THE OFFICE: The Promotion - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE OFFICE: The Promotion

October 2, 2009 by  

I’d imagine that if you are a casual fan of THE OFFICE then “The Promotion” probably wasn’t your favorite episode.  The laughs were scarce and the awkwardness was off the charts.  As a devoted fan of THE OFFICE from way back in Season 1 I can tell you that this week’s ep wasn’t my favorite either.  But I would imagine the distinction between the casual viewer and the die hard OFFICE fans is that some of us in the latter category can find other enjoyment in the show besides the laugh out loud moments. (Or maybe we are just much better at making excuses for the show we love.)

And with that intro, let me launch into my self indulgent, over analytical take on a half hour comedy.

Please allow me to explain. I don’t mean to say that they show can do no wrong in my eyes and that I’ll find the funny even if it’s not there.  It also doesn’t mean I can forgive the writers when they clearly miss the mark.  But after years of being fully committed to the show, maybe I am more open to finding the enjoyment in the emotions and the growth of the characters. I know this is a cheap way out for me, but at the core, the show is a documentary about the sullen and mundane lives of people in an office.  On that aspect the episode delivered. But like you, it’s not the reason I watch “The Office”.

Last night’s episode was short of truly comedic moments, but to an extent I thought some of the choices the writers made, especially when it came to the portrayal of Jim, were very interesting. If “The Office” has a hero, it’s Jim Halpert.  He’s the voice of reason. One of the only sane voice in a den of crazies. So to have an episode that shines the spotlight on the flaws of the hero was slightly daring.  But it wasn’t forced and out of the blue.  We’ve seen glimpses of Jim’s inadequacies as a manager a few times over the years. He thinks he’s a better manager than the is. But now that he’s in a true position of power, his shortcomings are on display.

Maybe I’m too invested in these characters, but I think last night’s episode was important to the overall storyarc of Jim. Here’s a guy that, for the most part, has been a bit of a slacker his whole life. He’s never taken his job too seriously.  He’s always been more interested in pranks and finding ways to avoid work than he ever has been in advancing himself within the company.  Any advancements he has had have been handed to him as a result of his personal relationships with people. He’s charming, for sure, and that’s brought him far.  But here he is now, a week out from getting married and with a baby on the way and he’s trying to play catch up.  He’s trying to force himself into a role that he isn’t prepared for, and he’s going at it with gumption. Hence the disaster that was the raise allocation. Jim’s approach was right as was his rationale, to a certain extent, but he forgot that being a manager isn’t just about making the tough decisions, it’s also about managing the fallout from those decisions and keeping the work environment productive and happy as a result (well as happy and productive as Dunder Mifflin Scranton could be).

Oscar had it right, two popes just isn’t a good idea. David Wallace is the one to blame here. In this scenario, he’s actually the worst manager of them all. In theory I see what Wallace is trying to do. For some unknown reason, the Scranton branch is very successful.  Since how this came to be is a complete enigma, Wallace can’t afford to rock the boat. He has to keep Michael on board. But he’s not a fool and he realizes what a risk Michael is.  By putting Jim in an equal position of power, he hopes that Jim will reign in Michael’s antics, and the company will be better off.  Wallace knows Jim is a nice guy, but he’s never seen his lack of leadership abilities first hand. I don’t think he was able to foresee the power struggle and disaster that would come to pass as a result of having two bosses.

I’m glad the episode ended the way it did, with Michael coming around and seeing that having a co-manager meant that he had a partner in crime, so to speak.  Usually when Michael makes horrible or unpopular decisions he’s alone when facing the firing squad.  Jim’s really tall…maybe Michael can now hide behind him. And if they continue to hide away in the office, which we knew from episodes such as “Healthcare”, is Michael’s go-to move, then at least the guys have their gin and their ‘World’s Best Boss’ mug.

The real winner in all of this is Dwight.  He loathes the fact that Jim was promoted over him, but the joy he is getting from everyone turning against the golden boy is sickly hilarious.  The subtle ways in which he manipulated his co-workers into loathing Jim was a thing of beauty. “People are starting to notice how terrible Jim is. This is great.”

Actually scratch was I said about Dwight being the big winner here.  That would be Ryan Howard. He’s the one getting Pam to pay $50 for her own wedding gift. Oh Pam.

Other moments that deserved a Boston baked bean…

  • I thought it was cringeworthy how tacky Pam was about asking for money for her wedding gifts.  But then I realized that she knew exactly who she was dealing with.  Even when you ask for money you’re still going to end up with a homemade bird house.
  • Our first ever six-person talking head.
  • Michael: “Why do you mean by these people?”
  • Creed: “Why haven’t we ever, um….”
    Meredith: “We have.”
    (Of course they have)
  • Where did Jim’s office come from? I’ve been to the Scranton branch, there’s never been an office there.  Strange. And does this move mean we won’t be seeing Jim at his old desk anymore?  I wasn’t prepared for that. I needed a little warning.
  • If he wasn’t so damn adorable, Pam might be rethinking the wedding after Jim’s incredibly awkward rewind dance.
  • Stanley: “If you don’t smell this, you’re fired.”
  • Kevin: “In the memo line I’m going to write, ‘to love’s eternal glory.’
  • Pam: “Oh look, Mrs. Pam Halpert!”
  • Jim: “Michael’s my only friend left in the office.  Except Pam. I think. She still upset?”

And per usual, Kelly Kapoor takes home the award for my favorite talking head of the night.

  • Kelly: “I love rivalries.
    Michael or Jim?
    Paris or Nicole?
    Heidi or LC?
    It’s so much fun. But I guess if I’m really thinking about it and answering your question honestly, I’d have to go with LC. Heidi is a bad friend, and her skin is terrible.”

I feel like I know my fellow OFFICE fans pretty well, and I imagine many of you will be with me on the lack of laughs in this episode. But I also know that at least a few of forgave the previous 30 minutes when you got a glimpse at Jim’s speech during next week’s wedding episode. Whether you have a big of Jim & Pam wedding fatigue or not, you have to admit it was sweet.  If you haven’t see the promo, check it out here: THE OFFICE Wedding Promos.

A Wedding Gift for You…
Yes, Jim and Pam will be getting married next Thursday night. Traditionally the bride and groom spend the night before their wedding apart.  I’m not sure what Pam is up to, but if things go as planned, we’re all going to hang out with Jim.  Is that ok with you? Final scheduling is still being worked out, but it seems that John Krasinski will be chatting live with YOU right here on next Wednesday night…the night before his big day. (UPDATE: We are still working on final scheduling. John might not be free on Wednesday night. Stay tuned.) More details coming soon, but I hope you all keep next Wednesday night open.  And start thinking of your questions.  Will you be able to join us? This should be fun!

But first let’s talk about “The Promotion”.  Talk to me Dunder Mifflinites!


11 Responses to “THE OFFICE: The Promotion”

  1. seeleybaby on October 2nd, 2009 9:25 am

    I laughed during the ep. I laughed when they were in the meeting and I think Dwight blamed something on Creed and Creed was like, yep. Haha.

    And I loved all of the talk between Angela and Oscar and the rest of the team while they were giving Jim a hard time about his plan. I think Oscar was like “thank you, genius” or something like that to Angela. And I laughed at how you could hear people totally yelling at Michael when he was rushing back and forth from his office to Jim’s.

    I also totally agree about Jim’s office! Where did that come from?
    Yes, not swoonworthy or my all time fave, but I agree that it was good character development. Plus another couple of Michael moments that made me like him, when I always wish I could just not like him.

    Excellent review as always! No such thing as too self indulgent or analytical!

  2. Michele on October 2nd, 2009 9:32 am

    WHAT?! Oh John Krasinski, as if we could love you more, and then you agree to a live chat the night before your ‘wedding’? Seriously awesome. The new little office cubicle threw me off, too – but I like that it’s brought Creed and Meredith closer together… ;0) It’s definitely a weird new dynamic but I like that they aren’t afraid to make big changes and explore them. Awful and awkward all around, but I loved the gin in the mug at the end. And the promo brought me to tears. Still my favorite show on tv after all these years!!

  3. Randy on October 2nd, 2009 9:36 am

    I’m impressed that after 6 seasons, they still have interesting character development/storylines. Its the reason why this show has longevity. And the reason I look forward to thursday nights

  4. Cori on October 2nd, 2009 10:43 am

    I wouldn’t say that as a long-time Office fan I try to make excuses for the show, I guess I’m just a positive person when it comes evaluating my favorite show. I know Jim seemed incompetent when it came to delivering tough news, (the rewind thing was definitely awkward, but it’s The Office so I loved it), but other than that I thought he was fine as someone in a new position of authority. I liked how he was brutally honest with Michael about his flaws. Michael doesn’t ever have someone tell him how flawed he is, other than Jan and Charles. And I LOVED Michael’s childish interactions with Jim, and I’m glad that he eventually realized the nice thing about not being the only boss. I loved the cold open with Dwight/Jim and Dwight was hilarious getting everyone against Jim. Pam was sooo cute about seeing her new name on the check. I don’t know, I liked it! I don’t focus on how many times I laugh out loud, I focus on how interested I am with storyline, and tonight I was.

    So pumped for next week!!! 😀

  5. savedbythetube on October 2nd, 2009 10:54 am

    Agreed it wasn’t the funniest, but let’s be honest, this show can basically do no wrong for me at this point, especially the week before the wedding. I was actually glad the episode wasn’t all about wedding prep. I did have some laugh out loud moments though. The 6-person talking head was hilarious. And for some reason I couldn’t stop laughing when Phyllis shouted “This isn’t a game, this is our livelihoods!” after Michael and Jim played with beans in the conference room. How dare he use that old frizzy hair photo of Pam?!

    Pre-wedding chat with John Krasinski?? GMMR, you are my hero.

  6. Lynzee on October 2nd, 2009 11:18 am

    Oh my gosh the promo for next week? He knew he was just waiting for his wife? Ugh! Tears. Tears! Cannot wait for next week. Wish it was an hour long ep.

  7. Jessica on October 2nd, 2009 11:50 am

    Wow! That is awesome! I will be here on Wednesday!

  8. Rj on October 2nd, 2009 3:02 pm

    Great, thoughtful post – I like the potential of this new comanager plot and hope Dwight keeps up his insurgency. I was kinda creeped out by the wedding speech, though! Pam was engaged when they met, totally off limits from a moral standpoint, right? My uncle was married when he hired his current wife as his secretary – when the priest said it was “love at first sight” I thought my grandma was going to pop an artery! Maybe it’s different with the genders switched but isn’t it kind of a sketchy thing to say? And it’s not entirely true- it’s kind of like Boy Meets World where topanga and whassisname got a neat revisionist history as a wedding present. And to finish off a long, discombobulated post- it’s kind of strange to call it ‘the happy ending’ in episode 3 of the season… Especially when the wedding was a foregone conclusion since the season 4 finale! I really think season four should have been the end of this series, despite the years of feelgood soap opera moments… but I think the peak of it all was that 4th finale. Awesome. I’m sad to say goodbye to Michael and co, but I think next week is my last visit. NBC needs to hire Gerbais to come up with another great series. Sorry to air so much out in 1 paragraph but I’m on my iPhone in a meeting. Great site, thanks for keeping it up

  9. Lisa (aka lmr) on October 3rd, 2009 9:11 am

    Being able to talk to “Jim” is a century-worthy event! I liked the ep, but I am an admitted diehard.

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