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4.06 Branch Wars
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Nov 2nd 2007 edited

The Finer Things club was definitely not what I expected. I thought it would be Andy trying to get all the guys to sit around and smoke cigars and drink scotch or something like that. Pam's involvement didn't really work for me, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. We know she likes art, and she's intelligent, so that fits, but it seemed to me like something she was trying too hard at, and that didn't fit her character.

Plus it was just, well, it was lame. Do that at someone's house after work if you're going to do it. Don't hold it in a common area and expect people not to bother you. I would have been just like Kevin. But that was funny as hell during Pam's voice over when they showed them sitting around in their berets with the painting on the easel.

Unfortunately I have to subtract 1 Cool Point from Pam's ledger. Luckily she still has 7,483 Cool Points so she could afford to lose one.

Nov 2nd 2007

Stanley approached her.

Now that Jim is with Pam, DM isn't their only connection. He can leave without losing her. We, however, would lose him. He'll pull in a big sale every so often and play around a lot. Maybe he'll have an identity crisis about becoming Michael.

Nov 2nd 2007

I am still laughing just thinking of Michael and Dwight dropping the copier down the stairs and getting crushed by it. I loved that Michael said:

I’m losing control of my bladder!

I also loved that Dwight told Jim: "Run! Save yourself!" and then Michael says "No don't leave us! Save us!". I'm giggling here at work just thinking about this stuff.

Nov 2nd 2007 edited

I think it's cute that Jim's an uncle! I hope we can see Jim and Pam interacting with the family with the baby. We got to see Roy's brother and Pam's mom, I'd love to meet at least one of Jim's brothers and see how they react to Jam.

I also want to see Jim meet Pam's parents. That would be a good ep.

I liked the Finer Things club, but...I didn't care for Pam's mouthed "I'm sorry" at the end. I DO NOT want this to become another show where the pretty intelligent woman is constantly mocking the idiot man. Lame and overdone, and don't do that to my office! But, if they are doing the "Jim growing up" thing as some of you have mentioned, it will all be ok.

Nov 2nd 2007

You think he was being mocked by Pam? I didn't get that at all. I got the impression she was unnecessarily apologizing to two people. We have seen her apologize unnecessarily before. And if Jim was going to have fun with the club (totally understandable) he should have at least read the book.

I'm in a book club, you see. It's one thing when a long-term member just can't get it together for a meeting and comes for food and companionship, and quite another when someone shows up for the first time without reading the book and without taking it seriously.

Nov 2nd 2007

Yeah, what KarenX said.

Nov 2nd 2007

That makes me feel better, thanks ladies.

Nov 2nd 2007

Andy's rejection letter from the Finer Things Club in the deleted scene was priceless. I especially liked that, despite the fact he was waitlisted, he's still considered a valued financial patron for the club.

Nov 2nd 2007

Yeah, I think it's all just nails in Jim's "needs a focus other than Pam" storyline.

What episode were we on at this time last year? Diwali? No...wait, was it Branch Closing already? I feel like the first 5-6 episodes of any season are buildup, and in Nov we get into the real meat of the season's storyline.

Nov 2nd 2007

I especially liked that, despite the fact he was waitlisted, he's still considered a valued financial patron for the club.

And that he was ok with that.

Nov 2nd 2007

The tag was funny, but in a way I would have rather not seen it. It would have shown that they do have separate lives and interests and don't have to be together 24-7.

Nov 2nd 2007

Unintentional car comedy: Michael announced that he got a PT Cruiser convertible the same week Chrysler announced the company is discontinuing production of the model.

Nov 2nd 2007

That makes it a limited edition collectible, right?

Nov 2nd 2007

Yes. Maybe Michael will end his financial woes by selling his on eBay.

Nov 2nd 2007

Plus it was just, well, it was lame. Do that at someone's house after work if you're going to do it. Don't hold it in a common area and expect people not to bother you. I would have been just like Kevin.

Yeah, I thought the existence of the Finer Things Club was cool, but it was unbearably snooty enough to where I was rooting for Kevin and Phyllis (and Andy and Jim) to wreak havoc. As a storyline I liked it all right because of this tension. And it was apt for such a silly episode, having low interrupt high like that.

What episode were we on at this time last year? Diwali? No...wait, was it Branch Closing already? I feel like the first 5-6 episodes of any season are buildup, and in Nov we get into the real meat of the season's storyline.

3.06 was Diwali; 3.07 was Branch Closing.

Nov 2nd 2007 edited

Yeah, I thought the existence of the Finer Things Club was cool, but it was unbearably snooty enough to where I was rooting for Kevin and Phyllis (and Andy and Jim) to wreak havoc.

I was thinking this, too, on a smaller scale: why couldn't they sit at one of the tabels in the back so they wouldn't be in the way? Highfalutin' peoples.
Still funny, though.

Nov 2nd 2007

Pam's involvement didn't really work for me, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. We know she likes art, and she's intelligent, so that fits, but it seemed to me like something she was trying to hard at, and that didn't fit her character.

I thought this, too. Her participation makes sense because of the club’s focus on literature and fine food, but her involvement in a pretentious, exclusive club is out of character. Those aspects of the club seem completely anti-Pam, and I have a hard time believing she would consciously bar coworkers from an activity that takes place at work, especially after her speech at the beach. I guess Andy was the only other person that wanted to join, but they clearly hadn’t extended an open invitation to the office. I agree that they should have met after work, but appreciated it taking place in the office for the comedy.

Nov 2nd 2007 edited

but her involvement in a pretentious, exclusive club is out of character. Those aspects of the club seem completely anti-Pam

That's what I was trying to express but couldn't quite do it, thanks Homeless Jim. Perhaps the main reason so many people love Pam is because she's such a sweetheart, incredibly tolerant when people like Michael and Dwight and Angela are being unpleasant, and the FTC is the exact opposite of all that.

Nov 2nd 2007

Wait, though...wait. Supposing the FTC was established WITH an open invitation to all. Then people came just for the better food and didn't give a crap about the book/art/poetry or whatever it was they were discussing that week. I could see the members who actually DID want to do it right (ie, Pam, Toby and Oscar) being like, "Okay, that's it...this club is exclusive! Keep out if you don't want to participate for real!" Like what Pam said to Jim - because yuck, who wants someone there who's basically not taking the thing seriously?

I don't think it's snobby - I just think they're trying to preserve the integrity of the idea. I've been in situations like this before. :)

Nov 2nd 2007

Okay, I have to say, I have absolutely no interest in seeing Jim's nephew, or his siblings, or his parents, or any of that crap. That is all stuff in which I'm not interested. It's allegedly cute, and I don't do cute. When I started watching this show, it was a cynical bitchfest with a heart of gold. It was called The Office. And it actually took place in an office. I'm already getting a little tired of all of the field trips and shit. I don't need to meet Jim's freaking family. Ugh.

Nov 2nd 2007 edited

the members who actually DID want to do it right (ie, Pam, Toby and Oscar)

I think you just mean Pam & Oscar. Toby's only there to stare at Pam's boobs.

I don't need to meet Jim's family either, but I think it's interesting to know they exist.

Nov 2nd 2007

Bringing up that Jim is an uncle could only be so it comes back later in the form of a statement along the lines of "you're old enough to be a father yet continue to act like that." Personally, I don't think what a person does at a boring job to kill time reflects his suitability to be a father, but they've brought up his pranks a lot already.

Nov 2nd 2007

I think you just mean Pam & Oscar. Toby's only there to stare at Pam's boobs.

Yeah...well, fine. You still catch my drift. And God. Toby doesn't stand a chance against Jim.

I think DftF has a very good (yet vitriolic) point - we need to stop with the field trips. Come on - I like The Office when it's in...the office.

Nov 2nd 2007

The "fieldtrips" don't bother me. In fact, I kind of like it. It makes sense for the documentarians to become more and more a part of the employees' lives. They've been observing them for years.

The office itself is, in a way, a character on the show. So I can see why one would be disappointed in the increased frequency of time outside the office. It's a little like saying, "I missed Darryl. We didn't see a lot of him in this episode."

Nov 2nd 2007

It makes sense for the documentarians to become more and more a part of the employees' lives.

Certainly, but I think the criticism is that the employees' work lives aer being spent outside of the office, which seems sort of odd for a documentary about an office.
I remember in "The Injury" how strange it was that they went somewhere else. Now it's common.

Nov 2nd 2007

It makes sense for the documentarians to become more and more a part of the employees' lives.

That's not the objection I'm raising. I think the field trip stories are just bad a lot of the time, at least compared to what happens inside the office. They change the character of the show, make it less clever and more obvious, and make everyone involved seem stupid. Almost invariably. Remember when people on The Office actually worked? Me, too. Seems like it's been years.

I object to the field trips as a storytelling choice and a comic device. They're lame. When they were rare, they were kind of fun -- but it almost feels like someone said, "Hey, 'Booze Cruise' was great -- let's have some more like that!" And now, almost every episode, we wander out of the office on some pointless adventure that ends up playing way too broadly for my tastes. Seriously -- Dwight pissing in a Coke can? SERIOUSLY? And then CUTTING HIS PENIS ON IT? What is this, a Ben Stiller movie? This show is better than that.

Nov 2nd 2007

Seriously -- Dwight pissing in a Coke can? SERIOUSLY? And then CUTTING HIS PENIS ON IT?

That was funny to me... probably because I don't have one.

Nov 2nd 2007

Seriously -- Dwight pissing in a Coke can? SERIOUSLY? And then CUTTING HIS PENIS ON IT? What is this, a Ben Stiller movie? This show is better than that.

I thought that was funny, too. And I do have one.

Nov 2nd 2007 edited

I thought it was lame, and indicative of an unevenness that this show has suffered from all season, if not the entirety of the last two. It's not that I can't appreciate the occasional dick or fart joke. But this one was just another in a line of half-humorous Farrelly Brothers-level crap that has crept its way into this show over the last season and a half. If I wanted to see that, like I said, I'd go see a moronic Ben Stiller movie. I'm not a prude. But the pissing-in-a-can joke seems to be of a piece with the weekly field trips -- it's broad, and stupid, and takes time away from the keen observation that drew me to this show in the first place.

I guess that's the bulk of my objection. When this show started, part of its subject was the existential angst involved in living a life of quiet desperation. It wasn't without hope, and some of the people were strange -- but its observational wit and sharp satire have given way to outsized antics and repeated dipshitteries sometimes. There's a lot less of what originally struck a chord with me, and a lot more stuff that strikes me as being, essentially, run-of-the-mill American comedy BS. I can't remember the last time I thought, "It's funny because it's true!" about this show. I'm sure it's happened once or twice this season, but I used to get that feeling all the time. Now they're handing me Dwight urinating is a soda can and expecting me to dissolve into hysterics when he cuts his damn penis. What? That's crap. It's the exact polar opposite of the kind of thing that drew me of this show, and it feels like it's coming to take up more and more of it.

Nov 2nd 2007

Wow, can't wait to read your recap this week, DftF.

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