The Husband:

Here we have the Super Bowl-sized episode of The Office, and despite some conversations I’ve had and all the other opinions I’ve heard, I still don’t think that this was really the right episode to put right after the #3 most watched program in American television history. For those who weren’t already fans of The Office, this oddly cruel, noisy and morbid episode would have only confirmed their suspicions that this show was just too weird for mainstream consumption. For those who were fans, however, they might still have been put off by the exponentially greater amount of…cruelty, noise and morbidity…as well as, aside from the Jim and Pam story, a lack of the serialized nature that makes the show so special, choosing jokes for the new viewers instead of emotion for the show’s normal viewers.

I don’t know. It was funny, definitely, but I just don’t know if it had that spark. Too much of the plot could have been seen coming a mile away, although I don’t think any of us could have seen two things coming:

1.) Angela having hidden a cat named Bandit in a cabinet at work, and what she did with it during the “fire drill.”

2.) Dwight cutting open the CPR dummy to harvest its organs, and then cutting off its face and wearing it Hannibal Lecter-style.

So what happened during this extra-big episode? In the cold opening, Dwight sets up a fake fire drill that turns disastrous, leading to many of the Dunder Mifflin employees “dying” in the process, Dwight admonishing all of them and…whoops…Stanley collapsing and having to be rushed to the hospital.

“Stay F#$%ING calm!” – Michael during the fire drill

After a sweet new extended intro, complete with every character next to their name (it wasn’t until last week that I realized the cast member named Leslie was actually the due who plays Stanley), we get into the main meat of the episode, with Dwight having to meet with Corporate over his near-fatal fire drill. (Minutes later, he’ll return to Corporate after the aforementioned CPR exercise goes terribly wrong.) Now with two strikes, he has to watch himself.

When Stanley returns to Dunder Mifflin, he says he’s fine, but as usual Michael can’t leave well enough alone and tries to make the workplace a less stressful environment. This is tough, though, when he discovers that the closer he gets to Stanley, the quicker Stanley’s stress monitor beeps.

“OHMMMMM…my god if you’re wearing a dress please keep your knees together nobody wants to see that OHMMMMM…” – Michael to Phyllis during a meditation exercise

Where the hell is Cloris Leachman when you need her?

Where the hell is Cloris Leachman when you need her?

After realizes how much his employees just don’t seem to like him, Michael decides to let them have a Michael Scott roast in the warehouse. Bad idea, Michael, and there’s no way the following hatefest wouldn’t happen and wouldn’t cause Michael a great deal of emotional harm.

“I consider myself a good person, but I’m gonna try to make him cry.” – Oscar on roast

At the roast, the insults come flying fast and furious. Here are some of the best:

  • “If you ever put sunblock on a window, you might be Michael Scott.” – Angela
  • “Michael, you ran over me with your car…you are the reason I drink.” – Meredith
  • “You don’t have any friends, or family, or land.” – Dwight
  • Darryl challenges Michael to name warehouse employees
  • Andy repurposes the Romantics classic into the new “What I Hate About You”

Michael, as can be expected, takes a personal day off the next day, but shows up late, accepts many heartfelt apologies for those who felt they went to far. But things have to be fair, and they have to follow the Comedy Central-approved order of roasting, and so he, the roastee, gets to go through a quick list of jokes at the expense of his roasters. The tension is broken and everything gets back to…well…as good as it can be at Dunder Mifflin.

Jim and Pam get the B-story, involving Pam’s father staying with them due to tension with Pam’s mother. After a talk with Jim, Pam’s father decides to divorce his wife, leading Pam to accuse Jim of goading him on. But what did Jim actually say? He told Pam’s father how that he always knew Pam would be the one for him, and he can’t see himself ever not loving her. This admission of love made Pam’s father realize that he’d never felt that way before, and it was best to break things off.

And what of the big cameos by Jack Black, Jessica Alba and Cloris Leachman? They were in a pirated movie Andy, Jim and Pam were watching, and while it was nice to see some familiar faces helping along a show that still struggles in the ratings, I wouldn’t say any of it was particularly funny. I did like the film’s inappropriate use of pop music to underscore otherwise static scenes, and there was one good line at the expense of Cloris Leachman and showbiz in general.

“Nicole Kidman dropped out, so they went with Cloris Leachman.” – Andy

A few other laughs from the episode:

  • Kevin breaking the snack machine open during the fire drill
  • “No arms and no legs is basically how you exist now, Kevin. You don’t do anything.” – Michael
  • “Creed: Michael’s dead.
    Jim: He just sent a text.
    Creed: What’s a text?”
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