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Office Fodder

The Office: Company Picnic

Company-Picnic.jpgWill Michael and Holly get back together? Will Charles and Jim butt heads again? Will Dwight ruin the company picnic?

Like Radio Shack, you've got questions, "The Office" finale has answers.

There's a classic prank in the opening scene, made even better because everyone but Michael is in on it. Michael, it appears, has eaten an entire chicken pot pie ("a family sized chicken pot pie," Jim clarifies), and has fallen asleep at his desk. Jim and Pam sneak into Michael's office to set forward a few hours his watch/computer clock to 5 p.m.

Dwight, normally not one to play hooky, says he's in on it this time because he has an appointment with the horse doctor-- not a horse pretending to be a doctor, he jokes.

Dwight: "I'm kidding. He's just a regular doctor who shoots your horse in the head when its leg is broken."

Once the clocks are set, the office staff, previously very quiet, erupt in noise to wake Michael up. He falls for it, and sends everyone home. Hysterical... and now I'm plotting to do the same thing to my boss. I wonder if I can just use a Hot Pocket instead of an entire chicken pot pie. This is a recession, after all.

The main story, given the episode title, is the 43rd annual company picnic, though I can't recall them mentioning one before. All the branches have gathered, wearing matching T-shirts that I can only guess might be available for sale on at some point (Who wouldn't want a "Scranton/Dunder Mifflin" T-shirt?... Yep, I called that one)

Ah, just like old times. Dwight, it seems, has a best friend, Rolf! He had noticed a guy trying to buy shoes that "can increase his speed and not leave any tracks." Bro-love at first sight. They even kind of look alike.

Michael finds Holly... and her boyfriend, A.J., who came down from their Nashua branch. It only takes a second for Michael and Holly (Molly? Hochael?) to rediscover that old magic, trading one-liners as Holly's boyfriend looks on, a little oblivious to the fact Michael has much better chemistry with Holly. The pair say they are going to practice for the comedy sketch they are doing later in front of everyone.

Michael, as an aside, says he has a bullet-pointed list of things he wants to tell Holly as a way to profess his love.

Michael: "No. 1. Holly, you and I are soup snakes. Um. And the reason is, because, in terms of the soup, you like to... that doesn't make any sense.... We're soulmates. Holly and I are soulmates."

PB&J (that's what the kids call Pam Beesley and Jim these days) say they want to make a brief appearance and then sneak out. They come across Charles Miner, who now works at corporate after Michael took back his regional manager position. Charles still thinks Jim is lazy.

Charles, to Jim: "It must be nice to get a rest from all your rest." (walks away)
Jim: "I don't get it. He's not even my boss anymore."

Volleyball time. The Scranton branch plays a lot of sports, I've noticed. Basketball, ice skating, soccer and now volleyball, in a tournament against other branches. Andy, who last episode seemed to be crushing on Kelly, this time is crushing on Erin, the new receptionist. He asks Dwight to help him out and put him in the same row as Erin. But Dwight's an idiot and thinks Andy just wants a good setter, so he puts Andy with Phyllis.

The game begins. Scranton is terrible at first, but then they pull out their ace in the hole. Is it:
A) Phyllis
B) Dwight
C) Toby
D) Pam

It's Pam, who reveals she played volleyball through college. She's got a killer serve (and terrible form, but hey, it's just a show), and Scranton starts winning. Jim starts pitching in with some nice, (illegal), overhand spikes (where he basically throws the ball), and Scranton advances to the championship against Corporate.

But first, it's time for the comedy sketch. Michael and Holly have been preparing this whole time, coming up with ideas on telling the history of Robert Dunder and Robert Mifflin. Michael also takes the opportunity to stare at Holly the way a seventh-grader stares at his crush during study hall.

They settle on a "Slumdog Mifflin-aire" theme. The audience of employees don't get it, but you can tell Michael and Holly love it and are in their own little world.

Then they blow it. (Who could have guessed?) Holly, playing the show host, asks Michael, "The economic downturn has forced the closure of two branches... to be followed soon by what other branch?" and list four branches. Michael answers "B, Buffalo." The Buffalo people freak out, shouting at David Wallace about their jobs.

Wallace, who is an idiot for letting Michael do an unscripted show in front of the company, says he didn't plan on telling the news this way, but yes, the Buffalo branch is shutting down. Michael and Holly say they thought Buffalo already knew.

The news does rally Scranton, though, who now want to crush Corporate for Buffalo's sake. Things are going well until Pam twists her ankle. She says she's fine, but Charles, seeing an opportunity to fulfill his role as company jerk, says it's technically an injury on company grounds, and that they can't allow her to play until she gets medical attention.

Jim and Pam think it's ridiculous, but decide they're going to race to a nearby hospital and race back, telling Dwight to stall, which is one thing Dwight does well.

Dwight: "How many people are going to get hurt before we learn a valuable lesson? One? Two? Three? Four?"
Wallace: "Dwight..."
Dwight: "No, no, hear me out. Five? Six? Seven?"
Wallace: "Dwight!"
Dwight: "Can I finish please? ... ... Eight?"

Holly and Michael wrap up things, reminiscing about all the good times they've had, and looking forward to next year's company picnic. Michael can't pull the trigger, which he'll regret. But he does think there's a long-term story with Holly that will continue to unfold.

Jim, at the hospital, tells Dwight to keep stalling. He runs into Pam's room, although the camera stays outside and peers through the window. The doctor says something, and Pam and Jim embrace. Now, a few minutes earlier, a nurse had asked Pam, among other things before taking her for an X-Ray, if she was pregnant.

With that in mind, I think Pam is preggers! I'm guessing they discovered she was pregnant and the doctor just delivered the news. Jim races back out of the room with a goofy, bewildered grin, and tells Dwight there's no need to stall anymore- they aren't coming back, before going back in to hug Pam.

And that, my friends, is it. Cliff, meet Hanger.

Thoughts: What a season for "The Office." As far as finales go, this held up to some of the other gold standards, like "Casino Night." There were lots of laughs, and some plot points that set the ground for next season. I can only assume Pam really is pregnant, but I'm not sure how I feel about that as a viewer. That's a lot of life changes in a very short time for Pam and Jim, and it seems they've been crammed in to keep some drama going. On the other hand, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski do a nice job keeping their characters likeable and fresh as Jim and Pam have matured.

I did wish Creed and Kelly would have at least made an appearance in the finale, but it was only a 30-minute version, so I guess not everyone can shine. I think Creed would have been a good volleyball player.

What are your thoughts on this season, and on the finale? Are you glad Michael is back at Scranton? Do you think he'll get back with Holly? Who is Andy going to date next? What's going to happen with Pam now? And did you notice Angela gave a slight smile to Dwight this episode-- do you think they'll get back together?

Favorite line: An overzealous Rolf (Rolph?) who for some reason is coaching the Scranton team, responding to trash talk by Wallace and Miner:

Rolf: "You suckers are going down They're going to wipe their asses with your serves, piss all over your faces!"
Scranton team: "Whoa, Rolf! Hey now!"

Runner-up: Michael and Holly had just done a "Slumdog Mifflin-aire" question on how Robert Mifflin had depression and shot himself in the head. Stanley chuckles in the audience.

Stanley: "Normally, I don't enjoy the theater. But this is delightful."

Sidenote: There was a commercial for Ed Helms' (Andy Bernard) new movie, "The Hangover." Judging by the preview I saw in the movies last month, it looks hilarious, even though it seems on the surface to be another "drunk night in Vegas" movie. But this should be good, and there's even an appearance by Mike Tyson. Are you going to see it?

Posted by Andy Shaw on May 15, 2009 10:23 AM
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