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The Office – The Search

With Jim barely showing up anymore (it seems like he must not be available to film much because of other commitments) and audiences pretty used to Dwight and Pam at this point, it seems like the writers of the show have really been giving just about everybody else on the show more chances to stand out and get a few minutes of screen time. That continued with last night’s cold open, which featured Ryan and Kelly announcing their divorce to the rest of the office without even bothering to have told them about their quickie marriage a week earlier. With so much of the show’s emotional focus on the various troubled relationships its biggest male characters go through, it’s fun to have a couple around that’s just completely ridiculous to deflate things a bit. And I love how nobody raised their hands to show support for either one of them.

 

Speaking of those relationships though, the only thing of real significance to happen in this episode is a reconcilliation between Michael and Holly. I feel like kind of an idiot for wondering whether the show would actually put them back together when they’ve already done it, but I suppose there’s time for more to happen. At the beginning of the episode Michael is being Michael, pestering Holly about why they still aren’t dating yet when it’s just perfectly obvious to him that they should be. But after Jim has to leave Michael at a gas station due to a baby-related emergency, the stars start aligning to bring the two former lovers back into each other’s arms.

First I have to say that I thought it was hilarious how much of a dick the gas station attendant was to Michael for no reason. He’s adamant that Jim intentionally ditched him, and refuses to let him use his phone long enough to call information (Michael left his phone and wallet in Jim’s car and can’t remember Dunder Mifflin’s number). So after Michael can’t call someone at the office to pick him up, and doesn’t ask anyone else for their phone for some reason, he starts wandering around downtown Scranton instead of heading back the way he came from. His journeys take him to a pet store, then to a cell phone kiosk, then to a Chinese restaurant where he attempts to dine and dash before his conscience gets the better of him, earning him a spot on the wall of thieves, before going to the top of a nearby building to try to spot Dunder Mifflin from the high vantage point.

Meanwhile, a crack team is assembled to locate Michael after Jim warns Pam of the situation: Holly, Erin, and Dwight. Erin still isn’t a fan of Holly’s, and Dwight can’t put himself in Michael’s mind set because his razor-sharp logical mind cannot be turned off. Butt Holly’s natural instincts of where to go closely mirror Michael’s, similarly signing up for a phone with a fake name to get a stress ball, being enticed by the Chinese restaurant’s egg rolls, and then having the same idea about trying to spot the office building from higher up. She finds him on the roof, and then the two embrace and kiss while Erin finally smiles her approval of the match.

Back in the office, impromptu captions on one of Pam’s sketches making light of some of Sabre’s faulty hardware cause the group to try to start up a contest, but stick-in-the-mud Gabe imposes some ground rules that they shouldn’t reference pop culture or make fun of the company. This causes the workers to turn on him en masse, creating captions making fun of Gabe that barely have anything to do with the actual drawing they’re supposed to be captioning. Honestly, I haven’t been big on the way the show has been villainizing and isolating Gabe recently, presumably to push for an Erin-Andy reunion. He’s more entertaining when he’s the hapless and put-upon corporate representative, not the guy who tries to stop everyone’s fun. A lot of the jokes here were pretty good though, especially Angela’s caption and her explanation of it.

If my calculations are correct, there are seven more episodes of Michael Scott left for us to enjoy. After that Will Ferrell will be in charge for four episodes, with a permanent replacement starting next Fall and a shift to more of a true ensemble cast. As we near the end of Steve Carell’s run, I like how we’ve been seeing all of his different sides, for better or worse. This week we got petulant child Michael, lost simpleton Michael, and sweetly tentative Michael. While I wish there was a bit more of an arc to what he’s had to do so far, there’s still time to really do all that, and it’s been another great string of performances by him. I hope they do a good job of making his last few hours on the show a fitting resolution for such a memorable character.

Rating
8.0

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