What We Learned From the "The Office": "Viewing Party"

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Steve Carell, actor who plays Michael Scott on "The Office".

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Steve Carell, actor who plays Michael Scott on "The Office".

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"Buy yourself a nice spaceship."

This week's "The Office" opened with an excellent social commentary about the viewing proclivities of the general American population. The crew, with the exception of Gabe, was enrapt into the live police showdown with the Scranton Strangler. Naturally, this could only lead to a "Glee" watch party.

"I like to create soundscapes."

This week offered a peek into the "yuppie X" lifestyle Gabe Lewis. Someone as awkward as Gabe is expected to have a quirky personal life; and in some ways he doesn't disappoint. The budding relationship between Erin and Gabe causes ripples between both Andy and Michael. The joy comes when the misguided mix of Andy's passive aggression and Michael's typical child tantrum get unleashed in their adversary's home.

"Surprise me...NO! Pepperoni."

The true climax arrives when Dwight Schrute revealed some strange skill at calming Cecelia, Pam and Jim's daughter. Pam begged Dwight to hold her longer. Dwight complied, much to the horror of Jim and an amorously creepy Angela. "The Office" soars when the writers flip the conventional prank/power dynamic between Jim and Dwight. Last night did not disappoint in that respect; Dwight at one point had Jim literally feeding him pizza! A number of critics saw Jim and Pam's new baby as a sign that "The Office" had jumped the shark and ran dry, however as Dwight croons "Beer me Jim." It becomes evident that the new child may be the best addition since Andy Bernard.

While Jim freaked, Andy seethed in Gabe's "man cave". In his attempt to win Erin back he decided to try one of Gabe's "enhancements" from Asia that Ryan identified as "powdered seahorse." Unfortunately the outcome was rather anti-climatic. Andy Bernard is arguably the most entertaining character; shame the writers wasted a golden opportunity for mayhem.

"...It was magical."

Michael displayed his feelings for Gabe by disconnecting the cable, leaving everyone inside upset. Erin discovers the truth and this leads to a scene only "The Office" can pull off in the midst of such insanity. Through their exchange both Erin and Michael revealed how they feel about each other. What emerges is a strange father/ daughter relationship that peels back the bumbling clownish exterior and shows their true sides. With Steve Carell's almost certain departure at the end of the season, these scenes carry an extra dose of gravitas. Overall, "The Viewing Party" was a strong episode with minor missed opportunities.

"The Office." nbc.com

Steve Carell Confirms He's Leaving "The Office."eoline.com

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