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"The Office": Company Picnic

By admin Published: May 15, 2009

Funny is good. But sweet and wistful can be nice, too.

I mentioned in the previous post about "30 Rock" the risk that a comedy runs when it gets too serious. But "The Office" has managed to be serious and funny at the same, uncomfortable time (the denouement of Andy/Angela/Dwight, some of the Jan/Michael stuff), and it has at times put the humor aside to let us smile with the characters over a moment of success or joy in their lives.

"Company Picnic" contained three of those moments. It also had funny stuff, such as Pam's volleyball skills, Stanley's reactions and, of course, the disastrous Dunder Mifflin "Slumdog Millionaire" sketch. My favorite part: The shift to the torture-interrogation. Of course, there were those bits on the edge of seriousness, like the Buffalo revelation and Charles's ongoing hostility toward Jim and his trying to get Pam out of the game.

But the more touching bits were Pam's pregnancy, especially the way it was set up (with Pam being asked if she was pregnant) before going to the seen but not heard reveal, and their expressions, especially Jim's, since he wasn't 100 percent committed to happiness. Great addition to their relationship, too, since we're already seeing Pam getting more assertive, as she did in her reaction to Jim's joke about balancing. Jim is going to have to start growing up even faster.

I also liked Dwight's going to Angela's defense when his friend kept badgering her about the way she treated Dwight. The show has really punished Angela, and Andy has obviously moved past her, but Dwight's defense both told the audience that enough abuse had been heaped on her and reminded us that Dwight still has feelings for her. Angela's reaction to his comments was also well played.

Finally, though, and most beautifully done, was the reunion of Michael and Holly. So much ache in Michael's seeing her hand-in-hand with her boyfriend, then the delight when they were working and joking together, especiallly because the "Slumdog" sketch was exactly the kind of thing they would come up with -- because Holly's sense of humor is so Michael-like -- and the more observant Holly would be the one to notice that they didn't get laughs.

Then, the realization that she still has feelings for him, however unspoken, but neither pushing it to a point where it might break the possibility of Michael's romantic fantasy. When we come to the end of "The Office," I hope it will at last be the time for Michael and Holly to get together. Because even if she left with the boyfriend, I think she knows that Michael is her soul mate. At least, that's what I want to believe. And if ever there was a couple I wanted to see together, this is it.

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