July 9, 1989 will always be a special day for me. It was my eighth birthday, and rather than just getting a b-day gift from my parents in the old, boring, “here you go” kind of way, my Mother and Father decided to hide the gifts around the house, like a much more exciting version of the Afikomen on Passover (where in the end, your prize is a piece of cracker.) Through the house I went, lifting soup terrine lids and peeking behind the beds, before there, under the rug by the television, I got what to this day ranks as the best birthday gift I’ve ever received: A Tetris cartridge for Nintendo, and the Babysitter’s Club Super Special #2: Summer Vacation. Those were simpler times, and I miss them dearly.
Why this pointless story? I’m glad you asked. You see, I’d like to thank NBC for this Sunday’s The Office Super Bowl Special, “Stress Relief”, which really brought my back to that golden birthday. Not only do we get hours of sporty entertainment, including a kick-ass Halftime crotch show and some clever ads in between, but then, a “Super Special” of sorts — an entire hour of a brand new Office on a Sunday. And not just any Office, but a HILARIOUS one that hopefully won the show some new fans. Indeed, I was 8 all over again (only with contact lenses and a much larger rack).
Let’s recall some of our favorite moments:
- The Firesafety Opening Montage: Dwight decides to teach his co-workers a lesson by running a hyper-realistic firedrill, where we are treated to a little “Home Alone” montage sans Micro Machines. It is here we learn that Angela has a little furry besty in a file drawer named “Bandit”, whose growl suggests he is clearly suffering from smoke inhalation. We hope she gets pregnant someday and keeps the lil’ tyke in a size 5 boot box.
- We appreciated the touch of the cameraman getting knocked down. It is a documentary after all.
- The Stanley Montage was SIMPLE genius. For a guy that barely says anything, he definitely gets some of the best lines on the show. Here’s the transcription: “Not Maybe – yes or no. No way, uh-huh. Are you from another planet? Boy, have ya lost your mind cause I’ll help you find it! Did I stutter? I’m done, goodbye.”
- Michael kneeling in front of Stanley may have fulfilled a secret fantasy of mine I never even knew I had. And now I am sorry I said that.
- Something that seemed blindly pointless? The Jack Black, Jessica Alba, Cloris Leachman tie-in. Sure, it gave NBC a way of promoting 3 A-D List celebrities during the big game, but in the end, the little movie they were in just wasn’t that funny. I kept hoping that we would actually see JB and Cloris (I do not care about Alba) show up in the actual Office setting, interacting with characters. Maybe some sort of pirating storyline… or Stanley’s Make-A-Wish? Alas, that never went anywhere.
- Also, it’s a little bit sad how ever since getting together with his lifelove Pam, Jim just isn’t allowed to be funny anymore. This week’s storyline — with Pam’s parents getting divorced — was sort of touching in a “See? Don’t let their lack of chemistry fool ya! They in love” way… but Pam and Jim did not have a SINGLE funny moment in an otherwise very funny episode. (Proof that I’m not dead inside: Their ending was sorta sweet.)
- GREAT MOMENT: Michael Scott’s yoga session. Ohmmmmygodifyou’rewearingadresspleasekeepyourkneestogethernobodywantstoseethat Ohhmmmmm. Perfectly delivered.
- Obligatory David Wallace reference – every little moment counts with this man. (Though, to be fair, Kurt Warner was my #1 Salt N’ Pepper of the night, only because he was such a new addition to this shameful fetish.) I feel obliged to mention that I met the absolutely charming Melora Hardin, aka Jan Levinson-Gould I Presume, aka Michael’s former boss, during my Monday morning stint on The Mike & Juliet Show. Melora is starring in Chicago on Broadway, and for an actress with the level of talent she possesses, she was an absolute down-to-Earth delight. Which is why I would like to ask: Where the hell has Jan been? She was easily the funniest woman on the show (sorry Meredith.) Bring back Jan.
- Actual note taken by me while watching: “I love Michael in a t-neck.” So handsome, yet so cazh. Don’t knock the mock, fellas.
- The Michael Scott Roast. Is basically perfect in every way. Though my favorite line had to be the subtly genius “And now, a man who deserves no introduction… Michael Scott.”
- As good as the Michael Scott Roast was, it doesn’t compare to Michael’s improptu retaliation roast… which I took the liberty of transcribing word for word:
Jim: You’re 6’11″ and you weigh 90 pounds. Gumby has a better body than you. Boom, roasted.
Dwight: Kiss ass. Boom, roasted.
Pam: You failed art school. Boom, roasted.
Meredith: You’ve slept with so many guys, you’re starting to look like one. Boom, roasted.
Kevin: I can’t decide between a fat joke and a dumb joke.
Creed: Your teeth called. Your breath stinks.
Angela: Where’s Angela? There you are. I didn’t see you behind that grain of rice. Bum, roasted.
Stanley: You crush your wife during sex, and your heart sucks. Boom, roasted.
Oscar: You’re gay.
Andy: Cornell called, they think you suck. And you’re gayer than Oscar. Boom, roasted!
OVERALL: A-. It was a pretty great episode, and had everything we seek in our weekly fix: Plenty of Michael trying to fix things, hilarious character interaction, brilliant writing. The only thing that kept this episode from reaching A-A+ territory (and note, this is the first time we’ve ever “graded” anything – something we know is pretty a-holey, but here it is) was the Jim/Pam conflict, which seemed like a forced way to remind us that Jim is in love. They also wasted a perfectly good Jack Black cameo appearance, and tricked the country into thinking JB and Michael Scott could, theoretically, have a scene together. Anyways, pish posh to my criticisms! It was a good time.
BREAKING NEWS: Check out the preview for this week’s new The Office and 30 Rock… with JON HAMMMMMMMM:
And, in case you missed it, here’s the full episode: