Three old Office episodes don't quite add up to one new one, though I certainly didn't mind revisiting any of last night's reruns. (Did you realize there were 2 more eps on at 10:00? If my Mom hadn't tipped me off I'd never have noticed... and I still almost missed it! Pretty sneaky, NBC.) The power struggle in "The Coup" is so entertaining; the trick Michael plays on Dwight shows him simultaneously at his most intelligent and his least mature. And that scene where Dwight is in the diner with Jan? I've said it before and I'll say it again: Rainn Wilson should win every TV award for which he is eligible just for his performance in that one scene.
If you tuned in again at 10 you saw "Grief Counseling," notable for Pam's newly active role in office hijinks, and "Initiation," which is my least favorite episode of the season. The whole "Dwight lives on a beet farm" thing isn't very funny, in my opinion, and it undermines the other, less farfetched information we have about Dwight. (Like, on Valentine's Day, he gave Angela a key... to his beet farm? Where he lives with Mose and no indoor plumbing? Does anybody else find that distractingly unlikely?) Also not very funny: Ryan and plots that revolve around him. All the secondary stuff in that episode is great, though -- "This is pretzel day" -- and even if it weren't, it would all be worth it for the Jim/Pam phone conversation at the end. Watching that again, so many episodes later, was a great reminder of how much the unfolding storylines enhance my enjoyment of this show. That's pretty rare for a sitcom, when you think about it. Anyway, I still thought their whole conversation about Pam's one kitchen and all that was funny and sweet and everything this time around, but the first time I saw it, when it was the first contact Jim and Pam had had since their kiss the previous season? When Pam heard Jim's voice and said, "Oh my God," I think I also said "Oh my God." I was that wrapped up in it. I'm not proud to admit that, but there it is.
Anyway, speaking of initiation, I hope all my Scranton readers have seen "Lazy Scranton." And even if you have, it certainly wouldn't hurt your civic pride to watch it again (it's got a little bit of a zing to it!). From there you can explore the official Office site, if you wish, but I don't recommend it. It's surprisingly lame. And speaking of surprisingly lame, I watched 15 minutes of Ugly Betty last night, and, wow, I was right. It's not nearly as good a show as The Office. My problem wasn't so much the writing, which isn't really clever but comes close now and then, but the pace, which is far too slow. If you're going to lean on every joke until you're really sure we've gotten it, why not just have a laugh track already?
What do you think? Am I missing some crucial element of Betty's charm? Did you have a favorite moment in last night's Dunder Mifflin feast?