The Office: US Meets the UK in “The Convict”
November 29, 2006 by Kath Skerry
You know who I think might be the most intriguing woman in all of television? It’s going to be hard to guess, because she’s never actually been on TV. But I’ll tell ya….it’s Michael Scott’s mother. I am consumed with curiosity about the woman who raised the bewildering and befuddled man that is Michael Gary Scott. Don’t tell me you aren’t the least bit curious.
In this week’s episode of The Office, Michael Scott outdoes even Michael Scott when he learns that one of his employees once spent time in prison. Under the always present guise of good intentions, Michael outs the man’s criminal past to the entire office, who in turn have a lot of question about prison life.
When one of the employees likens prison to the office, Michael sets out to prove to everyone how good they truly have it there at Dunder Mifflin. As you might expect, Michael’s tactics are just a little bit left of center, and no one is amused.
Thursday’s episode, entitled “The Convict”, was written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant who were of course the creators of the original UK version of The Office. Although Gervais and Merchant have both said that they wrote the episode specific to the American version of the show, fans of the UK version may feel a sense of familiarity. Although you won’t be hearing Dwight Schrute saying “cheers” as he leaves the office, or Ryan inviting Kelly out for bangers and mash, the uncomfortable, unbearably awkward moments that the UK version perfected are definitely present throughout the episode.
In fact, there are parts of the episode that are so cringeworthy, that I almost had to turn away because I couldn’t believe what was happening. Remember that feeling you had when Michael tried to kiss Oscar in the season premiere? Yeah, well it’s a little like that. It was so painful to watch, that I didn’t really laugh the first time around. Of course, by the second viewing I was wiping away the tears from my fits of laughter. No, I repeat, NO episode of The Office should be viewed only once…it gets better and better every time you watch it. There’s just no way you could catch everything the first time around.
Although this episode is very focused on the antics of Michael, there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ happening on the other side of the office too. It seems that Andy is on the hunt for a new lady friend, and he has his eyes set on one Pamela Beesly (take a number dude, she’s a wanted woman).
If there is one guy that knows the way to Pam’s heart it’s Jim Halpert, so it’s only fitting that Jim mentors Andy on just how to win Pam over. Through Jim we learn some of Pam’s likes: pranks, and some of her dislikes: country music and pig latin (to name a few). As Andy courts Pam, Ed Helms proves once again how perfectly he fits in on this show as he is absolutely hysterical. Just incredible!!
I know many of you want to know if there are any new developments in Jim Halpert’s angst filled love life. While I’m certainly not going to give too much away, I will say that some Jam moments had a certain Season 2 feel to them, without letting us forget how smack dab in the middle of Season 3 we truly are. There will be much to dissect and analyze after the episode airs. Oh, and John Krasinski proves once again that he has the most charismatic face in all of TV. After this week, I think we will have a few more Jim faces to add to our always expanding collection. And that ain’t a bad thing.
With this week’s episode, The Office once again proves why it is the BEST comedy on all of TV. Hands down. There is nothing else like it. As perhaps one of the most die hard Officianados out there, believe me when I say that you are going to want to TiVo this one, as its genius warrants repeat viewings.
And for one final teaser to get you through until tomorrow night. Start thinking about how Michael Scott could bring together Justin Timberlake, Apollo Creed, Jesus Christ and Pam’s dad all in one conversation.
The Office airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. And as always, I will be hosting a LIVE Office chat over at BuddyTV.com for those of you on the East Coast. Come on by and watch the show with your fellow Dunder Mifflinites.
Filed under Angela Kinsey, BJ Novak, Brian Baumgartner, David Denman, Dwight Schrute, Jenna Fischer, Jim Halpert, John Krasinski, Kate Flannery, Michael Scott, Pam Beesly, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, The Office, TV News