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3.14 Ben Franklin
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Jan 31st 2007 edited
  • Season 3 : Episode 14
  • First aired on February 1, 2007
  • Written by Mindy Kaling
  • Directed by Randall Einhorn
  • Northern Attack Recap

I’m sorry. I had a very different understanding as to what primae noctis meant.

Jan 31st 2007

After the tightly constructed, end-on-a-high-note pair of episodes we just had, I'm sort of bracing myself for a letdown episode this week.

Jan 31st 2007

I know. I've been waiting for some developments with Phyllis's wedding. The possibilities have been built up in my mind. I've been avoiding spoilers like the plague. Hopefully I'll be able to lower my standards by tomorrow night.

Jan 31st 2007

I figure that with the promise of Karen talking to Pam about Jim, the writers have been priming themselves for that Conversation all season, so they won't be wasting their chance. I'd consider perhaps an irregular episode, but at least SOME of it will be hot, hot stuff.

Jan 31st 2007

I'm thinking that since they let us in early about Karen's topic of conversation with Pam, that it's not going to end up being a big deal. It seems to be that when something is really good, we either don't know about it ahead of time, or they've mislead us in some way so it catches us by surprise.

Jan 31st 2007

I'm not expecting it to be the focus of the episode. But last week Karen did confront Jim. I think they did it right....straightforward, no pussyfooting. I think that this might be much the same.

It didn't let me down last week, so I expect not to be let down this week.

Jan 31st 2007

Let's keep our fingers crossed for greatness.

Jan 31st 2007

It still amuses me that of all the people in the office, our sweet Phyllis is the only one we see with a happy and healthy love life. Though that might change in this episode... (Okay, we don't know much about Oscar and Gil, or Stanley and Terri. So... Catch-22.)

Jan 31st 2007

Dwhat about Dwangela? They seem happy and healthy (for them).

Jan 31st 2007

I agree, Pan. As odd as the characters are, I find their relationship incredibly sweet and it is obvious that they genuinely care about each other. Everyone could learn a thing or two from them, no matter how bizarre.

Jan 31st 2007

It may be a reach--okay, it's certainly a reach, but I'd argue that right now Michael and Jan are each happy with each other, as far as their love life goes. Certainly not a typical 'happy and healthy' relationship, but it's working for them: Jan's going for it and Michael ain't complaining.

Jan 31st 2007 edited

I read somewhere that this episode was written by Mindy, but I could be wrong. If she did write it, I feel like we're in good hands.

Jan 31st 2007 edited

It's a Mindy ep and it was directed by Randall Einhorn, so double whammy. On a slightly-related note, did you guys hear John the Prop Guy is leaving? No more Friday blogs. :(

Jan 31st 2007 edited

It still amuses me that of all the people in the office, our sweet Phyllis is the only one we see with a happy and healthy love life.

I've noticed that, and it's actually bothered me for a while now. I feel like this is a rare instance of the show becoming too "Hollywood" - both in its emphasis on the fractured family (which seems to be more common among people in show-biz) and its desire to keep romantic story-lines in a show open for as many characters as possible. I bet if you went into a real-life American office not unlike Dunder-Mifflin, about/at least half of the employees who are 35 or older would have led a "normal" love life (i.e. Got married and had kids with no ugly incidents). At the very least, you would expect some of the employees to follow that template. At Dunder-Mifflin, not one character does. Not one. Consider:

  1. Kevin (+35) - not married, just got engaged
  2. Angela (+35) - not married, has never really had a relationship
  3. Phyllis (+42-43) - just got engaged a couple months ago
  4. Toby - divorced
  5. Meredith - divorced twice
  6. Stanley - re-married (unclear about how marriage to first wife ended)
  7. Creed - homeless guy/ex-rock star, love-life unclear
  8. Oscar - gay, not married

Stanley's clearly the closest, but even he has had his issues. I left out Jim, Pam, Michael, Dwight, Ryan and Kelly out for fairly obvious reasons (either b/c he/she's a main character and you need that tension there, or b/c he/she's still young).

I understand that they're trying to drive the home the point that Dunder-Mifflin is a crazy place, but I feel the lack of any kind of happy family life undermines the "reality" they've worked so strenuously to construct.

Sorry to go off on a tangent like that.

Jan 31st 2007

Stanley - re-married (unclear about how marriage to first wife ended)

I think Stanley's behavior in Grief Counseling serves as pretty strong evidence that his first wife died.

Jan 31st 2007

I bet if you went into a real-life American office not unlike Dunder-Mifflin, about/at least half of the employees who are 35 or older would have led a "normal" love life (i.e. Got married and had kids with no ugly incidents). At the very least, you would expect some of the employees to follow that template.

Got married, had kids, with no ugly incidents? I'd say this is the minority and NOT the majority. While I know your point is that you'd think at least one person in the office would fall under this classification (and you're right), I think it borderlines on insulting to classify "heterosexual and married with children" as normal. Families come in all shapes and sizes and no one way can definitely be said to be better than the other.

Stanley's clearly the closest, but even he has had his issues. I understand that they're trying to drive the home the point that Dunder-Mifflin is a crazy place and that its inhabitants are pretty messed-up people (to be kind), but I feel the lack of any kind of happy family life undermines the "reality" they've worked so strenuously to construct.

Stanley is less happy because this is his second wife? BS. Kevin, Angela, Phyllis, Toby, and Meredith are failures as human beings because they aren't married or are divorced? BS. Oscar is in a monogamous, loving, permanent relationship. Are you saying he doesn't have any kind of happy family life because he's gay and can't be legally married? BS. Neither heterosexuality nor marriage equal happiness. Not even when you combine the two. Based on what we've been able to see I'd say Oscar has the most loving and stable relationship of anyone on the show.

I ain't mad at you, Damn Rascal. Much respect, yo. I just couldn't let statements like "lack or any kind of happy family life" and "'normal' love life" stand. Ozzie and Harriet do not exist and they never did- literally OR figuratively. There's a reason Ozzie and Harriet was such a crappy show. I think it's good that Hollywood is showing that not everybody fits the hetero-and-married-by-30 mold and that not everybody has to.

I get your point that you'd think at least one of the characters would be heterosexual and married. But considering all the ways families can and are constructed it's not abnormal that nobody on the show fits this mold and it's unreasonable to say that these people are not happy because of it.

Jan 31st 2007

LongTim,

Got married, had kids, with no ugly incidents? I'd say this is the minority and NOT the majority. While I know your point is that you'd think at least one person in the office would fall under this classification (and you're right), I think it borderlines on insulting to classify "heterosexual and married with children" as normal. Families come in all shapes and sizes and no one way can definitely be said to be better than the other.

Long Tim, I agree. I am part of a faculty of three. One of us was in a "normal, hetero" relationship, kid and all, but then, at the ripe old age of 55, her husband died of cancer. Faculty member number two was in a committed gay relationship (married, if not legal) for over twenty years. Thats over. Me? 36 and single, with no respite in site, even though I'm a pretty social gal. The relationship rules are evolving, and there are no real norms.

The Ozzie and Harriet days are done.

Jan 31st 2007 edited

I think it borderlines on insulting to classify "heterosexual and married with children" as normal. Families come in all shapes and sizes and no one way can definitely be said to be better than the other.

Strictly speaking, there's a difference between "normal" and "better". The hetero/married/kids template could be accurately described as normal based on relative frequency (though less so as it becomes a plurality instead of a majority), though the term "normal" has connotations of superiority that make it unwise to use.

This is just a sidebar.

Jan 31st 2007

Didn't you catch the news? 51% of American women are now living single. That's the majority.

But something tells me this thread is drifting...back on topic.

I think that Phyllis is a great character. People presume that she's boring and single and pathetic because she's a middle-aged fat lady. Every time she makes mention of her interests or what makes her interesting and unique and a whole person, Michael is there to shut her down. This is especially true when there's any indication that Phyllis has a love life or might actually enjoy and attract the attention of men. Phyllis was finally allowed to be a sub on the basketball team, but Michael freaked at the idea of her being a cheerleader. She's happy to shake her maracas, though Michael goeas ahead and demonstrates that he thinks she's subhuman. I thought that the sales call episode did a good job playing off of her frumpy shell when she stopped by the beauty salon to get the nasty hair and makeup, and the first implication was that well, she's a frumpy middle-aged fat lady - of course she likes this ugly crap. But then...she had a reason.

Jan 31st 2007

You people aren't real, man!

Feb 1st 2007

Hey, Creed, What are you doing up this late? Oh, I forgot you have a tiny one. It's usually just me and sometimes Mixed Berries.

Feb 1st 2007

On a slightly-related note, did you guys here John the Prop Guy is leaving? No more Friday blogs. :(

I caught this little tidbit PiT Very sad. I loved John The Prop guys blogs. I loved his insight into the show. Every blog of his was like getting the DVD bonus features with behind the scenes footage for every episode. He shall be missed.

And while I like some of what Mindy has done, she isn't my favourite screen writer, so I'm skeptical, but judging by her character, I'd say she has some pretty funny peceptions of relationships, so this could be a great episode for her. We'll see in about 13 hours, my time...

Feb 1st 2007

So where did you hear about John the Prop Guy? And WHY is he leaving???

Feb 1st 2007 edited

Didn't you catch the news? 51% of American women are now living single. That's the majority.

For the sake of accuracy, that 51% includes 15-19 year-old girls, which is really quite deceptive. It also includes the smaller category of women who's husbands are in the military or otherwise away. When you pull out the young girls, the numbers change quite a bit.

Feb 1st 2007

I think that Phyllis is a great character.

Me too. I think it's because of her big personality.

Feb 1st 2007

So where did you hear about John the Prop Guy? And WHY is he leaving???

Essentially, it all boils down to family and money. But here's the scoop straight from the prop guy's mouth.

"As of the first of the year, I quit my job at, “The Office,” to return to my previous position set decorating for commercials. When I took the job on the show, I was going through a drastic change in my contacts in commercials, and had to move on to television in order to keep my finances steady. This required starting at the bottom of the TV prop world for about a year. I quickly worked my way through a number of canceled series and gained a great reputation around town up to the point where I was offered an assistant job on, “The Office”, so I took it. During the break, I went back into commercials and found I could re-enter that world back at my previous status and pay rate (which is roughly double) so I had to leave the show based on the fact that the money was better."

Feb 1st 2007

I am also disappointed John the Prop Guy is leaving (but certainly understand why). That's a part of the business I knew nothing about so it was always interesting to read his behind the scenes stories.

Feb 1st 2007

I haven't assumed that Phyllis wasn't married before...She said that she'd given up on love this late in life, but then Bob Vance surprised her. That doesn't mean she wasn't married when she was younger, and it also doesn't rule out the possibility of being widowed.

I think that the lack of significant others on the show has more to do with keeping character numbers down (fewer people to invest in) and potentially pairing people off than it does with reflecting fractured romantic lives of writers in Hollywood.

Thankfully most of our lives aren't as bleak as the lives of our Dunder-Mifflinites -- either career-wise or interpersonally!

Feb 1st 2007

Is anybody else as pumped about the return of Todd Packer as I am? That is making it one of the highlight episodes of the season for me, before I even see it.

Feb 1st 2007 edited

I'm not a Packer fan (my reaction to him is the same as most of the characters), so I'm sort of bracing myself.

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