The Office Tries To Regain Its Mojo

Blame it on the break. There hasn't been a new, non-clip-show episode of The Office since December 10. That's two months for the season to lose momentum, and the effects were felt in last night's ep, "Sabre." I also think I should come to The Office void of any other recent comedy experiences, because watching it right after Community and Parks and Recreation -- two fresh, funny shows that have really found their voice -- is starting to feel like I'm taking a break from actual comedy to watch an exercise that's about humor as a theoretical abstract. Sure, there were a couple of laughs last night, but November's "Murder" was the last really funny episode. Too many moments this week were just about awkward silences, and the show needs to learn to mix those in with genuine jokes.

So, Sabre is the new owner of Dunder Mifflin. They're a printer company that made a bid and picked up the company at the last minute, and this week's episode dealt primarily with the changes the new guard wanted to implement in the Scranton branch. Gabe, a rep from Sabre, comes by to ease everyone through the process. Andy and Erin have prepared a song for him, which goes horribly because everyone in Scranton thought it was pronounced "Sah-bray." Halfway through their song, I just wanted the pain to end, or for Troy and Abed to come in and make things interesting. Gabe showed the gang a motivational video starring Christian Slater as himself, plugging the company with the kind of weak lingo you always hear in these things. (His line about employees being able to "eat a rainbow" was great, though.)

Unable to deal with the changes -- blocking YouTube and Twitter is actually a low blow -- Michael video chats with new CEO, Jo (Kathy Bates), who cuts the crap and makes it clear that he can go along or get out. Michael pays a visit to David Wallace, now unemployed and just hanging out at his house, to get ideas. David's son plays the drums constantly, loudly, and he also gets some jabs from his wife about his productivity levels, so he's clearly got it made. He's got no help for Michael but is fixated on launching a wet-dry vac called Suck It that will teach kids to pick up their toys. Michael bails and heads back to the office, deciding that it's better to live by the new boss' crappy rules than be cut free from the herd to drift aimlessly. Speaking as one who was laid off last year, can I just say: It has its perks. Funemployment is not something to be thrown away, Michael.

The B-plot dealt with Jim and Pam's interview with a local day care for their impending baby. Pam's still dressing like a cartoon of a Mormon housewife, all gray dresses and sweaters, presumably to disguise the fact that Jenna Fischer's not even a little pregnant. When they get to the school, Jim accidentally walks in on the owner in the bathroom, and the ensuing awkwardness tanks the interview, especially when Pam brings it up and the guy gets embarrassed even further. Pam protests that she and Jim are nice people, but the guy shoots back, "Maybe you're not as charming as you think you are." At least for last night, he had a point.

I can't even get into the whole thing with Andy and Erin misreading each other, at least not now. I mean, Jim and Pam liked each other but were hamstrung by circumstances at the beginning. Andy and Erin have nothing stopping their union but their own idiocy, and it's always more entertaining to watch couples interact than two dolts just circle each other. It's cute, it's working, now let's actually move forward and see what happens.

Anyway, until the show gets its mojo back, here's a highlight reel from Community. Enjoy:

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson