Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Thursday Night Open Chat
2007-02-15 17:45
by Jon Weisman

2007-02-15 18:37:19
1.   Bob Timmermann
Very nice of UCLA and ASU to play an early game tonight!
2007-02-15 20:37:18
2.   Andrew Shimmin
People don't steal gags from The Great Outdoors often enough.
2007-02-15 20:57:10
3.   Andrew Shimmin
Best. Episode. Ever. Top five, anyway. All around excellent.
2007-02-15 21:46:36
4.   Bob Timmermann
I echo Andrew.

It wasn't as laugh out loud funny as last week, but the points Michael made about running a company made a lot of sense.

2007-02-15 21:51:14
5.   Jon Weisman
I'm falling out of sync. I wouldn't go top five or anything like that. It was another solid episode, with some of the usual brilliance. But not extraordinary for the show.

Not that I care, but I found the idea that Ryan would get a letter-grade increase by bringing in Michael to speak more implausible than anything that happened in last week's episode.

2007-02-15 21:52:43
6.   Jon Weisman
But as far as the romantic arcs go, it didn't take long for the old Roy to start to re-emerge.
2007-02-15 21:53:47
7.   Andrew Shimmin
Really? When Dwight trapped a bat in a bag around Meredith's head? That was the loudest, longest laugh I can remember getting from a t.v. show.
2007-02-15 21:56:56
8.   Bob Timmermann
"I have dealt with a werewolf. I shot one once. But by the time I got to it, it had turned back into my neighbor's dog."
2007-02-15 22:02:37
9.   Jon Weisman
7 - since the week before (for me).

Seriously. I laugh hard at the Office every week. The bat stuff was absolutely top-notch. Jim was hysterical. But the episode wasn't unusually good.

Look, I'm not trying to be a killjoy. I liked the episode. But as much as Casino Night, Branch Closing, Merger, Video IPod Christmas? I don't think it was. Those were transcendent.

2007-02-15 22:02:39
10.   Bob Timmermann
I realized tonight after watching "Ugly Betty" which featured Jayma Mays who was in "Heroes" that it if your name is Charlie, no amount of time travelling is going to save your life this TV season.
2007-02-15 22:07:44
11.   Andrew Shimmin
It's not as good as Video iPod Christmas. That's the gold standard. I'd take it over Merger and Branch Closing. Casino Night is tough. Anyway. Yeah. It's an embarrassment of riches.
2007-02-15 22:08:28
12.   Bob Timmermann
I suppose that since I've been sitting in a lot of management training classes lately, all the parts about treating the people in an organization hit home with me.

Michael may not be in trouble with HR this time with the way he handled Ryan.

2007-02-15 22:45:00
13.   Voxter
See, that is how you do Michael embarassing himself. I thought this was a truly excellent episode -- much better than the last two weeks -- and I suspect that it might because there was very little of the Jim & Pam storyline dragging it around by its tail. Much lest angst, much more funny. And no idiotic fart jokes. And I didn't want Michael to go somewhere hot and malarial and never come back.

Can't Joss Whedon escape from vampires?

2007-02-15 23:14:22
14.   mintxcore
i want to say that the office is the ONLY show on television currently that makes me laugh out loud.

i really enjoyed tonights episode and felt it was one of the stronger ones, partly because im a sucker for those emotional/sincere endings with michael (my fav was the halloween one where, after firing someone the worst possible way, he handed out halloween candy alone).

plus, stanley's one line, per usual, was excellent.

2007-02-16 06:56:58
15.   Benaiah
It was one of the darkest episodes too though. Pam and Michael both heard the truth that they had been hiding from. The scene with Oscar was especially painful, but so necessary.

"To make art you need honesty and courage."
"Those aren't Pam's strong suits."
"That's why this is motel art."

I don't know if she needed to hear that, but it was certainly true. I was more than a little surprised that Jim didn't show up either. I wonder if Karen made him stay home?

2007-02-16 07:01:16
16.   Jon Weisman
Yeah, those were all great moments at the art show, particularly 15.
2007-02-16 07:04:14
17.   Benaiah
I really dug Roy's approach to being a good boyfriend too. It is something along the lines of making the effort to tolerate things his girlfriend likes. I thought Jim's vampire scenario was in there because Joss Whedon directed and made something of a meta-joke.
2007-02-16 07:56:23
18.   Jon Weisman
17 - I'm confident it was connected - however, how does that explain the bat in Men in Trees earlier this month??
2007-02-16 08:02:38
19.   Benaiah
"The Office" gets away with a lot of product placement by integrating it into jokes. Michael name drops Hooters, Benihanna, Ipods, Snickers (actually saying the tag line), Payday, 100 Grand and that is just off the top of my head. I don't particularly mind, but as Matt Zoller Seitz said, "there is no such thing as satire on advertising." But more power to them, it pays the bills.
2007-02-16 09:41:26
20.   CanuckDodger
19 -- The Office is by far the most egregious product placement whore on television. You could have also mentioned Staples, Benaiah. Remember the bits with Kevin using a Staples brand paper shredder to shred lettuce to make a salad? Or Dwight going to work for Staples? That sort of thing may bother me, but I can take it, because it is in small doses. However, that iPod Christmas episode Jon really likes was pretty much a full-on, half-hour "infomercial" that Apple paid NBC a boatload of money to do. It is easily the worst episode of the whole series (sorry, Jon).
2007-02-16 09:55:32
21.   Penarol1916
20. I thought that Apple actually didn't pay for the iPod to be place in the Christmas episode at all and that the writers came out saying that they thought it was funny that everyone thought so given that nobody had noticed the episode before when they got a boatload of money to product place Chili's.
2007-02-16 10:12:34
22.   Jon Weisman
Why should we care an iota about product placement if it works creatively?
2007-02-16 10:37:12
23.   CanuckDodger
22 -- Product placement doesn't "work creatively" if you notice it, and if I notice it, it pretty much always takes me right out of the show. Having Dwight work at Staples may be the only instance on the Office where disguised advertising "worked," because the Staples scenes were few and brief and it made sense that Dwight would have gotten a job somewhere. But even THAT still bothered me because it was not an isolated incident of product placement, but one more instance in a frequently recurring pattern on The Office.
2007-02-16 10:40:41
24.   CanuckDodger
21 -- I read that Apple paid a lot of money for the iPod episode. If what I read was wrong, then I still fault the episode for being extremely unfunny.
2007-02-16 11:00:33
25.   Jon Weisman
I think it was much worse when you would people drink from those generic cans labeled "Soda." Now that takes you out of an episode.

That you didn't think the Christmas iPod episode was funny makes we want to cry :(

2007-02-16 11:07:57
26.   CanuckDodger
25 -- I was actually going to write, in one of the posts above, that I don't mind a can of Pepsi on somebody's desk, or things like that, but I am not sure companies -- nowadays -- consider that blatant enough to want to pay for that, or if they pay, they probably don't pay much.

Get the DVD's for The Newsroom TV series (like we talked about months ago) and I promise to change my mind about the iPod episode.[Smiley Face]

2007-02-16 11:18:29
27.   Benaiah
26 - Yeah, those cans of Pepsi on a desk definitely cost money. I think the Office sucessfully pulls off most placements. Hooters for example, was pretty hilarious, especially if you have ever been to a Hooters with someone like that. The best product placement of all time, was Burger King on "Arrested Development." It devolved into Ron Howard saying what a wonderful restaurant it was, while Carl Weathers served as a meta-stand in for the producers of "AD". It was priceless.
2007-02-16 11:25:03
28.   CanuckDodger
28 -- There are no Hooters in Canada.
2007-02-16 11:25:51
29.   CanuckDodger
29 -- "27," not 28.
2007-02-16 12:33:20
30.   Benaiah
28 - You aren't missing much. It is kind of depressing and the food is pretty bad. The waitresses are nice enough, but I always feel a little pathetic for being there and try to establish that I am not going to make comments or be rude in any way. Once I went while I was in high school and this guy I was with was saying absurd double entendres. Definitely one of those situations where you wish you could just slink away. To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman: "It is a strip club for people to timid to go to a strip club."
2007-02-16 13:15:08
31.   Bob Timmermann
In a commentary on a third season "The Bob Newhart Show", Peter Bonerz, who directs a lot of episodic TV now, pointed to a scene where the names on the soda cans were covered up and how odd it looked to him. But in 1975, the networks didn't want to anger potential advertisers by showing the product.

Today, companies all over would be clamoring to get their names on a soda can in a sitcom.

2007-02-16 13:15:24
32.   Terry A
Regarding other Thursday shows, has Grey's Anatomy "jumped the ferry" with the Meredith-is-dead storyline?

I enjoyed the pace of last night's show, as well as several of the story's threads. But it seems the writers have run out of ideas for creating conflict, and now feel the need to kill (or almost kill) a member of the surgical team in every episode.

2007-02-16 13:25:18
33.   Benaiah
I don't watch that show, but I read something about Meradith dying... I am a little skeptical, as I have never heard of a show killing off its lead character when it's ratings are strong. Obviously it will bring in a big rating the next episode, but it seems like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. I smell a miracle recovery or a dream sequence or something.
2007-02-16 13:25:51
34.   overkill94
I'd put last night's episode in the middle of the pack for Office episodes. Jim's vampire bit was awesome and it was nice to see Karen start to join him in his pranks. I felt the episode was big on heart (the last scene with Pam and Michael almost brought a tear to my eye) but a little short on laughs.

Scrubs was sub-par again last night, but I've come to accept that from them now.

2007-02-16 13:28:19
35.   overkill94
Oh, and as for the product placement, I don't even notice it because everything is used like it would be in real life. I can see Michael going overboard and buying an iPod for the secret Santa thing and then whoever gets it being excited about it.
2007-02-16 13:35:10
36.   Terry A
34 - "I smell a miracle recovery or a dream sequence or something."

Would you believe... both?

I'm positive it's a ratings ploy, but if it were a good one, I could live with it. As it is, I'm just not buying it.

My wife did not care for my remark last night that if Meredith is indeed dead, I would support calling the program "Izzy's Anatomy."

2007-02-16 14:18:20
37.   Benaiah
Yeah... I really don't like that show. It cultural icon status is inexplicable. Do people really need obvious melodrama? Are soap operas that bankable? But then I remember how much I loved "The OC" for two seasons and I shut up.
2007-02-16 14:33:04
38.   Andrew Shimmin
If the product placement were stepping on the story, I'd mind it, but I think it's the opposite. Michael loves chain restaurants. His favorite pizza joint in NYC is Sbarro's. It's pitch perfect. iPod is like Xerox, there's not really a way around it. And it would have meant something different if he'd gotten a different brand of mp3 player. He couldn't have been quite so proud of the gift.

The Staples thing I don't have a problem with, but (and, I could easily be wrong here), doesn't it seem like they used to use all the chain office supply stores, interchangeably, and now they're much more Staples-centric? The B-school student didn't even get out the name Office Max before Michael interrupted; but he did say Staples, unmolested.

2007-02-16 14:34:59
39.   Terry A
It's certainly gotten more "soapy" of late. Maybe that's why they're now putting Meredith through a serious rinse cycle. :)

I think Jon has referred to his regular viewing of GA as a "guilty pleasure" or "indulgence" or something to that effect. We've all got 'em.

2007-02-16 15:01:09
40.   dan reines
FWIW, Apple didn't pay for the iPod product placement (or at least, not the way we would expect them to have paid).

I had a marketing professor at the time the show aired who did marketing for Apple, and I asked him about it. He said that the writers for the show approached Apple with the script and asked for money, and that Apple said no -- but "we sent them a bunch of stuff [iPods, I assume] and we told them to come back to us" when it was time to buy ads for the fall season. In other words, NBC no doubt profited from the placement, if only after the fact.

By the way, all the (many) product placements on that show don't bother me much, but only because the writing is so sharp. If it weren't as funny as it is, I think the in-show ads would begin to grate, and quick...

2007-02-16 15:02:19
41.   Benaiah
39 - Mine is "Beauty and the Geek." What can I say, I just think about trying to trick my way onto the show (or would I even need to trick?).
2007-02-16 15:05:16
42.   Jon Weisman
39 - "Grey's" brings me no pleasure now. Just guilt.
2007-02-16 15:24:16
43.   Terry A
41 - Depends. For which role do you plan to apply?

42 - They've created what my wordsmith uncle calls a "dogsandwich." They've got too many characters and not enough story keep them all interesting. Maybe killing off some doctors is the way to go.

2007-02-16 15:43:23
44.   Jon Weisman
I actually haven't watched last night's episode yet, but from what I can gather, ridiculousness ensued.

The week before, they actually spent the first five minutes of the show explaining what triage was, as if anyone who has ever seen an episode of MASH, let alone actual doctors, had no idea.

And then they go out on the scene of the biggest medical emergency in Seattle in X number of years, and they're still moaning about their love lives. My personal life is important to me, but man, am I supposed to enjoy the fact that these doctors can't compartmentalize at all? Am I supposed to actually like these unredeemed egotists?

That only scratches the surface. The show has so many flaws, I've lost count.

2007-02-16 16:04:03
45.   Bob Timmermann
Did you know Seattle Grace has no social workers or grief counselors?

When there are lots of dead people around, they round up an intern and a resident and ask them to console a group of 50-100 people.

I would hate to see what happens when some patient walks in with the Space Needle impaled in his eye, sort of like in "Itchy and Scratchy".

2007-02-16 16:10:20
46.   Jon Weisman
45 - Yes, that's on the list.

Let's have the police abandon a little girl who can't find her mom in the middle of a disaster because he has to "get back to his unit." 'Cause, you know, priorities.

2007-02-16 16:27:53
47.   Bob Timmermann
All this said, I still like watching "Grey's Anatomy" as a guilty pleasure. I also like listening to the official podcast to listen to Shonda Rimes completely ignore any problems with the cast.

Which was unlike the official "Lost" podcast where Lindelof and Cuse did admit that there were issues with Michele Rodriguez. They didn't blab all over, but they didn't act as if nothing happened.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.