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

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PBBTTTHHHHHH!

You hear that? That’s the sound of my brain flushing out all the recent episodes of television I had yet to write up. My daytime job’s responsibilities have increased tenfold, and I find myself with just that much less time a day to do the thing that I actually want to do – write about television. I can’t just not write about these shows and leave you all hanging, though, so here’s me dumping out all over the place.

PBBTTTHHHHHH!

These first few have some of the notes I wrote down to coincide with the show, and for some reason or another – oh wait, I know the reason, it’s because I just haven’t been able to find the time – I just couldn’t get them together to form an actual post.

And to make things easy, as each show’s write-up will be very small, I have broken my rule to give them letter grades. However, I will try not to use them in the future.

Scrubs 8.7 “My New Role”

Grade: B+

Dr. Cox has major issues balancing his time as the new Chief of Medicine, so he and Kelso finally repair their relationship that has been seemingly broken for decades. J.D. realizes that he must take the place of Dr. Cox to be a responsible, trustworthy doctor.

Some jotted quotes and other miscellaneous funny things:

  • “It is inappropriate to interrupt an attending when he’s hittin’ it.” – J.D.
  • “Since we’re friends now, I can show you my butt.” – Kelso
  • “Look at me! I can’t touch anything I love without hurting it!” – J.D. with cactus hands
  • “It’s Monday. Monday is bongo day.” – Janitor
  • Apparently, Ted’s never been hugged
  • Disrespecting Nurses Five!
  • On Cox’s Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever List: J.D., Hooch, Jordan

Scrubs 8.8 “My Lawyer’s In Love”

Grade: A-

While Cox learns to balance his time better between his work and his growing family, Ted finds love in a sweet and cute ukulele player who constantly visits pediatrics. Aziz Ansari gets fired for laziness. Special shout-out to actress Kate Micucci, who played Ukulele Girl a.k.a. Stephanie Gooch, who matriculated at the same university as yours truly. She was a grad student during my undergrad years, but I still noticed her around campus and was lucky enough to catch some of her stand-up comedy/performance pieces at our campus open mic room. My favorite was a bizarre puppet show about the meaning of Christmas.

Some quotes and other such things:

  • The Peons (Ted’s a capella group) are now singing 70s standards like Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper”
  • “A capella music is – how to put this delicately – ear rape.” – Cox
  • “Ted, we saw you in the park throwing rocks at old couples.” – J.D.


My Name Is Earl 4.16 “Randy’s List Item”

Grade: B-

After the great two-parter that dealt with Darnell’s ousting from Camden due to the Witness Protection Program and his wife’s appearance on the glorious reality TV show Estrada Or Nada, we’re back to the same-ol’-same-ol’ My Name Is Earl, one with very little forward momentum. At least this week, it’s Randy’s turn as he wins $250 in a lotto scratcher, but is then hit by a bicycle and realizes that, just like his brother, he must pay tribute to karma. This time? He must reunite Earl with two of their old trailer park buddies who became estranged when Randy framed Zeke and Arlo, but as usual things don’t always go as planned, and Randy finds out that his true task is to bring Zeke and Arlo closer together as brothers.

Joy, meanwhile, is constantly and intentionally blowing her family’s witness protection cover because she is not happy with each new location, including being the Gruddlebutts of NYC in a noisy apartment, working at a lumberjack camp (complete with Darnell sporting a sweet beard) and finally living in an igloo amongst the caribou. Joy discovers that the two Witness Protection agents are having an affair, so she blackmails them into relocating them to a great big house in a sunny, palm tree-lined area (where she can presumably take the name Goldilocks “Goldie” Cristal.)

The one great quote from the episode:

“Wanna see my scabs that look like people?” – Arlo

The Office 5.13 “Lecture Circuit Part 1”

Grade: B+

As a result of good sales, Michael is now doing the lecture circuit at other branches of Dunder Mifflin, and Pam acts as his driver/assistant. As usual, his speeches don’t really add up to anything, but Pam makes the trip better when she suggests that they blow off one of the locations and head to Nashua, New Hampshire, to see Michael’s one true love Holly. To be continued, where it will continue to rock my face.

Oh…and who do they see along the way? Karen (Rashida Jones), Jim’s ex-girlfriend and ex-coworker who is now married to a dermatologist…and pregnant. (Preggers OH NOES!)

Back at Scranton, Jim and Dwight, as the new heads of party planning, have forgotten Kelly’s birthday (finally some Kelly screentime, thanks to actress Mindy Kaling writing the episode), but then clash on how to make it up to her. (Dwight’s suggestion? A banner that reads “It is your birthday,” and black and brown balloons.)

Andy, meanwhile, has his eyes on a beautiful African-American client, but he blows what could have become something more when he goes in for a kiss way too soon.

Quotes and other funny stuff:


“Andy: For your information, I’ve been with beautiful women.

Phyllis: Sexually?

Andy: This conversation is over.”

  • The fact that Creed has dated Squeaky Fromme.
  • Michael: “Would a liar bring mini Mounds bars?”
    [Pam joylessly tosses candy at the employees]

AND NOW, SHOWS ON WHICH I WROTE NO NOTES! HAVE FUN WITH THIS TV MEMORY DUMP!

Ugly Betty 3.12 “Sisters On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”

Grade: B-

As Papi recovers from his heart attack, Hilda guilts Betty into realizing that she has been putting her career before her family. This becomes worse when she is forced to leave her father at the hospital so she can intercept a set of photos that would expose Daniel and Molly’s Caribbean love vacation to her unknowing ex-fiancé (and Daniel’s CFO), who himself is having a secret affair with Wilhelmina. Betty wins in the end, blackmailing fashion TV host Suzuki St. Pierre with her knowledge of his secret – he’s actually a butch heterosexual man with a family and a house in New Jersey – only to be foiled by a gossip rag cover that shows Molly with some faceless hunk standing behind Heidi and Spencer on a St. Barth’s Beach.

I liked Betty’s stuff, and I’m happy she’s moving out of her Manhattan apartment temporarily to be closer to her family, but I’m not sure if I give two shits about the Daniel-Molly-Connor-Wilhemina love square. There’s just very little chemistry.

Ugly Betty 3.13 “Kissed Off”

Grade: C+

Betty has nothing to do this season regarding her love life, and this continues as sexy musician neighbor Jesse moves his way back into Betty’s life, only this time she realizes that he has no concern for or interest in anybody other than himself. Amanda, meanwhile, must find a roommate to sublet Betty’s half of the apartment, and in the end she makes the wise choice and chooses Mark. Now that’s a sitcom set-up if e’er I’ve seen one.

Frankly, were hoping for our own spin-off.

Frankly, we're hoping for our own spin-off.

In the Meade Empire love square, Connor finally – after stalking her for a bit – finds out who Molly’s new beau is, and while some punches are thrown and big issues are discussed, Daniel and Connor learn that they can still work with each other, even if Connor’s ex-fiancée is now banging the boss.

The one quote I wrote down:

“Is it possible that he was just licking guacamole off your chin?” – Amanda to Betty

Private Practice 2.14 “Second Chances”

Grade: C

I remember virtually nothing about this episode, other than that Violet still doesn’t tell Pete and Sheldon that she’s pregnant and is still unsure of who the father is, and that she moves in with Cooper. As far as medical cases go, a woman gives birth while having a stroke, I laughed, and then I felt bad about laughing at a woman having a stroke. And then I felt shame. Then I fell asleep.

You got bored because this isnt Swingtown.

You got bored because this isn't Swingtown.

Grey’s Anatomy 5.14 “Beat Your Heart Out”

Grade: B

An episode with a lot going on but perhaps a little too much.

Now that Denny the Ghost/Grim Reaper is no longer following Izzie around, she can now abuse the interns into giving her medical tests to find out what the hell is wrong with her, but all they find is that she’s anemic. Dr. Bailey, meanwhile, really does not want to work in pediatrics anymore after the emotion-sucking experience of that sick kid with the bowel problems and his near-death, as well as her own son’s medical issues, but is then convinced by none other than Dr. “Apsergers” Dixon that she perfect for the job because of her intense emotional involvement and willingness to break the rules.

Dr. Arizona Robbins kisses Callie. It’s like she’s a lesbian magnet.

Where is the gator with gaydar when you need him?

Where is the gator with gaydar when you need him?

Meredith gets Cristina to read more of Mer’s death mother’s journals, and finds out that when Mother Grey and the Chief were having an affair, he was going to propose to her.

Speaking of proposals, Derek is finally going to pop the question (with additional goading from a pregnant Jennifer Westfeldt) to Meredith, but then receives a call from Addison down in Los Angeles, and something is terribly wrong. What is it? Follow me over to the next entry!

Private Practice 2.15 “Acceptance”

Grade: C+

This is why Addison was calling Derek. Her neurologist brother, Archer, is having some major seizures, and while he’s all sure that it’s an inoperable brain tumor, it takes the other doctors of Oceanside Wellness – who are not neurologists, mind you – to discover that it’s actually brain-eating parasites he caught while on his book tour.

As usual, Cooper gets the best story. This time, a seven-year-old girl who has had many operations (and more to come) as a result of a horrible car accident is abandoned at Oceanside by her parents, who can no longer afford to keep her and care for her. Cooper tracks the parents down at a relative’s house, but instead of guilting them into taking the child back, he realizes that they don’t deserve her. The girl is taken by child services (sad face), but maybe, just maybe, they might be better able to take care of her. Healthcare is a big deal, people, and the sooner you realize that we as a country should be willing to pay more for it via taxes the better of we’ll be. (There’s my sporadic political activism at work, which I will now turn off.)

Violet finally tells Pete and Sheldon about her pregnancy and that she will be keeping the child. I don’t remember what they said in response, but I know that neither of them particularly wants children.

And hey, this was advertised as a crossover episode along with Grey’s, and yet only the final minutes of each had anything to do with each other. Next week is the major crossover, and I wish ABC was more honest about this. Damn grubby ratings-grabbers.

We will have more TV Memory Dump tomorrow! And then perhaps we can return to our regularly scheduled write-ups from moi, the Husband.

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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