The Office season 4 episode 5 review

The Office is back to its original, proper, 30-minute format. Does that mean Ron won't write so much? Who knows...

The Office is back!  Well, okay; technically, it’s been back for four episodes now, but now it’s back in its intended half-hour format, which means these reviews won’t run so long now!  I know you’re all excited about that, so let’s cut the chatter and jump right into the story, much like The Office jumps right into the story.

We open with a meeting, where everyone seems to be willing to offer up crazy suggestions.  But for what?  Why, apparently, the head office of Dunder-Mifflin has taken out some local air time to advertise the various branches of the company to their local market.  You see, apparently not everyone knows about Dunder-Mifflin’s great paper prices.  Andy suggests a catchy jingle, then proceeds not to remember the last line of the Kit Kat candy bar jingle (break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!)

Michael sees it as a chance to let everyone show their creativity, but unfortunately, corporate is just going to have a cookie-cutter ad with 5 seconds of Scranton color.  Michael introduces everyone, including Andy the Nard-Dog, Urban Stanley, Phyllis as a lesser Aunt Jemima, and the Three Accounting Bears.  Michael dishes out some hilariously bad ideas, learns what the ad is really going to be like, and promptly throws the ad people out so he can do it himself.  Pam gets to do computer animation.  Darryl, Kevin, Creed, Kelly, and Andy get to write a song.   

Dwight, meanwhile, has become a big user of Second Life.  Like most people who use SL, he’s doing this to hide from his real life (and Andy constantly discussing his progress with getting into Angela’s frigid womb).  Jim, as it turns out, also has a SL avatar dedicated to following Dwight around and also live out his dream of being a guitar-playing sports writer from Philadelphia.   

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The song is not going well.  Phyllis, who was tasked to get a celebrity in the video, did not get mystery writer Sue Grafton to appear in the show.  Pam is killing herself to computer animate the video, leaving Jim to hitch a ride with Meredith.  Michael is killing himself to edit the video.  Dwight is sleeping on the floor at the office, watching Michael edit the video.   

Everyone is stressed out.   

Strange jump cut to 10 days later, where we find out corporate rejected Michael’s commercial.  The whole gang has gathered at Poor Richard’s Pub to watch the boring official commercial, and Michael is understandably depressed.  Until, of course, Jim redeems everything by getting the bartender to play Michael’s version of the commercial.  Predicatbly, Michael’s commercial is funny and sweet and probably the best thing about the episode.   

Other than that, it felt a little flat and kind of rushed.  Maybe I got used to the hour-long episodes, I don’t know.  Maybe Andy’s inability to remember the damn Kit Kat jingle got on my nerves in a hurry.  I don’t know, aside from the commercial (which was actually good) and the singers, it didn’t do it for me.  I hope they revisit the Dwight in Second Life angle, otherwise it was a huge setup for no payoff in the end.   

Line of the Night:  Jim: “I think it’s great that the company’s making a commercial. Because not very many people have heard of us. I mean, when I tell people that I work at Dunder Mifflin, they think that we sell mufflers. Or muffins. Or mittens, or … and frankly, all of those sound better than paper, so … I let it slide.”Who Earned 10 Schrutebucks:  The entire Office crew, save Andy, pick up Schrutebucks this week for the commercial, which proves that while they all might fight a little bit more than they might want to, they’re really just one big happy family.  Aww.   

Who Has Been Deducted 50 Schrutebucks:  Andy not remembering the Kit Kat jingle is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen on TV, and it really took me right out of the show.

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Ron Hogan has a Second Life presence, but his computers won’t run SL anymore. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics and the Flektor Development Blog.