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4.07 Survivor Man
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Nov 8th 2007

I understand some of the negative reactions here. I wasn't feeling it with this episode at first, in spite of some funny moments ("We were like, 'More s'mores?'") But by the end, I was floored. Such depth. As for Jim and Pam, there's a dissonance there between them that is necessary to carry the story forward. No, Jim's not happy. He never was. He thought Pam was all he wanted, but that's never right. It's never one thing or one person that solves all your problems if you let everything else stagnate or turn to shit. He will be Michael in 10 years if he doesn't act. Maybe that's not the end of the world, but it's not predetermined. She sees something's not right with him, but she's not falling into the same trap. There's such a great story to be told here. I can't believe I doubted they could rediscover what a great vehicle this show could be for that kind of thing. Too bad we won't see it come to fruition, not for a while anyway.

Nov 8th 2007 edited

Lots of people ripping on this ep, especially in OT, but I really liked it. I knew Steve wrote it, and I admittedly allowed that to influence how I viewed the ep, but I liked it alot anyway. I still have to watch the tag again to get out of it everything that all of you seemed to get out of it, but it was the rest of it that I enjoyed as much. My sentences make no sense. Sorry.

PS. Loved the birthday surprise stuff.

Edit. Excellent post, Brian. Really appreciated your thoughts.

Nov 8th 2007

I still have to watch the tag again to get out of it everything that all of you seemed to get out of it

You should. There was a vibe to it that I think was like what they went for with Jan and Michael on the train only it worked so much better here. It was like the director called cut and they just kept chattering in character. And oh yeah, totally recalls the scenes from Booze Cruise and Benihana Yuletide. I could imagine those two in movies together. Maybe Krasinski should have gotten Dane Cook's role in Dan in Real Life.

Nov 8th 2007

I really liked it. It had some of those early office awkward moments in the Jim storyline, and while they don't make me laugh out loud I really enjoy them and they are realistic. I also liked how silly the woods plot was, with Michael thinking he was all alone while Dwight and the cameraman were hiding from him the whole time. I thought it was so adorable when Dwight said he wouldn't let Michael lose his dignity but he would let him die and then went about doing the exact opposite.

And Creed! The conversation he had with Jim about his peach pie was so perfect, and I loved when he started hopping around the room at his party!

I'm really sad they seem to be setting Jim up to really re-evaluate his life and now we get a strike. Great. (Not that I'm not totally on the side of the writers in this fight!)

Nov 8th 2007

Hmm, I kind of wanted to punch Creed. But I feel the same way about this being a poor time for a hiatus.

Nov 8th 2007

Hmm, I kind of wanted to punch Creed.

Not saying I'd want to talk to tv Creed, but I love to see him act crazy on the show.

Real life Creed acts crazy too but is less in-your-face weird. (I screamed when he started tuning his guitar and he looked right at me and said, "oh, yeah." This means I know him in real life. And can judge his character.)

Nov 8th 2007

I really liked Dwight's motioning to the cameraman to follow him and Michael into the forest. Greg Daniels mentioned getting the cameramen a little more involved this season and he has definitely done that.

The birthday surprise montage gets funnier every time I see it.

And Brian makes good points, like he usually does, because he's so smart and funny, about the tag. It was great the first time and even better on re-watches. Krasinski acted the heck out of it, and I think the man deserves an Emmy nom so far. But I wonder what they can do with this "what do I want to do with my life" story line. Tough to have him leave Dunder-Mifflin and/or Scranton but still have him on the show. Stay at DM Scranton and be at peace with that? This is why I hope they pick up where they leave off at next week's episode whenever they resume filming, and don't skip whatever they had planned. Sigh.

Nov 8th 2007

I wish the episode had pulled Michael out of the office for a different reason, but I loved the birthday idea. I do think it was interesting to see Jim try to improve productivity for a change. It didn't work, so I'm not sure he'll be roaring to try something again. I do think he's sort of in a bind--I don't think that Pam is necessarily being mean to him, but she sort of (sort of) was annoyed with the interruption during the animation (I don't think she was that mad) but she's so skeptical of Jim's first idea to take charge and streamline a process.

I think Jim could find a different role at the branch. Maybe not salesman, not manager... I don't want to go down the efficiency expert part but there's got to be a way to create his own position. Obviously corporate senses that he has some kind of imaginative vision or else they wouldn't have offered him a promotion--twice.

Nov 8th 2007

I think the greenest thing about this episode was Andy's tie.

I keep remembering things I liked, another was Michael's limp wrist and "Broken Mountain" comments about camping, which is pretty similar to how I feel about it. I'm not much of an outdoorsman.

Nov 8th 2007

Early reactions here seemed to be negative, more recent reactions positive. I, myself, liked it a lot, and am feeling better about things in general than I was after Dwight's pee-fest in last week's thoroughly subpar episode. This is the old show that I fell in love with -- specifically, Jim's plotline. It was an extremely complicated story told simply in a small amount of time.

I thought that one of the most significant points of the episode is the nature of the way that people are affected by their jobs, much more than their jobs are affected by them. Much like people always grumble about Michael behind his back (and sometimes to his face, because he's too clueless to see it), they grumbled behind Jim's, because the fact of the matter is that being a boss involves making decisions that make people unhappy. I have been the boss of exactly one thing -- a shift at the COOP Fountain at Pomona College -- but even in that capacity, sometimes you have to make people wash dishes or do inventory. It's lame. Your decisions are always unpopular. Your employees come to resent your decisions, even though they're made in the interest of doing things as well and as efficiently as possible.

As such, you find yourself compensating. Jim discovered in this episode that his method of compensation was, in fact, very similar to Michael's. And he hated that. He learned something about both himself and his boss. He learned something about the difficulty of responsibility. I really think this season (however long it lasts) is going to be about Jim & Pam both finding what they want out of life, and finding either how they can do it within the confines of Dunder Mifflin, or finding that they have to leave.

But really, the lesson for Jim has to be that complacency is the enemy. I agree with a great deal of what Brian wrote above: He focused on Pam as the thing that he wanted for several years (more than just the two and a half that we have witnessed), and his dreams are stunted. We saw that in his Second Life character: he still carries a guitar and wants to be sportswriter. Those are childlike dreams. In Michael Scott, who is an idiot, that's sort of inspiring, and comforting, if a little sad. In Jim Halpert, who is not an idiot, it's just sad. At least at this point it is. Fifteen years from now? Well, then maybe we would take comfort in Regional Manager Jim's childlike dreams of a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Last year, Karen wanted to push her dream on Jim: She wanted him to be serious, and climb the corporate ladder with her. I think her comment last week -- something to the effect of "are you still doing this?" -- was a reality check, but not the kind she intended. Jim needs to remain Jim. Part of him has always been about walking the fine line between childlike and childish, between fun and mean, between smart and arrogant. He needs to find somewhere that he can be chidlike, fun, and smart without being childish, mean, or arrogant. There's a place for that somewhere. Pam won't force her plans for him on her, but she will recognize when he's stepped over the line. At least I hope she will. Sometime in the fifth season.

Nov 8th 2007

KarenX wrote: "I think Jim could find a different role at the branch..."

Jim Halpert/Regional Manager of Sarcasm

MICHAEL: When I return, I hope to be a completely changed human being.

JIM: That would be great.

Nov 9th 2007 edited

Okay, just got home from a 6-hour round trip (which was totally worth it! Go BYU! Sorry, that's neither here nor there.) and watched the show. I must say, I'm in the "liked it a lot" camp. Brian and DFTF both said it better than I could, but I thought it was both funny and insightful. Frightening, too. Jim's horror at being called "Michael?" Yeah, that hit home. I feel like Jim right now. It's weird to have one dynamic of your life change so dramatically (for the better), yet have another remain not only static, but stagnant ("stagnant" being directed more at my life than his, but whatever). It's not a good feeling.

As for Jim, this is going to bring up some great issues, and I can't wait to see how they handle this....in the distant future. You know what, studios? Pay your writers. We can't wait however long for this.

Also, Jim? Go with Pam. Go far, far away from Dunder Mifflin. Run like the freaking wind!

Sorry, it's nearly 3. I'd say it made sense in my head, but that's not true. :) G'night everyone!

Nov 9th 2007 edited

I also liked how silly the woods plot was

I think silly is the perfect word. I liked this ep because Michael didn't seem to be over the top stupid (like going in the lake, or ruining a copier, or taking back a gift basket). He was just silly in the woods - and I loved how he had to keep duct taping his pants together.

Everyone is mentioning the tag between Jim and Michael. I too loved that part but it seemed more like improv - or Steve talking to John. Michael just had a different 'tone' I guess. Like part of it was meant to be on the show but then he just kept going with it. It was the same feeling I got in the deleted scene of he and Stanley on Pretzel Day when they're eating their pretzles - Michael had that same tone that just seemed to be improv, or Steve and Leslie talking when Michael said "it tastes so good in my mouth" and Stanley said "that's what she said". Steve laughed so hard because it didn't seem like he was expecting that at all.

I agree kind of a ho-hum non-memorable episode, but it didn't leave me with a bad feeling.

Nov 9th 2007

Could Angela getting Fudgy the Whale for Andy mean their relationship is moving along??

Nov 9th 2007 edited

This is the old show that I fell in love with -- specifically, Jim's plotline. It was an extremely complicated story told simply in a small amount of time.

Such a great point, and actually a point I thought you might make.

Everyone is mentioning the tag between Jim and Michael. I too loved that part but it seemed more like improv - or Steve talking to John. Michael just had a different 'tone' I guess. Like part of it was meant to be on the show but then he just kept going with it.

No kidding, right? It was like they were waiting for Randall Einhorn to change a faulty lens so they could get on with shooting the scene.

Where is everyone? Has the strike really got us all so down that everyone's just lurking or playing hooky entirely? 50 comments in 12 hours? We do that in the first hour after an ep some weeks. American worker productivity must be soaring right now.

edited for clarity :-P

Nov 9th 2007 edited

edited- I get it now.

Nov 9th 2007

Since no one's really talking much this morning, I'll go ahead and add some thoughts that I ordinarily wouldn't bore y'all with. They're not in-depth at all and kinda girly.

I think my Jim crush is on the side of Jim that is cool, clever, witty, charming and respected. So it made me uneasy last week to see him make a fool of himself in Utica and yesterday when co-workers were talking negatively about him behind his back. Pam knew right away that Jim's birthday idea would not go over well, but she smiled and sat back and watched as he failed. That was hard to watch.

But stepping back and looking at the episode as a whole, I see that this is a totally necessary and realistic step in Jim's development. He got the girl and now he's left with "what now?". I've put Jim's character on an unrealistic pedestal. Jim's a real person, not the flawless knight in shining armor that Single Tear likes to imagine he is. I liked the episode and I'm excited to see what they do with Jim this season.

Going back to the Pam and Jim interaction... I'm undecided on Pam's intentions. What would S2 engaged-to-Roy Pam have done if she saw Jim about to make a fool of himself? Wouldn't she have said something like, "You really think that's going to go over well with everyone?" and Jim would've said, "You're right. Forget it. Let's go pull a prank on Dwight instead." Or whatever. I'm just not sure what's going on in Pam's head.

Nov 9th 2007

Yet another episode where after first viewing I wasn't that impressed, but after going back an rewatching it this morning, I'm really liking it. Dwight was back to being old Dwight. Michael surprising people had me floored. The tag was obviously the highlight of the show. I don't see where everybody is coming up with the observation that Pam is being mean to Jim. There was so little interaction between the two and her questioning his birthday idea was just her throwing a little cute sass his way. She obviously knew it was a bad idea, but I saw it as a way of her being supportive by not negatively judging him. We'll have a better picture of how Pam is really treating him next week when she might have to stand up for the guy. Lastly, Toby is a creep.

Nov 9th 2007

From call of duty:

I don't see where everybody is coming up with the observation that Pam is being mean to Jim. There was so little interaction between the two and her questioning his birthday idea was just her throwing a little cute sass his way. She obviously knew it was a bad idea, but I saw it as a way of her being supportive by not negatively judging him.

That's exactly what I got from it. I didn't feel like she was being mean. I thought she was just stepping back and giving him room to see, through people's reactions rather than through her words, that it probably wouldn't go over so well. Maybe she figured if she came out and said, "That's a bad idea," he wouldn't believe her and/or it would ruffle his feathers because he had already decided that's what he was going to do. I'm still not seeing Tension Between Jim and Pam, Mean Pam, Inconsiderate Jim, or anything like that. What I am seeing is groundwork being put down for a "Jim has an identity crisis and doesn't know what he wants to do with his career" storyline. His talking head from Michael's chair was no accident. The fact that someone referred to him as "Michael" is really going to haunt him and slap him in the face, again, to wake him up and make him realize that if he doesn't act on his own behalf, he will stay at Dunder Mifflin and maybe even become a regional manager. I think Pam is in a good place right now: she's confident, she's in love, and she's making strides toward doing something she loves, even while working as a receptionist to pay her bills.

I liked this episode a lot. And, again, Toby is creepy.

Nov 9th 2007

Loved the episode. The birthday surprises, Dwight's weapons, Survivorman, the tag...brilliant. I would like Pam to show weakness now and then, and perhaps need Jim for something. Great for Pam that she's so confident and sure of herself now, not so great for the viewing audience. There's a reason why there are no shows about happy, well-adjusted people.

It sounds like there's a Buffalo branch now, along with Albany and Utica. When is Rochester going to get some love?

Nov 9th 2007

When the snow stops.

Nov 9th 2007

It is a little unsettling to see Pam go from shy, insecure, pretty unhappy receptionist to bolder, more secure, happier artist. It's almost like watching a wise old person who tends to business in the background and watches, bemusedly, while the young people screw up and learn from their mistakes. If she were 50 years older it would be easier to watch, but...she's not. Even though they spent last season dragging us through the mud with the "woe is Pam storyline," her transformation still seems sudden and abrupt.

Nov 9th 2007

Even though they spent last season dragging us through the mud with the "woe is Pam storyline," her transformation still seems sudden and abrupt.

This is a great way of saying how I'm feeling.

Nov 9th 2007 edited

When the snow stops.

Ouchie, transplanted Upstate NYer!

It is a little unsettling to see Pam go from shy, insecure, pretty unhappy receptionist to bolder, more secure, happier artist.

Exactly. Give us something...make her be addicted to online shopping, or start disliking someone in the office, or have her not shred something good enough. Give her SOME weakness. She does seem almost god-like right now...never does anything wrong, knows everything (even who vs. whom? C'mon...)

Better yet, give her a weakness that Jim helps her overcome, so she begins to appreciate him.

Nov 9th 2007

I don't know. I think they tried to cram too much into 30 min. This story would have worked better in the one hour format, unlike, say Launch Party. I'm hoping that the deleted scenes flesh the story out a bit more.

Oh, and I need to figure out a way to hit my boss in the head with a shoe and get away with it.

Nov 9th 2007

Or whatever. I'm just not sure what's going on in Pam's head.

I don't either, but I'll take a stab. I think she treasures what she finally has with Jim and like any person in a new relationship, she doesn't want to do something rash that might put the other person off. She might fear that suggesting his idea is a bad one might seem unsupportive, and she doesn't see this as the place she wants to take that stand. Worst case scenario, he finds out on his own like he did. In other words, I don't think she sat back intentionally to watch him stumble. As for whether she seemed to enjoy it, well I know I did.

And Michael's surprises were the highlight of the night for me. I don't know why but that kind of thing tickles my funnybone more than anything else.

Nov 9th 2007

Dwight was delicious in this episode. The Overkill Killer was brilliant. So was watching Michael through the scope with the safety on...err...off. And the stashed weapons? Mr. A. Knife? Hilarity.

"It's better to be killed accidentally by someone you know then to be killed on purpose by someone you don't know."

Nov 9th 2007

Yeah, Dwight's got that whole serial killer thing planned out, doesn't he? Andy should be careful.

Nov 9th 2007

And Michael's surprises were the highlight of the night for me. I don't know why but that kind of thing tickles my funnybone more than anything else.

After he pops up laughing at Phyliss, and she's trying to compose herself, and he blows the party favor in her face? I about lost it.

Nov 9th 2007

I really dig this place. That is all.

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