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The Office – Garage Sale

Who the hell makes the schedules for NBC? This is an extremely
pivotal time for The Office, when the lead actor for the last seven
years is finally getting ready to leave and we need to see if the show
can exist without him, now that an eighth season has been confirmed. It
should be an important event within the show, and it would help to have
some momentum going. But this is the first episode in four weeks, and
there won’t be another for three more. It makes no sense.

That didn’t keep this from being a solid episode, though. It had two
parts, the first of which titular garage sale, which is mostly just a
showcase for the different characters’ unique personalities via the
things they’re willing to part with to raise a little money in the
warehouse. I’m not sure we even ever saw anybody looking for stuff to
buy, and this whole plot seemed to exist only to provide a few laughs in
support of the episode’s second part, which did all of the heavy
lifting – Michael’s marriage proposal to Holly. I knew it was probably
coming, and would be a way to provide both an end to the emotional arc
of the show’s main character and a way to write him out of the show, and
though it accomplished both those things, it still felt fairly abrupt.
The timing just doesn’t quite add up the way you’d hope it would.

The Office

Holly is clearly the right girl for Michael, but they spent too much
time having Michael pine for her without the relationship actually
existing. The two met in the season four finale, and then dated for a
few episodes in season five before she was transferred away. She was
then essentially gone from the show for two whole years, popping up only
to show that she had another serious boyfriend during that time, before
returning midway through this season. After she broke up with her
boyfriend, she and Michael went from rekindling a brief romance to
falling totally in love, getting engaged, and agreeing to move to
Colorado to take care of her parents in only four episodes. And now
there’s only one more episode before the two part event when Michael
finally leaves. It just seems like the entire storyline could have used
some work.

Still, the relationship as it is on camera is a nice one, and it’s
good to see the character be happy. For the most part, his proposal
makes for a pretty entertaining story as well. At first he considers
writing her name in the parking lot with flaming gasoline or faking his
own falling death using an actual corpse, but Pam decides to help him
before he can do anything too dangerous. He’s not a big fan of the story
of her engagement to Jim, and wants his proposal to be remembered for
all time. Michael always wants to get the whole office involved in his
personal life, so of course he wants his marriage to Holly to be the
biggest thing Dunder Mifflin has ever seen. He gets Holly a ridiculously
beautiful ring (thinking the rule was three years’ salary rather than
three months’), and racks his brain before finally coming up with an

He leads Holly on a tour to all the important locations from their
past (which of course are all in the office building) before taking her
to the hallway leading to the annex, where everyone is gathered with
candles. The scene where various employees ask her to marry her and she
politely says no was a bit odd and felt like a reference I wasn’t
getting, and the reveal of the entire annex being filled with candles
was honestly a bit over the top. When did they have time to set this all
up during the garage sale? The sprinklers cutting off Michael’s speech
and soaking them before he produces the ring did a good job of easing
the eye rolling though, and all in all it was a sweet scene even if it
tried too hard. Then the reaction from the rest of the office when
Michael announces the move to Colorado. I wouldn’t have guessed this
stuff would all actually come before the departure, but it became clear
very early where the episode was going so it worked fine.

The garage sale stuff, as mentioned, was entertaining if not too
sophisticated. I’ve never seen Dallas but I know enough about it to get
some fun from the joke of Andy and Darryl making up the rules as they
went along, and Kevin winning the day when he sneaks off with the pot
was a nice moment of triumph for a character who’s been put upon lately.
I loved seeing a classic Jim prank after what seemed like a long
hiatus, and the fact that it totally undercuts Dwight’s scheme to trade
up from a thumb tack to the best item in the sale (which was actually
working) made it even better. The final gag in the end credits was a
nice escalation, too. There wasn’t much else there, although it’s always
fun to see more evidence of Ryan being a dirtbag.

I’m of two minds with this episode, because as I mentioned the build
up to these life-changing events could have been stronger with more time
to develop, and it was one of the few times when the show seemed to be
trying just a bit too hard to make the audience sappy. On the other
hand, it was mostly a fun episode to watch, and maybe I’m overestimating
how much extra time on the Michael/Holly relationship would have
actually helped the occasion itself. It’s obvious that the two are
perfect for each other, and when I’m willing to let the writers stretch
reality a bit for a couple laughs, why shouldn’t I do the same for a
little heartfelt sentiment? The end result would have basically been the
same. In any case, I’m happy with the direction they’ve taken saying
goodbye to one of the last decade’s best leading men of comedy.


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