The Office

The Office, NBC, Airs Thursdays 9/8c

Episode: “The Duel” (Episode 11, Season 5)

Synopsis: Andy (Ed Helms) finds out about Angela’s (Angela Kinsey) affair with Dwight (Rainn Wilson), and the co-workers fight for her hand in ways only two nerds can.

Review: We won’t spend too much time recapping this episode since we are a week behind from when it aired. In the spirit of the Academy Awards nominations, the winner of most unaware lover in the world goes to Andy Bernard. While he may not be the most observant paper supply employee, he does get points for going balls to the wall in an effort to defend her honor. Both he and Dwight are to be commended for kicking Angela’s ass to the curb. How many times have you seen two scorned lovers fight and wonder, “why aren’t the mad at the person who broke their heart?”

Just a thought, maybe it isn’t a good idea to let Michael in on secrets. He has spoiled things for both Jim and Dwight. That is to be expected from a drunken buffoon, not anyone sober. I guess technically Michael is drunk off stupidity though.

The wait for a new Office episode was agonizing, as it always is, and we weren’t disappointed. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments, like when Jim went around confiscating all of the weapons Dwight would use in the duel. We’re just thankful that the cat is out of the bag. Now the gang at Dunder Mifflin can go back to being uncomfortable about truly trivial issues.

The Duel had a large amount of build-up with a relatively satisfying ending. It wasn’t like we expected fireworks. A simple attempt to take Dwight’s life will do. I originally thought the Dwight and Andy arch-rivalry would be a letdown. I was wrong. It is just as entertaining as the one that existed between Roy (David Denman) and Jim (John Krasinski), only in a much sicker way. The Duel was nearly perfect, actually offering a plot instead of wacky behavior, not that we mind that. But sometimes we want something filling to go with our fluff.

Episode: “Prince Family Paper” (Episode 12, Season 5)

Synopsis: Michael and Dwight are sent on a mission from corporate to find out more about a rival paper company, meanwhile the gang back at Scranton debates the hotness of Hilary Swank.

I am so grateful to The Office for settling important questions, like whether Hilary Swank is hot or not. (My verdict: she is an unconventional manner.) Still, it felt like the bit went on for a bit too long. But I can’t pretend that my fellow employees and I haven’t had meaningless debates like this. There was a week where I can recall the great argument about Sandra Bullock’s sex appeal. The best line in the case of Scranton vs. Swank came when Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) explains that he actually thought Hilary Swank had a penis.

The meat and potatoes of Prince Family Paper came with the spy games from Michael and Dwight. The beginning of the Get Smart extension to the Scranton city limits felt like one of those Sonic food commercials. Not necessarily a good thing. But it picked up and put Michael’s morals to the test. You have to appreciate that, especially in a period of American history where we see more every-men being laid off by the day. The Office has always had a knack for getting to the heart of matters that people can relate to.

The Duel stood out as the stronger of the two episodes, but both were able to separate the characters we love from the ones we love to hate. If we had forgotten that Angela, Dwight and Michael are more villains than misunderstood heroes, we now have our memories refreshed. And while I enjoyed getting to see the softer side of Scranton, it is great to have some bittersweet moments I can sink my teeth into.

Up Next Week: Jack Black, Jessica Alba and Cloris Leachman guest star in a one hour post-Super Bowl episode. After Dwight’s fire safety seminar goes awry, he must make amends to the stressed-out office. Michael tries a number of ways to get his employees to relax before discovering that he is the number one stressor at work. So that people won’t feel afraid of him, he insists on a no-holds-barred roast of himself. Also, while watching a pirated movie, Andy is convinced that Jim and Pam (Jenna Fischer) are film gurus.”

What did you think of the first two episodes of 2009 for The Office?

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