They Keep Doing It Right At The Office

"The Promotion" was one of the meatiest eps of The Office in a long while, and it's a testament to the strength of the writers and actors that they can keep the story feeling fresh in its sixth year. The cold open was great, too, since it introduced the day-to-day reality of having Michael and Jim work as co-managers while also providing for some vintage Jim/Dwight banter. Jim even has his own office, hastily constructed next to Creed. When Jim wouldn't sign Dwight's expense report because Dwight didn't say "please," Dwight tried to lodge a complaint with Jim, and the calm sarcasm Jim used to shut him down was reminiscent of the way he'd put Dwight's stapler in Jell-O in the pilot.

Most of the ep was filled with great little moments like that one; the absolute best was when Creed casually asked Meredith why they'd never hooked up, and she shrugged and said they had. First of all, GAH, but second of all, way to throw in a laugh from left field. There were also some good moments with the B plot, which consisted of Pam's awkward hinting at people that instead of gifts for their wedding (next week!), she and Jim could just use some money. On one hand, huh? He just got a promotion. But I think he also bought his folks' old house last season, so maybe they're strapped for cash.


The main story was about Jim and Michael having to work together to figure out how to distribute the meager raise for the staff: Either everyone could get 1.5% (I would've killed for that last year), or the sales staff gets a bump while no one else does, or who knows, maybe they burn it all. But last night's episode let the two men work together like never before, giving Jim license to legitimately criticize Michael as well as a chance for Michael to see Jim mess up and to want to help him get better. Michael went through his regular cycle -- screwball, mean, penitent -- like he always does, but there was an impressive heft behind his bitching. Guy really didn't want to change and let Jim help. (Maybe because Jim initially wanted to distribute the raise equally, that socialist communist Nazi fascist GET OUT OF MY MEDICARE!)

They didn't even figure out the raise by the end, since the point was for Jim and Michael to get to know each other. And sure enough, Michael opens up and gives Jim a spare World's Best Boss mug, and they sit and share a drink. Jim sniffs it and asks, "What's in this?" Michael grins and shrugs: "Gin." When there's a pound at Jim's door, Michael whispers, "Pretend we're not here." Perfect note to end on, boys.

But seriously, next week is the wedding episode, and screw you haters because I am gonna watch and maybe get a little emotional because I have been waiting for this for a while. Am I a sucker? Maybe. But a happy one.

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