Hey Office Flans! If you can believe it, today is the the 10th anniversary of the airing of Casino Night. This Second Season finale, written by Steve Carell himself, gave us so many great things: Dinkin’ Flicka, Scrantonicity, Afghanistinanis, “I hate so much about the things you chose to be”, Michael having 2 Queens on Casino Night. And of course, this:
Part of the style of the show was that it wasn’t important that actors hit precise marks. And in [the scene in the parking lot] in particular, there were times when one actor would block the other, you wouldn’t have a good view or as much of a view if you had asked the actors to hit specific marks. To me, it helped sell the idea that the documentary crew was just there to capture something as opposed to the scenes they staged for the benefit of the camera. It just helps the emotions.
We shot it with one camera only, and the camera was hidden far away from where Pam was standing, talking on the phone with her mother. So we really shot it in a way that was like we were eavesdropping on Pam and one of the things I love about the shot is that when Jim walks in, Pam’s back is to us. He walks up to her and kisses her and with that angle, you see his face quite clearly, but you really don’t see her expression. As an audience member, you get to fill in those emotions that you can’t see on her face. You get to imagine how she’s reacting. In a funny way, it puts you in her shoes.
They’re the scenes that launched 1000 fics and fanvids, but even 10 years on they’re still so lovely and heartbreaking and timeless. Also never forget the summer of ’06, aka the summer of agony, as fans has to wait months to learn what the aftermath of The Kiss was.
Next up in my Jim and Pam series is a scene from ep 219 “Michael’s Birthday”. This was my first piece on 14x11in paper and also the first time I tried doing my outlines with Col-Erase pencils instead of graphite.
I have a lot of love for ep. 211 “Booze Cruise” and I wanted to do justice to the equally lovely and heartbreaking 27 Seconds of Silence scene. I played around with all sorts of layouts, but I decided to stitch together a bunch of frames to get my reference. I also decided to try out doing a background on a different paper and putting it together in Photoshop. I’ve already fussed around a lot with the background version and probably will more in the future, but it’s presentable.
The Office ended it’s US run with around 200 episodes, most of them great, but a handful not so much so. Be it lack of plot progression, ridiculous antics, or just downright not funny, here are some episodes that probably are going to get skipped during Office binges.
How did I get this list – I tried to be as democratic as I could and consulted the “Survivor Polls” and posts over at Officetally.com. This list is comprised of the bottom two episodes from Season 4 (since it was a shortened season) and the bottom three from Seasons 5 and 6. Go to the bottom of the post to vote!
Survivor Man ep 407 If this episode felt a little out of place at all, it’s probably due to the fact that it was part of NBC’s environmentally themed “Green Week”. Michael running off to the woods and trying to “rough it” was a bit out there, even for Michael (though it was certainly in character that he failed miserably and was back at the office by quitting time). The antics back at Dunder Mifflin were more amusing and more Office-y, though it could be argued that this was the unfortunate beginning of Jim’s “de-evolution” from a likable underachiever with lots of potential to a middle manager constantly teetering on the edge of incompetence. (The “longing for more than Dunder Mifflin” character arc he was on this season was all-but-abandoned after this episode, though it would fittingly return in the last season) Saving Grace: the communal birthday montage was pretty great, and I always enjoy Jim and Michael’s heart-to-hearts.
Night Out ep 411 What makes The Office unique is it’s about average (albeit quirky) people in an average mid-sized town, not about fashionable party-goers in a big city. Which is probably why the “Dwight and Michael go clubbing in NYC” part of the episode doesn’t feel like The Office at all. The antics at the office were better, even if it’s not well explained why the gates are locked when the staff has stayed late before, nor is Toby caressing Pam’s knee ever really followed up on (though him jumping the fence was hilarious). Saving Grace: Before you have time to process how out of character it was for Dwight to be making out with a blonde college basketball player, you’ll be laughing at everyone’s simultaneous “Ew” when Michael texted them all the picture.
Baby Shower ep 504
In the Season 4 finale, Jan reappeared pregnant and Michael decided to be a part of the pregnancy despite the fact that Jan went to a sperm donor (while she a Michael were together, no less!) I don’t know if Melora Hardin (Jan) had another gig, or if the audience wasn’t responding well the story line, but it very much felt Jan was getting the boot by having her have the baby without Michael and then having her act really aloof towards everyone (and just downright mean to Holly) when she came in for the baby shower. After this episode we wouldn’t see her again until season 7. Dwight stress-testing Jan’s expensive stroller was amusing but also kind of a dick move. Saving Grace: Michael asking Holly out and Jim and Pam leaving each other perfectly in-sync messages about feeling out of sync were a nice, sweet end to an otherwise meh episode.
Moroccan Christmas ep 511
Expectations were high since there was no Season 4 Christmas episode, and Season 2 and 3’s were both stellar. Sadly this episode just didn’t deliver. Meredith’s intervention and Phyllis blackmailing Angela would have been fine plot lines separately but paired together it made this episode, as Kelly said, “kind of a drag”. Add in Toby pathetically trying to buy the season’s hottest doll for his daughter and Andy performing a sitar version of “Deck the Halls” blissfully unaware that his fiancee Angela is cheating on him and we end up with a Christmas episode with almost zero Christmas cheer. Saving Grace: The cold open with Dwight’s Christmas wrapped desk was a classic Jim-prank. Also Michael knowing the “Princess Unicorn” jingle just cracks me up for some reason.
Prince Family Paper ep 513
When Michael’s sent to get intel on a local competitor, he faced a moral dilemma as Dunder Mifflin is primed to drive the small family paper company (run by the nicest people in the world) out of business. In the end, Michael turned the info he gathered over to CFO David Wallace, and really that move alone pushed this from a perfectly fine episode to a not-so-great one; family is very important to Michael and it’s rather out-of-character for him to knowingly hurt a family like that. The office’s debate over if Hilary Swank is hot-or-not was funny initially but goes on for way too long. Saving Grace: Jim’s “mysterious red wire” prank on Dwight was hilarious, as was Stanley’s impassioned speech about the hotness of Hilary Swank.
Mafia ep 606
In this episode’s defense, it’s the episode after “Niagara” (aka “Jim and Pam get married”) so already the deck was stacked against it. Oscar got accidentally meta when he talked about the balance of “sane and others” being thrown off by Jim and Pam being gone on their honeymoon, because that’s the exact problem of this episode. Without Jim’s reason and Pam’s reassurance, Michael ended up getting most of his advice on how to handle a pushy insurance salesman from Andy and Dwight, and things quickly veered from “amusing” to “ridiculous”. Saving Grace: Jim pretending his phone’s cutting out as he gives advice to Michael is pretty hilarious.
Scott’s Tots ep 612 Ten years ago, Michael foolishly promised a class of 3rd graders he’d pay their college tuition, now the class is ready to graduate high school and of course Michael can’t fulfill his promise. Usually it’s uncomfortably funny to watch Michael get into situations he can’t gracefully get out of, but in this episode it’s just uncomfortable to watch all the young dreams get dashed because of Michael’s cowardice. The other plot line isn’t much better as Dwight’s complicated plan to get father-to-be Jim fired is rather mean-spirited, even for Dwight. Saving Grace: Michael and Erin’s heart-to-heart towards the end is pretty sweet.
Banker ep 614
It’s almost unfair to count “The Banker” as an episode since it’s a clip show. There was some original footage and an attempt at a plot; Dunder Mifflin is about to be sold and a banker comes in to assess the company. Then cue a series of clip montages about work accidents, Jim’s pranks, office romances, etc. It would have been fine as an internet/DVD feature, or a “special” immediately followed by a new episode, but as a stand-alone episode, it left fans unsatisfied and not smiling.
Saving Grace: Michael trying to impress the banker at the beginning was amusing, and Jim and Pam’s montage was sweet (even if the average JAM fanvid had better editing IMHO)
There we are, the most mediocre of episodes from seasons 4-6. Now it’s time to vote! Please select which of these was the worst of Seasons 4 though 6. If your least favorite is not in the list, go ahead and list it in “Other” (make sure it’s from these seasons! There is a poll for seasons 1 to 3 already, and 7-9 will be posted later!)
Somehow I didn’t get this posted for Christmas but here is my latest PB&J piece from ep 210 “Christmas Party”. I used a silly promo shot for reference, and that paper ream “Christmas tree” just about did me in! I also added a little detail, can you find it? (answer after the pic)
Did you notice the little white bit in Jim’s back pocket? That’s the famous teapot card. And yes, the mistletoe ribbon was also added.