The Reviews – The Office Season 5

Previously on….

HR rep Toby Flenderson moves to Costa Rica, and is replaced by the new HR rep in The Office, Holly Flax. After initially being cold towards Holly (due to his hatred towards Toby), Michael Scott warms up to her and the hints of a future romance are in full display. Michael’s previous girlfriend Jan Levinson returns with the news that she is pregnant. While Michael is not the father (she was artificially inseminated), he feels this is his chance to become a dad, and his focus quickly shifts from Holly to Jan.

Pam Beesly decided to spend the summer in New York studying graphic design, chasing her life long dream. Jim Halpert makes the decision to pop the question to her at Toby’s going away before she leaves, but was interrupted by Andy Bernard, who made a public proposal to Angela Martin, in which Angela accepted. With the moment ruined, Jim did not go forward with asking the question.

While Angela did accepted the proposal from Andy, she still was having sex with Dwight, as we ended Season five with Phyllis Lapin-Vance catching the two of them doing it in the Office.

The Plot

Michael prepares for the birth of Jan’s baby, and him becoming a quasi-father. Jan though never had any plans of having Michael be a big part of the baby’s life, and gives birth without letting Michael know. After Michael saw the baby for the first time, he realized that  he did not feel a connection to the child in any way, and decided to end things with Jan.

After an episode or two of Michael and Holly not sharing there feelings for each other, the two started dating and are clearly a perfect match. Unfortunately for them, Dunder Mifflin Corporate catches on that the two are romantically together, and transfers Holly to another Dunder Mifflin branch that is seven hours away. Both Michael and Holly realize that the long distance thing won’t work, and decide to end there brief romance. For the course of the season, we see that Michael has not gotten over Holly, and after attempting to visit her at her new work, he learns that she has a new boyfriend, but that she is also not over Michael. The season ends with a reunion of the two, and clearly the spark is still there for them, but they never discuss it, and she leaves with her boyfriend who she is planning to move in with.

Pam attends NYC for art school, and the long distance thing is tough for both her and Jim, although they are comforted in the knowledge that it’s not permanent. After having his previous attempt at proposing to Pam ruined by Andy, Jim makes his proposal outside of a gas station, which Pam of course accepted. The remainder of the season would see the two begin to plan there wedding, and they even went as far as making a decision to just go to a Courthouse in Ohio to get married without the drama of a big wedding, but decided against it after changing there minds about wanting that big wedding.

Dwight continues to sleep with Angela, despite her engagement to Andy. Once the truth about Dwight and Angela becomes public knowledge, we witness a duel between Dwight and Andy with Angela going to the winner. At the end of the fight, both men come to the realization that Angela was lying to both men, and Dwight and Andy decided to end things with Angela.

With the demotion of Ryan Howard from Corporate, a new Regional VP was needed at Dunder Mifflin, which was filled by Charles Minor. His changes to the Office, including cancelling Michaels 15 year anniversary party with Dunder Mifflin, lead to Michael giving his two week notice. With little job prospects, Michael created his own paper company called “The Michael Scott Paper Company” and he recruited Pam and Ryan to join. After stealing a number of clients from Dunder Mifflin, the larger corporation was forced into buying out “The Michael Scott Paper Company”. The terms of the buyout were the return to the jobs that Michael, Pam and Ryan had left, except for Pam who was now made a saleswoman.

The season ends with a company picnic. A brief reunion for Michael and Holly. A Dunder Mifflin Branch being closed. And Pam and Jim finding out that Pam was pregnant.

The Review

This season had three very strong elements to it. First was the Michael/Holly relationship as we had finally found the perfect girl for Michael. And what was perfect about her was the fact that Holly is the female version of Michael. She was perfect for him. Michael is a doofus, and she was a doofus. Michael is a bit more of a jerk, but outside of that they were like two peas in a pod. The chemistry here between actors Amy Ryan and Steve Carell was outstanding, and this relationship, while short, lead to some excellent work by Steve Carell, specifically in the “Employee Transfer” episode as well as “Lecture Circuit”. Amy Ryan was only suppose to be on The Office for 6 episodes, but the fans demanded more with Michael and Holly, which they got in the season finale. If I had one complaint, it’s that the last episode was not fantastic. Sure they had been dealing with Michael’s reaction to the break-up all season, but it still seemed like they put zero buildup into the reunion at the end. No mention of this company picnic previous to it happening, or the fact that Holly might be there. What we got was just Kevin saying that Holly was here, and Michael going to say hello. Some more build up (mention in the previous episode that there would be a company picnic and have Michael realize he would finally be reunited) would have been nice for this reunion. That being said, the Michael/Holly relationship was the driving force behind the first chunk of episodes of the season, and those episodes, while not all great, were certainly entertaining and a very good start to the season.

The next strong element was the “Michael Scott Paper Company”. This was also only six episodes long, but it provided a fantastic story arc for most of the major players. As a matter of fact Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam, stood out above everyone else, and was really the MVP during this six episode stretch. Two things stick out for me with her performance…the walk Pam had with Michael leaving the building after quitting where they are both smiling and laughing at first, but then as the realization of what they just did hit them, the smiles turned to very worried faces. The other moment was Pam sitting in the car freaking out about what she is going to do since Michael’s own Nana doesn’t believe in him. DON’T get me wrong here, Steve Carell was also fantastic during the “Michael Scott Paper Company” stretch. Most elements during this stretch was fantastic. The Dwight vs Michael show down for one of Dwight’s clients was great. The recruitment of Ryan and Vikram was great. The sales pitch to Michael’s nana was great (“and don’t call it a comeback…”). JUST a fantastic stretch of episodes, as it produced one of The Office’s finest storylines ever.

The third strong element was the Andy/Dwight/Angela love triangle. This storyline helped bridge the gap between the Michael/Holly story, and the “Michael Scott Paper Company” story. While the love triangle was never front and center for any long length of time, the one moment it was in “The Duel” was fantastic. Andy is most entertaining when he is involved with Dwight, and those two were pure gold together through out the season.

Negatives for Season 5 were that it did not start off well, with opening episode Weight Loss being one of the weaker installments of the year. It didn’t end very well ether, as I was let down by the Holly/Michael reunion in Company Picnic. The best we have seen from the Jim/Pam relationship happened in the first three seasons, when he had a crush on her when she was with Roy, and then she had a crush on him when he was with Karen. I know and understand that this storyline had to progress forward (although I think they could have, and should have, dragged it out for at least one more year), but its still unfortunate that it did have to happen. The reality is that the chase was more entertaining to watch.

No other big negatives to be honest. I really do miss that early Jim/Pam stuff, but luckely the Holly/Michael thing was able to fill that need for a brief time period. The problem is that while this season had a lot of great character moments, and great storylines, and really no bad stretch of episodes at all, it is still hard to put this season over season two and three due to the Jim/Pam stuff.

And full props for the supporting actors. Each of them got some great moments to shine. Creed, Angela, Kevin, Toby, Meredith…ALL of them got some laughs out of me. Great season for material from the other people in the Office.

Top 5 Episodes

5. The Surplus – Watching the Office have to suck up to Michael as he made the choice between Copier and Chairs was great stuff. The smile on Michael’s face when Oscer asked him to go for lunch…GOLD. Then, when Michael found out that he can get a bonus for returning the surplus to corporate, watching him try to keep that money was also great to watch. Michael loves his Burlington Coat Factor!

4. Michael Scott Paper Company – In the middle of the great stretch of episodes for this show, watching Pam, Ryan and Michael try to adjust to working in the closet was very fun stuff. Bonus points for the “Michael Scott Paper Company” style opening credits, the Wayne Gretzky quote that Michael also quoted himself on, and Andy and Dwight’s duet of “Take me home, Country Roads”.

3. Dream Team – Just like number 4 on this list, Dream Team came during the strongest stretch in this shows history, and this episode brought the goods in so many ways. From Michael freaking out in the beginning, to the recruitment of Vikram from the telemarketing office and Ryan from the bowling alley, to the sales pitch to Nana (I just loved Michaels intro for Vikram and Ryan here), and finally to Pam’s breakdown in the car. A little bit of everything that makes the Office great in this one episode.

2. Employee Transfer – It is odd that I have this episode so high on the list, due to the fact that I was not feeling the Jim/Pam having lunch with Jim’s brothers thing, but that should tell you just how great the Michael/Holly/Darrell drive to Nashua was. Funniest break-up EVER! And a little sad as well. And let’s not forget the fantastic Dwight/Andy plot with Dwight mocking Cornell. Even with one of the three subplots not working, the other two were so good that they got this episode to number two on the list.

1. The Duel – I am a sucker for this one. Watching Michael tell Andy the truth about Angela and Dwight will driving away, just so he can avoid the aftermath, while letting his Office deal with it themselves…such a d*ck move and pure gold! Then, seeing Michael attempt to explain what he is doing right at his job to David Wallace, and not know what he is talking about…GOLD. Of course we had the Duel, which was great in the comedy area (Dwight and Andy briefly teaming up against Jim in the middle of there face to face), the “watching something uncomfortable” area (Andy’s reaction to the news), and the emotional area (Dwight dumping the bobble head in the garbage as a symbol that he is done with Angela). Just a great episode all around!

Top Moments

– Dwight hammering fruit into the vending machine as the Office is trying to lose weight
– Holly and Michael singing “Let’s get Ethical” to the tune of “Let’s get Physical”
– Actually, the entire Ethics meeting that had Meredith admitting to sleeping with someone for business
– In attempting to make Dwight break his silence, Jim explains to Andy the plot of Battlestar Galactica, which he says involves Klingons, Wookies, and characters of Lord of the Rings, and which is a shot for shot remake of the original BSG
– Michael is mad a Holly, so he tries to make life difficult for her. This includes jumping ahead of her to use the photocopier, and Michael photocopies a plaque since he didn’t have anything to photocopy
– “How do you tell someone that you care about deeply “I told you so”” – Michael Scott at his finest
– Dwight gives birth to a watermelon
– Michael wants a golden shower
– The Crime Aid auction
– Dwight auctioning for Phyllis’s hug by upping the bids by one penny
– Creed dressed as the Joker
– Pam dressed as Charlie Chaplin, which also looks like Hitler
– Andy interviewing Dwight for Cornell
– Dwight showing Andy how to eat a beet
– Dwight and Jim doing a role playing sales call with Michael
– Dwight realizing that he was right about someone forging the customer service reports
– Michael realizing that Toby was back
– The directions to Shrute Farms (“take a left at the bee hive”)
– Meredith’s Christmas intervention
– Michael dragging Meredith into a rehab center
– Oscars reaction to where Dwight and Angela had sex in the Office
– Michael trying to explain what he is doing right to David Wallace
– Dwight’s fire safety test
– The CPR training
– The Michael School Roast (“How small is it?” “If it were an Ipod, it would be a shuffle”)
– Michael discovers the Office intercom on his phone
– Kelly’s birthday sign “It is your birthday.”
– Utica presentation where Michael breaks down and Pam has to take over (“I have a chainsaw”)
– Michael as Willy Wonka
– Michael and Dwight’s business ideas (Toilet Guard, Horse Boat)
– Michael not trying after giving 2 weeks notice
– “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretsky AND Michael Scott
– Dwight vs Michael for the Schofield account
– Michael negotiating the Michael Scott Paper Company buy out
– Michael’s return to the office. (Trying to break threw the question mark)
– Meredith’s casual outfit
– Michael dancing in Cafe Disco
– Michael singing “Everybody dance now”

A few quotes

Michael Scott: When I discovered YouTube, I didn’t work for five days. I did nothing. I watched Cookie Monster sing Chocolate Rain about a thousand times.
Michael Scott: In my opinion the third date is traditionally the one where.. you have sex. Does Holly feel that way? I don’t know. I will probably find out tonight. If she starts having sex with me I’ll know for sure.
Darryl: Mike gave me a list of his top ten Springsteen songs. Three of them were Huey Lewis and the News, one was Tracy Chapman Fast Car. And my personal favorite: Short People.
Dwight Schrute: I love catching people in the act. It’s why I always whip open doors.
Jim Halpert: Andy still doesn’t know that Angela’s having an affair with Dwight. And it’s been seventeen days. I mean, eventually he’ll figure it out, when their kids have giant heads and beet-stained teeth. But right now it’s just… awkward.
Michael Scott: Sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improversation.
Pam Beesly: When Michael’s skirting a phone call he gave me a list of places to say he is. [reading the list] Stopping a fight in the parking lot. An Obama fashion show. Whatever, that is. Trapped in an oil painting. I’m gonna save that one.

SEASON MVP

Jim was fine this year, but he was pretty much always the straight man for everyone else. Pam was the MVP during the Michael Scott Paper Company storyline, but not for the entire season. So it’s between Michael and Dwight, and while Michael was so good in so many ways during Season five, he was not 100% funny during the entire season. Dwight though was. Everything that Dwight said or was involved with was great stuff. Rainn Wilson brought the goods this year, and I am giving the MVP to Dwight Schrute.

And on a side note, if I had to pick an MVP for the minor characters, it goes to Creed. He had the least amount of screen time, but trust me, EVERYTHING he said was funny.

The Final Word

A great season for a great show. Yes, I miss the old Jim/Pam pre-relationship story, but season five was able to work around that by providing Michael and Holly, and Dwight/Angela/Andy, and just Dwight being on top of his game the entire year. They gave me the Michael Scott Paper Company.

Very few dud episodes, and plenty of great ones makes this an easy thumbs up. How it compares to the previous seasons, I do need to rewatch them before making that call, but even if seasons two and three are overall superior to this one, season five does NOT fall too far behind.

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From reading this everyday, you should get an idea about me.

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