The Office: Michael and Yo Mama
A friend recently informed me that we have entered a new dimension: one in which The Office is suddenly very unfunny and is nearing its demise. Okay, so he was slightly less cynical than that. His comment went something like this:
This show was built off the excitement of what would happen between Jim and Pam. Now that they’re hitched, what’s left to keep us going?
Even if my nit-picky critiques imply otherwise, I am always the eternal optimist in the room. And so, I crossed my fingers and turned on the TV, hoping the newlyweds’ return from Puerto Rico would speed up the flow of some creative juice.
The episode itself is one big Yo Mama joke, as Pam returns home to find that boss Michael Scott is now sleeping with her mother.
A bunch of menial plots skim the surface of the 30 minute show: Pam gives Erin a weird look for needing Michael’s approval to put out Puerto Rican candy; Dwight buys Jim a wooden mallard listening device to spy on him; Jim retaliates after finding the hidden mic; and Ryan parades around in a fedora.
Slightly amusing, but not up to the standards of when Jim would refrigerate Dwight’s stapler into a mold of jello. Those were the days…
On their honeymoon, Pam and Jim seem to have met a nice new couple, Frank and Benny. They spend the entirety of the episode cracking an inside joke: “Frank and Beans!” As a viewer, I feel I’ve missed the punch line.
Michael tells Jim he’s taken a lover, Helene, who is also Pam’s mom, with whom he really hit it off at the pair’s wedding (Still can’t stop watching this scene). Jim freaks out and tells Michael not to tell Pam, which is obviously a hopeless request.
Pam insists that she and Jim give Michael his gift from their travels-a bottle of Puerto Rican rum. Jim is hesitant, knowing his co-boss has a tendency to spill the beans.
In Michael’s office, Pam asks about his reservation at Botticelli’s that night, having overheard Erin changing his reservation to two. Michael tells Pam that he’s dating someone in the office’s mom, and somehow gets her to say that he should do what makes him happy. When he confesses that the cougar is Mrs. Beesly herself, Pam runs out of the room screaming an exaggerated, “Nooooooooo!”
As Pam flips out in the parking lot, Dwight gives Michael “the chills”-that third grade game where you pretend to crack an egg on someone’s head. Dwight speculates that he would have set Michael up with his own Mother if he had known he was into that sort of thing.
Michael and Jim convene a meeting on communication with local communities. Andy asks if this is in response to the 60 Minutes about working conditions in their Peruvian paper mills. All hell soon breaks loose, as Pam and Michael continue to fight about Helene and the rest of the office takes sides.
In Toby’s cubicle, Michael thinks he is “the victim of a hostile work environment,” and seeks the HR rep’s support. The moment they share-including a hug-feels completely out of character.
To summarize, more drama goes down:
Pam yells, “I could give a shit about your happiness,” at Michael.
Michael yells, “I’m gonna start dating her even harder,” back at Pam.
Pam tells Jim to “shove it,” having found out that he knew about the Michael-Helene situation before she did.
Meanwhile, Jim ropes Dwight into buffing their car in order to make up for the mallard spy incident.
“You’re not equipped for espionage,” he explains.
Jim calms down his wife by pointing out that Dwight’s kind washing of their vehicle and recalling various happy moments from their honeymoon: Segway tours, night swimming, and that damn “Frank and Beans!” joke again.
I’m still hoping for a miracle here, but after this episode, my morale sure is low.
Season 6, Episode 6: The Lover (Originally aired October 22, 2009)
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Thursdays, 9/8C on NBC
Photographs courtesy of NBC, Chris Haston, and Mitchell Haaseth