Archive for May 18, 2008

Double Take: The Office

Now that season 4 is officially over, it’s time for some reflection. I know a lot of fans had problems with this season, myself included. I think the network prematurely shot its wad buy burning off the hour-long episodes so early in the season. Live and learn, guys, and dole those hour-longs out all year.

A lot of fans also had problems with the Jim-Pam storyline. They were too boring, too smug, too cutsey, too emphasized, not emphasized enough, too this, too that. I never had any problems with this story. Jim and Pam aren’t the only Dunder Mifflin couple, and they don’t have to be the main source of angst. I think the downfall of Dwight and Angela filled that void quite nicely.

And that’s the real point of this post. Dwight and Angela were to season four as Jim and Pam were to season 2.

No, really. No. Really.

In season 2, we had lovable goofball Jim, a total smitten kitten when it came to Pam. She was in some deep denial and, conveniently enough, was engaged to lunkhead Roy. (No, I don’t hate Roy. But he was a lunkhead.) There were lots of missed moments between Jim and Pam that culminated in one last desperate attempt to win her over: Casino Night. “I’m in love with you.” That kiss. Casino Night is forever burned into my brain as one of the most romantic television episodes, ever. It didn’t work out the way I had hoped, but eventually I got what I wanted.

When season 4 starts, we’ve got office dork and sci-fi fan Dwight in the most stable and happiest relationship he’s probably ever had with Angela. They are both freakish in their own ways, but somehow they just work. Monkey and D are a pair to behold. Until Dwight mercy kills Angela’s beloved cat Sparkles. Angela, unable to get past this heinous (yet well-intentioned) act, breaks Dwight and millions of fans’ hearts. She can hold a grudge–she hasn’t spoken to her sister in, what, 16 years, and she doesn’t even remember why anymore. So she starts going out with Andy. And continues to date him.

Now we’ve got lovesick, smitten kitten Dwight and Angela in a relationship with an Ivy-League educated salesman lunkhead. Dwight and Jim have effectively switched roles. Jim is in the most stable and happiest relationship of his life, while Dwight is miserable and heartbroken, but still has to see his love every day.

If anyone can empathize with Dwight’s situation, it’s Jim, as evidenced by the way Jim comforts is heartsick co-irker in “Money.” Dwight’s misery continues throughout the season until it all comes to a head during “Goodbye, Toby.”

This episode is Dwight and Angela’s “Casino Night.” We’ve got a party, a woman with the wrong man, the right man miserable yet making the best of the situation. Here’s where things go into bizarro world: Instead of Dwight boning up and telling Angela how he feels (no “I’m in love with you. I’m sorry if that’s weird for you to hear, but I needed to to know. Once.” from D.), we get Andy proposing to Angela, and Angela accepting. Eep!

Things seem hopeless for Dwight, much like they seemed hopeless for Jim in “Casino Night.” Only this time we don’t get a sneak peek at one of the most romantic kisses in the history of television. We’re in bizarro world, remember? Dwight and Angela are, apparently, way past tender, world-tilting kisses, because they are getting it on. In the office. And they get caught, like Jim and Pam, only not by stealthy cameramen. No, here in bizarro world, Phyllis fully walks in on them.

I have two things to say to that: HOLY CRAP! and ew.

So is it just me, or are Dwight and Angela…

…the new Jim and Pam?

May 18, 2008 at 7:40 pm 1 comment

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May 2008