• Season 4 : Episode 1
  • First aired on September 27, 2007
  • Written by Greg Daniels / Directed by Greg Daniels
  • Recap by Karin
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.

Let’s have a warm welcome for Karin, the newest addition to the Northern Attack staff. I’ll let her impressive work speak for itself.

It’s the start of a new year, and what better way to start that year with a bang (or rather, a thunk, squeak, and thud). Michael’s inadvertent accident eventually leads to the formation of one of the longest-titled charity events ever, the Michael Scott Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure. Other changes are happening as well - Dwight makes a hard call that may have cost him a monkey, and Pam gets caught in the act picking up a tall dark not-so-stranger in her car.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

So, Michael, what did you do over the summer?

Michael : I’m ok. Well, I did not get the job in New York. But I got the real prize - domestic bliss. Jan made me breakfast this morning. Well, she bought the milk. It’s soy! This is why I do it. That’s what I have to come home to. [Jan snores, sprawled across the bed] She probably won’t be up for a few hours.

Oh Michael, Michael. If you remember, he invited Jan to stay with him at the end of the last season, admitting that in doing so (and in losing the bid for the Corporate job) he needed to renege on his eBay deal. Given the terrifying state of the master bedroom, I’d say he should’ve moved anyway. Andy, do you still want us to call you when she rolls over?

Michael : So, Ryan got promoted to corporate, where he is a little fish in a big pond, whereas back here in Scranton I am still top dog in a fairly large pond… so who is the real boss? The dog or a fish?

Given the Armani suit, the trendy 5 o’clock shadow, and the wunderkind appellation, I’d say that that little fish is a barracuda, and Michael is an underfed Chihuahua. But that’s me.

Michael : Well, I ran down Meredith in my car.
Ryan : Ohhhh, did you do this on purpose?
Michael : No, I was being negligent. But she’s in the hospital, she’s fine, recovering nicely, tiny little crack in her pelvis, but she will be up –
Ryan : Did this happen on company property?
Michael : Yes, it was on company property -with- company property, so double jeopardy, we are fine.
Ryan : I don’t think- I don’t think you understand how jeopardy works.
Michael : Oh, right. I’m sorry. What is, we’re fine.

It’s good to know Michael hasn’t lost that old touch for confusing the U.S. Constitution with prime-time old-folks tv.

Michael : Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I liked to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this compulsive need to be liked, like my need to be praised.

At… at least he’s being honest?

Michael : Maybe theres some sort of animal that we could make a sacrifice to. Like a giant buffalo. Or some sort of monster, like something with the body of a walrus with the head of a sea lion. Something with a body of an egret, with the head of a meerkat. Or just the head of a monkey, with the antlers of a reindeer. With the body of a porcupine.

I stopped trying to picture this pretty quickly, because I’m pretty sure I know where I saw the animal god he’s describing. It’s the same place Hieronymus Bosch saw it. And yes, I spelled that on the first try.

Dwight Being Dwight

Dwight makes a crucial mistake in this episode. He assumes that reason will triumph over feelings.

Angela : Any problems?
Dwight : Well, you left the tv on. And your cat is dead.
Angela : What? [Tears up]
Dwight : Sparkles, the white one, is dead.
Angela : Sparkles?
Dwight : That was the sick one, right?
Angela : Uh- huh. [Blubbering] I thought she had more time!
Dwight : No.
Angela : [Crying] Did she look… when you saw her, how was she looking?
Dwight : Really dead. Like just a dead cat. So… hey, come on, don’t be sad. She’s in a better place.
Angela : All right. [Sobbing]
Dwight : Actually, the pace that she’s in is the freezer. because of the odor. [Leaves]

I know Dwight isn’t all that great at interpersonal relationships that don’t involve him selling paper supplies to someone else, but he MUST know that this is going to be devastating news to his girlfriend, even if she’s a soft city girl and he’s a hardened farmer. Oh well.

Dwight : Blink once if you want me to pull the plug.
Meredith : Don’t pull any plugs.

Dwight has tasted the power of choosing who lives and who dies. He is a true valkyrie, only without the braids and boobs and battlefields. I don’t think he sees this as a problem, though.

Dwight : I am a farmer, Angela.
Angela : What does that mean?
Dwight : Ok, when a farmer sees an animal that is in pain, that has no quality of life, that has no utility, a farmer does what city folk don’t have the stomach to do.
Angela : You did kill her!
Dwight : I sang her her favorite songs.
Angela : You put her in my freezer!
Dwight : It was beautiful and gentle and respectful. I fed her antihistamines and she gradually fell asleep.
Angela : Well then she barfed them up in the freezer and tried to get out.
Dwight : Well, I’m not responsible for that.

Dwight is a brave and honest man for finally admitting what he did, and his reasoning is valid. The problem is, he is Dwight. Angela is not Dwight. If Dwight were telling Dwight what he did, Dwight Number 2 would accept the loss. Of course, Dwight Number 1 wouldn’t have had to do it, because Dwight Number 2 would not have let things get to where they were, but that’s beside the point. Dwight has alienated his sweet Monkey, and only time will tell if he is able to win her back.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim comes back from the summer with a fresh smile and a fresh attitude. Perhaps this new good mood is why he is willing to call around to strip clubs this time.

Pam : And also, there is no such thing as a rabies doctor.
Michael : How about a rabies nurse?
Pam : I don’t think so.
Jim : You know what though? I’ve actually seen ads for nurses you can hire by the hour, for parties and bachelor events.
Michael : That’s possible. Look into that.
Jim : Great. It’s gonna cost a couple hundred bucks, and, actually, more, with tips.

I like the new improved Halpert. He may not be as disapprovingly funny, but he’s got that old evil glint back in his eye, and that can only mean one thing: more office supplies in Jell-O.

Pam : So I closed the door, but the image of his…
Jim : Baguette.
Pam : dangling participle…
Jim : Ooh.
Pam : still burned in my eyes.

If you will recall, Pam stated that Roy would not have wanted her to have seen Jim’s dangling participle. This shows a fundamental difference between Roy and Jim: Roy would have brought pain and despair upon Michael, whereas Jim is content to laugh and come up with cringe-worthy euphemisms.

Jim : Oh, I’m sorry. Is this a working office? And not a French beach?

I would like to be on the French beach he is on. Not the French beach Michael is on, though.

Confessions of a Receptionist

The New and Improved Beesly is a terrifying beast to behold. Not only is she eschewing her usual button-down and pulled-back hair, she is also venturing into a world previously explored by the likes of Kevin.

Tech : You know, generally it’s not a good idea to click on any internet offers that you haven’t requested. What was the exact offer?
Pam : It was for a… video.
Tech : Yeah, what kind of video?
Pam : A celebrity sex tape.
Jim : Really? What kind of celebrity.
Pam : It’s not relevant.
Jim : How much did you pay for it?
Pam : Not relevant.
Jim : You paid for it?!
Pam : It all happened so fast!

That she would admit something like this to the camera is surprising. Of course, Fancy New Beesly is not all about nudity in the workplace.

Pam : They say if youre nervous around someone, you should picture them naked. I do not recommend this strategy. Try picturing them with more clothes on. Or a funny coat.

Wise words. Even with the tv censor, I’m still grossed out by that image.

The Jim/Pam Index

So, it has been several months since we last saw Jim ask a glowing Pam if she was free for dinner that night. He said, she said:

Jim : I broke up with Karen after the job interview, and it was a little awkward when she came back from the City. She told me very clearly that just because we were broken up didn’t mean that she was going anywhere, because she had worked really hard for her career, but the next day her desk was empty. And as for me and my current romantic life, I’m single now and looking. So if you know anybody…

Yeeeeah. I’m not sure if anyone is fooled by the idea that they just had a couple of dates and that was that. Of course, on the other hand, Jim might be growing something of a conscience, because after all, he did dump Karen’s ass quite suddenly and unceremoniously (at least, according to the shorts on the NBC website), and rushing into something with Pam might be, all told, kind of a dick thing to do in light of his actions.

Pam : I told you I’m not dating anyone. And even if I was, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business. I mean, when I do fall in love, like when it’s for real, the last person I’m going to talk about it to is a camera crew, or my coworkers. Almost marrying Roy Anderson was as close to Pamela Anderson as I ever want to be. Trust me, when I fall in love, you’ll know.

Pam tries so hard to be a good liar, but it’s obvious the cameramen don’t believe her at all. Them tailing her to see who she was picking up was a stroke of genius, and the camera’s silent cornering of the pair harkens back to when Pam co-opted the camera to prove a connection between Dwight and Angela.

Jim : Oh, um, no. That’s not- I mean, that wasn’t-
Pam : Yeah, that was, um…
Jim : I mean, I can see how it would seem a bit like we, ahh.. how it looks like, um. I mean, nowadays, you can edit anything, right? You can edit anything to look like… anything.
Pam : Yeah, I gave him a ride home because were dating.
Jim : Wow. There it is.
Pam : Yeah. We havent told anybody, but its going really great. Right?
Jim : It is going really great.

Of course, when confronted with such damning evidence, it’s hard for them to deny it, CGI arguments aside. The amount of joy that lights up their faces, though, when they finally admit their relationship, is truly beautiful to behold. I don’t think I’ve seen two people more happy on camera in a long time. Seeing them happy together made me squeal not necessarily because it was the culmination of over 3 years of unrequited attraction, but because it was two characters who were clearly so happy to be together that that happiness burned through anything else that could have ruined their day. If you don’t think the Jim/Pam Index went up this episode, mayhaps you need professional help. It practically doesn’t exist anymore, it has been so completely blown up.

Supporting Nod

Kevin has always been known for his reaction shots and emphatic deadpan statements. This episode is no exception.

Kevin : Are you kidding me? Pam and Jim are totally hooking up. All they do is smile. They’re just keeping it a secret. Right?
Oscar: I don’t know. There is no evidence of intimacy. They’ve been in remarkably good moods. It could be other things.
Kevin : ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Kevin, you are right not to be fooled.

Kevin : Oh well. If they arent together now, then they probably never will be. I thought theyd be good together. Like PB & J. Pam Beesly and Jim. [Gapes at his own realization] What a waste. What. A. Waste.

However, being fooled anyway is perfectly acceptable, if it gives you such an entertaining epiphany.

The Superstar

Who else but the grieving, suspicious Angela?

Angela : She’s been sick for some time. Thank you for asking! No one asks about Sprinkles.

Oh Dwight, Dwight, Dwight. You thought she was angry when she was sabotaging Andy. I don’t think you really knew your girlfriend when you decided euthanizing her cat with antihistamines was a good idea. If only he had sacked up and applied the antifungal cream… but then we wouldn’t have her shoving him around and ordering autopsies from the vet (or rather, necropsies).

Essentially, from the moment Sprinkles is mentioned, you KNOW something’s going to happen. It’s only a matter of time. Can you see Andy moving in on this? Because I can.

Angela : This is Halloween last year. Just a couple of kittens, out on the town.

I… I have no words. Words cannot describe this woman’s loss, and our gain.

Also, her reaction to Pamela’s “I’m a dog person” is basically exactly how these sorts of conversations go. I’m surprised there wasn’t a lecture.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Michael : Ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news. Meredith was hit by a car. It happened this morning in the parking lot. I took her to the hospital, and the doctors tried to save her life, they did the best that they could, and she is going to be ok.
    Stanley: What is wrong with you? Why did you have to phrase it like that?

    Stanley is the mouthpiece for everyone in the office at this point. Michael’s public speaking skills are often somewhat lacking.

  • Andy : Did you see who did it?
    Dwight : No need, we can just check the security tapes.
    Michael : Kind of a good news/bad news there. I was able to be on the scene so quickly because I was in the car that hit her.
    Jim : Who was driving?
    [Michael falls silent]
    Pam : Oh Michael.
    [Cut to interview]
    Jim : One day Michael came in complaining about a speed bump on the highway… I wonder who he ran over then.

    I wonder, too. Hopefully, it was just another deer Dwight can find and make into aphrodisiac jerky.

  • Phyllis : Does it hurt terribly?
    Meredith : No, it’s not too bad. They have me on a lot of painkillers.
    Creed : Oh really? What kind? Codeine? Vicodin? Percoset? Fentanyl? Oxycontin? Palladone?
    Meredith : I have no idea.

    Creed, once again, wins the “Creepy Druggie Pusher Award”.

  • Creed : I’ve been involved in a number of cults, both as a leader and a follower. You have more fun as a follower, but you make more money as a leader.

    Add to that list of awards the “I Was At Jonestown But Avoided The Flavor-Aid” medal.

  • Kelly : If there was a god, Ryan and I would be married by now.

    Assuming that this god is a cruel, capricious god who enjoys torture and ill-judged Valentines hook-ups, sure. Thankfully, such a god does not apparently exist.

  • Andy : I’m petrified of nipple chafing. Once it starts, it is a vicious circle. You have sensitive nipples, so they chafe, so they become more sensitive, so they chafe more. So I take precautions.

    How does he wear shirts? Does he wear pasties underneath his button-downs? Are cotton undershirts too abrasive (so many ridges!)? I think we need more information on Andy’s nipples, horrifying though that information may be.

  • Jan : Ok, name please.
    Creed : Creed Bratton, 75-Plus Division.
    Jan : You’re over 75 years old?
    Creed : 82 November 1. How much is the prize money?
    Jan : There is no prize money.
    Creed : What, is any of this real?

    You’re not real, man!

  • Angela : Cat heaven is a beautiful place. But you dont get there if you’re euthanized!

    I guess cats aren’t like dogs, who have a place in heaven all lined up regardless. It’s good to be a dog person in this instance.

  • Pam : I know you, Michael. I saw you naked.
    Michael : You dont know me. Youve just seen my penis.

    I’m not sure which is worse - seeing Michael’s penis or knowing him. One is a one-time thing, albeit burned into the back of your brain, while the other involves understanding a psyche that even Freud would have trouble with.

Odds and Ends

  • Michael knew about the porn and its destructive effect on Pam’s computer. Is it possible she ordered it for him? I don’t know if the new and improved Beesly would do that for him.
  • Jan’s possessive thing is promising to be everso entertaining. If Elizabeth the Stripper-Nurse’s body shows up in a river, don’t say you weren’t warned.
  • Also, what are the gun laws in Pennsylvania? Is Dwight allowed to own that Dirty Harry pistol?
  • What can the future hold for Dwangela? Forgiveness? Vindictive glares? Retaliatory romances? I am on the edge of my seat.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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I'm not superstitious. I'm only a little stitious.

1Posted by JFernandes on September 27, 2007

I think this week's supporting nod should go to Andy's astounding nipples.

2Posted by Pat D. on September 27, 2007

The Jim/Pam situation was handled very well.

3Posted by JFernandes on September 27, 2007

Well, that was a stellar episode to begin season 4 with! If the rest of the season is this good, we're going to be in for one heck of a funny ride!

Awesome episode! "Race for Rabies Awareness"...still laughing.

That said, I was a little irked by how they handled the Pam/Jim aspect. I kind of wished they would have left it a little more mysterious or ambiguous. Which is where I thought they were going with it at first. They ARE together now--let's hope that doesn't take the wind out of the show.

And I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Karen.

4Posted by Philip on September 27, 2007

Oh, my gosh! PB&J! How did we not come up with that before? Amazing episode. One of the best. Everything was pitch perfect. I can't wait for the recap!

5Posted by Jillian on September 27, 2007

Fun Run was everything that I wanted and more. Dwight and Angela, so real, well done. Jim and Pam, all I can say is "Wow". Michael and Jan, going to be hilarious. Sometimes an hour long episode can have some slow points, but I loved every second of Fun Run. This season is going to be awesome.

6Posted by Melissa on September 27, 2007

Not bad. I laughed pretty damn hard for the first half, although it did take some dark twists (Getting hit by the car, Dwight taking out Angela's cat) I hope the show stays lighthearted, although I'm not too woried. Ryan certainly is enjoying his new status. Nice facial hair buddy. Love the handling of Jim and Pam, hope they can stay undercover in the office for awhile (although Kevin's on to them!)

7Posted by Matt on September 27, 2007

Anybody else catch the slight annoyance in Jim that he had to carry Pams lamp? Wonder how Jim is going to get along with relationship Pam? What was Roy putting up with that we never saw?

8Posted by Marc on September 27, 2007

I would've preffered if they kept the Jim/Pam ambiguity going a few more episodes as well. It was obvious they were going out before the camera crew caught them. Also the comedic possibilities alone would have been great. I noticed that look of annoyance when Jim had to carry the lamp, but that makes it more realistic all couples have little things they do that annoy each other. I just hope the producers don't turn them into one of those awful on again off again relationships that plague TV.

9Posted by jackalope on September 28, 2007

Sigh
That is what I have been waiting all summer for.

I loved how Jim tried to deny that they kissed in the car. "You can do anything with editing these days." Hah. The look on their faces when they were showed the tape...

Go Toby!

10Posted by Eric L. on September 28, 2007

Was I the only person who thought this episode was a huge letdown? I felt like each character was acting like a caricature of themselves, and the plot seemed so over the top that I had a really hard time believing anything happening in the episode. And what the heck was Darryl doing at the conference room meeting? The episode didn't make any sense. Plus, Jim and Pam were... annoying. With them both being so upfront, their relationship almost seemed cocky? Whatever. Fix it, Daniels.

11Posted by Matthew Wong on September 28, 2007

I loved this episode! I noticed how the phone call with Ryan and Michael was very much Jane/Michael like, right up to Ryans frustrated heavy sigh. Also, it seems to me that the camera/camera men have become characters now....
This was worth the wait.

12Posted by Denise on September 28, 2007

I do like it when they interact a little with the camera, so being confronted with filmed evidence of their lies was pretty great. Although, I have to say I'm pretty unhappy with the on-your-feet thinking, Jim. Spontaneous dental hydroplosion indeed.

13Posted by Black Pepper Snake on September 28, 2007

I was also somewhat disappointed with the episode. Michael just seemed really out of character, Andy wasn't all that funny. I love the fact that Jim and Pam are together now. And yes, they could have dragged it out a little more. The camera work was sub-par at best. There was this brightness to the color (I don't know if anyone else noticed it) like they're using some new kind of film or something. Yet the feel of it was very dark. Hitting Meridith, hospital, Dwight killing Sprinkles, Angela crying. And geez I felt like changing the channel during Michael's rant about religions and his animal gods. I don't know if it was supposed to be that annoying, if it was, genious! The story line just felt forced. And the first half I felt just dragged. And what the crap is up with Pam ordering porn?!!! I still liked it though. I just hope its not like that all season. Yes, Greg Daniels, fix it please.

14Posted by Jason on September 28, 2007

This 61 minute episode sorta confirmed my concerns about a longer show--that many of the scenes that should be in the "deleted scenes" section would actually be in the show. Yes, there were some very funny lines and scenes, but there were some that were not up to snuff. It was funny when Michael tried to explain to his employees that he was able to quickly respond to Meredith being run over because he was in the car that hit her. The whole story line with Angela's cat was not very funny. I did like Pam and Jim together finally, and the way they tried to hide it all the while Kevin was saying "Are you kidding me?" Could have done without Andy's bleeding nipples and Michael's dangling participle, although it was funny when Andy drafted behind slow-moving Kevin during the 5K "fun" run. This episode was pretty good, but could have been much better at 43 rather than 61 minutes. I do not like Meredith's character, so her story line wasn't funny to me except for the fact that her pelvis was cracked, which would certainly put her out of commission for awhile (if you know what I mean). Finally, it was funny when the Dunder Mifflin runners found themselves 5 kilometers away from work.

15Posted by Dunderhead on September 28, 2007

Quote:"Was I the only person who thought this episode was a huge letdown? I felt like each character was acting like a caricature of themselves, and the plot seemed so over the top that I had a really hard time believing anything happening in the episode. And what the heck was Darryl doing at the conference room meeting? The episode didn't make any sense."

The Office is much better as a 30 minute Show. It seemed that everyone was trying too hard. I hope it gets better.

16Posted by Mike on September 28, 2007

I thought this was a great first episode for the new season but agree there was maybe a little bloat from the hour length. Loved the Pam/Jim resolution. Dragging it out any longer would have been contrived. They're so happy to be together that once confronted they couldn't deny it. I have confidence the writers will keep it from becoming annoying like other TV romances. In response to previous postings about the lamp, I don't think Jim was at all annoyed at carrying her lamp. He's clearly thrilled that they're together and will do anything she asks. The grin he tosses back over his shoulder as they walk away shows that. Can't wait for more Jan (crazier than ever) and Ryan. He visits the Scranton office next week - what revenge will Kelly take?

17Posted by Kristin on September 28, 2007

I was actually surprised to see Kelly this calm in the first episode...

18Posted by Denise on September 28, 2007

" Andy wasn't all that funny. "

Yeah, I noticed that too, he did not seem to have much to do at all in this ep. I seriously hope Andy goes back to the pre-anger-management "Big Tuna" days, or failing that, the vindictive Angela days...otherwise his character seems to be pretty much pointless.

Although I DID get the inkling that something may happen between Angela and Andy in the future since she seems to be headed towards breakup with Dwight. Now THAT would be interesting!

Actually, my favorite line in the ep was probably Michael, after no one wanted to ride in his car said:

"Nobody IN the car got hurt".

Now THAT was classic Mike.

19Posted by Pat D. on September 28, 2007

So that is where her uterus went! That was so worth the twenty dollars I paid someone to finish my work so I could leave early and watch. Great episode. I love that Pam is entirely open to the possibility that dwight is a cat killer.

20Posted by amw235 on September 28, 2007

Oh wow, so much to go over! I'll do my best to get the recap in over the weekend, when I've had a chance to rewatch the episode. I have to say, though, I was worried about this episode. As it went on, however, I liked it more and more, so though did drag a bit I was sad when it ended.

As for Jim and Pam? I may be a sucker, but they did one of the best jobs of being truly happy that I have seen in a long, long while.

21Posted by Karin on September 28, 2007

Kevin gets the MVP of the episode, no question.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME"

22Posted by Nussy on September 28, 2007

I thought all the best lines went to Angela this week. "Just two kittens, out on the town." "Pam, you always seem to be having relationship problems, so I thought I'd ask you...'Did Roy ever try to kill your cat?'" And the piece de resistance was her incredibly detailed kitty lunch instructions for Dwight "You have to put Sprinkles right in front of her food, otherwise she won't see it. Mix in a Omega-3 fatty acid capsule in with her kidney medication, but don't give her that until fifteen minutes after she's done eating. Also, she has an anti-fungal cream that has to be applied right under her tail." (I know I'm not getting the quotes exactly right, but I don't have Tivo.) Also, Michael's reaction to the news of Sprinkles death and the fact that he could come up with the cat's correct name (not Sparkles, Dwight!) was pretty touching.

23Posted by Count Choculitis on September 28, 2007

I thought the episode was ok. It seems like the hour longs aren't necessary. I did enjoy the check to "science", seeing more workers there (like the IT guy and a few new warehouse workers). It definetely looks like NBC is spending more money on the show. Jim and Pam? Eh. I just don't want their relationship to become a focal point of the show, which I felt this episode did. It's nice that they're together, but leave it at that.

24Posted by Jose on September 28, 2007

WOW! I have waited all summer for this episode. Here's my thoughts. I agree with Kristin, that Jim and Pam were so happy together they just couldn't keep it a secret, and why should they? They've both waited a long time for this moment. I can't help feeling horrible for Karen though. WOW to be dumped and facing the fact that you might have to work with your ex and his new love. How could she not just pack up and leave. Jim has not always treated women very well. I hope Pam has better luck with him. I also hope the writers don't do the on again, off again, relationship with them. It isn't realistic and it's kind of stupid. There are so many other areas of the show to focus on now other than the Pam/Jim saga. I imagine Angela will dump Dwight, and it will be interesting to see if she goes for Andy. There is also the dynamic between Ryan/Michael, Jan/Michael, Kelly/Ryan. The show has a great cast to work with and I"m sure they will keep the show fresh and interesting. I really enjoyed this episode, and my final commment, I don't think Jim was annoyed with carying Pam's lamp. Sometimes I think people read too much into every scene.

25Posted by Tammie on September 28, 2007

On second thought, I feel a little like the show has spun a little off its axis. Getting hit by a car, cats in the freezer, Pam downloading porn, bleeding nipples, Michael puking? Where's the subtlety?

I used to love that the show was character driven, and the subtle reactions of the actors, but this episode seemed kind of gimmicky to me.

Also mostly we just saw Pam and Jim as a couple, but I miss watching Jim interact with other characters (Dwight, Kelly, Michael) Hope they get back to some of that.

Are there new writers ? What's the deal ?

26Posted by Matt on September 28, 2007

Give it time, chickens, give it time! I think that a few episodes from now the writers will prove themselves (once again) as being on the right track. I have a hard time seeing this show going off the rails yet, in fact think that season 4 is going to be the best ever. I don't think there are new writers or anything, and the whole cast and crew seem to work together so cohesively I can't imagine that it will go way offbase. I heard that Rashida Jones (Karen) will be in two more episodes so hopefully the Jim/Karen breakup will be explored a little bit more. Pam ordering a celebrity sex tape was just an example of Fancy New Beesly not censoring herself anymore. I didn't think it was some crazy out of character thing. Who hasn't been curious to check one of those things out and her brave new self followed an impulse that clearly went awry. Was Jim in on it from the beginning and feigning ignorance? I'd have to say so. Also, the Angela cat thing didn't seem out of character for these two. Angela definitely would be the kind of cat lady to keep her pet alive beyond all reason and Dwight's farming roots and take no prisoners, self-appointed leadership attitude would make him take action. Did you really think he was going to apply fungal medication to the cat's behind?

Okay, I really geek out on this show way too much. Thank goodness for the internet and this site!

27Posted by Kristin on September 28, 2007

No bigger fan of The Office than me, but I too was disappointed. Nobody seemed to be in their character. I am hoping that the addition of Ryan as the new task master will offer some conflict and humor. It was a long 4 months, but it IS only the first episode.

28Posted by babs on September 28, 2007

The writing on this show has always been ahead of the viewers' expectations. Just a few examples: we didn't really see Jan falling apart like she did, but here she is and it seems right. We didn't see Ryan taking her job, but there he is. I don't remember anybody predicting that Dwight would step in and save Jim from Roy. Give them patience, they've given us 3 great seasons that we couldn't have predicted and most people thought the show wouldn't make it after season 1. Furthermore, this episode had a huge marketing campaign behind it (did anybody see the multiple covers on Entertainment Weekly etc?). Clearly NBC is still trying to rejuvenate its "Must-see Thursday" powerhouse and they're trying to attract new viewers to The Office. To do that, you've got to keep it broad in the season premiere. We're in for a great season with some new dynamics that we didn't see coming (Dwight and Angela fighting over a cat?). I can't wait to see it unfold.

29Posted by Whitest Keds on September 28, 2007

Wow! Glad to know that my husband and I were not the only ones kinda going "huh?" after this episode. We were let down big time. But we do have faith in the writers to deliver a great season. Season three, though the BEST season this far, had 1 or 2 let downs as well. It just sucked that the season premier had to be one of those ones for season four. I cant even name all of the things that were wierd to us but Andy''s bleeding nipples (the nipple thing started out funny, but died), Darrell feading a squirrel??? What? Michael's religous rant, etc.

I think Pam and Jim being together this early is a bad move. It really irked us. I think there will be break ups in their future--but I dont know. And oh, just writing Karen out like that? I know she was supposed to have her own show, but I just dont think alot of things about Jim/Pam/Karen were justified. To us, there was very little lead-in for an ending like that.

Oh well, I hate reading long posts, so I better stop writing myself. :)

Happy Office guys.

30Posted by Monday Morning. on September 28, 2007

I dont think it is the hour long episode that made it bad, b/c The Job was an hour long but was EXCELLENT. I just think there were bad ideas all through this episode.

31Posted by Stephanie on September 28, 2007

You guys are all on crack. This episode was amazing. One of the funniest ever.

Best line: "Very good you went back and got your degree."

32Posted by Mr. Snrub on September 29, 2007

The loss of Rashida Jones is obvious and huge and does not make me very optimistic.

33Posted by Dwigt on September 29, 2007

Wow, its one episode and most of the comments on here are writing off the whole season (or show in general). Not everyone is going to love EVERY episode. I thought it was great. Sure, there were a couple things that I could have done without. But really, with all the expectations that the writers had to live up to, there is no way to please everyone.

34Posted by Melissa on September 29, 2007

Point taken Melissa. The writers up to this point have delivered and to write off a season after one episode is crazy. Its just that many of us take this show very seriously and I know for myself, it means a lot to me. I believe it will continue to deliver. I thought the handling of J&P was well done.

35Posted by Matt on September 30, 2007

I think the supporting nod should go to Kevin for his PB&J line.

Pam Beesley and Jim. Priceless.

I thought the writing was a little week, but I enjoyed it just the same.

36Posted by Kt on September 30, 2007

The first 15 minutes were funny but something went terribly wrong!!!!!!!!!!

37Posted by Cri-Man-Squa on September 30, 2007

I was kind of disappointed when I first watched, but after watching again the next morning, I really loved the episode. It's always a risk to take the show outside of the office, and I think that is why some of this episode fell flat. It's not only lots of different stuff (Angela and Dwight fighting in the open, Jim and Pam HOLDING HANDS [faints]), it's also outside the office so it kind of feels like the show is careening out of control.

If every hour-long episode is this broad, it will be hard to keep up tons of enthusiasm, because the broadness of the show isn't really it's greatest strength. It's the weird specificity they are willing to delve into. I think there were a lot of great moments of dialog and some great timing. Despite Jim being shirtless when delivering it, I think my least favourite line was "...and not a French beach?" because it didn't sound like him. I worry there will be more lines which are technically funny but don't fit the character (if they continue to be so broad).

So it was a good, if not imperfect, episode.

38Posted by autonym on October 1, 2007

I don't understand why no one has mentioned the funniest / most disgusting line in the whole show: "I didn't see where it started, but I saw where it ended". I laughed so hard at that line that I peed myself a little.

39Posted by Check to Science on October 1, 2007

Yeah, you see, the reason I didn't mention that line is because I want to forget that there was ever a possibility that Michael's (and by extension, Steve Carrell's) junk was ever captured on film. Pointing out that it is anything more than a tubular appendage, by specifically mentioning the end and the beginning, gives someone with a visual imagination like mine such a grossed-out shiver that I could not in the interests of self-preservation talk about it.

But of course I've gone and done that so whoops

40Posted by Karin on October 1, 2007

Aha! I found a MISTAKE!!!

"Dwight : Blink once if you want me to pull the plug.
Angela : Don’t pull any plugs."

That should be Meredith, shouldn't it?

Great recap, otherwise!

41Posted by Pat D. on October 1, 2007

Thanks for the catch, Pat D.

42Posted by James on October 1, 2007

Hey Karin -- excellent recap of an excellent episode. I've got something to live up to next week.

43Posted by Linus on October 1, 2007

i was a tad disappointed by the use of profanity in this recap. i expected better from you. it's not necessary. a good writer can find other words. i'm done reading recaps on this site. i'll stick to office tally.

44Posted by tricia on October 1, 2007

I thought you did a great job with the recap, Karin...worthy of Northern Attack, which has the best Office recaps on the web :-)

45Posted by Carly on October 1, 2007

Okay, I was going to let this go, but I have to come to the defense of my colleague. Granted, a colleague I have never met, but:

The profanity, as such, that is used in this recap is of mildest variety, the sort that can be seen on any television in America after 10 pm. It is clearly not meant to offend. And let me you remind you that these words have power only if you grant them power: They're offensive only if you decide to be offended by them. Since the word at issue does not describe any activity or anatomy that every human being isn't hard-wired with knowledge of, the only reason to take offense is for the purpose of feeling superior, creating a false differentiation between yourself and those who are allegedly profane.

The idea that good writers find other words is a myth. William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, JD Salinger, and a whole host of others -- these are our greatest writers, and all have used words evaluated to be "profane" in their time. There are times when such words not only have their place but are the mot juste. Good writers do not restrict their vocabularies based on the fevered imaginings of social and moral arbiters.

And now, I'll climb down off my soap box. Don't take this post as an indication that my recaps will be R-rated orgies of cursing; far from it. But Karin has taken it on herself to provide us with her work free of charge, and I don't like to see someone who is putting herself out there, especially for the first time in a new space, being attacked.

46Posted by Linus on October 1, 2007

Amen, Linus. Good job, Karin, and thanks for doing it.

My thoughts on the 'Jim was annoyed about the lamp carrying' thing is that in any relationship, certain roles are assumed and certain unspoken expectations are harbored, which often bring about certain fights between certain... -- oof -- Sorry about that, went into Angela mode for a sec. Anyway, no relationship is 100% bliss, so while I think Jim was... 'annoyed' is really too strong a word, but you know... ...I think he was more surprised than anything. People are different in relationships than they are as friends. Pam would never have asked Jim-friend to carry it, but she'd make no bones about placing (reasonable) demands on Roy as her partner ("Hey, you're gonna hafta start doing boyfriend things with me now."). It's just a part of that initial feeling things out and getting into a relationship rhythm. Kudos to the writers for bothering to keep it as real as possible; it's nice to be privy to that ongoing development.

I love every line reading Brian Baumgartner gives, and of course he was stellar in this episode (as was Paul Lieberstein!), but the Best Acting In A Season Four Premiere has to go to lovely Jenna. Watch her face right after she blurts out "Because we're dating." Get past the huge, infectious smile and watch her complexion. She made herself blush!! Tears are one thing, every actor has to be able to call that physiological response up, but blushing?! And in response, like a yawn or crying, etc., John Krasinski blushed right after her. I just think that's an outstanding feat as an actress, and such effort put into such a subtle shading is exactly the kind of attention to detail this show is all about.

Yes, this episode may have been 45 minutes of material stretched into 60, but we all know the batting average of this show is way beyond 99% of what's out there, and I don't think the few dead spots in this episode are indicative of any kind of drop in quality whatsoever. It actually seemed more like Greg had written a 30 minute episode and found out it needed to be an hour after they'd begun filming, though I doubt this is the case (but ya never know).

Just a quick aside: Pam/Jenna's myspace doesn't have Jim/John's in her Top Friends, and Jim/John's doesn't have Pam/Jenna's. I wonder what that's about. Both absences are quite conspicuous... probably just to make someone like me ask about it on a site like this.

47Posted by Robert on October 2, 2007

tricia, you are certainly entitled to seek your Office fix elsewhere.

That said, I would like to make something abundantly clear: Karin's work is precisely the sort of discourse that I welcome here on Northern Attack. Not only is it complimentary to the insightful humor that characterizes the show itself, but I also find it be a brilliant reflection of the culture that has been established here on this site by its very participants.

The fact that folks like Karin (and, soon, Linus) are willing to showcase their talents here demonstrates a great deal of class on their part, and I will go to great lengths to ensure that their creativity runs unhindered.

48Posted by James on October 2, 2007

"Just a quick aside: Pam/Jenna's myspace doesn't have Jim/John's in her Top Friends, and Jim/John's doesn't have Pam/Jenna's. I wonder what that's about. Both absences are quite conspicuous... probably just to make someone like me ask about it on a site like this. "

Simple answer: Jim (John) does not have a myspace page AFAIK. Dwight (Rainn) had one for a short time, but was buried under piles of comments and friends to approve, so he had to give it us.

You might be looking at one of the many fraud Jim/(insert Office character here) myspace pages. Some of them are actually pretty amusing, and somehow have personal pictures that you would not expect some random internet guy to have.

49Posted by Pat D. on October 2, 2007

"us" should be "up".

Damn, forgot to add typos to my list of "things to look forward to if Pat D. gets the recap job". I'm SURE that would have put me over the top!

50Posted by Pat D. on October 2, 2007

Can we all just get along? If for some reason Karin feels like she must use unsophisticated expressions like "dump her ass", then let her. If James wants to ensure the unhindered use of Karin's "creativity", go for it. If Tricia wants to express disappointment at the use of profanity, let her. But if James and Karin want ALL fans of The Office to feel welcome on this site, I suggest they keep the suggestion box open without getting defensive over constructive criticism.

51Posted by Dunderhead on October 2, 2007

If you watched the "What Happened Over the Summer" clips on NBC.com, I think Karin was using the other Karen's own words: "Jim dumped my ass by a fountain in New York".

52Posted by Lexie on October 2, 2007

Lexie, thank you, that was exactly what I was doing.

53Posted by Karin on October 2, 2007

ok, ok....after reading the last few posts I got to wondering.....do the writers/producers read this site? Cause I think I see a plot outline for a future episode :)
I love the show, LOVE this website, and love my fellow posters..... now lets all get in our friendship circle and get ready to watch this weeks episode.

54Posted by Denise on October 2, 2007

I have to wonder if Kevin was "gaping at his own realisation" or if he was trying to pull off some sort of dramatic pause...

55Posted by KT on October 2, 2007

Absolutely fantastic episode! This might almost supplant "Diversity Day" as my favorite episode.

To those who didn't care for the darker humor: that's cool. I kinda liked the juxtaposition of the Jim/Pam blossom vs. the Meredith accident and cat killing. The fun run was absolutely hilarious, and the puking at the end really hit home for those of us who made the mistake of running on a full stomach.

As for the Sprinkles incident, I have to say this sort of thing was coming. It's been painfully obvious for three years now that Dwight is a special guy. Very different from most people, with different ideas about what life should be like. To Dwight, what he did was humane. Obviously most people think differently (I'm kind of on the fence myself; I'm pretty danged pragmatic but even this might be too much for me) and it really adds a bit of empathy for Angela, and also a better understanding of why Dwight acts the way he does.

And the expression on Meredith's face as she got hit by Michael made the entire event worthwhile. Meredith seems to always get the short end of the stick in life, and this is just one more drop in the bucket in that regard, but I have run out of cliches, which is sad.

Great recap, Karin, and thank you for introducing me to this site!

-Jim

56Posted by Jim on October 2, 2007

This ep was ok. I remember I wasn't really big on the 1st ep of last season "Gay Witch Hunt" but the rest of the season stepped up and was great. Maybe this will be the same. And I'm fine with Jim and Pam being out in the open. The show has always been about so much more than just those two that their relationship shouldn't affect the enjoyment I get from watching. There's many other characters to explore and have fun with. And yes, I also thought Andy took the cake this week with both his nipple chafing and his drafting behind Kevin.

57Posted by Not My Shoes on October 3, 2007

Okay, I can't let this Jim carrying the lamp thing go. I just re-watched it, and from what I can tell, and what I felt all along, he is almost excited that she asked him to carry it. Like, "Aw, she gave me the lamp to carry!" I think its a really cute scene. I don't think Jim is even remotely annoyed with her assumption that he will carry the lamp for her. He wants to.

58Posted by Melissa on October 3, 2007

It's anecdotal evidence, and my "Pam" just married her "Roy" over the weekend, so obviously I'm a pale Jimitation (see what I just did there?)... but last week my best friend made me carry her ice cream on the long trip from the cafeteria back to the office, and I loved it! It felt couple-y. Which is a really sad look on me, but looks pretty good on Jim. I'm just saying.

59Posted by Ryan on October 3, 2007

There was profanity in this recap? Where? If it didn't leap off the page at me, then obviously its not a big deal. Some people need to get their heads out of the 50s.

On another note... who thinks Jan was passed out at the beginning of the episode? Does Michael let her smoke in the house? We may never know...

60Posted by Becky on October 4, 2007

Becky, I think that more people need to get their heads INTO the 50's. I could sure do without alot of the "modern" societal customs and expressions that are everywhere we turn nowadays. One poster on this site felt that Karin used a profanity in her recap. The definition of profanity is pretty broad, and what one person finds profane may not fit your personal definition.

61Posted by Dunderhead on October 4, 2007

I am amazed that someone could be offended by the word "ass," but is not offended by the show itself. As mentioned, the word was used by Karen, on shorts from nbc.com. I look forward to future recaps by Karin.

62Posted by Ryan on October 4, 2007

Well noogies to you wunderkin!!

63Posted by Dunderhead on October 5, 2007

"Simple answer: Jim (John) does not have a myspace page AFAIK."

The Jim/John myspace page to which I'm referring has done a great job of matching the blogs to Krasinski's speech patterns in interviews, so it's pretty convincing. But the fact that it doesn't appear on ANY of the other cast members' pages is even more convincing that it's indeed a fraud.

On Karin's "profanity", real or imagined, I think the phrase "kind of a dick thing to do" might be what set off poster tricia's profanity beacon (though I don't wish to speak for tricia). While I'm certainly not offended (by much of anything, honestly), it's not a phrase I'd use in a conversation with my 18 yr old daughter. "Ass" is one thing, but "a dick thing to do" is on another level to a lot of people. I'm just sayin'. And though I don't feel words are something to fear, per se, finding a more family-friendly way of saying that might've avoided offending tricia and distracting the rest of us with this particular topic while causing no detriment to the recap as a whole.

64Posted by Robert on October 7, 2007

[...] Though, you can go here: http://www.northernattack.com/ and they have absolutely amazing recaps for the episodes. The first episode would be here - http://www.northernattack.com/archives/fun-run/ [...]