“What is so wrong about me? I’m caring, I’m generous, I’m sensual. Is it really so horrible that I could possibly go out and find happiness?” – Michael Scott
We’re back from vacation here at Jumped The Snark and before we march on to more relevant subjects (and tonight’s new The Office), we wanted to take a moment and comment on the last two weeks’ of Office entries, most notably in regards to our recent list of the Five Least Awesome Office Episodes.
After compiling the lists of the “worst” Office episodes we discovered that the quality of the show most often hinges on which Michael Scott we receive, the childish, clueless but ultimately well-meaning and redeemable Michael Scott or the obnoxious, selfish, boorish borderline psychotic Michael Scott. In the worst episodes we find ourselves with the latter, a vile, unseemly and ultimately unbelievable character. In the best episodes we might not always find the former, but he is frequently present in the show’s best, most emotional moments, when he demonstrates his humanity and vulnerability, such as the truly uncomfortably honest beat at the end of season 4’s “The Deposition,” (You expect to get screwed by your company. But never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend.”) or at the close of this season’s “The Meeting” when Michael brings Jim his very own “World’s Best Boss” mug.
After the widely lambasted “Mafia,” it was Michael’s return to a relatable, sensitive, even likeable persona in “The Lover,” that helped the show recover from the previous week’s malaise. His question about his happiness, as quoted above, typifies everything that in the end allows us to get behind Michael; ultimately he’s a lonely and sorta sad romantic who just yearns for friendship and admiration (see the all-time greatest reaction ever by a hand puppet in “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,“). Likewise, in last week’s episode “Koi Pond,” we once again saw a defeated Michael, embarrassed in front of the only people he believes respect and care for him. He can be offensive and inappropriate, callous and self-centered, but you can’t say he doesn’t have a heart. His realization that Jim was actually jealous of him, while a bit misguided, is a feather in Michael’s cap that we can get behind. And, while not two of the greatest episodes, by featuring a Michael that we can tolerate, even feel compassion for, “The Lover” and “Koi Pond” were a return to form.
And since we’re recapping two old episodes, let’s just end this with the new video from Subtle Sexuality:Vodpod videos no longer available.