Tag Archives: Jim Halpert

Who’s Ripping Us Off Now?

With the new fall TV season almost upon us (did you see the “new” promo for NBC’s Wednesday & Thursday night comedies?), we thought we’d offer our first The Office related post in quite sometime.  But this one is less about them and more about us.

It came to our attention shortly after the conclusion of last season that NY Mag‘s Fug Girls (of their “The Cut” blog.  Yes, we do occasionally read (and watch shows) about fashion),

had offered a side-by-side comparison of the employees of Dunder Mifflin’s changing styles during their seven seasons in front of the “documentary” cameras.  It was engaging, well-researched, and totally spot-on  It was also VERY familiar, as we had (twice!) previously posted our own visual essay on the stark physical transformations experienced by the Office cast.   Sure, The Fug Girls presented their findings in attractive slide-show fashion, but we find the single page model much easier and efficient (and we’re not about forcing you into

clicking through a dozen panels just to drive up our page views).  The truth is, we both did a great job distilling the pygmalion like evolution of these characters, and each post has its merits.  So, you know what, we’ll just go ahead let you decide.

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You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone: Quick Thoughts On Last Week’s NBC Thursday Comedies

 

That’s how we felt about The Office.  As much as we’ve harangued the show this year for underusing or misusing Jim, rendering him no more than the Greek chorus, it turns out that we really need him.  Absent for the entire episode, save the cold open, we kept waiting for the camera to cut to him, to confirm the absurdity of the situation.  But he wasn’t there (Jon Krasinksi off shooting a movie, we assume), and without Jim to ground Michael’s insanity it was a runaway train.  Now, they could still cut back on some of the Jim reaction shots, but as long as Michael is around, we’ll need that balance.

Speaking of Michael, we’ll wonder if we’ll feel the same way when he’s gone.  Because, right now, we’re eager for him to get moving out of Dunder Mifflin.  The act has finally grown tiresome, and it often suffocates the other characters and the show.  We’re sure we’ll miss him, but that doesn’t mean we’ll want him back.  However, Kudos to Mindy Kaling and Craig Robinson for continuing your MVP seasons.

Parks and Recreation, welcome home!  Thank goodness you gave us that season two recap to get us back up to speed (we could have used that for The Office and 30 Rock as well, frankly), and it seems like you haven’t missed a beat.  We think it got a little too broad at times (Andy with April’s new boyfriend, for example), and the overuse of things like the “Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness” worry us, but it’s definitely picking up where it left off, as the second best show of the night.

Which brings us to Community.  Oh how we missed you!  And you were only gone for six weeks.  Don’t stay away that long ever again!  You guys came back from the Christmas break without any rust, setting up what we can only assume will be an even better second half of season two.  Looking forward to it.  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Oh, and Outsourced was awesome (jk!  jk!).

 

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‘The Office’: Who Are These People???

With a new The Office tonight, we wanted to repost, by itself, the Office then-and-now comparisons we included in last week’s recap. We felt it deserved its own moment in the sun.

The transformation of Dwight [in last week’s episode] reminded us of a troubling trend within the show itself.  While this episode showed Dwight being made over into a glasses-less, monochromatic tie-free aristocrat, The Office has to some degree been making over Dwight and its other characters over the course of its run.  Characters should grow and change and evolve, but it should always serve the story.  However, if you look at the physical appearances of the actors, they look more glamorous and polished now than they did at the start of the series, and not necessarily because the characters have improved their style.  It’s a concerning phenomenon, and we hope it doesn’t point to the actors themselves, the stars of the shows, objecting to the dour, depressing style that defined the early seasons of the show and its progenitor.  Behold, a side-by-side comparison:

Like we said, characters change, that’s a given.  Their looks, their hairstyle, their clothes, their personality all change.   We want that.  We don’t want static characters.  That’s lesson #1.  But, at the same time, it would be disappointing if the appearance of these characters is due in part to the actors’ vanity.  Are we seeing Jim Halpert or John Krasinski?  The UK original was known for its gritty look, an anti-network sheen, bordering on depressing.  And the first two seasons of the American version adhered to this (albeit in a less severe form), allowing for somewhat schlubby characters and grubby visuals (as much as network TV allows).  But over time that’s changed, and the show glistens now in a way it didn’t before.  And in some respects the storylines and tone have changed as well, gussied up and simplified.  Now the show doesn’t need to return to its original look, throw out the new wardrobe and ban make-up.  But it needs to remember where it came from.  And where it originally was going.

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In Defense of: Jim Halpert

One of the thorniest arcs on this uneven season of The Office has been the promotion of Jim to co-manager, a move that has seemed more like a demotion, as he has seemed to have lost the respect of his co-workers (and possibly his wife) as well as misplaced his charm.  Where there was once a shaggy haired goofball there’s now a well-coiffed suspender-less Bill Lumberg.

With The Office returning from winter break just an hour from now it’s a good time to ask, have we lost our lovable, affable Jim?

Last month Awl.com published an article entitled “The Office is the Most Depressing Show on Television,” locating the show’s current problems in the de-evolution of Jim, noting that’s here’s proved himself to be merely “a mediocre man who has already realized his full potential.”  And just last week Macleans explained “Why no one likes Jim anymore.”  Is this true?  Does Jim Halpert have no friends?  Is he the most annoying character on television?  Has he become a humorless, corporate tool?  A virtual washed up high school football star, his best days behind him?

I don’t think so.

Read on: Why this could be their ultimate gamble…

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Something Funny Happened on the Way to Five Thursday’s Ago

(This a post I intended to compose a month ago, but then the holidays hit, and then the Thursday night comedies went on winter vacation so there was no real rush to write this.  But with the comedy block returning tonight, save for The Office, this seemed like the right time to finally record these thoughts).

One month ago, on December 10, before the Jaypocalypse, NBC’s Thursday night comedies aired their Christmas themed episodes.  And something funny happened:  The Office, well, wasn’t.  At least it was very clearly the weak link in what was otherwise a very strong night of comedy.  30 Rock continued to be the joke-for-joke best show on television, Parks and Rec extended what has been a breakout second season, and Community turned in what might have been its best episode yet.  And The Office?  By far it’s weakest Christmas episode to date.  Sure, it had a lot of live up to – Christmas Party, Benihana Christmas – but it didn’t even equal last season’s Moroccan Christmas, which itself was rather a disappointment. And against the other comedies that night, it just didn’t measure up.  Something seemed off.

Now, I’m not out on the ledge yet.  But it’s certainly concerning.

Keep reading: Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Plus Anthony Michael Hall and Julianne Moore!

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Teeter Tots: Up and Down with Mr. Scott the Benefactor

At the risk of getting very repetitive we’ll quickly revisit our season long question:  Which Michael Scott did we see in the latest Office installment, “Scott’s Tots?”  Well-meaning but confused and ill-prepared Michael or malicious, self-absorbed, cripplingly myopic Michael?  Well, as usual, and  probably as it should be, we were served some of both.  But, as we’ll see, we at least ended with the more preferable of the two.

I didn’t mind this episode, but it also didn’t seem especially funny.  Whereas I was in a social environment when I initially viewed “Mafia” from earlier this season, and even laughed heartily at it, I knew very quickly that episode wasn’t that humorous, at least not that good.  On other hand, I watched “Scott’s Tots” alone at 2 in the morning which, I admit, could have been a detriment (I did, however, enjoy some leftover birthday ice cream cake, so, despite the hour, I still managed to fulfill my Office watching pre-requisite of either ice cream or NY pizza (and when I say NY Pizza I don’t mean “NY Pizza,” the moniker that every pizza place outside of NY throws onto its marquee in hopes of tricking the consumer into thinking their product is comparable to the thin, crispy, cheesy, heavenly Big Apple standard, and not what it really is, an inferior copy.  Rule of thumb: if some pizza joint beyond the tri-state area bills their product as “NY Pizza,” you’re probably going to be disappointed.  Also, unless they serve slices, it’s not NY Pizza.  And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging));  perhaps I wouldn’t feel so ambivalent about it had I watched before midnight with a crowd.  Still, my intuition says that it would have been the same.  Not particularly hilarious, but, actually, a nice little episode, and the kind of more authentic offering that has been sorely needed of late.

Continue: believable absurdity, feelings and more NY pizza!

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