Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Another Open Chat?
2007-02-08 18:07
by Jon Weisman

I get all these ideas of topics to write about and store them. And then a week goes by and I look back and say, "Wow, that's a lot of ideas that ... I didn't write about."

Anyway, while I fix the hitch in my get-along, enjoy tonight's viewing.

Comments (68)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-02-08 19:25:10
1.   Bob Timmermann
I think I will start with ABC, then segue to NBC for 90 minutes and then finish up with ABC.
2007-02-08 19:52:04
2.   Benaiah
Tonight's "Office" had its moments, but it was a subpar episode. Still better than anything else on network tv.
2007-02-08 20:08:10
3.   overkill94
2 Give away everything why don't ya! ;)

I'm checking out Ugly Betty for the first time. It better be damn good to have beat out The Office for best comedy series.

2007-02-08 20:14:26
4.   D4P
I haven't watched Scrubs, and I don't think this is a spoiler, but there is evidently a huge, unpredictable plot twist at the end of the episode.
2007-02-08 20:20:29
5.   Bob Timmermann
That's the kiss of death. That's what they said about "The Simpsons" back in 1999!
2007-02-08 20:58:09
6.   Andrew Shimmin
I hate weddings.
2007-02-08 21:01:23
7.   D4P
Don't despair, Andy. Somewhere, out there, there's a girl for you.
2007-02-08 21:01:37
8.   Voxter
This episode of "The Office" was both sub-par and indicative of an extreme lack of imagination on the plotting frront.
2007-02-08 21:05:11
9.   Voxter
5 - Of course they did. It hadn't been true since 1997.
2007-02-08 21:18:57
10.   overkill94
8 Agreed. There's only so far you can go with Annoying Michael before it becomes both contrived and truly annoying. I'd go as far as saying this was the worst episode since the first two episodes of the whole series.
2007-02-08 21:40:51
11.   Bob Timmermann
I would go as far as to say as it was one of the best episodes and it was much more like the British version.

Michael is supposed to be uncomfortable to be around. He is supposed to be a jerk.

Dwight had several great lines. Especially the part about his family traditionally getting married inside their own graves.

2007-02-08 21:52:20
12.   Voxter
1. The British version is vastly overrated by people who like to feel like they're in the "in" crowd. This means YOU!!!!!

2. Michael, in addition to being uncomfortable, is also supposed to be funny. I didn't find that to be the case this time around.

3. The episode was awkwardly paced and felt rushed.

4. I am not what you would call a "shipper" but it has become clear that the writers have run out of ideas for genuine ways to keep Jim & Pam apart, but don't believe that they're capable of handling the show if the characters are together.

This might be the only episode of the show other than the pilot that I would describe as "bad".

2007-02-08 21:55:21
13.   Greg Brock
I didn't like the episode, but I didn't think it was terrible. Pam going with Roy was dumb, and Michael was beyond the pale. Michael is a buffoon and uncomfortable to watch, but nobody acts like that outside of mental illness.

But the Altoid/Pavlovian thing was funny, Scrantonicity rocked the house, and there were some good lines.

2007-02-08 22:07:31
14.   Bob Timmermann

The British version of "The Office" was good. It's different from the U.S. version. But this one was more like the British version. That's all. You jumped to a lot of conclusions from my statement.

Why was Michael's behavior tonight anymore beyond the pale than any other episode?

2007-02-08 22:07:53
15.   Andrew Shimmin
I don't think Pam going off with Roy was at all far fetched. That kind of [stuff] happens all the time at weddings. Weddings make people goofy (Michael more than was easily to be believed, maybe). That's a hearty quarter of what's wrong with weddings.

I loved Jim siccing Dwight on wild goose wedding crashers.

2007-02-08 22:11:48
16.   Greg Brock
Michael's jumped up at functions before. But announcing the new couple during the vows, dragging the wheelchair, basically calling the Bride a whore, and jumping in the wedding cake moment between Phyllis and Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration) in the 22 minute span of this episode was a bit too much.
2007-02-08 22:15:12
17.   Bob Timmermann
I guess everyone has a line they don't want to cross. My line is pushed back pretty far.
2007-02-08 22:27:09
18.   Greg Brock
17 I have a cringe threshold that is off the charts. I just thought it was overkill. It wasn't funny.

And I don't know why putting Pam and Jim together is evolving like this. If they got together, I'm not sure the dynamic would change that much. This is not Moonlighting level sexual tension here. Jim and Pam getting along and pulling pranks is what I love about the show.

2007-02-08 22:37:07
19.   Bob Timmermann
I will retreat into the silent minority on this one.
2007-02-08 22:38:19
20.   Voxter
14 - "This means YOU!" was meant to imply that I knew I was jumping to conclusions and that I didn't mean to be as snotty as maybe I sounded. Guess it didn't come across. That said, I have found that there is an incredible amount of snobbery about the American version of the show that results in some people declaring the BBC version better based solely on a desire to seem cool. I like the BBC version, really, I do. I also find that it is sometimes too mortifying to be funny; that's kind of how I felt about this episode. So in that sense this episode was a lot like the BBC version.
2007-02-08 23:01:25
21.   Jon Weisman
This episode was completely on par with the season - I thought it was very good.
2007-02-08 23:06:12
22.   Jon Weisman
Michael's past comments to Oscar and Stanley are far worse than anything he did tonight. Michael just wanted to be the center of attention as usual, and also has issues about marriage from his childhood that were spelled out explicitly. His history of ragging on Phyllis without realizing it is also well-documented. I'm stunned people thought this was the episode where he went over the line.

Similarly, the Pam-Roy moment has been set up this whole season. Roy has been carefully courting her. Pam likes Jim, but she can't bring herself to break up his relationship - that's just not in her. (Remember, Jim did not come back to Scranton single.) The reason the Jim-Pam story is paralyzed is because the two of them are individually paralyzed - both have deep, emotional reasons for not making the first move, reasons that have been laid down for upwards of a year.

And as Bob said, there were many great moments in this episode. Ryan knocking the bouquet out of Kelly's hands, the Toby moment, Michael looking up wedding in the dictionary but misreading it as welding. It was good stuff.

2007-02-08 23:24:30
23.   Jon Weisman
The more I think about it, Pam being unavailable, however temporarily, might actually make it easier for Jim to break up with Karen, because then he could tell himself he was doing it because he wasn't in love with Karen, rather than because he was in love with Pam. And then once Jim was single, Pam might just be able to finally make the leap for him. In a season-ending episode, perhaps.
2007-02-08 23:30:37
24.   Voxter
Just because one could see the Pam-Roy thing coming a million miles away doesn't mean it wasn't stupid. I feel the authorial hand in every element of the storyline at this point, and it's deeply disappointing. If I believed any of this -- if any of the setup that's been very obviously going on all season had been convincing in the least -- it wouldn't bother me nearly so much. But we've reached the point where they're stretching my credibility for the purpose of keeping Jim & Pam apart. I fully believe that Pam would not want to break up Jim & Karen's relationship. That part makes sense. The construction of Karen's character -- how she went from self-confident and straightforward to someone who was clinging to a guy who was clearly into someone else like it was flipping a switch -- makes no sense. And while sliding back into old relationships happens all the time, and I understand that, in this episode Pam went from very spiteful of Roy to suddenly in his arms, and it made no sense to me. Now? Really, now, when it's been months, and Jim & Karen's relationship is showing cracks -- just because Roy seemed somewhat remoseful about being a jerk? Now? Really? This storyline is, for all intents and purposes, done, but they won't let it stop. Ugh. There's compelling television to be made about Jim & Pam together; Daniels & co seem scared to try to make it.
2007-02-08 23:52:46
25.   Bob Timmermann
On the other hand, "Scrubs" was pretty downbeat and "30 Rock" was worth the time only to hear Isabella Rossellini express her love for Arby's.

But she could read me the ingredients off the side of a box of pancake mix and I'd melt.

2007-02-08 23:54:13
26.   Bob Timmermann
In 25 replace "only" with "if only just"
2007-02-09 02:30:26
27.   CanuckDodger
20 -- I would like to know how you came to the conclusion that people who prefer the British original to the Americanized knock-off are doing so "to seem cool." You are just imputing a sinister motive without legitimate grounds, I think. Personally, I rate the American Office a bit above the original (for reasons not relevent right now), but I can see how people -- and it is a LOT of people -- prefer the British version. The British version is a more cutting, cold-eyed satire, with David Brent not being nearly as sympathetic as Michael. And of course, compared to American network TV, regular British television allows an extraordinary degree of sexual frankness, the equivalent of which Americans can only see on HBO or Showtime, so the British Office got away with stuff that would never be allowed on NBC's Office, like Tim (the British Jim) planting a sex toy in David Brent's office, as a joke, with the result that David finds it at the WORST possible time.
2007-02-09 06:16:23
28.   Penarol1916
I liked the episode, not a great one but still solid. Last night I finally realized that Michael is one of my roommates from college who is almost as socially inept.
My favorite moments were Kellye explaining why she wore white and Karen's singing with Scrantonicity, that just seemed really cute to me.
2007-02-09 07:27:59
29.   Jon Weisman
"The construction of Karen's character -- how she went from self-confident and straightforward to someone who was clinging to a guy who was clearly into someone else like it was flipping a switch -- makes no sense."

Love turning solid people into jelly is a story as old as time. The fact that she loves Jim but that she's worried about losing him ... her behavior is perfectly logical.

"in this episode Pam went from very spiteful of Roy to suddenly in his arms, and it made no sense to me"

Pam has not been "very spiteful" of Roy. Pam was annoyed that Phyllis stole her wedding plans, and annoyed that Roy didn't notice, but overall, Pam has borne no grudge against Roy since her breakup.

"Jim & Karen's relationship is showing cracks"

As far as Pam knows, Jim and Karen had one little hiccup, talked it out, and now look as happy as a couple sweetly slow-dancing on the dance floor.

In its history, the show's biggest problem was explaining why Pam and Roy were together. That being said, Pam was in love with Roy. It's axiomatic to the show, and now that Roy has been sweet all this season, it's no longer even as difficult to understand, because we know that Roy had a teddy bear quality inside him. Of course, no outsider really thinks they belong together, but seeing as we could see the possibility of them backsliding a million miles away, how could it not be convincing?

Daniels will get through the Jim and Pam story, but he has hardly exhausted the Jim-Karen or Roy-Pam plots, or the Jim-Pam being apart plot.

2007-02-09 08:06:39
30.   Marty
Who played Uncle Al? He's so familiar to me but I can't come up with a name. I thought it was a very good episode.

Toby clearly had the best time

"Where'd you find her?"

"The gym"

The gym, riight."

2007-02-09 08:27:26
31.   Bob Timmermann
Judging from the credits and the IMDB, Uncle Al was played by George Ives.

Photo of Ives.

2007-02-09 09:14:33
32.   JoeyP
Last nite's Office episode was ok.
I agree with the others that Michael's antics were way overblown last nite. What makes office work (at least in the first two seasons) was the believability factor, and Michael's actions just werent believable.

But like all office episodes, they each had some good moments.

The good--Kevin's band.
Dwight escorting the old guy out of the place, then the old guy talking to Michael at the end was hilarious..."You know who was a great team....Boston Celtics.." then Michael without skipping a beat is like "Robert Parish..."

It does take some creativity to get a random Robert Parish reference into a show.

The one girl telling Pam too "Get drunk and tell everyone you're pregnant"...????? that made no sense at all.

Office has definitely went downhill since the first two seasons, but most TV shows are like that.

2007-02-09 09:18:05
33.   JoeyP
Michael looking up wedding in the dictionary but misreading it as welding.

That part was too stupid to be believable, which I think takes away from the humor of the show.

2007-02-09 10:28:31
34.   Marty
I don't see how believability should be important in the enjoyment of the show. The characters freely acknowledge that a camera is following them around. How believable is that? You have a socially clueless manager, a socially clueless, borderline psycho "assistant" to the manager who's also a beet farmer, an Indian valley girl, a serial thief, a sexually-repressed Christian, a traveling salesman who is a walking harassment suit. Plus all the others, all in one office.

Enjoy it because it's funny, not because it's believable.

2007-02-09 10:41:57
35.   overkill94
I didn't have a problem, per se, with the Pam/Jim/Karen/Roy situation because I could see it coming and it seemed reasonable. The main problem was that a lot of the focus was on Michael and he was over-the-top annoying. He may make outlandish remarks every episode, but the sheer quantity of embarrassing moments in last night's episode made the whole thing excruciating to watch.

I watched Scrubs when I got back from bars, so I don't remember it all that well, but I don't recall it being very good - too plotty again.

I don't normally watch 30 Rock, but that Arby's line was enough to get me to tivo it and watch it sometime today.

2007-02-09 10:42:14
36.   Bob Timmermann
Simpsons episode "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" 5/19/1994

Homer: Now, what is a wedding? Well, Webster's Dictionary describes a wedding as, "The process of removing weeds from one's garden."

Moe: Tell us more about you and Marge!
Homer: This is a place of learning, not a house of...hearing about things.

2007-02-09 10:43:35
37.   overkill94
34 I have no problem with believability (why do you think I like cartoons so much?). I have a problem with not being funny, which most of last night's episode was.
2007-02-09 10:44:25
38.   overkill94
36 Homer isn't the regional manager of a successful paper company though.
2007-02-09 10:51:34
39.   Bob Timmermann
regional manager of a successful paper company

All of that statement is true for Michael Scott with the exception of the word "successful"

2007-02-09 11:05:05
40.   Jon Weisman
Reaction at work has been similar to what some of you are saying though not as harsh - that Michael was too out of control, but that the episode still had plenty to offer.
2007-02-09 11:10:17
41.   Benaiah
No one is a bigger booster of the Office than me, but I think that it has had better episodes. Michael's wedding definition was a highlight, and I loved his anger that Phyllis's dad stole his highlight, but some of his antics just didn't do it for me. Also, I like it when Michael is punished, but I like when the other characters defend him. This episode, though he was redeemed, everyone turned their backs on him. Also, the epilogue seemed like a continuity error (or was it a flashback?). Anyway, great show, not a great episode.

P.S. The British Office is fantastic. But it is a very different show, far bleeker. I have read reviews that talk about the show as an existential statement about life. It has some great moments (the guitar episode in particular) but the American Office is generally funnier.

2007-02-09 11:14:44
42.   Steve
"Do you like the British Office, Steve?"

"I have two ears and a heart, don't I?"

2007-02-09 11:15:12
43.   Steve
Good episode last night by the way -- it was last week's that lacked.
2007-02-09 11:19:33
44.   Jon Weisman
41 - No one really turned their backs on him. Phyllis redeemed him; Dwight apologized (at least to his face) for helping to ban him. Everyone was otherwise occupied.

I never thought this was the best episode ever, but I still am surprised that people have been calling it unfunny, or that it was the most that Michael has made them cringe.

42 - LOL

2007-02-09 11:29:04
45.   Jon Weisman
41 - Epilogue was a flashback/outtake/deleted scene.
2007-02-09 11:59:40
46.   Steve
And, as a further by the way, the best scene of the episode, and maybe the season, was Ryan knocking the bouquet away from Kelly so that she wouldn't catch it.
2007-02-09 12:06:07
47.   CanuckDodger
The actress who plays Karen has been cast as the female lead in a comedy pilot for Fox. Good news for Pam, no doubt.

By the way, Jon, what is your take on the British version of The Office and how it compares to the American version? Or have you not seen it?

2007-02-09 12:11:20
48.   Jon Weisman
47 - I think I feel the same as you. I like both but the American more. I would have bet cold cash on that being impossible before the U.S. version premiered, but I love the U.S. version in a deeply emotional way (does it show??).

That being said, the two-hour British finale was incredibly good and touching.

46 - The combo of that Ryan moment with Toby's "Toby!" was, as Kevin would say, "Awesome."

2007-02-09 12:16:50
49.   bhsportsguy
47 Why must we always compare things? Can't we accept them for what they are and not dwell on petty differences.

Next you will be asking Jon to compare "The Flinstones" to "The Honeymooners" and while its true Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton had it all over Fred and Barney, Betty would probably out poll the other three "women" as the one most guys would want to go out with.

2007-02-09 12:23:18
50.   Jon Weisman
We don't always have to compare things, but that's a pretty common question.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-02-09 12:30:12
51.   Bob Timmermann
I think also that the US "Office" and the UK "Office" are relatively close to each other in terms of quality, storyline, and themes.

Unlike other shows that have hopped across the pond. "Steptoe and Son" and "Sanford and Son" had little in common other than the father/son dynamic.

2007-02-09 12:30:40
52.   Marty
37 I wasn't responding to a comment of yours. It was geared toward 32
2007-02-09 12:37:41
53.   CanuckDodger
49 -- I'm not sure, so I will ask: are you being facetious? Making comparisons -- "X is better than Y, but Y is better than W" -- is the lifeblood of TV and movie discussion forums. Probably for baseball forums as well, with comparisons always being made between players, and whole teams.
2007-02-09 13:06:20
54.   Bob Timmermann
After all why would Barney Gumble and Wade Boggs argue about who was a better prime minister: Lord Palmerston or Pitt the Elder?
2007-02-09 13:16:41
55.   Steve
It's not that Will and Grace is bad. It's just worse than everything else ever put on television.
2007-02-09 13:31:09
56.   CanuckDodger
51 -- The overall record of American remakes of British TV series is distinctly not good (I think there have been something like three different attempts to make an American Fawlty Towers, and all of them were terrible). That history of failure made a lot of fans of the British Office -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- cringe when they heard an American version was going to be made. But the American Office obviously turned out better than anybody had a right to expect, and now that success is having consequences in the US TV industry. Jon, I don't know if Variety has run a story on this yet, but if it hasn't, it might be a topic worth exploring: the US networks are in the midst of giving green lights to pilots for series for next season, and there are an awful lot of pilots based on British series. I mean, a ton. The latest one, announced this week, is The Minister of Divine, starring Kirsty Alley. It's an Americanized version of a British comedy called The Vicar of Dibley.

Out of all of the pilots based on British series I have heard about, the pilot the fate of which I am most interested in, but that I dread might be totally messed up, is called Life On Mars. David E. Kelley is doing it for ABC. It's based on a BBC drama that aired its first season (8 episodes) early in 2006, and is about a cop who is hit by a car in 2006 and suddenly finds himself in 1973. Is he dead and in some kind of afterlife? Is he in a coma and imagining a world that isn't real? Has he literally travelled back in time? It is a fantastic series, and just from a cinematic standpoint, the scene in which the main character, Sam Tyler, goes from 2006 to 1973 is one of the best scenes I have ever seen on a TV show. Just perfect film-making. It starts with Sam standing outside his car and looking in through the driver's side window, and inside the car an iPod is playing David Bowie's "Life On Mars." Another car comes along and creams Sam. Sam wakes up in a very dingy city wearing ridiculously outdated clothes. He peers into a very old-looking car and he sees an 8-track casette player, which is playing Bowie's "Life On Mars," a newly-debuted song in 1973. I can't do the scene justice describing it: you have to see the camera-work, hear the Bowie song over the visuals you are presented with. Just amazing stuff. And the thing is, I really don't want that scene in particular RUINED in an American remake. I am not saying it WILL be ruined, but just the possibility it MIGHT be re-done badly bothers me. And this is the sort of fear that fans of the British Office had when they heard about The Office being remade for American TV.

2007-02-09 13:37:10
57.   Marty
Sanford and Son was a pretty good Americanized version of Steptoe and Son.
2007-02-09 13:42:20
58.   Bob Timmermann
So which was better "Til Death Do Us Part" or "All in The Family"?
2007-02-09 13:45:49
59.   Bob Timmermann
Since it's Toaster.TV, can I drop in:

RIP, Ian Richardson.

2007-02-09 14:15:15
60.   Blaine
The Office movie coming out next summer:

2007-02-09 14:37:27
61.   Jon Weisman
60 - That was funny. I think people have been having a lot of fun editing clips. Where do they find the time?
2007-02-09 17:37:25
62.   bhsportsguy
on, they did a poll on Pam - Did she or didn't she - Out of 1140 votes - 57% said no but the thing is that the poll did not ask what Pam did or didn't do.
2007-02-09 18:00:42
63.   Eric Stephen
I was a late convert to the UK "Office", but I still was able to watch it before the US "Office" started production. I loved the UK Office; it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I was apprehensive when I heard The Office was coming across the Atlantic, mostly because of "Coupling".

I loved the UK "Coupling"; it was everything "Friends" should have been. I nearly wet myself watching the "too many legs" episode. I had high hopes for the US remake, but it just never worked, and was canceled after a scant few episodes.

I expected the same fate for the US "Office", but it has far exceeded anything I could have hoped for. Just a wonderful, wonderful show.

Last night's episode was very cringeworthy, but I loved it. Michael embarked into a new territory with his ability to make the audience squirm, almost Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque.

Tying this all together, the Ricky Gervais interview of Larry David is a pretty good watch. Two unique comic geniuses connecting. The interview is on YouTube, in five 10-minute segments.

2007-02-09 19:06:57
64.   Steve
The US version of Coupling made me Jim Tracy angry.
2007-02-09 21:28:23
65.   Andrew Shimmin
I didn't catch that it was Ryan knocking away the bouquet. I can't believe I missed it, but I must have. Will have to catch the rerun.
2007-02-10 06:19:46
66.   overkill94
63 Curb Your Enthusiasum-esque is a good way to describe the episode. Unfortunately, I don't really like CYE despite being a rabid Seinfeld fan.
2007-02-10 12:38:06
67.   Benaiah
I completely forgot about Ryan smacking the bouquet away! I started clapping and laughing and my roommate had missed it. That was amazing, and really fast. I am willing to admit that Pam going home with Roy at the end of the episode could have made me dislike the episode as a whole.

If you take out the Christmas Special (which was made 2-3 years after the other episodes, and wasn't planned when the series finished) the Brit Office is very dark. The series ends with David begging for his job, Tim not getting the girl, and Garreth becoming the new boss. Nothing is better, life goes on forever in both directions with no change in sight. It was quite a statement for television. As moving as the Christmas special was (I got misty eyed) in someways it betrays that feeling (or maybe it just builds on it). Anyway, I love the Brit version, and after watching the first few epispodes of the American version, I thought it would just be an Americanized copy, but they have really went in new directions. Great, amazing, wonderful, mind-bloggling directions.

2007-02-12 09:37:39
68.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
65 My wife didn't catch that either, and so I back-skipped it on TiVo to show her. It was a brilliant shot: far enough away that you can see that it is Kellye in the center (since she's in white, after all), but not so close that you can really tell it is Ryan next to her. Then, in a flash, the figure next to Kellye bats it away! Fantastic shot.

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