The Office: A Benihana Christmas (GMMR Preview)

December 12, 2006 by  

The Office: Benihana Christmas

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.

Jim and Pam, The OfficeOf 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

Comments

25 Responses to “The Office: A Benihana Christmas (GMMR Preview)”

  1. b on December 12th, 2006 7:45 pm

    thank you thank you for the extensive review. i stayed away from any sort of spoiler for a while until i realized that reading them is never even close to how great the actors will make them. so it really doesn’t ruin the ep for me.

    oh stupid holiday party on thursday night! grrr. if my vcr fails, i will die.

  2. Jim Mosby on December 12th, 2006 7:54 pm

    Grinch Grinch Grinch!

    KIDDING :)

    This left me satisfied and smiling until Thursday, yet, yearning for more. /Halpert

    Before this post, Thursday could not come fast enough, now, I feel like a little kid on Christmas eve, except that Christmas Eve is 48 hours long now.

  3. tvrocksmysocks on December 12th, 2006 8:27 pm

    Oh GMMR, you sure do know how to spoil a girl without spoiling at all! I love your little sneak previews, for they are just perfect and worded oh so nicely! Arrghh I can’t wait for Thursday! :)

  4. Angelica on December 12th, 2006 8:35 pm

    Wow! I didn’t think I could be more excited to see this episode, but now I am! Thanks :)

  5. samsmom on December 12th, 2006 9:04 pm

    Thanks for the early review. I can’t wait to see the episode. You teased just enough for me to be almost-spoiler free. Cliffhanger? Seriously? I hope it is not as big as the S2 fianle, but if it is, I hope the results are drastically different. Only 2 days and 2 hours to go.

  6. samsmom on December 12th, 2006 9:04 pm

    Thanks for the early review. I can’t wait to see the episode. You teased just enough for me to be almost-spoiler free. Cliffhanger? Seriously? I hope it is not as big as the S2 fianle, but if it is, I hope the results are drastically different. Only 2 days and 2 hours to go.

  7. Jen on December 12th, 2006 9:15 pm

    sweet. love it. can’t wait. I think I’ll definitely be sporting my TEAM HALPERT tee shirt with a Santa hat on Thursday!!! :)

  8. Jen on December 12th, 2006 9:16 pm

    wait, I didn’t even notice your cast picture, its different from Officetally’s!!! And Pam and Jim (and Karen) are all next to each other!!!! hmmmm

  9. LittleTuna on December 12th, 2006 9:23 pm

    He rejects her gift? Really? That makes me a little bit sad…

  10. Adrienne on December 12th, 2006 9:46 pm

    You’re awesommme…thanks so much for sharing. I can’t wait until Thursday!!

  11. mg714 on December 12th, 2006 11:31 pm

    GMMR, you really know how to build up an episode! :) I cannot wait for Thursday (as always) but reading your impressions of the episode makes me anticipate it even more. I really fell in love with the whole cast during the Christmas episode last year, and I expect nothing less from this year’s episode. Counting down the minutes to Thursday night!

  12. LazyScranton on December 13th, 2006 12:25 am

    “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)”

    I can’t imagine what you mean by this. Are you saying that the actors break character and it is kept in the final cut? Can’t wait til Thurs!!!

  13. Jo on December 13th, 2006 9:28 am

    hahaha i totally caught myself saying “ho ho ho pimp” this morning. Awesome.

  14. Me again. on December 13th, 2006 10:09 am

    Great review, GMMR!!! I’m sooo excited!

  15. GMMR on December 13th, 2006 10:19 am

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. I always get worried that I’m spilling too much, or that I’m just sharing stuff that you already know. I try to write the review for the “typical” Office fan, and not necessairily for those of us who are a tad bit on the obsessive side :)

  16. Me again. on December 13th, 2006 11:03 am

    Obsessive!!! Not me!!!

    Okay, yes. Me. haha

  17. Shannon on December 13th, 2006 11:10 am

    Notice how Jim is holding some mistletoe?? Of course, I wish he’d just move it a little more to the left and be holding it over Pam’s head instead of Michael’s!

  18. Clare on December 13th, 2006 12:14 pm

    WEEEEEEHOOOOO It’s going to be great!! Can’t wait! Thanks again GMMR.
    Fa la la la la la la la la!!

  19. trebor on December 13th, 2006 1:38 pm

    GMMR, FACT: great review/preview!! FACT: spoilers or teasers can’t hurt a series like this where watching an episode multiple times only enhances it. Dinkin flicka….

  20. mg714 on December 13th, 2006 2:15 pm

    Anyone here watch Friday Night Lights? In the scene where Matt and Julie are watching TV, guess what they’re watching?

    The Office, of course!

    I love that one of my new favorite shows gave that little nod to The Office folks!

  21. mg714 on December 13th, 2006 2:19 pm

    oops – I meant to say that the scene from FNL I mentioned was from last night’s episode! :)

  22. YouKnowWho on December 13th, 2006 10:33 pm

    GMMR –
    Thanks for the kind review. We at “The Office” thank you so much for all your support. You rock!

  23. » Watchlist: Thursday, December 14, 2006Give Me My Remote on December 14th, 2006 6:59 am

    […] The Office – A Benihana Christmas Ever been to an awkward office Christmas party? Yeah, that’s nothing compared to the awkwardness at Dunder-Mifflin when the party-planning committee clashes and organizes two rival Christmas bashes. 30 Rock  – The Break-Up Liz finally figures out what Jack (and the rest of the world) already know — just because you’re single and over 30 doesn’t mean you should put up with a boorish and crude boyfriend (Dean Winters). […]

  24. COURTNEY on December 14th, 2006 8:04 pm

    YOUR KILLING ME!!!
    I CAN’T WATCH IT BECAUSE I HAVE A STUPID ORCHESTRA REHERSAL! IT’S ABSOLUTE TORTURE! I DON’T THINK I’LL BE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON MY MUSIC!!!!

  25. Faith on December 15th, 2006 4:02 pm

    can i just say how much i love the Entourage reference? — except i think i would’ve gone with Dwight as Drama & Andy as Turtle, assuming that you were listing their counterparts respectively. (= anyway, that’s a hilarious thought.

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