An amazing, terrifying, weirdly hilarious episode. More after the jump. ...
From the moment Jan declared that the wine Jim and Pam brought would be good to cook with, I knew we were in for some inspired madness.
Actually, I kind of knew before that. I was so paranoid about NBC juggling start times in a way that would make me miss something, that I set the DVR running a single recording (instead of a series of dubs for individual shows) from "Earl" on through the entire lineup. And when I was scrolling through to get to "The Office," I saw that stupid, stupid, stupid capsule of what was to come that gave away entirely too much. "The Office" is a smart show. Its viewers, one would think, were also smart. That opener seemed to assume that we're all still enrolled in Ding Dong School.
But when the episode got going, it was so fine. Jan and the wine, as I said. Jan's takeover of Michael's condo. Michael's sad little plasma TV. The three hours needed for cooking. Jan dancing to her former assistant's CD. (This was such a good episode for Jan, and for Melora Hardin. It did more than show us how batso Jan is. It showed us that she is, at heart, Michael's Michael. And Hardin carried it off splendidly.) Jim trying to escape, and more than willing to leave Pam behind, and Pam making sure it did not happen. (Of course, it's also another hint that Jim-Pam is doomed, but even if it is, Pam is proving to be the strong and sympathetic one -- and, if doom is in the offing, I can see her dumping Jim because he just hasn't met expectations.)
Jan's jealousy. Michael trying to get the guys to invest in her candle company. The beer-lamp scene. The smudges argument. And I can't forget either Angela's really hating that she's on a date with someone else, and Dwight with the turkey leg.
Oh. My. Gosh. What a joy to have it back. Anyone want to disagree?