drive Meredith to a new bar” and then takes her to rehab, but she puts up enough of a fight that the plan completely falls apart.

Back at the office, Angela finally mouths off to Phyllis, who, in her new confident mindset that I love so much, reveals Angela’s secret to the entire office. With Angela and Andy’s wedding pending, this is a good cliffhanger to go out on.

Merry Christmas, Dwight.

Merry Christmas, Dwight.

What other stuff in the episode worked?

  • Jim’s opening prank against Dwight, having wrapped up Dwight’s desk and chair in wrapping paper, only to have Dwight try to destroy it and realize that it was simply empty boxes below, leading to a major fall.
  • “They don’t give out black belts for things that are stupid!” – Dwight
  • “I will not be the big buy in the tiny hat.” – Stanley
  • “I wish…you would stop rubbing that lamp in that creepy way.” – Pam
  • “In the Shrute family, we believe in a five-fingered intervention: awareness, education, control, acceptance…and punching.” – Dwight
  • “Jim to sitar-playing Andy: You take requests?
    Andy: Sure.
    Jim: Please stop.”

I can’t wait for the show to return in what I’m definitely considering the best and most consistent season yet of The Office.

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