TV Recap

Conditional Reflexes

On ''The Office,'' Michael uses Phyllis' wedding to try to redeem himself from his last nuptial outing; plus, hookups (and near-hookups) abound as several office couples are in the mood for love

Steve Carell, The Office | BOSS HOG Phyllis finagled six weeks of vacation out of Michael -- but at a price
BOSS HOG Phyllis finagled six weeks of vacation out of Michael -- but at a price

''The Office'': Wedded blitz

Only the petulant narcissist that is Michael Scott would think the highlight of his employee's big day would be his pushing her father's wheelchair down the aisle — because, you know, in a way he was paying for the wedding. What a nut! Who else could humiliate himself by announcing the bride and groom before the wedding vows are complete, mutter an expletive, reinsert himself into the groomsmen line that he didn't belong in, and then blare the announcement a second time, not a minute later? Only Michael.

But there again was another flash of insight into the origins of Michael's madness. Didn't you want to comfort the poor freaked-out boy who'd wet his pants trying to play ring bearer at his mother's wedding? No? Okay. I know laughing at him may have come more naturally, but later, after the guffaw, didn't you feel a little sorry for him? Especially since you knew he was doomed to repeat it (at least part of it) at the current wedding? The little-kid ''I hate you!'' that exploded from his mouth after a fed-up Bob Vance (of Bob Vance Refrigeration) tossed him out was priceless, but I kind of wish he'd wet his pants again too.

Kudos to actress Phyllis Smith for again proving how sly her seemingly diffident character really is. She played Michael like a violin to get that six-week vacation for her honeymoon (score!) and she totally stole Pam's wedding, right down to the dress. Well, not the actual dress, because Pam's dress couldn't have had that much fabric to let out, but you know what I mean.

And Pam was definitely in a vulnerable place, alone at a wedding that echoed the one she called off months before and watching her special ''friend'' dancing with his girlfriend. What better time for that smooth grizzly bear Roy to sidle up and take her for a spin? Do not sleep on Roy, people. Despite his previous obliviousness, he knows Pam. He knows how to get back in good with her and is willing to put in the time to do it.

Anyone else think that Jim was on the verge of caving when he saw Pam watching him and Karen dancing? Because even hypothetically thinking about the possibility of Pam being interested in him made him speechless. And his knee-jerk assertion of contentedness with Karen was a little fishy. Methinks the boy doth protest too much. What's sad is that Karen is the much better girlfriend. (You have to read EW's article on Rashida Jones this week. I think I fell a little in love with her.) I hope my prediction that Jim will break up with Karen to pine after Pam again is wrong.

I let out a trilogy of awwws at shots of Pam and Roy dancing slowly out back, Dwight and Angela dancing in seclusion by a window, and Michael all alone on a bench singing. Freaks that they are, Dwight and Angela are just the cutest couple and can be surprisingly sweet with each other.

The best almost-missed gag of the night had to be Ryan knocking the bouquet out of Kelly's hand. I gave Creed a pass this week for the way he deftly put his card on the biggest gift on the table. (BTW: Was that Stanley's wife walking in with him? Hubba hubba.) And big props to Toby for that hot date from the gym. Way to get back in the game.

The pranks on the show have so surpassed their stapler-in-the-Jell-O-mold beginnings. Conditioning Dwight to reach for an Altoid at the sound of the computer restart was genius, and is now right up there with the CIA training prank and the future-Dwight faxes.

What's your favorite prank? How cringe-worthy do you think it will be when Michael speaks at Ryan's business school next week? And is it Pavlovian that I smile and bop as soon as I hear the opening chords of The Office's theme song?

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Originally posted Feb 09, 2007