The Husband:

And lo, Holly re-entered Michael Scott’s life, and the world of The Office was complete again. For this season finale, several stories came crashing in on each other, and what better place for that than the company-wide picnic, full of food, games and seeeeeecrets

Aside from learning, for instance, that all Human Resources leads talk with the same joylessness and boring tact as Toby, the biggest event of the day is not the competitive volleyball game (more on that later), but Michael and Holly finally reuniting after her relocation to New Hampshire after it was discovered that she and Michael were fraternizing (boss + employee + sex = no good). Still with boyfriend and coworker Rob Huebel, she and Michael nevertheless still have major chemistry, but they must put that aside in order to do a comedy sketch for the picnic. After going through several bad ideas (a Jaws parody that would have them muttering “Dun-der, dun-der, dun-der”), they settle on a deliriously weird take-off of Slumdog Millionaire, complete with the torture scenes. The questions are based around the origins and history of Dunder-Mifflin (it seems Dunder and Mifflin met on a campus tour of Dartmouth, and one of them shot himself in the head), the sketch finally makes waves when one of the Millionaire questions reveals that the Buffalo branch is about to be closed, a piece of info David shared secretly with Michael.

Why David told Michael I’ll never understand (what were you expecting from someone who recently defected and battled your company), but I think the revelation might have done a very good job in revealing some of Corporate’s misdoings, and that Michael has become the kind of person to not go down without a fight.

Having a moment.

Having a moment.

Post-sketch, Michael and Holly have another moment, but alas, it cannot be, as she and Rob Huebel exit, leaving Michael to understand, in a stunning bit of maturity, that he is willing to wait for her and not force his hand too much.


“I think that today was just about having today.” – Michael


Meanwhile, on the field, Dunder-Mifflin is rising up in the ranks of the intramural volleyball tournament, thanks mostly to Pam rocking the ball hardcore. (She never revealed to anybody that she played in middle school, high school and some college, as well as attended volleyball summer camp frequently.) But when they go up against the Corporate team, led by Charles Minor, the game gets nasty.

On the sidelines, one of Dwight’s newest friends, Rolph, is relentlessly haranguing Angela for breaking his friend’s heart.


“What does one fiancée plus one lover equal? Answer: a whore!” – Rolph


Finally, Rolph goes too far, Dwight forcibly tells him to back off, and Angela realizes that she and Dwight may not be a lost cause after all.

(I don’t know if this was intentional, but I find it extra funny that Dwight says he met Rolph at a shoe store. The actor playing Rolph, James Urbaniak, is a wonder at playing terrible creeps, from being R. Crumb in American Splendor to voicing Dr. Venture on The Venture Brothers, but he will always be the foot fetishist shoe salesman on Sex and the City.)

But back to the volleyball game. During a particularly aggressive defense, Pam trips and busts her ankle, prompting Jim to take her to a nearby hospital (ever the paranoid naturalist, Dwight knows exactly how many miles away it is) and Dwight to stall the game as much as possible. But at the hospital, a busted ankle becomes something else, and in a scene respectable not just for its emotion but for the fact that it’s done in silence, Jim and Pam find out that they are having a baby, prompting Jim to call Dwight back and uttering the best line of the week:


“Hey Dwight, send in the subs.” – Jim


I realize I’m in the minority, but as I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, I think this is the best season of The Office yet. No longer insistent on simply telling a bunch of goofy office stories, the world has opened up even bigger than before, willing more than ever to turn up the drama when it’s necessary. Jim and Pam may seem irrelevant to some, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as we see this beautiful flower emerge from the cracks within the concrete that is Dunder-Mifflin. Michael and Holly’s relationship was top-notch, helping turn Michael, finally, into an actual human being and not just a caricature who would sometimes change personalities just to service each week’s plot. Ryan’s return was handled well. Pam’s failed attempt at art school was realistic and understandable. The entire Michael Scott Paper Company arc worked better than I would have expected. How is this not a great season?

I leave this season with two more good quotes from the episode, the first just goofy, the second a cheap, easy joke for Dwight, but a funny one nonetheless.


“Yeah, you don’t grab these for balance.” – Pam


“I have an appointment with a horse doctor. How that horse became a doctor, I’ll never know. I’m just kidding. He’s just a regular doctor who shoots your horse in the head when his leg is broken.” – Dwight

The Wife:

Wow. Just . . . wow. This episode of The Amazing Race was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to watch. And I am not talking about that near-torture foot massage participants had to face for their Road Block once they got to Beijing, but because Kisha and Jen were so bad in the water. Also surprising: Tammy and Victor aren’t very strong swimmers, which I find hard to believe, because they’re from the Bay Area and I’ve never met a person up here that doesn’t know how to swim. But at least Tammy and Victor didn’t need to wear life vests in eight-foot deep water or drag themselves down the lane lines as a means of conveyance. Seriously, there is nothing sadder than seeing two grown women don life vests in a pool.

Why swimming? Because the most recent Olympiad was held in Bejing, where Michael Phelps won his eight gold medals and the folks at TAR thought it would be cool to dress the teams up in his special shark LZR Speedo and make them swim the very pool in which he swam. But that was only the “Swim” half of the “Sync or Swim” Detour. The other half explored something that the host country of China had more prowess at: synchronized diving, in which teams had to perfect a synchronized dive and score a 5 from both judges.

Tammy and Victor and Jen and Kisha tried the dives first, but no one could figure out that the reason they were never scoring higher than a four is because they couldn’t keep their damn feet together and pointed down when they entered the water. So, eventually, both teams gave up on the dives and faced the lap pool, in which they had to complete two legs of a 400-meter relay, switching off with their partner. No one had to beat Phelps’ superhuman time, but we at home were allowed to see a comparison between the racer’s time and Phelps. That dude can swim 100 meters in under a minute. It took Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke – all pretty good swimmers – just under 3 minutes per 100 meters.

There’s no real point in counting how long it took Tammy and Victor, or Jen and Kisha, because failing at the dive put both teams really far behind and their own fears and insecurities only put them even further behind frontrunners Margie and Luke and Jaime and Cara.

Trust me, girls, synchronized diving is harder than doing the backstroke.

Trust me, girls, synchronized diving is harder than doing the backstroke.

I realize that Jen’s fear of the water is actually quite a paralyzing fear, and I don’t want to make fun of something that causes someone so much anxiety, but somewhere in her, she had to realize that no one would let her die on national television. Dude, Salome didn’t even know how to breathe underwater on Make Me a Supermodel and she worked it out. She even learned how to stay submerged for an extended period of time. And were there stipulations that said the swimmers had to do a certain stroke on each part of the relay? Why couldn’t Jen have simply done the backstroke the whole way down, thus completely avoiding putting her head underwater and negating any fear that she’d forget how to breathe (or, you know, not breathe the water) and drown?  I just have so much trouble understanding the thought process that leads to a paralyzing fear of drowning.

But, hey, she got through it eventually, and it’s a double-length leg, which means all the more craziness next week as Cara and Jaime fight to keep their top spot!

The Husband:

Jen had clearly seen this terrifying clip from Jaws.

Seriously, though, it’s a pool, not the ocean, and the only thing that’s going to make you drown is yourself. Human bodies goddamn float, so even if you have your face down in the water, guess what? You liiiiiiiiift your heeeeeeeeeeeead above the water. With underwater cameramen there for protection in only five feet of water TOPS, there is no way anything at all is going to happen. Anxiety is one thing. Losing your common sense is another. Water is malleable. That’s the whole damn point of it.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Swimming is the easiest thing in the world. If, for instance, her brother died in the tub I could understand some kind of anxiety, but we were given no clichéd movie-style explanation of anything like that. So I just chalk it up to ultimate fail.