Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
2007-01-05 06:02
by Jon Weisman

I think it's pretty clear that Jan has been seeing the Michael Scott of psychiatrists. It's long been clear that Jan is perversely attracted to Michael, but the idea that a medical professional is telling her to indulge her self-destructive tendencies ... that's the stuff that's so crazy that only a fellow Michael could have proposed it.

But the moment of The Office Thursday night was Pam breaking down in tears. She's in touch with her feelings, but what will it take for her to put herself on the line for Jim?

2007-01-05 06:45:04
1.   Benaiah
Dwight was brilliant in that scene, which was clearly the best scene in the episode. First, "Who did this to you? Tell me their name!"
Then, he takes his coat off and wraps it around his waist; "It's hot in here."
Next, he sits down and awkwardly comforts her with a reassuring hand on the shoulder.
Finally, "Wow, your PMSing pretty bad."

I burst out laughing so many times. And this is following a heart wrenching scene of Pam crying.

While clearly Karen will ultimately lose out, and Jim has already disengaged in his heart of hearts, I think it will be a few more episodes.

2007-01-05 07:09:26
2.   Benaiah
1 - I forgot that he also gave her his handkerchief before he sat down next to her. That was the scene of the season so far.

Still, no Oscar (that I saw) and the best episode of the season is still the coming out season opener with Michael and Oscar's kiss.

2007-01-05 07:59:17
3.   JoeyP
A pretty good episode.
The writers finally put Jan and Michael together, which is great bc there's a ton of stuff that they can do with them comedy wise.

Best line of the nite last nite:

"I've called all the one sells whole pigs"

"Have you tried a petting zoo?"

Also, my favorite character is fast becoming Kevin. His delivery of his lines are perfect.

2007-01-05 10:50:04
4.   CanuckDodger
Okay, why didn't Jan get angry over Michael letting the photo of her and him together become a company joke? Whether she wants to sleep with Michael or not, Jan is still career obsessed and cares about her standing in Dunder Mifflin. Did Jan not see the photo yet? Did Jan even go to Jamaica with Michael? We know from the scene in which Carol broke up with Michael in the Christmas episode that Michael likes to tamper with photos on his computer.
2007-01-05 10:54:21
5.   Jon Weisman
4 - The implication was 1) she hadn't seen the photo yet or 2) the whole self-destructive indlugence thing. I think mainly 2).

I think the episode marked a shift in Jan's priorities. She explicitly acknolwedged she's messed up inside (not that she hasn't hinted at that before), and though it's clear she's getting some questionable advice, she may be thinking that her career obsession is part of her problem, not part of a solution.

I think it's clear from Jan and Michael's behavior that she went to Jamaica with him, photoshop possibilities aside.

2007-01-05 11:05:56
6.   Zak
Jon, I think you're being too rough on Jan's psychiatrist. From his/her point of view, Jan is just attracted to someone who she thinks is not right for her. It is ok to lose a little inhibition with that. I'm sure he/she cannot in their wildest dreams imagine how painfully inappropriate Michael can be.
2007-01-05 11:21:49
7.   Jon Weisman
I just have trouble buying a psychiatrist advising someone to "indulge their self-destructive" qualities. At least not in those words.
2007-01-05 11:36:21
8.   JoeyP
Did Jan not see the photo yet?

I dont think she did.
I think eventually she'll find out, and then all sorts of possibilities will occur.

2007-01-05 12:48:09
9.   Benaiah
I think it is fairly clear she didn't see the photo. Her complete omission of the photo would be a little off and it isn't hard to imagine that no one would confront Jan/send Jan the photo. Often the last person to know is the boss, since no one wants to be the bearer of bad news.

However, one thing I thought about is that by admitting that she wanted to be in a relationship with Michael, Jan actually gives him, if not carte blanche, at least some leeway. The photo is a lot less damaging if it is of your girlfriend, and not of you and your boss on a tryst. While Jan clearly is not ready to openly date Michael, given his lack of discretion in the past, she must expect that he is not going to keep their relationship entirely secret.

Finally, I don't think that the advice was to "indulge your self-destructive side" as much as loosen up. She has had a rough year (clearly) and while Michael isn't ideal, he could be a change of pace.

2007-01-05 13:16:36
10.   Jon Weisman
I'm pretty sure "indulge your self-destructive side" was an exact quote - again, the gist of what you're saying is probably true, but I think the word choice was quite comical.
2007-01-05 13:40:20
11.   Benaiah
I think it was something like: "I have a self destructive side, and my therapist..."
"You see a therapist?"
"Yes, Doctor ____, says I should indulge that."

I could easily be wrong though, I only watched it once. I might have missed that exact quote. It is an insane therapist who says indulge your self-destructive side. Whats next, telling your alcoholic patients to drink when they feel down?

2007-01-05 13:52:43
12.   Andrew Shimmin
"My psychiatrist thinks that I have some self-destructive tendencies and that, for once, I should indulge them. You following me?"

"Ah, uh, yes."

"I think I owe it to myself to find some kind of happiness, you know. I mean, even, even if it means lowering my expectations, or redefining the word itself. . . I need to follow my instincts. At least that's what Dr. Perry thinks."

An attraction to Michael is an inherently self-destructive one. But, if it's a temporary stop gap against becoming a raging alcoholic, or worse, maybe it's not the worst possible advice. The long term shame and self-loathing though. . .

2007-01-05 13:54:45
13.   Benaiah
12 - Thank you for the quote.

I think the second part explains the first part. Michael isn't a perfect fit, but he is definitely a change of pace from the last man who obviously devastated her.

2007-01-05 14:08:29
14.   Andrew Shimmin
13- Michael is a pet. This big discussion that he was in the room for was just her, talking to herself. His response was a perfect non sequitur, stolen from a bad movie. This is the counterpart of a fifty year old man dating a nineteen year old. Except, that's at least cool. This is just sad. But funny.
2007-01-05 14:43:44
15.   Benaiah
14 - It was exposition, but I disagree that he is a pet. I don't think this is at all like a fifty year old man dating a nineteen year old, in that Michael has everything to gain from the relationship and Jan has everything to lose. I can understand that Jan is using Michael for comfort, basically he is a rebound, but that is a different sort of thing altogether.

Who is the 50 year old man in this scenario? Jan? So Michael, who would normally be alone and is now having sex with an attractive woman who also can help him in his career, is the 19 year old girl? If it is the other way around, then how can Michael be the 50 year old man and the pet?

2007-01-05 15:09:16
16.   Andrew Shimmin
Jan's the 50 year old. Teenagers get something out of dating middle-aged guys; they wouldn't do it, if they didn't. I hope to do more in depth research on this, some day, but for now I'll have to stick with the generalizations. On average, I'd bet that it means more to the teenagers, than to the fifty year olds.

Michael could destroy Jan's career, or her property, but there's nothing he could do to hurt her emotionally. That's what I mean by pet. It's similar to a rebound, in that it's got little to do with the other person, but the rebound is less calculated. The disparity here is clear, and part of the attraction. What she likes about him is that he's not on her level. Non-threatening. Cute.

2007-01-05 15:50:32
17.   Jon Weisman
Michael has already hurt Jan emotionally before, by being with Carol at the Casino Party she came to.

It's the night Michael got hand with Jan.

2007-01-05 16:33:34
18.   Andrew Shimmin
Was she hurt? I'm not sure about that. She was embarrassed. And she was angry with herself for caring. And there was some rejection there, I guess, since he picked the other woman. Oh, alright. I'll concede the point.

It's still not a healthy, adult relationship. And I maintain that that is by design, and part of its appeal. She's escaping from the hunt for a real partner, while putting off being lonely.

2007-01-05 16:55:33
19.   Andrew Shimmin
I'm really taking a stand there, aren't I? Jan and Michael don't have a healthy, adult relationship. That's bold, my friends.
2007-01-05 17:15:18
20.   Bob Timmermann
Does Jan live in Scranton? She always seems to be driving in from some long distance? Does she live in New York? I've actually driven between Scranton and New York (although not into Manhattan). I'm guessing it takes about 3 hours on a good day.

Google Maps says 2:20.

2007-01-05 17:16:22
21.   bhsportsguy
I just saw a still photo of Pam crying in hallway, even Dwight's pms joke could cut the sadness and empathy you have and feel for Pam.

Maybe I am a bit sensitive but I don't think Jim and Pam are at the point where they can discuss other relationships especially when its with someone else in the Office.

2007-01-05 17:21:52
22.   Jon Weisman
21 - If you're the one on the outside looking in, and you're maintaining contact, then you're willing to discuss the other's relationship. You want that feeling of intimacy that you can't get through being part of the actual romantic relationship.

They already went through their isolation period in the fall.

2007-01-05 17:29:20
23.   Bob Timmermann
I always thought that giving advice to people on relationships is a guaranteed way to make sure that you will have eternal "best friend" status.

Unless it's bad advice, then you're doomed.

2007-01-05 17:40:50
24.   Andrew Shimmin
23- Yeah, when the shoe's on the other foot; I think that's a gender-specific phenomena.
2007-01-05 17:54:43
25.   Jon Weisman
23 - That's definitely what Jim was at risk of at one point, but ultimately The Office will show us the exception to that rule.
2007-01-06 12:06:00
26.   dzzrtRatt
Jan probably figures that as long as she and Michael both deny it, the photo is irrelevant. "I went to is important." She obviously has no plans of notifying HR about what she's doing.

She's the one taking all the risks. Michael is, she admits, a known quantity; the exact wrong guy for her. But if the company takes action, it will be against her, not him. Which she knows.

This is why the Office gets better and better. This is an American situation, one of many in corporate America that is rife for comic exploratin. At some level the Office-UK was funny to me because it was so odd. The Office-US is funny because it's so familiar.

2007-01-07 10:45:09
27.   Bob Timmermann
I believe from my supervisor training I've received, the problem is with the supervisor have a relationship with the subordinate and not vice versa. Michael would get into trouble if he had a relationship with Pam.

In so many ways....

2007-01-08 13:42:24
28.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
12, main post: I think it is plausible that what Jan said is her interpretation of the advice she's getting from her therapist, not necessarily the judgment of her therapist. Two people in any kind of conversation rarely understand each other completely. In any case, what's phenomenal about that scene is how you expect that it is about the photo, and the rate at which it dissolves into Jan's play for Michael, especially as she starts to mention redefining her expectations!

17 great Seinfeld reference, Jon!

1 What was amazing to me about that scene was both the intensity with which Pam cries (very unusual to see her with any kind of intense emotion), and the length of the scene. It was quite a mix, with Pam's emotion and the jokes that fall out of Dwight's strange attempts to comfort her.

2007-01-08 19:41:49
29.   Marty
When Pam tells Dwight "you don't have to stay" Dwight's "I know" is priceless combined with the look he gives her.

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