The Office: Best. Night. Ever.

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Three weeks ago, when The Office returned after the painfully long writer’s strike, we were welcomed back to Scranton by spending a strange, dark evening at Michael and Jan’s house. It was a strange way to re-kick-off the season, though once realizing the episode was planned out before the strike, things made a little more sense. Then, last week, a hiLArious episode that brought back to mind some of the earlier classics. Jan was suddenly out of the picture. And Michael, as he is wont to do, was immediately searching for his next “true love.” Plus, Jim fake proposed to Pam! It seemed that the good ol’ days were back. And after tonight’s episode, I am please to report…

They are back. From the opening sequence of “Night Out” with Michael, back to his childlike ways, entering Dunder a little Miffed with a wad of gum in his hair, to Dwight’s PB scalp massage, to the genius return of Lonely Ryan! We were given all of the glorious characters, including one golden line from Kelly Kapoor (“Yeah, I have a lot of questions.”) to anything related to Stanley (who we’ve been sorely missing.) In 22 minutes, this week’s episode delivered a knock-out punch.

BESTNIGHTEVERRR2.jpgRyan returns to Scranton to ask the people of PA to work a Saturday in order to fudge with the numbers a little bit. Following a hilarious conference with the branch, a newly hyper-sexual Michael is looking for his next score, and learns through Ryan that New York is the place to be. With Dwight by his side, Michael heads to New York to check out its notorious club scene, and, as helpfully announced to the entire office, “get laid.” Once there, they find Ryan socializing with a man who “resembles a Tolkein character”, and as we know, Dwight is terrified of Tolkein characters (“You are evil, like a hobbit.”) Ryan is surprisingly stoked to see Michael, and it becomes clear that in the large, lonely city of New York, Ryan is a tiny, tiny fish. He misses his Scranton friends! Oh, and he has a cocaine problem now. And a half beard (far more worrisome.)

Back in Scranton, Jim convinces the employees to stay late in order to avoid working the weekend. Then they get locked in the parking lot. Simple plot with many laughs.

Back in NY, and now in line for a different club, Dwight befriends a group of Amazonian woman, and a new beast is born: Player Dwight. He makes 2 girls grab 1 man and they enter the club with ease. Ryan continues to do a lot of cocaine. Michael continues to not to well with women, even though he’s taken Ryan’s advice of saying he’s in finance… as a bank teller. The hobbit… well, he’s just havin’ a time.

Then, Pam throws a football directly into Meredith’s face.

More Office recap after the cut.

Oh, and remember Toby? Over the hiatus, he’s turned into a heartbreaking creep, and now he might be moving to Costa Rica. And he can climb a fence really fast! The things we learn about Toby, I swear.

In the meantime — OH EM F**KING GEE — Player Dwight is making out with one of the Amazons, and a pretty one at that! The weird thing is, that with his newfound confidence, Dwight is sort of great. Hilarious and cringe-inducing, but also maybe like 3 degrees sexy? No, JK you guys, right? Is this thing on? (It’s on.)

BESTNIGHTEVERRR3.jpgFinally, Michael and Dwight descend into Ryan’s apartment. Player Dwight becomes regular “Dwigt”, and sings to Ryan a sweet, albeit way too short, Germanic lullaby. Half-beard sits up and says that his “friend” might have a drug problem… but do you see what he did there? HE‘s the one with the drug problem!

Then the cleaning lady saves the Scrantonites from their imprisoned hell, and the Security Guard, who has never so much as received a Christmas tip, and who drove for over an hour — with socks on — arrives at Dunder Mifflin to find, sadly, nobody.

And now, after this zippy recap, I would like to remove whatever hat I am wearing and say: Thank You, people who work on The Office (specifically Mindy Kaling, who wrote the episode). This is what we’ve been missing. Then again, it’s possible I’m still under Dwight’s spell. Also, we’re sure that just hearing Michael utter the words “Best Night Ever” filled our podcasters with glee…

Am I speaking in hyperbole here? Did you guys enjoy it? Did you think Jim was acting a little weird… defeated maybe? I sort of dug it.

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