Friday, January 19, 2007

Maybe you should estimate me.

No update yesterdaymy apologies to all who stopped by! It was a busy day, but it ended, as all good Thursdays do, with a new episode of The Office. A Scranton native, I watched the premiere of the U.S. Office out of a sense of hometown obligation, but with low expectations... and since then I've been a religiously observant fan. I could talk for hours about just what it is that makes the show so enjoyable, but right now I will focus on one thing: the cast. Anyone who loves theatre is familiar with the thrill you get from witnessing a truly great performance onstage; I get a similar thrill every week from watching Steve Carrell as Michael Scott. The last two episodes have found Michael in the unusual position of the Annoyed, rather than the Annoyer, which is a brilliant move on the writers' part. On the surface, he has had less to do, but because the character has been so fully realized by Carrell up to this point, it is fascinating just to see him reacting in a new, but still totally in-character, way to his new situation. To see Michael saying "Stop! Just stop! You're going to drive me crazy!" to someone else is indescribably delicious. (Having him ask the camera, "How can a person have so little self-awareness?" was a bit too on-the-nose, I thought, but fortunately it was paired with a very funny visual gag.) Ed Helms is also giving a virtuoso performancebut am I alone in hoping that his character's arc is nearing its end? I can only take so much of Andy and his irredeemable douche-iness; I can't imagine that character ever moving me, the way Dwight and Angela did when their eyes filled with tears (in separate contexts!). Anyone can play a sitcom weirdo, but to bring such multidimensionality to a character like Angela is true artistry. Meanwhile, John Krasinski is so consistently wonderful that I don't even notice it anymore, but what other sitcomwhat drama, for that mattercan offer a moment as affecting and real as that moment when (spoiler alert!) a sheepish Jim responded to Karen's "Do you still have feelings for her?" with a barely imperceptible nod? And Jenna Fischer, who I sometimes think is really the star of the show, keeps finding new ways to make Pam come alive, in her quiet, endearing, totally honest way. (And that's not just my shirt talking.)

When the episode was over, the boyfriend and I experienced the usual bereft feeling, that sinking sensation of "Man, next Thursday is so far away!", which we tried to alleviate by watching a recorded-and-saved episode of Arrested Development. I said when I started this blog that I might sometimes get something wrong and/or revise an opinion, but I will accept no challenges to this statement: No television program has ever had a better ensemble cast than that assembled for Arrested Development. If I started giving individual examples of excellence on that show, I would be here all day. Instead, I invite your comments: Do you have a favorite Office cast member? Do you agree about Arrested? Do you dare disagree with me about either? The lines are open! (And if you're here for the theatre talk, I promise I'll have more theatre to write about soon!)


Anonymous said...

You know when Kermit the Frog used to announce guests on The Muppet Show, and then he would throw back his head and wave his little green arms in the air and go "Yyyaaaaaaaaaaay!"? Well, that's what this particular blog made me want to do.

First of all, The Office. Comcast is surely making a small fortune off of my insatiable need to Demand episodes (a steal at .99!) multiple times after the initial (free, almost) Thursday night viewing. I mean, how can a person watch the Dwight-and-Pam "so you're PMSing pretty bad, huh?" scene just once?! Also, if I may state for the Restricted View record, I have a monster crush on John Krasinski and his subtle portrayal of Jim. (And speaking of subtle, how about that Jenna Fisher, ladies and gentlemen?)

Second, Arrested Development. Over the past year, I've purchased all of the existing seasons on DVD, and have been consistently delighted with the Best Ensemble Cast EVER. The writing is ridiculously clever and the acting is cleverly ridiculous... it's the substance-abusing older cousin to The Office!

~Buckshot, who just saw Edward Scissorhands (the musical/ballet) and can't WAIT for you to see it and share your thoughts

P.S. I was responsible for "Ragtime: Here in America Anyone at All Can Succeed!"

Mollie said...

Buckshot, I am so glad to have earned your approval, and I hope you will comment here frequently. After all, if I were having more conversations with you in person, I probably wouldn't need this blog.

That scene you mention, with Dwight comforting Pam, was amazing. It was touching, then hilarious, then touching again, and then hilarious again, all in a matter of seconds! And if I had a dollar for every time I've greeted the boyfriend with "Who did this to you?!" since it aired, I could pay for you to watch it many more times.

Anonymous said...

my favorite moment of the last Office episode was when Phyllis explained that she clashed with Dwight because they both had such large personalities.

I fear I love The Office too well. I know and love them like they are real people, and would certainly choose a new episode of the Office over almost any actual human interaction. Amy

Mollie said...

Oh, that was great. Phyllis is so awesome. I also took a shine to Dwight's coworker at Staples, and I was bummed when I realized we wouldn't be seeing her again.

My only problem with the last two weeks' episodes? No fallout from the Jan-vacation-photo snafu!

Dan D said...

My wife and I miss episodes occasionally, but we've hit some of the highlights. I think the Benihana episode was far funnier than anything the British version managed to do. And that's saying a lot, because the last British episode before the Christmas special was AMAZING. I still howl like a madman when I see Ricky Gervais disco-dancing like an orangutan on crack (while providing his own funk instrumental backup A CAPELLA).

What if Dunder Mifflin bought out Wernham Hogg? I know, I know ... Wernham Hogg Paper was already bought out by the father of the girl that the failed rock star on Lost used to date (when he was washed up and hooked on the smack). I haven't seen much of Lost either (I stopped watching after a few season 1 episodes) but I remember the throw-away reference to a paper company in Slough. Where was I?

Oh, right. I think Ricky Gervais should have an excuse to pop onto the show. Or Dwight to meet his match in Gareth. Maybe even compete for Angela's attention? And how would Jim react to Tim, who did end up with his Pam? Would it convince Jim to change course, or hold onto his current plans?

JT Chimes said...


Mollie said...

Wow, Chimes... is that you singing? All 4 parts? :-)

Dan D., your knowledge of the British series far outpaces my own. I've seen a few episodes, and to be honest, I don't find it nearly as funny. (Ducks) But I didn't stick around long enough to see the final episodes, so I'll have to check it out.

And Buckshot, I almost forgot! How about that Hofstra mention!