I'd hoped to see a new episode of The Office last night; the show's been on a winter break since the Christmas episode that aired December 10, back when we all thought Conan O'Brien and health care reform could be counted on. But though last night's episode, "The Banker," was technically a new one, it was actually a clip show, that time-honored sitcom standby method of killing 22 minutes. It wasn't without its charms, but really, was this better than a repeat? Nope.
The framing device for the flashback montages was the visit of an investment banker who was inspecting the office as part of the preparation for Dunder Mifflin's sale. The banker was played by David Costabile, better known as slimy managing editor Thomas Klebanow on The Wire and Doug on Flight of the Conchords. Seeing him so criminally underused here -- he had maybe ten lines -- was tragic. After a few cute moments of Michael trying to impress the banker with the branch's manufacture tech savvy, including a hidden Dwight voicing a machine called "Computron" through the speakerphone, the banker sat down to interview Toby about logistics, and that's where the montages kicked in.
Really, there's nothing to say about them. They were roughly grouped by theme: one dealt with office injuries and mishaps, one was about sexual innuendo, one was about office games and pranks, one was all about Creed (a surprising but fun choice), and one was about office hook-ups. That one eventually turned into what passed for a fanvid about Pam and Jim, and while of course they're cute and have been through many things together, if I wanted to see this I could just search YouTube for "Jim and Pam 4EVA Twilight remix."
The best part was the way the end of the final montage, set to Michael's casual reminiscence about his office family, seemed almost poignant in the way it brought back memories of great moments from seasons past. It almost could have worked as a series finale, taking stock of the crew as they head into an uncertain future. But that feeling was fleeting. The episode was really just a way to pad the story. So if you missed last night's episode, you really didn't. Just watch the video below instead:
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