Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
The Office Christmas Party Open Chat
2006-12-14 17:50
by Jon Weisman

It's now Friday morning, and I just walked into work, and before I got to my desk, in the space of about five minutes, a colleague and I just bantered about 20 things that were hysterical about Thursday night's finale of The Office. (Many of you have already listed many of them in the comments below.)

And I don't even think it was the best episode of the year, and as my wife pointed out, it probably wasn't even the series' best Christmas episode - last year's video iPod episode was gold standard. In fact, many of us have fallen so head over heels in love with the show that we're probably laughing at some things that aren't even that funny. But how much does that say about the overall quality of the show?

It's an amazing program. I simply can't recall any work on television that could be so funny while revealing the ugliness of the world - both our prejudices and our heartaches. The plotline that Michael Scott not only didn't realize that the Asian waitress he took to his office Christmas party wasn't the one who he was flirting with at the Benihana's, but that he also had to mark his "new girlfriend" with a pen so that he could distinguish her from yet another waitress, is as gruesome a characteristic as this show has revealed. The show never lets you feel settled with Michael - at some points, he's just that bad, at others, he's practically heroic. I think this range of righteousness is meant to showcase the extremes in all of us. We might not be Michael Scott, but none of us are completely perfect or sour. You just have to keep looking.

As for romance: The Photoshop breakup between Michael and Carol was hilarious, even if Steve Carell was not quite at his best playing the tears this time around. And absolutely, I think it had to be Jan accepting the all-inclusive invitation to Sandals (Scandals?) in Jamaica - her character's probablility for holiday blues is so well-defined by this point that we don't even need to see her or hear her voice to know. (My other theory, I'll admit, is that Michael's guest will be his mother.)

By the end of the episode, Jim clearly seemed to realize that he had better get back on the Pam train before it left the station again - though who knows whether he'll extricate himself from Karen in time. Pam, herself, may struggle with judging whether Roy's conversion will hold, though I think her CIA machinations with Jim may solidify her need for him. Clearly, Pam's not at a place yet where she would fight for Jim, but she might not have to.

But amid it all, so many great moments: Angela going to the mattresses on the holiday party, Kevin's tortured "You Oughta Know," all of Dwight's shenanigans, poor Toby and his bathrobe saga, Ryan's list of excuses and welcome back to Jim in the same breath, and of course, Oscar's "too soon" return.

When an average episode of a series offers this much, you have to be thankful.

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-14 21:05:34
1.   Greg Brock
Angela's party has double fudge brownies.

It also has Angela.

2006-12-14 21:06:17
2.   trainwreck
I don't go to your house and steal your hello kitty bag.
2006-12-14 21:08:16
3.   Andrew Shimmin
I'd just like to send out a big, "In Your Face," to Brock and JoeyP. That little soliloquy about rebound relationships was pretty interesting, no?
2006-12-14 21:09:36
4.   Bob Timmermann
So many unanswered questions? Who is Michael heading to Jamaica with? Or did I just not pay attention?
2006-12-14 21:13:32
5.   sanchez101
Now I know how to kill a turkey!
I missed the first half of the episode, was it worth waiting for the latter showing tonite (if there isn't one, downloading the show later tonite)?
2006-12-14 21:13:51
6.   Greg Brock
3 LOL.

They didn't say who Michael is going with. My money says Jan. Of course, for true comedy, he should go with Dwight's cousin Mose.

2006-12-14 21:15:52
7.   Bob Timmermann
Do you kill turkeys and geese in the same way?

I would say watching the whole show is well worth an hour of your time. That was about as dressed up as Pam has ever gotten in an episode wasn't it?

2006-12-14 21:16:17
8.   Greg Brock
I'm a Pam guy. You know this. It's just that Karen is right in the proverbial wheelhouse. Make no bones about it...I'm a Pam guy.

But Karen...Sweet Karen. I want to have her children.

2006-12-14 21:19:11
9.   Greg Brock
The marking of the arm. Good Lord. That was a truly laugh out loud moment.


2006-12-14 21:21:49
10.   bhsportsguy
1 Great line and delivery and also so very true.

Kevin also has the best karaoke moment as he belts out "You oughta know" with the angst of a bitter woman.

8 Just semantics but I think you want Karen to have your children.

Finally, Dwight throwing his phone off the roof sums up what Christmas is all about.

2006-12-14 21:22:58
11.   Bob Timmermann
I guess Benihana has cuter waitresses than Chili's.
2006-12-14 21:24:04
12.   sanchez101
8. I can't be a Karen-guy, my mom's name is Karen. Why do things work that way? I guess I should be glad she doesn't have a strippers name.

BTW, after two seasons, I can safely say that the Office is my favorite current show on television. (if past South Park in the past few weeks) I won't say its the best show since Seinfeld (too many shows have claimed the same) but I will claim that its the best sitcom since Arrested Development was cancelled (damn you Fox executives!... and MNF, and American television audiences. On a side note, thanks Jon and the DodgerThoughts community for pointing me in the direction of AD)

2006-12-14 21:24:10
13.   Bob Timmermann
No, I think Greg Brock really does want to have Karen's children. He's willing to go the distance.
2006-12-14 21:24:58
14.   Greg Brock
8 Just semantics but I think you want Karen to have your children.

I stand by what I said.

2006-12-14 21:27:51
15.   Greg Brock
To quote the many teenagers I encounter, Michael is so emo.

The guy has zero poise.

2006-12-14 21:32:27
16.   sanchez101
15. Michael isn't really 'emo' but I get what youre saying. 'Emo' is an attitude where the individual (usually teenager) is overly emotional in a darkly romantic way (think Kurt Cobain or Edgar Allen Poe). That should be Websters definition, Bob can you help me here?
2006-12-14 21:33:13
17.   bhsportsguy
13, 14 I stand corrected.

"Its not a threat, its an invitation."

Sweetest non-Pam/Jim moment in the show, Pam giving Toby the company robe.

2006-12-14 21:33:39
18.   Bob Timmermann
I have no idea what you people are talking about.

The only "emo" I've heard of is Emo Phillips.

2006-12-14 21:35:00
19.   bhsportsguy
11 Actually, Chan Dara was rumoured to have the hottest waitresses for a long time.

But then they don't flip shrimp tails onto their heads.

2006-12-14 21:36:02
20.   Greg Brock
So do we think Michael invited Jan to Jamaica?

After all, it's "All Inclusive".

2006-12-14 21:36:17
21.   trainwreck
Emo is spoiled mostly white youths that make huge deals about nothing, mostly their relationships. They like to talk about how they want to die and slit their wrists and they do not know if they go on after the break up.

Take goth and mix it with preppies and yuppies.

2006-12-14 21:36:48
22.   trainwreck
*if they can go on
2006-12-14 21:37:21
23.   trainwreck
It produces a lot of terrible music.
2006-12-14 21:39:53
24.   trainwreck
Did Emo Phillips do anything other than UHF?
2006-12-14 21:40:14
25.   trainwreck
2006-12-14 21:40:32
26.   Greg Brock
Emo Phillips did standup for a long time. Your interest may vary. I found him hilarious.
2006-12-14 21:42:04
27.   bhsportsguy
BTW, and it would be a great real insidious joke by the Office gang but after careful viewing and someone else pointing this out on another board, the two waitresses that came back to the party were not the same ones at that waited on them at Benihana's. If that is true, boy Michael's comment about all "waitresses" being alike would be really funny.
2006-12-14 21:42:26
28.   trainwreck
After using Imdb, I remebered he was in the Aristocrats. Man, that movie was a dissapointment.
2006-12-14 21:42:35
29.   sanchez101
21. ya, basically if you're not 'emo' you can't stand people that are. 'Emo' guys don't realize it, but they act exactly like women; thats an easy definition.
2006-12-14 21:42:57
30.   trainwreck
I noticed that, because the other waitresses were more attractive.
2006-12-14 21:45:29
31.   Greg Brock
I had a weird feeling they looked different, but I kind of shrugged it off. I think trainwreck is right, the other servers were better looking.

Wow. That's hilarious.

2006-12-14 21:46:58
32.   sanchez101
27.30. Ya, one of the two 'real' waitresses was a little to attractive for Scranton, PA.
2006-12-14 21:47:16
33.   Bob Timmermann
I instantly noticed that the waitresses brought home weren't the same ones as in the restaurant. They didn't resemble the women at the restaurant at all. They were a little heavier and a little younger.
2006-12-14 21:51:15
34.   Bob Timmermann
Also from checking the credits that ran after the show, the waitress in the restaurant was played by a Japanese actress and the one Michael put a mark on has a Chinese name.
2006-12-14 21:52:58
35.   Bob Timmermann
First waitress "Cindy"
played by Brittany Ishibashi
2006-12-14 22:06:01
36.   Greg Brock
It was nice to see Oscar, by the way.

If only for a second. That was funny.

2006-12-14 22:12:03
37.   bhsportsguy
Jon said that he wasn't probably going to watch it until 10:30 or so.
2006-12-14 22:12:43
38.   bhsportsguy
What about when Karen said to Pam that Roy was cute and that she should date him.
2006-12-14 22:17:58
39.   Voxter
My favorite moment was, for once, from Ryan:

"I'm not feeling well. I have a lot of work to do here. I have an MSG allergy. A peanut allergy. I just ate there last night."

It's that last one that makes the list truly hilarious. And then, Jim busts his chops a little, and he has like, four more qued up, and tops it all off with, "Welcome back, Halpert. Look alive."

I usually don't much care for Ryan, but that was pretty funny.

2006-12-14 22:24:07
40.   trainwreck
I wonder how nasty a Nogasaki is. I have never had egg nog. Dave Attell says it tastes like pancakes.
2006-12-14 22:27:58
41.   Greg Brock
Egg nog is wonderful stuff. You can't drink much of it as it is very sweet.

Unless you cut it with rum. Then you can drink copious amounts. I endorse the cutting of the egg nog.

2006-12-14 22:29:40
42.   Greg Brock
Ryan is usually very dry, but he's good for a good joke now and again. He was solid in the episode in which Dwight took him out on a sale.

I can't stand Kelli very much, but that's by design. She's good at bothering me.

2006-12-14 22:32:01
43.   bhsportsguy
There is a deleted scene on the "The Office" site from tonite's show.

Anyone notice how Karen and Jim dressed alike today, hmmmm.

Okay, those with TIVO, what movie did they get each other.

2006-12-14 22:33:45
44.   trainwreck
The guy who played Ryan was on Punkd, so it is hard for me to like him.
2006-12-14 22:34:14
45.   trainwreck
It was Bridget Jones Diary. No need for TIVO.
2006-12-14 22:34:59
46.   Voxter
43 - It was "Bridget Jones' Diary". And I don't even have TiVo.
2006-12-14 22:36:26
47.   Greg Brock
Aha! It was Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Sequel, people. Sequel.

2006-12-14 22:39:19
48.   trainwreck
Bridget Jones you beat me once again.
2006-12-14 22:41:55
49.   Greg Brock
I hope that if Dwight works for the CIA, he gets to work with AGENT MICHAEL SCLARN.

That would be a team for the ages.

2006-12-14 23:10:36
50.   Bob Timmermann
I was dragged to see that movie. I got an apology at the end.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-14 23:13:51
51.   sanchez101
50. ah, Ive never seen that movie ... does that make me more or less literate than you. Im guessing ... more.
2006-12-14 23:16:56
52.   Greg Brock
51 Not seeing that movies makes your eyeballs 3% more intact.

Terrible. Just terrible.

2006-12-14 23:28:17
53.   Voxter
Yeah, when they announced they were making a sequel to "Bridget Jones", I felt very much like Toby after Dwight steals his robe:


And then when they announced it was going to be the same two guys, I thought:

"The woman didn't learn her lesson the first time?"

2006-12-15 06:44:17
54.   Benaiah
I loved when Angela kicked Karen out of the meeting. I was hoping that Angela would end up crying again, but Pam and Karen saved her.

If indeed it was Jan who went with Michael... I mean, is she crazy? He is still talking about the time that he went in like Pete Rose (presumably), if the trip is "all-inclusive" then she just made a huge mistake.

2006-12-15 09:58:09
55.   JoeyP
Kevin had the best lines last nite.

I think it was an ok episode, maybe a 7/10.
Without Jan, I cant rate it any higher than that.

2006-12-15 10:05:49
56.   Jon Weisman
I've added comments up top.
2006-12-15 11:09:54
57.   Bob Timmermann
I had thought Michael could have been inviting his mother and I actually think it's far more likely she would go with him than Jan.

But do we know that Michael's mother is still alive?

You're supposed to get back with the woman who broke your heart the first time. Did Jan really break Michael's heart?

2006-12-15 11:23:08
58.   Voxter
57 - Yeah, we do. He talks to her on the phone during "The Injury".
2006-12-15 11:25:32
59.   Bob Timmermann
Now, I'm getting more behind the Mom theory. Why would Michael be talking in a relatively normal tone to Jan, whom he always gets nervous around or acts like a jerk, and then make it a point to tell the person that the trip is "all-inclusive."

It's not like Jan would need to be sold on the cost of the trip since she makes a lot more than Michael anyway.

2006-12-15 11:33:59
60.   bhsportsguy
I liked it so much better when there was only one blog that I didn't want to comment on.
2006-12-15 11:58:33
61.   Benaiah
I loved when the girl said she didn't want to go home with Michael, but then took the bike home.

Angela: "You tried it out and it didn't work. Please leave."

Good call on Steve Carrell not quite nailing that crying scene. I remember thinking that at the time but forgetting it by the time I saw Jim's monologue with Michael. Jim has this weird thing with Michale doesn't he? I don't know if it is just pity or what, but he often reveals himself to Michael, even if Michael doesn't notice. That said, don't break up with Karen just yet Jim!

2006-12-15 12:07:46
62.   Jon Weisman
Jim likes Michael, plain and simple. And as different as they are, they both have fears about ending up alone or without Miss Right. And Jim, like many of us, is fascinated by Michael. Both Pam and Jim can be horrified by Michael but also be sympathetic toward him.
2006-12-15 12:22:17
63.   Benaiah
62 - I have had friends before that I didn't respect as people, but liked as friends. It is tough, but ultimately I value loyalty and shared experience and I will turn a blind eye to certain character flaws (minor stuff, not violence or something). I think you are right, Jim doesn't respect Michael and sometimes he views him as a circus act. But Jim and Pam are too good of people to not empathize with him (or Angela) when he is really hurt. Michael is so needy that he ends up drawing Jim in time and again.

Scrubs and 30 Rock were funny last night, but it is just a different relationship. I can't miss "the Office," but I didn't watch Scrubs last week because I had something to do.

2006-12-15 13:25:43
64.   JoeyP
Speaking of 'cant miss' shows, for me it would be Lost and Friday Night Lights. I've read rumblings that FNL might get cancelled, but its being moved to Wed nite. for now. Hopefully not eventually against Lost, then I'd have to choose.....
2006-12-15 13:41:38
65.   Jon Weisman
FNL should make it through the season. NBC is very high on the show creatively. I don't think it's being marketed very well. I find its style very engrossing, but it's a low-key show, and I'm not sure NBC can figure out what to do with it.
2006-12-15 14:49:37
66.   Zak
59 The reason I think it's Jan is because of Michael's reaction after the person on the phone presumably said yes. He said something like, "Really?". I just don't think that would have been his reaction if it was his Mom. Plus, it just makes for a better dynamic between Jan and Michael if there is one more thing that she does with him that she is ashamed of. Just my two cents.

Jon, I totally agree with the last line that you have in your comments above. It was an average episode, not nearly one of the best "Office" episodes, but I was just hooked from start to finish, emotionally invested, and sad when it ended.

Final note about the waitresses... were they in high school? She said she had school and that's why she couldn't go to Jamaica with Michael, but I just assumed college until my wife said that they were underage.

2006-12-15 14:58:39
67.   Jon Weisman
66 - "He said something like, "Really?"

Yes, that's a good point to bring it back to Jan.

I thought the waitresses were college or JC students - and maybe even 20-something JC students at that.

2006-12-15 16:46:27
68.   bhsportsguy
67 My hunch is that given it is on a broadcast network, though not specifically stated, the second set of waitresses were of legal age, probably college students or something similar, since they were shown drinking and possibly in that one instance, making a suggestive whisper in Michael's ear.
2006-12-15 17:29:18
69.   Andrew Shimmin
Haven't you got to be 21 to work in a place that peddles booze? I guess that'd be a state law, though, so who knows what it would be out there.
2006-12-15 18:14:55
70.   Bob Timmermann
In California, you have to be 21 to work in a bar, but not a restaurant that sells liquor. The laws vary by state and in California there are a bunch of different permits.
2006-12-15 18:32:12
71.   Andrew Shimmin
The law permits you to employ persons eighteen (18) years of age or older to serve alcoholic beverages. Minors who are sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) years of age may be employed to serve food, clear tables, and perform other duties that do not include the serving of alcoholic beverages. Minors under sixteen (16) years of age cannot be employed on retail licensed premises except under a narrow exception involving ski resorts, golf courses, continuing care retirement facilities, and amusement park licensees.

So saith the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

2006-12-15 19:53:16
72.   Bob Timmermann
Andrew, your research reminds me of a young me back in the day.
2006-12-15 20:37:34
73.   Andrew Shimmin
I'm a little verklempt.

It's not really fair to compare across eras, though, since I'm just a The Google hack. I also lose interest in anything that takes me more than about four minutes to find, and I bet the yesteryear Bob didn't have that problem.

2006-12-16 08:18:48
74.   bhsportsguy
Finally (or maybe not)

"Monkey, this is Possum, do you copy?"

2006-12-18 15:30:02
75.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
35 Okay, I watched it twice (second time while my wife watched it, since she fell asleep the first time -- no harshing the wife: she's feeding 8 week old twins). Point is, I thought Cindy, the waitress who imagined her dream home, was the same as one of the two waitresses they brought to the party, but I could easily tell the second waitress was different. Any validation that there were more than three waitresses credited? Cindy, second waitress at the restaurant, second waitress at the party, and supposed Cindy-replacement at the party?

59 I assumed it was Jan, too, and that the "all inclusive" comment is Michael trying to make a double entrendre.

44 If you like the show, you like BJ Novak (if not his character, Ryan), since he is often listed as a show writer or producer. Imdb seems to list the number of shows by him as small, but my impression is that I see him in the credits in those roles often. I loved that string of excuses and interchange with Jim, told so dry and expressionlessly, pointing to his palmpilot and saying that he keeps his list of excuses "in here". I had to back Tivo up a couple of times -- did I hear him include "my grandad fought in World War II?" as an excuse????

2006-12-20 08:15:53
76.   Aug C
lol... Pretty much, the comments for this entry are proof that at least some white people really do have a hard time telling Asians apart. (Which I don't think is necessarily "gruesome" characteristic as Jon seems to think.) Being able to tell Asians apart doesn't say anything about how judgmental the viewer is about Asians.

But there is absolutely no doubt that the two waitresses they brought to the party are different from the waitresses at the restaurant, and to me (maybe because I am Asian) the difference is as obvious as the difference between Karen and Pam.

2006-12-22 11:14:38
77.   4444
I think it goes even wider. I remember hearing about a study (we know how those go!) that said that all races are better at telling people of their own race apart than other races.

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