TV Recap

Party Monster

On ''The Office,'' Jan continues her gradual, painful slide into insanity, Michael shows his true colors at the CFO's shindig, and Pam's attempt to follow her gut puts Jim squarely in Roy's crosshairs

SLOW MELTDOWN Jan should know better, but she's sticking with Michael anyway
SLOW MELTDOWN Jan should know better, but she's sticking with Michael anyway

''The Office'': Jan and Michael go public

It's official: Jan Levinson is possibly the most self-destructive character on prime-time TV today. In what could only be described as an act of professional seppuku, Jan chose a party at her CFO's house to publicly reveal her relationship with Michael. I don't know how she thought she could corral the crazy that is Michael — needy, loving Michael.

(How telling was Michael's line, ''I thought this is where you liked your privacy'' as Jan dragged him into the loo? Can't you just see Michael eliciting that response by constantly peeking in on her in the bathroom or talking to her through the door? Yet Steve Carell keeps me loving Michael Scott with things like the little smile he gave after explaining that CFO is the guy's title, not his initials, and you just know that at some point he has made that mistake.)

I think Jan's acknowledgment that she might collapse into herself ''like a dying star'' (best line of the night, by the way) was just so telling. But even more so was her desire to return to their naughty sex roles rather than deal with the increasingly embarrassing Michael. When the reality of the mortification she'd opened herself up for finally set in, Jan retreated to familiar territory. It wasn't bad enough that Michael and Dwight grilled the homeowners about the square footage and purchase price of their home (followed by Dwight's own attic-to-basement inspection of the place); Michael also felt the need to expound on the virtues of Sandals as a child-free sex haven. The bafflingly uncomfortable conversation led the CFO to question Jim about Jan and Michael's relationship while shooting hoops in the backyard.

Jim and Karen had a wonderfully uncomfortable moment of their own as she punked him into thinking she'd dated most of the men at the party. She brilliantly played the oblivious girlfriend and then finally clued him in just as he was about to blow a gasket. Nice guy that he is, Jim really was so easy to fool. But all of you Karen haters out there have to give it up to her, just like we all have to admit that Pam did blend in pretty effortlessly with Jim's little thwarting/stalling tactic when Michael tried out his Houdini-esque magic trick.

And speaking of Pam. You can't help rooting for her newfound self-confidence. We should have seen that last week's art show would lead to her bold refusal to accept the wrong beer at the bar or Roy's attempt to weasel out of after-work drinks. But who could have seen that she'd be dumb enough to tell Roy about her kiss with Jim? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Honesty, shmonesty. She should know Roy better than anyone. Like we didn't all know that the teddy bear who had wooed her back wasn't the same guy she'd been engaged to, or that he wouldn't react well to news of the illicit kiss? When he said he would kill Jim, I don't know why, man, but I believe him, yo. I'm seriously afraid for Jim now.

Not much from the rest of the crew this week, but the Creed-Creep-O-Meter was at an 8. Who says those fake IDs are the only things Creed's doing with the college kids in the back of his car? And we may have to give Toby a creepy rating of about 9 for his quest to get that stuffed duck for Pam from the claw game. How much money do you think he spent on that?

Do you think Pam's ''We're done'' means that she's done with Roy for good or just that she'd had enough of the conversation? Did this feel like a J.J. Abrams episode to you? Did I miss someone putting on a costume and running through the office or something? And just how scary will it be the first time Jim and Roy are at the office together?

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Originally posted Feb 23, 2007
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