May 14, 2006

Finale Report: The Office - "Casino Night"

This series is fantastic. So good, in fact, I am surprised that it is still on. Usually, shows that are a little out of the mainstream, and are unusually clever, they don't last long. That may only apply to cancelled shows that I've liked, but I'm sure you get the point. Watching the documentary style, and the office antics, I feel like I am one of them. It feels so much like actually being at work, not that it is work. I find myself relating to it in a similar way to when I read Dilbert. If you have ever dwelled in a cube in a cubicle farm, you know what I'm talking about.

The start of the finale sees Michael speaking about the impending festivities of Casino Night. He has the warehouse decorated to look like a casino. The event is to raise money for charity, and the one chosen by Michael is the Boy Scouts. As pointed out by a few of the office dwellers, a very, uh, worthy charity. Michael further compounds issues by asking his boss, Jan, and his real estate agent, Carole, to the party. Both of them accept, and Michael wrongly assumes that it will be a date.

Meanwhile the saga of Jim and Pam continues. Pam is looking over tapes of potential bands to perform at her impending wedding, with Jim's help, of course. Ever since the start of the series, Jim has had a budding love for Pam, despite her engagement to one of the warehouse guys. While viewing the tapes, they discover that Kevin is a singer/drummer for one of the bands, and they are seen playing an old Police cut. Pretty funny if you ask me.

Fast forward to the evening's festivities. There are some funny poker setups, one being Michael bragging about his bluffing skills, only to be called out by Toby. Another funny moment is when Kevin, a former poker champ, loses to the novice, Phyllis. Move over to the craps table and you will get to see Angela slap Dwight, after he kisses her after a winning dice role. Their relationship is still flying under the radar in the office, although some are picking up the hints.

Michael gives Dwight the important job of wingman, it is his duty to keep Jan and Carole apart. Dwight being Dwight, does not do a very good job at his task, as the two woman meet shortly after they arrive. Michael is stuck in the middle trying to appease both sides, while attempting to keep the semblance of a date. Jan, actually showing some feelings for Michael, feels foolish after seeing him enjoying Carol's company, and leaves the gathering early.

Before Jan leaves, Jim talks to her about a possible transfer opportunity. Jim has nowhere else to go at this office, and feels he has to get away from Pam. Despite being such good friends, he is finding it increasingly difficult to hide his obvious feelings for her. A little later in the evening, the drama of this comedy kicks in. Pam's fiancee leaves early, asking Jim to keep an eye on her. Jim proceeds to come clean on his feelings for her. Pam responds in the expected manner, she cannot be put into this sort of situation, and leaves. She is obviously confused, as they may be friends, but she may reciprocate. She retreats to the office and call sher mother for advice. It isn't long before Jim interrupts, she hangs up. He says nothing, he just goes to her and kisses her as the episode ends.

This show is fantastic. I have seen some of the original version, and think this is a worthy interpretation of that series. I love how it doesn't get into the standard sitcom cliches. I love the documentary style, how characters are followed around, sometimes the camera gets cut off and you can only watch through a window, the confessional type asides to the camera, just wonderful stuff.

The cast has great chemistry. Comic timing is perfect. The relationship between Michael (Steve Carell) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is very funny, the whole mentor type thing they have going leads to much comedy. The other lead pair is Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) who also work great together. The writing is great, as is the direction.

I am looking forward to season 3. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the aftermath of the kiss, the wedding, Michael and Carole, and the rest of the dysfunctional Office clan.


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