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The Office

''The Office'': Rebounds and rivalries

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Steve Carell, The Office
”The Office”: Rebounds and rivalries

This one-hour Christmas episode was even better than last year’s holiday show, as my favorite workplace (besides my own, of course) held a Christmas party that I think I would actually have liked to attend. Okay, it was two parties, but one didn’t count. This was an episode that included everybody (even Oscar popped in with his priceless ”Too soon” line), and yet, despite the divisive second holiday party, it was possibly the first time since the merger that a Stamford vs. Scranton plot device wasn’t front and center.

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''The Office'': Dwight's enemy makes his move

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Rainn Wilson, The Office
”The Office”: Dwight’s enemy makes his move

All you Andy haters out there must be going mad: his Willy Wonka-inspired scheming actually ousted (for now, at least) our favorite nincompoop, Dwight. But was Andy really to blame… or was Angela? Rather than let Dwight clear Michael’s suspicions of him and admit to the rest of the office that they are a couple, Angela made him quit the job that he dreamed of growing old and dying at. Now that’s cold.

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''The Office'': Doing hard time in Scranton

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Steve Carell, The Office
”The Office”: Doing hard time in Scranton

How is it possible that Michael Scott could have an even more uncomfortable moment while trying desperately not to be racist than Michael Richards had spewing racial obscenities? Our Michael’s earnest determination not to assume that Martin was the ex-con whom the Stamford office had hired devolved into a wonderful satire of white liberal guilt: ”I just wish that Josh had made a more progressive choice.”

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''The Office'': The branches merge

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Jenna Fischer, The Office
”The Office”: The branches merge

Let me just get this out of the way right off the bat: I knew Pam and Karen would hit it off! Well, at least until one of them picked up on the other’s special relationship with Jim. It was awesome (and fitting) that Pam was the first one to get it. Pam, who’s all about the subtext, sniffed out something more in that exchange of gum, that rub on the back. In your face! Yeah, Pam: He’s evolving. He’s moved on. No more grape soda here, baby.

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''The Office'': Jim and Pam's unresolved issues

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Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, ...
”The Office”: Jim and Pam’s unresolved issues

Stupid, stupid, stupid Pam! How could she be so boneheaded as to break Jim’s heart? For doofy warehouse guy? Only to call off the wedding with him? (I’m refusing to use his name in protest, even though he had the best mug shot I’ve seen since Nick Nolte’s.) Yes, I know that resolving the sexual tension between Pam and Jim that quickly just isn’t a good recipe for television longevity, but aawwww, man. That was one heartbreaking scene. You know the one. The only one they were in together this episode?

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''The Office'': Just like old times

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Steve Carell, The Office
”The Office”: Just like old times

”Ain’t no party like a Scranton party!” Michael and Dwight beat-boxing while wearing matching shirts: priceless.

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''The Office'': Michael plays grief counselor

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Steve Carell, The Office
”The Office”: Michael plays grief counselor

Cheers to last night’s episode, which restored balance and order to our favorite paper-pushers while still nicely forwarding the storylines of TV’s plainest super-non-couple. Dwight reclaimed his rightful place behind Michael, Pam channeled Jim for some office fun, Jim found substitutes for Pam and Dwight, and Stanley had a banner night all around.

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''The Office'': Jim and Pam catch up

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Jenna Fischer, The Office
”The Office”: Jim and Pam catch up

So, ”It” finally happened. With an accidental phone call at the end of a workday, the big Pam-and-Jim reunion got going. Yes, my heart skipped a beat as the words ”Oh my God” escaped from Pam. Yes, any opportunity to hear Jim’s voice go all gravelly into the phone as he’s being charming and funny is a good thing. But you know what, people? I was kind of underwhelmed.

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''The Office'': Dunder-Mifflin does Diwali

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Steve Carell, The Office
”The Office”: Dunder-Mifflin does Diwali

Yes, it’s that most wonderful time of the year: November sweeps! Yay! It’s when shows pull out all the stops to get your attention and Big Things happen. And trust me, Big Things will happen on The Office this month. But they didn’t happen last night.

No, despite the extravaganza of dancing, singing, and humiliation, last night was that workhorse of an episode that brings the funny just as you’d expect from any Office viewing… but in the back of your mind, you’re still waiting for more.

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''The Office'': A 'close' call looks like genius

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”The Office”: A ‘close’ call looks like genius

Something weird is going on: What did Jan say?

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