I lost a penny out of my loafers, Oscar.

The Office – Chair Model
Michael becomes obsessed with a model in an office supply catalog. Meanwhile, a territorial war heats up in the office park when some staffers try to reclaim their appropriated parking spots.

The employees of Dunder Mifflin are irritated because another company in the office park is remodeling, and their contractors are taking all the parking spaces. Actually, that’s wrong. Some are irritated; some, like Andy and Kevin, are downright livid. This has a lot of potential as a return to the wonderfully mundane story lines of The Office we all know and love. Andy and Kevin go to Michael about the parking situation, but he refuses to help. So, the boys gather the CEOs of the business park (who are portrayed like mob bosses) to talk about the parking issue. The bosses agree to give the spaces back, and Andy makes an impassioned speech to the camera about defending the average joe—the guy who wonders, “How am I going to pay my kids’ orphanage bills? How am I going to pay the mortgage on my $400 apartment?” Ouch. What happened to the subtle humor? Contrary to expectations, this storyline was not great.

In other news, a newly single Michael becomes obsessed with a cute model in the office supply catalog. Dwight pledges to find the model and he does, but learns that she has died in a car accident. Already tired of being single, Michael puts out a formal request for every employee to set him up on a date or they’re fired. Phyllis offers to set up Michael with her friend, but he’s skeptical. And it turns out Phyllis’s friend is fat. Hysterical. Pam feels bad so she sets Michael up with her landlady. He meets her and she is not cute, so he pretends that he is not Michael. This reminds me of the finale of the British Office when David goes on his blind dates. The fact that I have suddenly started comparing the American Office to the British one is a bad sign.

Jim tells Pam that she’s going to get evicted for setting up such a horrible date, and uses this as an excuse to ask Pam to move in with him. She says no; she won’t move in with anyone again unless she’s engaged. He says, “It’s coming.” Fans across the nation are squealing in glee right now. But why does Jim still look so awful? I like that the shaggy hair is back, but he looks exhausted. Pam & Jim joke around about getting engaged, and then in a side interview we learn that Jim actually does have an engagement ring that he bought a week after they started dating.

Yikes. Well, I know how I want this to go down. Jim proposes, Pam thinks it’s too fast after her recent failed engagement, this is the “strife” that we keep hearing about, and Jim and Pam break up but continue to pine for each other, at least for a while. Bring back the sexual tension! While walking to their cars, Jim suddenly gets down on one knee. Pam looks shocked, but he just makes a joke about needing to tie his shoe.

There were some good lines, particularly when Michael calls Oscar “Oscar Meyer Weiner Lover.” About being single, Michael says, “Desperate situations yield the greatest results.” The hand-me-down chair chain was great; i.e. Pam gets Michael’s old chair, Creed gets Pam’s, and so on. The Phyllis-Michael conversation about her friend’s qualities was also quite good: “So she’s not jolly or sassy? Not like a jolly, sassy opera singer?” And let’s not forget:

Pam: Tell them what we saw today, Jim.
Jim: Oh, today we saw a junkyard dog attacking the bones of a rotisserie chicken.
Pam: Nature.

And even though the singing-and-dancing-in-the-graveyard scene at the end was a little strange, Dwight singing the wrong lyrics made me giggle for several minutes afterwards: “And I know that you’re in love with him; cause I saw you dancing in the gym; you both kicked off your shoes; NO VERDICT WAS RETURNED!”

I don’t know, folks. I’m just not feeling The Office lately. I’ve talked it over with other fans, and most think I’m being too hard on the show. Although apparently I am not the only one who misses the Jim-Pam sexual tension. Now that they’re together they’re just so … boring. And that fact that the show has come to center almost solely on the boring couple and the crazy couple is not going so well. But I know that I’m in the minority…

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