The Office: A Benihana Christmas (GMMR Preview)
December 12, 2006 by Kath Skerry
Warning! The following contains spoilers for this week’s episode of The Office. Proceed at your own risk!
I’m not exactly sure what I should do on the morning of December 25th. Usually I celebrate Christmas on that day, but Christmas came a bit early at my house. Actually Christmas arrived this past Monday when I received this week’s episode of The Office: ‘A Benihana Christmas’ in the mail.
A wise and very handsome man once said that “Christmas is the time to tell people how you really feel”. Well if that’s the case, then I must tell Greg Daniels and everyone involved with The Office that “I’m in love with you. I’m sorry if that’s weird for you to hear, but I needed you to hear it.” See you all and went and created one of the BEST Office episodes of all time, and in turn made me my holidays oh so happy.
‘A Benihana Christmas’ (airing Dec 14th at 8/7c on NBC) is a perfect example of why The Office needs to move away from the half hour format and do an hour each week. Not one single moment was wasted. Everything just fit. Reflecting on the episode as a whole, I kept thinking that there was a real sense of balance. The multiple story arcs worked on their own but merged together just right. The characters were their usual zany selves but without going overboard. The result was a purely awesome hour of TV, one that I believe everyone will be talking about on Friday morning.
As a true Office fan, I’m not interested in spoiling the ep for you. Thursday is the best day of the week for a reason, and who am I to be a Grinch? But I’m not above sharing a few teasers to get you silly with anticipation. So without a Yankee Swap and a very special teapot, what do you have to look forward to this Christmas?
Ok, so Michael gets dumped. This isn’t shocking since I’m not really sure how Michael has managed to keep Carol (played by Steve Carell’s real life wife, Nancy) in his life for this long. But alas he is single again and not even a surprise trip to an all inclusive resort in sunny Jamaica could keep Carol around. Michael is alone….very, very much alone. And we all know that a depressed Michael is never a good thing. After his attempts to cancel Christmas and New Year’s go awry, Michael is left to wallow in self pity listening to James Blunt over and over again. Yeah, it was that bad.
Steve Carell is a comedic genius. This much we know, but what he does in this episode is just brilliant. He plays Michael’s pathetic nature to perfection, and comes close but never crosses the line of overacting. And for those of you who know the one thing that is guaranteed to make John Krasinski break – his kryptonite if you will – then you can take a guess as to what Michael is doing a lot of in this episode.
Michael’s own version of E, Drama and Turtle (Jim, Andy & Dwight) try to cheer up their boss by taking him to the Asian version of Hooters – Benihanas. Because you know, it’s always “Bros before Hos”. Michael’s favorite boy toy, Ryan, has used the valuable lessons he’s learned at Dunder Mifflin to get out the trip, “I’m not feeling so well. I got a ton of work to do here. MSG allergy, peanut allergy. I just ate there last night.” Nice Temp!
While Michael is off drowning his sorrows in Nagasakis and Asian waitresses, there is a war of epic proportions brewing at Dunder Mifflin. Karen, the newbie, has crossed paths with Angela during a party planning committee meeting and it ain’t pretty. After being ousted, Karen and Pam team up and create their own, rival Christmas party. Angela, who really gets to shine in this episode, is not happy, but I am, because we get to see a little Karen and Pam bonding, and let me tell ya they are great together. As Pam says, we have no reason to be cold to Karen, she hasn’t done anything to us. Rashida Jones has the spotlight on her and she knows how to work it. And to be honest, it was nice to see Pam have a little girl time, although Jim Halpert might not agree.
Me telling you that there is booze flowing and a karaoke machine, should alone be enough to get you to watch this episode, but there’s so much more to it than that. Maybe like a drunk Michael not being able to tell which Asian waitress is the one he’s been hitting on all night, or Dwight brining a dead goose into the office acting like it’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s these moments that sets The Office apart from other comedies on TV.
Of course I would be amiss (and facing some serious hate mail) if I didn’t talk about the conundrum that is Jim Halpert’s love life. I want to be careful not to give too much away, but I will say this – we do learn a little bit more about the state of Jim Halpert’s heart and mind. Jim and Pam have little on-screen time together this week, as do Jim and Karen, but all scenes with the two women in his life are important, even when they make my poor heart ache. Whether it’s Jim exchanging seemingly personal gifts with Karen, or rejecting his Christmas gift from Pam (ouch), it seems that Jim is doing his best to move forward. But escaping the past isn’t always easy, especially when he’s faced with witnessing intimate moments between Pam and her ex-fiance Roy. What’s a boy to do?
With the full hour to work with, special guest director Harold Ramis really made the most of the ensemble cast. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE (hint hint) gets a little screen time. Angela and Kevin get in some really great moments as does Creed and DARYL! DARYL! DARYL!. Even Ryan, who I usually just find arrogant, had me smiling from ear to ear (keep your eye on BJ Novak during the karaoke scene). Ladies, the powers that be have heard our cry for a little more screen time for Roy 2.0 and he is looking mighty fine. Roy and Pam have some really touching moments this week, and I felt myself almost rooting for Roy…I said almost! Let’s not go too crazy here.
And for the true Officianados who are just counting down the minutes until Thursday, here are a few more teasers:
- Look for Jim to finally use the powers that come with being Michael’s #2 guy. But does he use them for good or evil?
- Kelly, Kevin, Angela, Dwight, Michael, Andy, and Creed all take the mic during karaoke. Any guesses as to their song choices?
- Don’t…I repeat DON’T miss the last 2 minutes of the show. Now I’m not going to be cruel and let you think that something earth shattering goes down, but I know some of you tuned out before Andy’s serenade during the last episode, and once again there are scenes that you don’t want to miss
Check out the subtle shift of everything on Pam’s desk. Things aren’t set up like they were in Season 2. Wonder why?(I think I’m wrong about this one…sorry)
- It seems that Michael didn’t quite learn his boundaries with Pam the night of Diwali
- Jim and Michael have a great scene on the couch. Well it starts out as Jim and Michael, but shifts for a moment to Steve and John, before returning to Jim and Michael again (see if you catch it)
- Dwangela shares a special moment. I guess it’s a result of Angela sporting some whorish green in her hair
- Pay attention to what’s said, isn’t said, or otherwise implied throughout the ep
- There is a bit of a cliffhanger in this ep. One that won’t be resolved until the show returns in January.
So I think I’ve said all I can say about this week’s episode of The Office. There are other reviews out there that are far more spoiler-filled than mine, but again, the beauty is seeing the episode for yourself. And people, I defy ONE of you to walk away without feeling the Christmas joy after this hilarious hour of television.
Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho….pimp!
All photos courtesy of NBC Universal
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