The Office: "After Hours"


    Dwight and Packer vie for Nellie's attention in "After Hours." Photo courtesy of NBC.

    "A real man swallows his vomit when a lady is present."

    It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and watched an episode of The Office with my dad. Living far away from home, I rarely get an opportunity to watch anything at the same time as him since we’re in different time zones. But tonight, we watched “After Hours” at the same time and upon hearing from him after the episode, I realized that even when we watch the show separately, we notice the same best points of the show.

    The last few episodes of The Office have left us with some awesome one liners. Maybe they are not up to par with “Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica,” but certainly worth mentioning. But unlike past seasons of this show, for some reason Dwight is getting all the funny moments.

    Dunder Mifflin used to exist as a socialistic society of comedy. The wealth of one liners was spread out among characters like Jim, Michael, Dwight, even Creed. We had our token funny men, but we didn’t have just one who carried the episode.

    Now, Dwight has become the centerpiece of this show – at least of the past couple of episodes. Rather than having many characters contribute humor, it seems the writers are fasoring making Mr. Schrute the most ridiculous he has ever been in the whole series.

    One of the best moments of the show was Dwight’s description of his family history. From hunters to time travelers to ancient versions of himself, Dwight’s genealogy was just one among many random facts we learned about this character that used to be only part of the comedy of the show.

    “They just had to put food on the table and not alter the past,” Dwight said. Simple as the line was, it was subtle and random and absolutely perfect.

    While Dwight garnered much of the physical laughter, I feel The Office is beginning to pick itself up out of a very evident slump in the past season with many of its characters. Kelly had some clever outbursts in this episode – much to my own satisfaction since in the last few months I’ve grown to absolutely love Mindy Kaling.

    When Darryl was faced with having his romantic interest in Val be revealed to the whole of the office, Kelly instigated the problem even further. She ended up having more of a part in this episode than many others in the history of this show. A welcome change for a burgeoning Mindy fan.

    But I think the real cornerstone of this episode in the way of comedy was Jim’s avoidance of Kathy’s advances in his hotel room. As she became cozy in Jim’s room, on the pretense of being there because her room had a defect, I was bothered by this concern that The Office might degenerate into a heartless soap opera-esque subplot where Jim starts falling for the new girl who took over his wife’s place during her absence a few months back.

    I had visions of Jim falling for Kathy, screwing up the years of waiting and satisfaction of having his and Pam’s relationship work so well.

    But luckily the writers were firmly on my side. Jim and Pam are fine and, actually, “After Hours” managed to give me renewed respect in Jim’s character. He is not only a good employee, a good friend and a good father. He is also a faithful and respectable husband who, in the face of being blatantly flirted with by a pretty female employee, stands up against it. If only all relationships were as stable as Jim and Pam’s.

    The great thing about The Office of late is that it has been genuine and funny. Over-the-top and times, sure, but somehow I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless. While the Nellie Bertram fiasco, with the sickening flirtation with Packer and eventually the switch to pursuing Dwight, made me cringe quite a bit – I still appreciated this story as a whole.

    It’s been a long time since my dad and I were able to share a level of understanding about this show. Often times we’ll discuss an episode of The Office after it has aired with completely different views on its quality. But the last couple of episodes have been universally – with a sample size of two – entertaining. It’s something we’ve been waiting for this show to deliver and “After Hours” did it justice.


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