A couple months back I wrote about my frustration while waiting for the delivery of my much-anticipated copy of Guitar Hero 5. I don’t know who was to blame, Activision, Amazon or the USPS, but I assumed that the game publisher could be absolved in any guilt in regards to shipping delays. However, now, looking back, I don’t know. These days it seems that Guitar Hero/Activision is asleep at the wheel.
Of course there was the Kurt Cobain avatar controversy in Guitar Hero 5 (heck, even Bon Jovi was embarrassed by the idea of the late Nirvana frontman and grunge icon singing Jersey’s greatest hits). Then came news this week that ska/punk/rocksteady/rock/pop outfit No Doubt is suing Activision over the use of their image in the Guitar Hero spin-off Band Hero. Evidently, much like the Cobain fiasco, Gwen Stefani and the boys did not provide Activision permission (or so they claim) to use their virtual counterparts in songs other than No Doubt tracks (apparently the prospect of No Doubt avatars performing a Taylor Swift jam is an affront to everything ska/punk/rocksteady/rock/pop stands for). Certainly, it looks like Activision is having some issues. But these avatar disputes are not what concerns me.
See what concerns me…
One last note on yesterday’s discussion about Michael Scott and the inverse relationship between his inanity to the quality of The Office (and then we’ll leave the show alone until next week). Just came across a post from Time TV columnist James Poniewozik, who essentially argued the same thing in his round-up of the best comedies currently on air. However, we disagreed about which Michael showed up in last night’s episode. Poneiwoznik asserts that “Double Date”s main problem was that it fed us the “too crazy” Michael. While I agree that it was just a “decent” episode, I don’t think it was because of an over-the-line Michael. Indeed, he straddled the line, but he ultimately came down on the side of tolerable. Instead what I think made this just a decent episode is that, as Alan Sepinwall notes, “the episode really didn’t know how to end.” I wonder if there was a big debate about whether Pam should actually hit Michael. Oscar belittles Kevin for betting on Pam, remarking that there is no way she can lose. But, as we saw, by (eventually) slapping him she did lose. They both lost. Perhaps it would have been better for Pam to just walk away, but I guess that would be the old Pam. And while the Michael-Helene romance was never going to last, it did feel a bit tossed off. I only wish the Michael-Jan affair could have ended just as quick.
Similarly, and to a greater degree, the B story with Dwight and Andy constantly trying to out-polite each other turned out to be a dead-end. It was amusing, if a bit too silly, but while it seemed to be leading up to a reveal of some evil Dwight plan, it just escalated to nowhere. This was far more of a let down than the Pam/Michael showdown.
For further reading see Vulture, AV Club, & PopWatch
And does he not need a Schrute Farms frozen chicken to ease the pain?
Well, he might bruise, but he definitely needed the makeshift ice pack.
After we argued for the usefulness of the lovelorn Michael Scott earlier today, tonight’s “Double Date” served up another helping of that quixotic Scott, while also mixing in his cringe-inducing, myopic unpleasant side. Realizing that Pam’s mom (aka “Pickle”) is a (sorta) much older woman, Michael slowly, painfully, tries to extricate himself from the relationship. He’s selfish and inconsiderate, but in this case it’s not so much his intentions that are wrong, just his actions. His epiphany that being with a soon to be Grandma would hinder his life plans, which still include having children (and maybe snowboarding) is understandable. Why he didn’t see this before is open for debate, but we must keep in mind that this is Michael Scott, master of obliviousness. However, instead of waiting another day or two, or at least until after the birthday lunch, Michael decides to break it off right then and there, just as Pam begins to accept him as a suitable mate for her mother (and perhaps as a possible step-father to herself and step-grandfather to her unborn child), creating the awkward tension that Michael has elevated to an art form over the years. But his heart was in the right place. Just at the wrong time.
Read on: Michael and Holly = Desmond and Penny?