Two things caught my attention during last night's episode of The Office
1) The character of Michael Scott
often crosses the border of completely inappropriate behavior to such a ridiculous degree, that believability is lost.
2) All those obsessive Jim
fans who think they're soul mates, and that they should be together, and blah blah blah....they have to be killing themselves right now.
Here's what I think Steve Carrell and the writers for The Office
did sometime early in season 2. They sat down and decided that, although they'd set up The Office
in a faux-documentary style and that the realism of the show was part of the appeal, the character of Michael Scott would be allowed to break down that wall whenever it was deemed necessary. In essence, they decided to sacrifice some realism for the sake of comedy. Which, since The Office
is a comedy, was probably the right decision.
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I bring this up because Michael's behavior at Phyllis'
wedding was so utterly offensive that I thought it was out-of-character and that it would never have gone on that long without him getting punched in the face. But, this is absolutely not a criticism. I laughed at it all, especially the stuff with Phyllis' dad in the wheelchair. It's just noteworthy to look at how the show cheats from time to time, adapting its lead character to the situation at hand in order to squeeze the most possible comedy juice out of any scene.
The other issue, the continuing Jim and Pam saga, is a little more complex. The Jim and Pam romance (if you can call it that) is the source of a preposterous amount of fan coverage. Just type in “Jim and Pam” over at YouTube and you'll find a depressing amount of fan tributes to the two. I can understand this. The “will they, won't they” dynamic is a television staple that has been around for ages. The Jim and Pam version is notable because of the methodical pacing of the relationship, the writers moving their relationship along slowly and adeptly, not blowing their load early in the show's run.
Last night is sure to sadden a significant portion of the crazed Jim/Pam proprietors. You see, Pam went home with Roy
, her ex-fiance, after Phyllis's wedding. Jim saw this and reacted as if Pam had injected herself with a speedball of “crazy”. To be fair, Pam had a rough go of it at the wedding. Phyllis wore Pam's dress, used Pam's invitations, and Pam had to endure it all without a date while watching Jim and his girlfriend Karen have a good time.
If YouTube was as popular during Friends as it is now, I'm sure that there would also be an offensive number of Ross-Rachel video tributes. But, the Jim-Pam relationship is different. It is real, it is the grounding factor of The Office
that retains more fans than we likely give it credit for. The Ross-Rachel dynamic was unrealistic, mostly because Jennifer Aniston would never hook-up with a guy like Ross. Friends does show us that, over a nine-year span, the "will they, won't they" dynamic can become frustratingly overplayed.
I think it goes without saying that Jim and Pam will ultimately get together, but I don't see it happening in the near future. The powers-that-be at The Office
know the show will be on the air for at least a few more seasons and that by stringing fans along, you keep viewers guessing and in a perpetual state of wanting. As frustrating as it may be for those fans, they're just going to have to face it: the writers are not succumbing to the pressure from the fans.
Personally, I like how it's all playing out. When couples finally do get together on TV shows, the result is typically a letdown. Like in life, it's all in the pursuit, the build-up providing both the most conflict and the most romance.
(Oh, and The Office
was really funny last night. Just like always.)
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer