Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Screen Jam Midterm Report
2007-05-10 20:45
by Jon Weisman

Screen Jam hasn't been a screen gem, but I still have hopes for it.

It's been clear that I can't give an entertainment blog the same dedication that I give a Dodger blog. Part of that is just the time constraints on my schedule; part of it is that my job at Variety prevents me from being completely open with what I'd like to say. As a result, my posts have been sporadic - sometimes disappearing for more than a week at a time.

Nevertheless, it's also clear that members of the Dodger Thoughts and Baseball Toaster community join me in having a passion for arts and culture, as well as an occasional ability to articulate that passion, and I still think Screen Jam and Toaster.TV can be a great home for that. So, although I have given thought to merging the Screen Jam content back into Dodger Thoughts, I'd like to give Screen Jam another shot. I actually still have very high hopes for it.

The first step has already been taken: I'm making as explicitly clear as possible what was always true - every chat thread at Screen Jam is an open chat thread. One of the great things about Dodger Thoughts is how the community keeps the discussion going without me and initiates new discussions. That same feeling hasn't crossed over to Screen Jam, but I want people to know they can. The only thing people in different time zones have to be careful not to do is spoil TV shows for those who haven't had a chance to see them yet.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints about Screen Jam is that there's no point in starting a discussion with no one going over there. On the other hand, I began Dodger Thoughts with an audience of one, so I know you can't be a slave to your audience or lack of one. But absolutely, the more the merrier. If people begin to expect ongoing chats there, I think we'll start to get momentum.

For my part, I'll try to keep the chat going by being more rigorous in posting there myself. The posts may often be super short - nothing more than conversation starters - but it should contribute to that feeling of life.

In addition, I want Screen Jam to be more than just television, more than just television and movies. This is especially important right now, trying to generate participation in the final month of the broadcast TV season. In a month, there won't be nearly as much television to talk about. So please, jump in any time and talk about a book you read, a song you like, a play you saw. I'd like to see some philosophy if you can muster it.

Finally, people have suggested inviting guest posts to Screen Jam. I'm finding myself open to this idea. I still have some questions in my own mind to answer about the logistics and the quantity, but I can see it happening - I sort of am intrigued by the idea of becoming a de facto managing editor of Screen Jam. If this is something you'd be interested in, you can let me know in the comments.

My instinct is that guest posts should strive to be of a higher quality than your average comment in terms of style and grammar - not that the comments here aren't first-rate - but you can tell me how you feel about that as well. Certainly, I'm not going to have time to edit other people's posts.

Anyway, that's where things are today. Screen Jam has been going for about eight months now, and it's been a learning experience - which is good. But now it's time to make it better. I really hope some of you will join me in the effort.

Every thread at Screen Jam is an open chat thread.

Comments (62)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-10 20:59:40
1.   Benaiah
Nice post. I would love to see books threads, especially about my favorites (One Hundred Years of Solitude thoughts would be a grand day), or even just suggestions of what to read. Oh and... 20 minutes until I can finally find out what everyone thought of the Office!
2007-05-10 21:13:30
2.   Xeifrank
Nice post II. I hope that Screen Jam doesn't die out and get merged back to DT. It's a great outlet for movies, tv talk and the arts. The two books that I checked out at the library and am currently reading before bed this week are about the Mongolian Empire (The Yuan Dynasty), with a special emphasis on Kublai Khan.
Go Screen Jams!
vr, Xei
2007-05-10 21:22:28
3.   Benaiah
Alright guys, how about that ending? What say you my fellow toasters?
2007-05-10 21:36:50
4.   Bob Timmermann
I wanted to become a boss because I'd rather be the boss than work for an upturned broom with a mop on its head.
2007-05-10 21:37:12
5.   Benaiah
"Pam, that was amazing! But I am still looking for someone with a sales background."
2007-05-10 21:38:12
6.   Benaiah
4 - The hardest part is balancing the mop on top of the broom. You have to lean it against something so it doesn't fall over.
2007-05-10 21:43:38
7.   Benaiah
If you go here you can watch Pam's speech at the end of the show again.

2007-05-10 21:47:46
8.   Bob Timmermann
It looks like the TiVO crowd is weighting to weigh in.

My DVR handles the odd time with aplomb.

2007-05-10 21:52:53
9.   Andrew Shimmin
I'm weighting to weigh in till Benaiah goes to sleep. For capricious spite.
2007-05-10 21:53:26
10.   Bob Timmermann
"Waiting" to "weigh in"

Take a load off Harry, take a load for free, take a load off Harry, and you put the load right on me.

2007-05-10 21:57:43
11.   Benaiah
9 - Please don't let this be the new LAT'ed.

All in all, NBC was awesome tonight. Earl was genuinely funny a couple of times and had a killer twist for the finale, The Office was just brilliant, and Scrubs continued to be inconsistent but sporadically hilarious. NBC has no competition to speak of in the sitcom world, well, unless you count ratings (as opposed to general awesomeness). Then, CBS is kicking butt.

2007-05-10 22:03:08
12.   Andrew Shimmin
Lullaby and goodnight,
Go to sleep little Benaiah. . .
2007-05-10 22:06:05
13.   Benaiah
12 - So tired... can't keep eyes... opjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj
2007-05-10 22:19:04
14.   CanuckDodger
11 -- Taking off from Benaiah' comment about NBC's sitcoms, I am curious to know if other people who watch a fair bit of TV share my conviction that NBC is far and away America's best broadcast network (so we're not counting the cable channels like HBO, which play on another level)? NBC seems to court the sophisticated viewer, and they pay a price for that in the ratings, while dull old CBS targets the lowest common-denominator with outdated three-camera, laugh-track-laden sitcoms and murder-of-the-week procedural dramas, and is rewarded with the highest ratings of any network precisely BECAUSE they refuse to take the high road artistically.
2007-05-10 22:42:11
15.   Benaiah
I have a 7 am flight so I actually have to go to bed. Your edginess cuts me to the quick Andrew.

14 - CBS's demographics skew really old though, and they haven't had a breakout hit in a long time. Procedurals are good for the networks since they can stick them in anywhere and the personal stories are unimportant anyway, however, they don't develop critical followings like higher concept stuff. NBC is going to improve in the ratings eventually, but CBS's audience is going to die out.

2007-05-10 22:52:55
16.   Bob Timmermann
I actually have two CBS series scheduled to record on my DVR and for the life of me, I don't know why I watch them.

I refuse to name them. But they are procedurals and not CSIs.

2007-05-10 22:57:17
17.   Greg Brock
I'm really glad that Screen Jam is around. The only problem is that the posting is so sporadic. With DT, we talk about the Dodgers, it morphs into some sort of television discussion, and it's free form, full participation. We'll get 15 posts on an entertainment topic within five minutes.

Conversely, Screen Jam comments are dormant for a day and a half. I don't check back, and then BOOM, fifteen comments on a particular topic within an hour. It's just not as fluid and consistent as DT is.

2007-05-10 22:58:07
18.   Greg Brock
16 Numb3rs and Without a Trace.
2007-05-10 22:58:23
19.   T Money
So my Tivo seems to have cut off the last minute or two of tonight's "Office." Basically, I saw everything up through Pam's speech. But then as soon as she says she's going to dip her feet in the water, it ended. Can anyone tell me what, if anything, I missed?
2007-05-10 23:00:30
20.   Bob Timmermann
The ending is 5
Over the closing credits, the cast sings the theme to "The Flintstones."
2007-05-10 23:01:14
21.   Bob Timmermann
One of those is right because every week I need a Judd Hirsch fix.
2007-05-10 23:01:38
22.   T Money
Oh, okay. Thanks. So there's no callback to Andy?
2007-05-10 23:02:05
23.   Andrew Shimmin
I just watched the fourth hour of the PBS two part documentary, The Mormons. I'd seen the first two hours, but still haven't seen the third. So, maybe I'm not qualified to comment, but it's been pretty sterile, light on theology, and generally padded.

19- You missed the ride home where they sang the Flinstone's theme song. Michael's deranged scatting over melodic breaks was very good.

2007-05-10 23:05:15
24.   Greg Brock
21 Judd Hirsch was also in the movie "Without a Trace" starring Kate Nelligan as a college professor who's son is abducted. A fantastic movie that scared the bejeezus out of me as a child. He played the lead detective.

Any stranger that came within five feet of me got a soccer kick to the shins.

2007-05-10 23:08:18
25.   Greg Brock
21 I don't know what Hirsch's job is on "Numb3rs" despite having watched the show a dozen times.

I think he's just supposed to play chess and give the occasional clue, and maybe bring the sons closer together. He's a little to much of a nebbish on the show for my taste.

2007-05-10 23:12:14
26.   Greg Brock
Okay, so Numb3rs is one procedural Bob watches...No CSI...Without a Trace is out. Is the other one Simon and Simon?

I'm never going to guess the other one. If not for Numb3rs, I would have a streak of not watching CBS that dates back to Northern Exposure. And I haven't watched Numb3rs in a year and a half.

2007-05-10 23:14:48
27.   Greg Brock
What he heck...I've never posted for the cycle on Screen Jam, or Dodger Thoughts. Might as well do it now. BOOM goes the Brock.


2007-05-10 23:15:05
28.   Andrew Shimmin
I didn't buy Pam's speech. That she walked across the coals seemed like a thin reed for her to get so far out of character. And, anyway, who was she really calling out, other than Jim? Oscar and Michael went to her art show. She convinced Toby not to go, because of his daughter's recital. Was she really broken up that Dwight and Angela didn't show up? Was she really desperate to see Creed? Kelly is the epitome of the narcissistic flake, and the Temp, until he breaks (which is coming, I have great faith) isn't showing up unless Kelly makes him.

So, after watching Jim (yes, he pushed Karen out of the way, but still) cower away from a charging Roy, and then, that very day, scramble away from a charging Stanley, she thought the way to broach the subject was in front of a big hairy group? Really?

I did have trouble getting my breath back from laughing so hard at Dwight's power play while standing on fire. That was fantastic.

2007-05-10 23:20:43
29.   Bob Timmermann
I will agree with Andrew because today is the day I blow with the prevailing wind.
2007-05-10 23:29:44
30.   Jon Weisman
11 - Agreed.

14 - Agreed. NBC has promised to go back to the Grant Tinker philosophy, "First be best, then be first." The renewal of Friday Night Lights backs that up.

17 - That's what I'm trying to address now.

28 - Disagree. The confession has been building up in her all year - she just needed the final push. If it wasn't walking on coals, it would have been something else, but the coals sort of made the moment feel perfect - even if it wasn't perfect. She was feeling alive. And to answer your question, I don't think she wasn't really calling anyone out but herself - she just was revved up.

Would it make more sense if she chose precisely the right setting to declare her feelings? I don't think so. This is The Office. People say things at the wrong time. People are clumsy. But somehow they muster greatness despite themselves.

Bob is buffeted.

2007-05-10 23:35:22
31.   Bob Timmermann
Mmm, buffets...
2007-05-10 23:40:53
32.   Andrew Shimmin
I think she writes it down on the trip back. I think she keeps the coal walking to herself. She did it without anybody's watching; she could have screamed or shouted or whooped to get their attention while doing it if she'd wanted anybody to share the moment.
2007-05-10 23:44:10
33.   Greg Brock
By the way, I thought Pam's speech was ten kinds of awesome. I'm glad she did it. After all this cat and mouse garbage, the ball is finally in Jim's court.

Pam has sat there and done nothing for months, and it finally asploded. I loved it.

2007-05-10 23:45:28
34.   Jon Weisman
32 - That doesn't make any more sense than what happened. Why does the entire sequence have to be all public or all private? She had a personal triumph that motivated her into a taking an even bigger outward step.
2007-05-10 23:53:17
35.   Greg Brock
I don't think she wasn't really calling anyone out but herself - she just was revved up.

I don't know about that. Maybe the motivation wasn't about Jim, but the enthusiasm was. She felt more alive than she had in months, and all she could talk about was Jim.

"I canceled my wedding because of you."

In the end, it comes to the same thing. She may not have been calling Jim out, but she was calling their entire relationship out. She was excited about the prospects of a great life, and that life includes Jim.

Oh, and Creed gutted a fish.

2007-05-10 23:59:28
36.   Bob Timmermann
Now I agree with Jon and Greg Brock.
2007-05-10 23:59:48
37.   Andrew Shimmin
I guess it's my concept of Pam, and not the empirical Pam. When has she ever, outside of the Dundies when she was drunk, sought to make herself the center of attention? And the first time she does it, it's--I think I'm still not clear on what you're saying she was hoping to get out of it. She didn't seem to be chastising herself for having had her feelings hurt by her co-workers indifference to her art show. She seemed to be accusing them of ignoring her. Which, I guess, it would then follow that she would insist that attention must be paid. So, I'm rebutting my own argument.

And because it's a spur of the moment thing, then she's not calculating the best way to convince Jim to--I'm unclear on this point too. I don't think, as Brock does, that the ball's in his court. At least not the romantic ball. What I took from the Jim-specific part of the speech was an accusation that he'd been a negligent friend. Which, fair enough, but how can she not be self-conscious enough to know the genesis of that? It sucks when one friend falls in unrequited love with the other; it doesn't unsuck if the unrequiter really means it when she says she wants to stay friends.

2007-05-11 00:00:55
38.   Andrew Shimmin
35- He didn't just gut it, he totally cartoon gutted it. It was Hanna Barbaric!

36- Splitter.

2007-05-11 00:07:02
39.   Greg Brock
37 She didn't marry Roy. Jim should have seen that for what it was. He was willing to kiss her while she was engaged, but not willing to discuss their relationship when he found out she canceled her wedding?

I don't expect Pam to be as assertive as Jim. That's what makes Jim and Pam so great. He's so much more confident than she. I mean, cancelleing the wedding should have told Jim all he needed to know. And what did he do about it? Come back into town with Hotty McOffice.

I think Pam expected Jim to come running to her when he found out she wasn't getting married. And he didn't. And it really hurt her.

Pam's a little weak. Jim knows that.

2007-05-11 00:10:14
40.   Greg Brock
Does anybody expect Pam to cancel her wedding and run to Jim, fall into his arms, and say "Oh Halpert, I love you so...I made a mistake! You're the love of my life!"

That's not Pam. Canceling the wedding was as much as a confessional to Jim as you're gonna get...Until tonight.

2007-05-11 00:21:53
41.   Andrew Shimmin
40- But Jim doesn't think that, and Pam knows he doesn't, since she told him she and Roy were fully through (after their rebound, which shouldn't be dismissed as a countervailing signal that calling off the wedding meant she wanted him) and he clearly didn't believe it.

Not marrying Roy was a good decision, however she came by it. If Roy were a better fit for her and she'd still left him, it's easier to draw your conclusion. Loving Jim is a sufficient, but not necessary reason to not marry Roy. Roy is reason enough.

And I still don't see what she said tonight as a confession of romantic interest. I guess she could have chickened out of that, since it came last, and since Quincy Jones's daughter was sitting right there, but that seems like it would indicate more control than we're positing.

2007-05-11 00:54:27
42.   Andrew Shimmin
After a reflective pace, I've decided that either I'm underestimating what "I called off my wedding for you," meant, or the rest of you are being duped by the running dramatic irony of what we know is regret, but what Jim, I believe, has read as guilt and pity. We saw Pam crying after she'd convinced Jim to stop resisting Karen's wanting to move close to him, but Jim didn't. He interpreted that (her persuasion), I believe, as a signal to move on. She didn't explain why she rekindled the relationship with Roy; we know why, but he doesn't.

And I think, "I canceled my wedding because of you," doesn't unambiguously mean, "I canceled my wedding because I decided I wanted you." Jim had more than one interest in talking her out of marrying Roy, to be sure, but one of them was out of concern for her, independent of her feelings for him.

I guess we'll see next week if I'm all wet, guessing what Jim's thinking. That I'm on the wrong side of Jon makes me doubt myself. That I'm on the wrong side of Brock, though, steels my confidence.

2007-05-11 02:06:01
43.   Ken Arneson
I was up in the middle of the night last night because of jet lag, and so I turned the TV on because my laptop battery was dead, and there was nothing on except an old episode of MacGyver, and so I watched it.

It was totally awesome! I never realized that MacGyver and Doctor Who were the same guy before, but there was MacGyver, being chased by a bunch of Daleks firing laser beams at him! "Must. Destroy. Intruders!"

I won't totally spoil the ending, but let's just say that in a game of Dalek, Paper, Scissors, paper beats Dalek...

2007-05-11 02:52:34
44.   Underbruin
42 - So would you say you're between a Brock and a hard place? (Ugh, couldn't help myself, sorry)

Anyway, a few thoughts, some on-topic to the original post, and some on-topic to the Office.

1) Re: The Office, I may be in the minority that I rather like the Jim/Karen pairing. I think the writers may have had their hands forced because Rashida Jones is waiting on news of whether or not that pilot she shot is getting picked up, or so I've heard. If it is, I'd imagine she's gone. This doesn't guarentee Pam and Jim get together, just that Jim and Karen are through if she has to leave, though it certainly would help the chances for the former. I think it was handled well considering that possibility, as it's open-ended enough to permit any number of possible outcomes, but certainly has the momentum to force a change.

2) Re: Screen Jam as a whole, I think that one thing to consider is perhaps widening your own spectrum of posts, Jon. To quote one of my favorite bloggers: "So please, jump in any time and talk about a book you read, a song you like, a play you saw. I'd like to see some philosophy if you can muster it." :)

I'd agree that guest posts could work (dibs on Heroes! No? Aw, shucks). I don't know if this is possible with the Toaster software, but if you've frequented some of the SBNation blogs (as an example), they have a nice feature where commenters can write 'diaries,' which are basically just extra posts linked on the sidebar. Particularly good ones can be moved to the main blog's page by the administrator. Not sure if this is possible, but that'd allow additional discussion topics.

Also, it might be worthwhile to toss up 'open-threads' on shows/events you don't necessarily watch yourself. It might bring more commenters over? Just sort of thinking out loud, here.

Anyway, I do think that the endeavor of Screen Jam is a worthwhile one. It's a good read, though most of the shows I watch don't get a lot of "talk-time" here. Here's to hoping things pick up.

2007-05-11 03:35:46
45.   Andrew Shimmin
I bothered a friend I know who Tivos The Office, and have returned with a transcript of Pam's speech. Looking back over what I wrote, I can see how much I flat out missed the first time through. She raised and refuted the argument of my second paragraph in 42. And my other arguments were pretty crummy, so let's just all pretend I never said any of that. Anyway, here's the transcript, then I'll rethink my thoughts in the next comment.

"Jim I called off my wedding because of you, and now we're not even friends. And things are just, like, weird between us. And that sucks. And I miss you. You were my best friend before you went to Stamford. And I really miss you. I shouldn't have been with Roy, and there were a lot of reasons to call off my wedding. But the truth is I didn't care about any of those reasons until I met you. And now you're with someone else, and that's fine, that's whatever. That's not what I'm. . . I'm not. . . Okay my feet really hurt. The thing that I'm just trying to say to you Jim, and to everyone else in the circle, I guess, is that I miss having fun with you. Just you. Not everyone in the circle. Okay. I am going to go walk in the water now. Yeah. It's a good day."

2007-05-11 04:44:12
46.   Andrew Shimmin
Watching the whole thing again, the reason she walked across the coals alone was so that she wouldn't hear Jim say that he was going to interview for the job in New York, not for my backwardly reasoned theory in 28. And the sequence works more than I thought it did the first time, as everything seems to be her building steam enough to tell Jim what she wants to say. She does call Michael out about her having had the courage to do what he'd just chickened out of doing, with a parting taunt of, "Maybe I should be your boss." Then she riffs on her co-workers not coming to the art show, which is, I think, what threw me the first time through. I was confused by it, but taken as a sort of a stream of consciousness thing building to the Jim part, I can accept it.

Which is where, the first time through, I really lost what perceptiveness I'm capable of, I think because I had a visceral reaction to her having what, if I were Jim, would be a mortifying conversation to have publicly. Because I found it unpleasant, it stands to reason that it couldn't have been in Pam's character, since I dig Pam's character. I can accept that I was projecting what may be a hypersensitivity to public humiliation, but the whole thing was a seriously heavy Jazz chord. And my ears are delicate.

I'm not sure this changes the basic equation made plain in Casino Night, though. Jim knows that she never wanted to stop being friends. He told her he wanted more, she said she couldn't. It's the first time she seems to express regret (instead of guilt or pity) for having rejected him, to him, which is a step farther than I'd allowed previously. But she's not literally saying she wants another shot at being more than friends. She's literally saying, three times, that she misses what they were before the night she rejected him. She pulls up short of declaring a romantic interest.

I guess I'm conceding Jon's point that in The Office, people say things at inopportune times. Is there any more pain or some different flavor of frustration that can be piled on top of Jim for having falling in love with Pam? He gets all the rejection possible from having, "laid it all on the line, twice." Then he gets away from Pam and discovers career ambition and meets a nice woman. His new boss screws him into having to return to the scene of his humiliation. Pam pushes him to be more committed to the new woman, at which point the new woman gets clued in to their history resulting in hours of talking about their feelings. Which is when he gets to watch Pam go back to Roy. Who, thanks to newly inspired Pam's inopportune confession number one, enters stage left with murder in his heart. Inopportune confession number two affords him a bus ride back to work with an unamused, sunglasses wearing girlfriend while a bus full of people who're privy to his private business sing the Flinstone's theme song.

And yet, she's worth it.

2007-05-11 06:44:58
47.   Penarol1916
The Flinstone's scene was the bus ride back? I thought that it was a deleted scene. The sun was shining into the bus in that scene and they had stayed at the lake until it was dark. Did they spend the night at the lake?

I'm also a big fan of Jim/Karen, so you're not alone underbruin.

2007-05-11 07:00:21
48.   Jon Weisman
47 - Yeah, the Flintstones song was basically an outtake. It wasn't the ride home.

I'm a fan of Jim-Pam and Jim-Karen.

I think Pam felt on some conscious or unconscious level this season that you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else, which is why she needed the breather after her breakup with Roy. But what she's missed out on (Jim) also has weighed on her all year. I think you saw those two forces come together last night, and that the walking on coals basically set her free from the first one.

At least temporarily. It wouldn't surprise me if the Pam character woke up the next morning exhilarated or with utter horror at what she had done, or both.

2007-05-11 08:07:55
49.   Jon Weisman
" Thanks to Kimra from Buzzsugar for pointing out that, according to NBC's site, repeats of "Friday Night Lights" begin airing May 27. Tell a friend! And then, when the DVDs are available, make everyone you know watch the entire first season on DVD. And don't forget, as of this writing, the entire season is still available online here. Full hearts!"

2007-05-11 08:26:51
50.   Penarol1916
All I'm going to say is that I thought that Friday Night Lights was the best show on network television this season, far and away and definately deserved to be renewed. My only question is, were all of the main players juniors, thus due to be back next year or are we going to see some new characters?

1. Going back to the first comment, One Hundred Years of Solitude is my favorite book, I read 5 times before I lent to a girl I never saw again, but I think a discussion would be difficult based on the fact that most people would mix up all of the characters due to the fact that there seem to be only 5 names for 50 people.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-11 08:35:26
51.   drewjensen

One of the things that keeps me from Screen Jam is that much of what my wife and I watch has been tivo'd from previously in the week, by at least a day or two - so I'm afraid to come here to discover information that I didn't want (yet).

Finally watched Lost last night and my wife thought that the whole Jacob thing was lame, but I thought it kind of worked. It at least worked in the context they've been playing up lately that maybe they're all really dead and this is hell (or whatever mystical non-life plane that works for you). Right after the week where two separate outsiders tell us that they found the wreckage of the aircraft with the bodies inside they come back with a Ben backstory and his dead/ghost Mother (which immediately reminds us of Jack's dad/ghost).

We also get a snippet of Richard looking the same age in Ben's youth as now and turning out to be the leader of "original inhabitants" that wiped out the hippie commune knows at the dharma initiative. Oh, and Locke!

So at least there was some meat on that bone. Certainly it poses as many new questions as it answers, but that least for me.

2007-05-11 09:05:12
52.   Jon Weisman
50 - Among the main characters, only Jason was a senior.
2007-05-11 09:06:00
53.   Jon Weisman
51 - Yes, the TiVo thing does inhibit chat. I know that first-hand. But everyone should please feel free to revisit a show a couple days later, just as you did. Thanks.
2007-05-11 09:13:54
54.   Bob Timmermann
I believe Penarol1916 has identified what I call "The White Shadow dilemma."
2007-05-11 09:17:05
55.   Jon Weisman
54 - With the corrolary being, the show should hope to run long enough for it to be a problem.

New post up top.

2007-05-11 09:20:27
56.   Kevin Lewis
I was extremely pleased with the office last night. The writers have done an excellent job of having me like Jim/Karen, not like Jim/Karen and now liking the possibility of Jim/Pam if Pam is going to start asserting herself in this new way. Either way, I loved the breakthrough Pam made last night. It had been building up for so long, and she finally felt the sweet freedom of confession/assertiveness. Of course it was uncomfortable, but she had to go with the flow at that moment because she felt "so alive".

Re: the longer episodes. I hope they keep it the same with an occasional 45 min. episode here and there. I wouldn't mind if there were more episodes, but I think one hour every week would produce some weak episodes and would put a lot of pressure on the writing to come up with random event after random event.

2007-05-11 09:24:37
57.   drewjensen
100 Years of Solitude also in the desert island collection for me. Catch-22 as well. Curiously, they both have way more characters than they know what to do with but loved them just the same.
2007-05-11 10:32:42
58.   drewjensen
Life of Pi

Recently finished a book, "Life of Pi," about an Indian boy ("Pi") that is on a ship along with many zoo animals being transported to a Canadian zoo. The ship sinks and he is the sole human survivor, spending the largest part of the book on a life boat with a Bengal Tiger.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around whether I could even recommend this book to others. It spends the first 100 pages giving you backstory that seems like it could have been done in 20. The story, proper, doesn't really start until the ship sinks. (I'm not giving anything away here, the cover of the book has Pi and a tiger in a lifeboat together). So you have to be patient to get to the real story. And then the story of survival that he goes through, sometimes feels like you are the one on that boat for days on end, running to weeks, then months....well, again, patience helps.

It reminds me in a curious way to the movie, "Unfaithful," with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The majority of the movie is that of enduring Diane Lane being unfaithful to Richard Gere and his increasing jealousy as he slowly (very slowly) discovers it. It was a death march until the end when it has a surprisingly satisfying ending. During that whole movie, at no time did I think that it would end in a way that would make me feel like it actually "paid off" my sitting through it...but it ultimately did that.

In much the same way, Life of Pi is ultimately satisfying with an ending that ties much of the book together much better than I thought possible as I endured another day at sea with Pi...but it did so, and even more completely than Unfaithful did. So can you recommend a book that feels like an endurance contest but has a great ending? Does it justify your patience? I still don't know, but I'm glad I read it.

2007-05-11 13:09:17
59.   Curtis Lowe
Pam is too confused and reminds of a kid that doesn't want to play with a toy until the other kids are. She doesn't know what she wants and every once in awhile she has a revelation within herself and feels the need to blurt it out. This behavior is annoying and makes me dislike her character.

Jim should stay with Hotty McOffice until Hottier McOffice joins the show.

2007-05-11 13:32:02
60.   underdog
58 I liked the book Life of Pi - and personally felt the ending was unsatisfying - but wonder about the upcoming movie adaptation. Will it be like an Indian-flavored "Cast Away"? How will they handle the tiger?

Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement) is directing, so it should be at least visually appealing.

2007-05-11 14:07:12
61.   Benaiah
Wow, 60 Comments and I couldn't milk nary a one when I was trying to fight off sleep (I slept through my flight and had to get another one).

I have watched that key scene about 6 times now, and it is just awesome, it works on so many levels from the editing (the only flash of Karen is when Pam mentions that "it is fine" that Jim is with someone else) to the dialogue (I love when Pam starts to struggle for words after that admission she changes the subject: "My feet hurt" which harks back to her "Wooo I am saying a lot of things" after mentioning hypothetically seeing Jim ) to the acting (Jim's stunned silence). It is pretty ideal, even if it did feel like a hell the first time through. The best thing is that it is so earned. "Feisty New Beasily" has made mistakes(Roy redux), had some low points (the art show and Dwight comforting her) and even been a little smug (her teasing of Jim when he was staying up late with Karen everynight) but we have seen her try to grow up and improve.

Season 2 was about Jim reaching his breaking point and finally laying it out there- albeit with a backup plan of transferring- this season Pam didn't break, she grew. The who yelled at Jim because Phyllis saw them roughhousing or refused the graphic design school offer from Jan, never could have stood in front of that circle and been emotionally honest. While she didn't admit that she loved him (thankfully, that would be a bridge too far) she pretty clearly laid out how important he is to her. As gorgeous and funny as Karen is, Pam just blew me away last night. Jim looked like a deer in the headlights, and for good reason.

2007-05-11 14:41:07
62.   Bluebleeder87

i haven't seen the office enough but it sounds like your making good points, the seen i really liked was the inflatable sumo wrestling seen. classic.

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