The Office returned to a half-hour tonight after a month of hour-long episodes.  The reaction was decidedly mixed to those hour-long editions of The Office, with complaints that the sixty minutes was just too long to sustain the show’s style of comedy.  I disagreed, and really enjoyed the first four episodes this season, particularly last week’s somewhat dark, character-driven episode which showed us sides of Dwight and Michael never previously seen.  I’ve heard Office fans everywhere excited to be getting back to the half-hours, but the problem is this: tonight’s episode felt short.  Really short. 

The Office: Episode 4.5,

Michael gets a call from corporate and is told that all the branches will shoot a TV commercial for Dunder-Mifflin.  Whoever does the best job will make it on air.  However, when the advertising guys show up, Michael soon finds out that they’ve already made the commercial (a cheesy dig on the big paper companies) and the branches are only competing to compete in the commercial’s last five seconds, where the employees are supposed to wave at the camera.

Michael has none of this.  He feels like his creativity has been demeaned and underrated.  He sends the ad guys away and tells corporate that he’s going to film his own commercial with help from the rest of the office.  He’s doing it all on his own dime and is letting his entire reputation rest on the success of his commercial.

Meanwhile, Dwight is still reeling from his break-up with Angela and is coping by spending a lot of time on Second Life, a computer-simulated existence where you create an avatar that just exists.  Andy keeps confiding in Dwight his progress in his new relationship with Angela.  Things are moving slowly, but the information is still killing Dwight.  When Andy, near the episode, tells Dwight that he finally made it to first base with Angela, Dwight is about to hit his lowest low until Andy mentions that when they were kissing, Angela kept muttering “Oh, D!” 

Pam, who is taking a computer animation class, takes the reins of making the graphics for Michael’s Dunder-Mifflin commercial.  She ends up falling asleep at her keyboard after staying up most of the night, working on the commercial (which has to be finished in one day). 

Michael sends the commercial to corporate and waits for a response.  We then flash forward ten days later and find out that corporate rejected Michael’s commercial.  The entire office congregates at the pub to watch the world premiere of Dunder-Mifflin’s commercial.  Michael hates it, everyone seems to enjoy it.  Jim has secretly brought Michael’s “director’s cut” of the episode.  It’s actually not that bad.  With better production values, I might actually buy it as a legit commercial.  It’s about the power of paper as it goes through different methods of relaying information.  Pam’s graphics are a big hit. 

Five Best Quotes of the Episode

“You just got Nard Dog-ed.”

 -Andy, to the ad guys after a lame fart joke.


-Dwight, suggesting a code name for Andy when they discuss Angela and Andy’s relationship.

“Everything is exactly the same, except I can fly.”

-Dwight, explaining his “Dwight” character in Second Life

“She’s crazy hot!”

-Creed, about mystery writer Sue Grafton

“Ryan’s being a little bitch again.”

-Michael complaining about his lack of creative freedom

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV