Saturday, September 29, 2007
The one hour season premier of The Office was strange, somewhat disturbing and frequently hilarious. It did not disappoint. This quirky show has such an enormous ensemble cast, and yet each character is clearly drawn, unique and essential. As the boss, Steve Carell's Michael is the narcissistic and mentally handicapped glue that holds it all together. The exquisitely weird Rainn Wilson has become a classic breakout character, playing the perfectly named Dwight Schrute. He is not so much weird, as absolutely deranged. In this episode, he is responsible for euthanizing a sick fluffy cat (Sprinkles) by placing the doomed feline in the freezer. I am haunted by the description of the clawed bags of frozen peas. Angela plays Dwight's blond office Nazi girl friend Angela, and her sorrow over the loss of Sprinkles makes her almost likable for the first time ever. Jim and Pam are back and finally together as the perfect office couple. When they kiss, all is right with the world. Michael has his own romance cooking, with the seriously in need of rehab Jan now living in his condo. Kevin the fat guy is fast becoming my favorite character. Along with Creed (the older quality control manager who gets my vote as the one most likely to climb a tower and start shooting) and Stanley (the deeply cynical and ironic black guy), Kevin forms a water cooler Greek chorus, observing and commenting upon the insane tapestry woven by the others in this Office from Hell.
This year's season opener started out with a real bang. Michael ran over Meredith (the red haired office lush) in the Dunder Mifflin parking lot. In the hospital with a broken pelvis, Meredith refuses to forgive Michael, and he begins to wonder if The Office is cursed. He decides to redeem himself by creating a 5K run for the Cure for Rabies, and everyone in the office has to participate. Although I admire the many clever ways writers get the cast out of the claustrophobic office environment and into the fresh air of Scranton PA, the charity race didn't work quite as well as past outings. Last year's beach trip was a classic. the new season kick off was a good (not great) start. But a good episode of The Office is a thousand times better than just about anything else on TV.