Just as a reminder that I wear a movie hat, here's a link to my review of "Into the Wild." I've also been meaning to post some thoughts about "The Kingdom," which I saw last weekend, and about the style of director Peter Berg. Maybe over this weekend.
As for the continued march through Thursday's shows, talk about "The Office," "My Name Is Earl" and "Mad Men," with spoilers, after the jump ...
Best line in "The Office" was probably Dwight's description of his grandfather, Argentina and visa problems. Second best: Phyllis's little speech to Pam about sales-call etiquette. Third wasn't a line but an expression: Kelly's head-shake after telling Ryan she was pregnant. Fourth: Creed's trying to bond with Ryan about Red Bull.
That said, I wasn't crazy about the episode overall. Michael's gift-basket mission just didn't work. Michael would have picked up on Dwight's emotionalism at some point. And going back for the gift basket was wrong -- the kind of thing that could give Ryan an excuse to fire Michael, and Michael would have known that.
As big a Dunderhead as Michael is, we have repeatedly seen that he has an instinct for self-protection. Indeed, once he learns the meaning of ageism, he knows that it's a good weapon against Ryan. He may go over the top with it, but he has also made the basic nuclear threat: calling Ryan's boss about it.
Nor does Ryan prove to be much of a rival. Even though he has the corporate job, he's already looking bad at it -- the call to corporate about Kelly shows the depth of his incomprehension about management; it's pretty much a Michael conversation -- and Ryan does not have the sales rep that Michael built, gift baskets or no gift baskets.
So, funny stuff here and there, but not rock solid.
"My Name Is Earl" was OK. Some laughs, and it has now set up a way for Earl to continue his good deeds in prison, courtesy of the reduced-sentence gift-certificates. Craig T. Nelson is a good choice for the warden. Not sure about Randy becoming a prison guard, though. Kind of liked his having to deal with Joy.
As you know, I thought "Mad Men" was a good one. Loved the stuff with Peggy and the exercise device, especially the scene where she's trying to explain without explaining -- hoping that what she wrote down will spare her embarrassment. And, of course, she was bound to use the device again. Interesting juxtaposition of that with Betty doing the laundry. And while it's certainly possible that Pete is just taking Don's package to his new office, he's such a weasel that I find it hard to believe that Pete won't open it; if he admires one thing about Don, it's Don's ruthlessness, and opening a guy's mail is about as cutthroat as you can get.
As for Don making partner, doesn't it feel as if disaster is around the corner? The AMC online teaser says for next week: "On election night, the Sterling Cooper staff pulls a rowdy all-nighter while watching the returns. Pete's ambitions cause him to directly challenge Don."