Summer was kind to some and cruel to others. Pam’s decision to call off the wedding leads Roy to personal ruin while Phyllis inches closer to becoming Mrs. Vance Refrigeration. Determined to make a new life for himself, Jim forges ahead and finds a new sap to terrorize. Meanwhile, Toby experiences an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment and entrusts Michael with a bombshell. Innocent lives are almost lost. Thanks a lot, Toby.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Every now and then, Michael backs himself into a conversational dead-end through sheer power of will. Observe.

Jan : You know, it’s amazing to me that in this day and age you could be so… obtuse about sexual orientation!
Michael : I watch the L word, ok?
Jan : Good! Good.
Michael : I watch Queer as F*ck, so…
Jan : That’s not what it’s called.
Toby : Ok, Michael, are you aware that you outed Oscar today?
Michael : What? What does that even… ?
Jan : Coming out is a significant moment for a gay person, and they should be able to select the timing and manner of announcing it.
Michael : Well, gay pride, right? Gay pride parade? It’s not like gay… shame festival.

Hmm. Ok. There are a few missteps in there, but for the most part I see what Michael’s getting at. Let’s continue.

Toby : Alright, now Oscar’s feeling discriminated against by his co-workers, primary Angela, and, um, that’s your fault.
Michael : I think Angela might be gay.

Oh. Uh-oh. Oh no. Take cover, everyone; we’re about to lose him.

Michael : Could Oscar and Angela be having a gay affair?
Jan : No–
Michael : Maybe! Is that what this is about?
Jan : No.
Michael : I don’t kn–
Jan : No, that’s not possible.
Michael : Anything’s possible.

Run that by me again. Oscar (a man) and Angela (a woman) are having a gay affair? Got it. Yeah, that makes… absolutely no sense at all.

If you can’t beat ‘em, confuse the hell out of ‘em. It works everytime, but only if you’re too dense to realize you’re doing it.

Dwight Being Dwight

Dwight’s brief stint as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy taught him to gather information from all possible sources in matters of investigation, even if that means turning to your arch-nemesis for guidance.

[Michael and Dwight are peeking through the blinds in Michael’s office, attempting to identify who else might be gay]
Michael : Do some research. Find out if there’s a way to tell by just looking at them.
Dwight : Jim told me you could buy gaydar online.
Michael : That’s ridiculous.
Dwight : Yeah, probably. He didn’t tell the truth a whole lot.
[The two stand in silence for a moment]
Michael : Let’s call him and get the website.
Dwight : Definitely.

The gaydar saga continues, one hundred and fifty miles away.

[Michael is asking Jim about gaydar over the phone]
Jim : What’s gaydar? Oh, oh, gaydar! Yes! No, uh, I think they have it over at Sharper Image. Oh, you know what? I can check for you. No problem.
[Jim bangs on his keyboard several times]
Jim : It’s sold out. Yeah, sorry about that. That’s a bummer.
[Cut to Michael and Dwight in Scranton]
Michael : They’re sold out.
Dwight : Damn. I’ll try Brookstone.
[Cut back to Stamford. Jim has a huge smile on his face]
Jim : I miss that.

Dwight couldn’t spot a malfeasance if it walked up and punched him in the face. You’d think he’d be safe across state lines… but no.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim takes his show on the road with varying degrees of success. Enter Andy, Jim’s new office neighbor and his next project.

[Jim is enjoying the view from his desk. Andy swivels around and strikes up a conversation]
Andy : Hey, Big Tuna. You’re single, right?
Jim : Mm-hmm. Yeah, I am.
[Andy motions towards an attractive blonde in the breakroom]
Andy : Pretty hot, huh?
[Jim squints and nods his head as if he is humoring Andy]
Andy : She’s completely crazy. Steer clear, Big Tuna. Head for open waters.
Jim : Ok.
Andy : Ok.

The potential is undeniable. Proper motivation in hand, Jim decides to kick things off with the tried and true.

[Andy reaches into his desk for this calculator. He finds it encased in Jell-O]
Andy : Ok, who put my calculator in Jell-O?
[Andy scans the office for the culprit. Jim can barely contain his smile]
Andy : Good one. But, uh, seriously… guys, who did this?
[Andy stands up, noticeably exasperated]
Andy : Seriously, guys. Who did this? I need to know who put my calculator in Jell-O, or I’m gonna lose my freakin’ mind!
[Andy delivers a swift kick to the nearby wastepaper basket. The glee evaporates from Jim’s face instantly]

Alright, so Dwight Redux isn’t quite as lovable as the original. I’m excited to see how this new dynamic plays out. Whereas Dwight’s complaints fell on deaf ears, Andy seems more open to direct confrontation, crazy temper trantrum style.

Confessions of a Receptionist

The new season sees a now ring-less Pam taking a few more risks.

[Pam is working at her desk. Roy walks in with a couple plates of leftovers]
Roy : Chicken or fish?
Pam : Uh… chicken.
[Roy hands her the chicken plate. He attempts to force some conversation]
Roy : So, you, uh, having a good day?
Pam : Excellent, thanks.
Roy : Good, I’m glad. Ok.
[Roy leaves. The camera zooms in on Pam’s ring finger devoid of a ring. Pam notices and sighs. Cut to interview]
Pam : Yeah, I didn’t go through with the wedding. I got cold feet a few days before, and I can’t really explain it. I just had to get out of that relationship. We still had to pay for all the food, so we froze it. But I’m… I’m doing well. I have my own apartment, and I’m taking art classes… and I have lunch for the next five weeks.

Good for her. Like just about everyone else, I was happy to see her sans a wedding ring. Almost as worthy of celebration, however (or perhaps even more so), was the sight of her finally taking matters into her own hands. More on this later.

The Jim/Pam Index

The Oscar fiasco aside, the big story of the night is that Jim and Pam don’t get together after Casino Night. We’re treated at the beginning of the episode to a continuation of what happened post cliff-hanger.

[Pam is at her desk. She looks up to where Jim used to sit, now occupied by Ryan. Cut to a flashback of Casino Night as the two of them are kissing. They pull away]
Jim : You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.
Pam : Me, too. I think we’re just drunk.
Jim : No, I’m not drunk. Are you drunk?
Pam : No.
[Jim moves in for round two. Pam stops him]
Pam : Jim…
Jim : You’re really going to marry him?
[Pam nods]
Jim : Ok.

A few months later, we see Jim and Pam back to their old ways, dodging the issue and continuing as if what had transpired that night had nothing to do with their change in scenery and change in status, respectively. It does make sense though when you think about it. After all, neither of them knows that the camera caught them in the act. Sure, steps were taken that night; the plot was advanced, so to speak, but not without making a few concessions. Jim follows through on his transfer to Stamford, and Pam stays behind but not without instigating some change of her own: gone is Roy the unappreciative, soon-to-be husband, replaced by a repentant ex-fiancee.

The geographic divide that now separates the two limited our Jim/Pam observations to a few select moments, a mixture of fond rememberance and regret which I found to be a very effective way of communicating the hopefulness of the situation while maintaining the bittersweet victory of last season’s finale. For instance, take the beginning of the conference room scene as yet another of Michael’s attempts to improve office morale fails miserably.

Michael : Did you know that gay used to be mean “happy”? When I was growing up, it meant “lame.” And now, it means “a man who makes love to other men.” We’re all homos. Homo sapiens.
[Pam instinctively turns to her side in amusement and encounters Ryan. Ryan is unreceptive]
Ryan : What?
[Pam looks to the camera]

Ryan is a poor substitute for Jim. Pam’s reaction shows a hint of embarrassment, but mostly she just misses her friend. Nowhere is her loneliness more apparent than near the end of the episode when Dwight receives his improvised gaydar. He reads the enclosed note aloud, announcing Jim’s name in the process; notice how quickly Pam lights up at the mention of his name. The comedy that follows is at Dwight’s expense as usual, a reminder of how things used to be. She concedes a smile at the end, although it is tarnished by her realization that this may be the closest she ever gets to experiencing those days again. Course, we all know that this won’t be the case, but she doesn’t.

The situation is a little bit less dreary with Jim. Things may not have worked out for the best, but he at least knows that he took his shot, and that’s something he can live with. With the proverbial bullseye now on Andy, things feel kinda, sorta back to normal, although the scene with the empty chair during the diversity training seminar indicates that he hasn’t left Scranton behind quite yet.

I’m not necessarily a subscriber to the philosophy that time apart does people any good in these situations, but I do believe that we can have it both ways. That is, the two of them can develop independently of one another without sacrificing the crowd-pleasing aspect of their relationship. Certainly, there are sides to both characters that deserve exploration; Pam’s aspirations as an artist and Jim’s struggle against routine are two such dimensions that I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of. Even if the final outcome isn’t the ending that we’re all seeking, I’ll be fine with it as long as the evolution to that point makes sense.

Until then, we’re stuck in this morass of Scranford, and what a delightful morass it is. I wasn’t quite sure what I was hoping to get out of the new season prior to this episode, but I’ve got a much better idea now, and this is pretty close. I thrive on the angst.

Gay Witch Hunt rates an Even on the JP Index.

Supporting Nod

Creed, who cracks me to pieces with great regularity. Can the man be stopped?

Creed : I’m not offended by homosexuality. In the 60s, I made love to many, many women, often outdoors… in the mud and the rain. And it’s possible a man slipped in. There’d be no way of knowing.

Seriously, the guy may need his own section.

The Superstar

The obvious choice wins out here: Michael, for his continued efforts to rid the world of social progress.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Ryan : Yeah, I’m not a temp anymore. I got Jim’s, uh, old job, which means at my ten-year high school reunion it will not say “Ryan Howard is a temp.” It will say “Ryan Howard is a junior sales associate at a midrange paper supply firm.” That’ll show ‘em.

    Or better yet, “Ryan Howard is a junior sales associate who almost burned down a midrange paper supply firm.” That will show them.

  • [Dwight is sobbing uncontrollably]
    Dwight : Jim is gone. He’s gone. I miss him so much. I cry myself to sleep. Jim!
    [The crying come to an abrupt stop]
    Dwight : False, I do not miss him.

    Is Dwight even capable of real crying? I think not.

  • Michael : I would have never called him that if I knew. You don’t–you don’t call retarded people retards. It’s bad taste. You call your friends retards when thay’re acting retarded, and I consider Oscar a friend.

    Friends, enemies, they’re all the same to Michael. No one is safe.

  • Michael : Listen, man, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.
    Oscar : Oh. It’s fine. It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.
    Michael : No it’s not. Listen, I feel terrible about it. I have been calling people “faggy” since I was in junior high and I’ve never made this mistake. If I don’t know how to behave, it is because I am just so far the opposite way. You know? I’m just–I–I can’t even imagine… the… thing. Maybe we could go out for a beer sometime, and you could tell me… how you do that to another dude.
    Oscar : That sounds like a great, wonderful idea. Let’s do that.

    Leave it to Michael to pick the absolute worst location to make his apology: smack dab in the middle of the main area. At least he didn’t call a conference to make a public spectacle of it. Oh, wait.

  • [Michael and Dwight are peeking through the blinds in Michael’s office]
    Michael : There could be others. I need to know. I don’t want to offend anybody else.
    Dwight : You could assume everyone is and not say anything offensive.
    Michael : Yeah, I’m sure everyone would appreciate me treating them like they were gay.

    No less than gay people would enjoy you treating them like they were gay, Michael.

  • [Michael and Dwight continue to spy on the employees in the office]
    Michael : Hey, what about Angela? She’s hard and severe. She could be a gay woman.
    Dwight : I really don’t think so.
    Michael : I don’t know. I could imagine her with another woman. Can’t you?
    [Dwight smiles ever so slightly]

    He sure can.

  • Michael : The company has made it my responsibility today to put an end to one hundred thousand years of being weirded out by gays.

    I think they’d be satisfied just to have you go through a single day without incident.

  • [Michael is having a conversation with Oscar in his office. Pam interrupts]
    Pam : Michael, Dwight’s looking a gay pornography on his computer.
    Dwight : Uh, Michael knows, Pam. Ok? He asked me do this just for him. He has his own reasons.
    [Michael walks up behind Dwight’s desk to get a better look and is shocked. He takes a second to compose himself]
    Michael : Nothing wrong with this stuff. At all. This is fine. You know what? Gay porn, straight porn, it’s all good. I don’t particularly get into this, but, uh, you know what? I totally see the merit, and actually… it is quite beautiful.

    Again, not the type of thing you want to be doing out in the open. Avert your eyes.

  • [Everyone is seated in the conference room. Dwight raises his hand]
    Michael : Yeah, Dwight.
    Dwight : I think all the other office gays should identify themselves or I will do it for them.
    Oscar : No one else in this office is gay.
    Dwight : What about Phyllis? She makes absolutely no attempt to be feminine.
    Phyllis : I’m getting married to Bob Vance.

    What, you mean aside from knitting oven mitts and channeling Mother Goose all day?

  • Michael : Phyllis, in college did you ever experiment with other women? A lot of women do.
    Phyllis : No, and you knew me in high school. Course, we all thought you were gay in high school.
    Michael : Yeah, right…
    [Michael laughs at the thought. Oscar is not amused]
    Michael : … and I take that as a compliment.
    Phyllis : Well, with your ties and your matching socks–
    Michael : Well I just liked to look good, ok, so–
    Oscar : You sound pretty defensive, Michael.
    Michael : No, I am just coming out myself. I am coming out hetero.

    Michael Scott: leading the charge for the much less heralded heterosexual movement.

  • [Michael and Oscar are embracing in the conference room. Oscar is clearly uncomfortable]
    Michael : You know what, I’m going to raise the stakes.
    Oscar : You don’t–you don’t–
    Michael : I want you watch this, and I want you to burn this into your brains…
    Oscar : I don’t think we need to do this–
    Michael : … because this is an image that I want you people to remember for a long time to come. Whenever you come into the office, I want you to think about this.
    Oscar : We don’t need to.
    Michael : Yes, we do.
    [Michael’s lips touch Oscar’s. Oscar is revolted]

    Note that Stanley is completely unfazed by this monumentally tasteless gesture. I’m not really sure what that means.

  • Michael : We are not in the playground any more. There are new rules. We have to be mature, but we can’t lose the spirit of childlike wonder.

    Somehow I doubt these are the sorts of things children wonder about in their spare time.

  • Oscar : I was going to quit, but Jan offered me a three month paid vacation and a company car. All I had to was sign something saying that I won’t sue. Gil and I are going to Europe.
    [Oscar looks directly into the camera]
    Oscar : Kids, sometimes it pays to be gay.

    I guess this means we won’t be seeing Oscar for a while. Well, Angela did say that the work could be done by two.

Odds and Ends

  • Roy’s mug shot following his DUI arrest? Right up there with Nick Nolte’s.
  • If Harry Connick, Jr. is worth the risk of hurling, then he must be talented indeed.
  • Check out Dwight defending Angela’s honor. Chivalry ain’t dead. It’s just kind of wimpy.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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I'm so excited! I'm rushing home as soon as I get off work to watch it. It's so nice to see a new episode title at the top of the page, can't wait for the expert analysis James.

1Posted by Derek on September 21, 2006

I, too, can scarcely contain myself with the prospect of a new episode. It's been so damn long!

(That's what she said!)

2Posted by Call me Creed on September 21, 2006

Almost as exciting as the premiere (which I can't watch until Saturday! Nooooooo!) is the prospect of your summaries.

Almost. ;)

3Posted by otahyoni on September 21, 2006

I can't wait either! I live in Belgium so don't have NBC but a friend of mine in Canada does, so tonight we are Skyping up on line at 02h30 Belgian time (20h30 NBC time!) and he is positioning his webcam so I can watch the TV and hence we shall watch the new season premiere of the Office together and apart! It's going to be great! I cannot wait!

4Posted by Jenni on September 21, 2006

This is the best site on the internet, because it is the premiere site for office news, the best show on television. I am so excited tonight that my buddies and I will be wearing blazers and trojan helmets as we watch the premiere in HD goodness. Keep up the great work, and uh the person above me, doing the skype cast. I am a big fan of that type of dedication.

5Posted by Sam on September 21, 2006

Jenni, that's completely awesome. If only I had that kind of ingenuity (or needed it in this case).

I hope it's a nice webacam with good sound. ;)

6Posted by Nick on September 21, 2006

[SLIGHT SPOILERS!]

Wow, once again Creed had the best scene in the whole show when he recounted his frolics in the 60s.

Started off a little slow, but finished off in fine fashion. I dont know if the Jim thing is going to work too well, but at least Ed Helms is pretty funny. And that ending with Dwight and the wand...you could see it coming a mile away, but it was still hilarious.

7Posted by Pat D. on September 21, 2006

JPI definitly down but with hope to go WAY up later this season!

8Posted by Denise (ddker) on September 21, 2006

I don't know Denise, the wedding is off..so I'd consider them closer to a hook up then they were before.

Overall - good comeback from last season and a few good quotes.

---------------
Scranton Branch Merchandise

9Posted by David on September 21, 2006

Wow. Great episode. Good job, Pam. But Roy looks a little sad. I know he can be a good guy, but go with Jim!!! Michael performed in typical Michael fashion when confronted with Oscar's sexual orientation. Very funny.

10Posted by Tyler on September 21, 2006

UN-DER-WHEL-MING!

clap clap clap clap clap

11Posted by John D'arc on September 21, 2006

Slight spoilers
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.
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1) Nice to see Phyllis has a future with Bob Vance/Vance Refrigeration

2) If they ever spun Creed off into his own sitcom, I would watch it compulsively

3) Roy's mug shot was awesome

4) My favorite moment was the creepy smile that formed across Dwight's face as he imagined Angela in some hot girl-on-girl action

A solid start to what should be a great season.

12Posted by Tom on September 21, 2006

A fairly unimpressive episode.

But I'm glad the show is back.

13Posted by John Maxwell on September 21, 2006

I found this episode a great start for the rest of the season. I just love all the scenarios Michael is placed in, and then he manages to never does things quite 'politcally correct'. Is this the first episode we see Michael cry in? He was emotional in Michael's bday episode, but I dont remember.

14Posted by Shake on September 21, 2006

Update on my Belgium-Canada Skype-webcam viewing of the season 3 premiere: it went perfectly!
My friend positioned the camera so the TV filled the view and it was crystal clear picture and sound. What was even better was that my friend and I could hear ourselves laughing/crying/screaming at the TV while we watched, so it was kind of like we were watching it together but apart.
He says we can do that every week if I want, which I think would be kind of cool for a while...we'll keep that between you and me though as I think my boyfriend would think I was a huge loser!

15Posted by Jenni on September 21, 2006

The JPI is definitely not UP, but I don't think it should be Down. I think Even is fair - all the Pam looks, the Jim look at the empty chair during the diversity session, they miss each other. A LOT.

16Posted by Jenna Loves Josh on September 21, 2006

"Is this the first episode we see Michael cry in?"

Nah, he wept in "The Secret" when Jim confronted him on Michael blabbing Jim's crush to the entire office.

17Posted by Pat D. on September 21, 2006

I'm with John K; Steve crying/getting emotional is absolutely hysterical. There were many hysterical moments in the show. I'll have to rewatch it a few times to fully know how I'd compare it to S2 episodes. Though JAM is exactly where I thought they'd be in this episode, I'm feeling JAM-deprived. Hope we don't have to wait too long for them to be reunited. But overall: I pretty much loved the premiere.

18Posted by garbagethrower on September 21, 2006

"A fairly unimpressive episode.

But I'm glad the show is back. "

You're absolutely deluded. This was the funniest episode in a long while and by god it's good to have The Office back
This and Extras is keeping me going at night, and Lost when it returns
There were so many awesome moments in this, and the subtle introduction of Jim's new office pals was excellent, but the "Queer As Fuck" line was the funniest bit in the whole show
They definately wouldn't have been able to have gotten away with that in their first season, but now - The Office is like Seinfeld, they're pulling weight, and NBC can cut them some slack
BRILLIANT EPISODE, cant wait for more.

19Posted by Jay K. Cagatay on September 21, 2006

They should get 40 minutes to do this show each week- As the DVD deleted scenes from Season 2 and the ones from tonight posted on NBC.com attest to.
Keep converting the masses- let's not let this be another "Arrested Development".

20Posted by thahandstrikesandgivesaflower on September 22, 2006

Come on! Please publish the full recap/analysis soon, together with pictures! I can't wait to read what you've got to say about what is turning out to be a very controversial return for the Office!

21Posted by Jenni on September 22, 2006

I thought the episode was pretty good, though I was feeling JAM deprived too.

And Michael did tear up during the Closing Ceremonies last year in Office Olympics.

22Posted by Meg on September 22, 2006

I was not impressed with the awful lack of continuity in the flashback to the kiss. Anyone else feel like this?

23Posted by Jenni on September 22, 2006

Jenni, I'm with you. I have no idea about cameras and lighting, but I'm willing to bet that it's really, really hard to recreate all those conditions when you're shooting. Knowing the attention to detail that this show's crew exhibits, I doubt they did any less than their absolute best to match it. That said, though, it's a shame that the post-kiss scene wasn't shot this spring so that the look was consistent. The feeling was totally different, and it was very weird.

24Posted by JAMtastic on September 22, 2006

i loved the show last night...buut not until about an hour after it was over. it was alot to soak in. loved the show.

25Posted by Dink N Flicka on September 22, 2006

It wasn't even just the lighting. The actors didn't do the same movements and the kiss was completely different with arms and mouths in completely different places. The addition of a second camera angle made the whole thing seem so...well it made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief.

26Posted by Jenni on September 22, 2006

Wow, I'm so psyched that my all-time favorite character, Phyllis, is engaged to Bob Vance (of Vance Refrigeration)! I've always identified with her, and believe it or not, I too got engaged over the summer (though not to Bob Vance)! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her wedding (and mine) will be a success.

As for the rest of the episode - I must confess I was worried it wouldn't have the same "edge", since it's gotten so wildly popular. But hooray to the writers for keeping it just as hilariously uncomfortable to watch! Michael and Oscar's kiss will go down in "ewwww!!" history!

27Posted by Stooges Woman :-) on September 22, 2006

I loved the episode. They packed so much in for only 30 minutes. Incredible way to start the season.

28Posted by Art on September 22, 2006

I feel like I'm having amputee phantom pains. Not having Jim in the office was really, really weird. I don't know WHAT is going to happen the rest of the season, but I know I CAN'T abide with the lack of Jim in Scranton, PA. Today I woke up feeling kind of listless and wandering, this absence is why. I'm all for Jim's looks to empty chairs and Pam's knowing smiles regarding fond memories, but if they aren't even in the same zip code as one another, I'm going to seriously fa-reak out! And the fact that the Stanford branch people are known celebrities like Ed Helms means that we are going to see more of them. They wouldn't book Ed Helms for just a few episodes, would they? Which means...Jim stays in Stanford? And this new brunette chic in Stanford? I'm just hoping the writers don't start a romance up between her and Jim. Ack! I will put my faith in the show and watch, but damn! Count me among the officially concerned.

29Posted by Rebecca on September 22, 2006

I thought I read somewhere that Ed Helms was only signed on for 10 episodes. I'm sure that could change though.

30Posted by Kerry on September 22, 2006

I agree with 60% of you that this was a pretty good episode. First, we can't expect JAM to happen- if it did, bye bye Office. It'll make a good thing in the last season or two, but otherwise it'd kill the most major plot-point around. And while the episode hit on a taboo subject with less grace than PC police expect, it's nowhere near as envelope-pushing as diversity day was (and you don't find many of us complaining about that episode!). Granted, the premise itself was less funny than many of the prior episodes, but I have to imagine it'd be hard to ignore Oscar's sexuality for too long, given the foreshadowing last season, and dropping it in here makes a lot of sense. It couldn't support a full episode, but it didn't have to here, since we were all looking for the falllout from Casino Night. While some of the pacing was a little skewed, and a few characters got either too much or too little time, all in all this was a solid start to the season.

Re: kiss scene, it'd be hard to film it last year since the writers hadn't fully decided what to do. And even if they filmed a few endings, there'd be some jumpiness from the first hlf of the cut to the next. And then there'd be a heightened possibility of leaked info. Cut them some slack, seriously.

While I'd like to have Jim back in the Scranton branch, the show had to toss things up afer Casino night, and as many of you have already noted, the macro-level plot development is ideal insofar as it increases the dramatic tension on several fronts and lets characters grow. My guess on what will happen: the Scranton and Stamford branches will merge for business reasons, and then Jim's mid-level manager position will cause Dwight no small amount of frustration. But there are many ways to get Jim's presence back in Scranton, and the writers will move in that direction when it makes sense. The writing staff didn't change so much as to think these are worthless hacks- give them some space and time.

Can't wait for next week!

31Posted by Rich on September 22, 2006

It really wasn't very good. Especially compared to Casino Night.

32Posted by Max Lawlor on September 22, 2006

The season premire was one of the best episode in Office history!
Kudos to Greg Daniels and cast. An Emmy well-deserved I say. As one of those hard-core fans (the kind who made many failed attempts at figuring out what the situation with Jim and Pam would be), I'm basically going to watch that episode until I know all of the lines. That'll show 'em.

33Posted by Mireya on September 22, 2006

I've checked this webpage so many times today, hoping to read your recap! I can't wait for it! :)

34Posted by Jacki on September 22, 2006

Yup, good stuff.

Liked it from the start, but took me another viewing to really feel like I was in the flow with the episode. Gives a lot of potential to the rest of the season.

We've got more than 20 more episodes to see how this plays out!

If you're not excited, I just don't know how to help you.

35Posted by The Mod on September 22, 2006

Warning: Do not eat ramen while watching The Office. You might accidently spit out some because you are laughing way too hard. (Gadar)

This episode was just hilarious. I'm glad the show is back.

36Posted by Marcy on September 22, 2006

It's nice to start with an episode that is not as heavy as last seasons finale. I'm all for the Office's blend of comedy and drama, but it was nice to have the "comic relief" of this episode, especially after the stressful summer of anticipation.

As for Jim coming back to Scranton, I think that he'll end up back on 'Slough' ave. before long..........hopefully with a UK nod......

37Posted by Joe-Jack on September 22, 2006

Boy, has Roy changed. I never thought he was very good looking, but he is very cute now. I like the new beard and he has slimmed down. I'm all for JAM, but I can't help feeling bad for Roy. I'm sure this is hard for him. It's funny to me that Pam is just letting Jim go and appears to not be having any contact with him. Her feeling for Jim had to be part of her reason for stopping the wedding. Maybe she just needs some time to herself. Jim is adorable. If she waits too long, he might just move on to someone else. A messy situation.

38Posted by Tammie on September 22, 2006

I could NOT watch that kiss. I just...oo. Oscar is one of the bravest men ever. When Jan kissed him she was drunk. Oooo...
The calculator in jello thing make my day. Yeah, I...thought it was a 'good' episode, there were things that didn't make sense (in the LJ community there was talk about why Toby would EVER tell Michael that Oscar was gay, and someone brought up that it kind of sounded like Oscar had given Toby permission...but that still was kind of wierd. And also that Jan would hear about it and...come down? I don't know. And Oscar stood up for himself, and then like in "The Dundies", he felt so bad that he had to 'redact' it...and...that was a LITTLE too fast for me. He was REALLY mad and then...he wasn't? Maybe a couple more seconds of being mad?), but there were also HYSTERICAL things, and I thought there was enough Jam, even though the J was away from the am, but he's comming back. HE IS. Somehow, he will find a way. And Dwight and the gaydar and Stanely and his 2 toasters and...ooo, Oscar was SO gracious. SO gracious. And Creed, once again, stole the show.
And my favorite moment was when Pam looked over at Ryan (supporting my NEW favorite relationship, Pryan. ...not really...) and she giggled at the "We're all homos--homosapiens", and he was like: "What? What's funny?"
See, that is why Ryan is NOT Jim but is still pretty funny.
And it was good. Not AMAZING, not GREAT, but good. Better than most television. ;)
Oh, and...the only way people would have been super happy and loved this episode is if Jim & Pam had gotten married on June 4th instead of Pam & Roy. So...realism kind of sucks sometimes, but...the conclusion makes sense.
Okay, there. I'm done. ;)

39Posted by Elena on September 23, 2006

YAY I've missed the recaps!

40Posted by becca on September 23, 2006

James....where are you?!

41Posted by GMMR on September 23, 2006

I think my favorite part of the whole episode was Meredith eating Angela's hand sanitizer. Oh, Meredith, how I've missed you! :)

42Posted by Alison on September 23, 2006

Jan : That’s not what it’s called.

Okay, Jim has definitely said that line to someone in a very similar tone, can you guys help me out? It's been bugging the hell out of me.

Great recap but I'm surprised you didn't cap Roy's mugshot or Rashida's Jim impression. Hilarious.

43Posted by Katie on September 23, 2006

Thanks for the recap, James! I always like reading your thoughts; it really helps me solidify my own thoughts on the episode, whether I agree with you or not (I usually do.)

44Posted by Karson on September 23, 2006

Hey you guys...I hope the show hasn't "jumped the shark" with this episode. I really really hope it hasn't.
First I didn't really like how Jim just walked away. I didn't ever expect Pam to call off the wedding after he kissed her, but when she shook her head yes that she was really going to marry Roy, then Jim just said OK & walked away. That didn't seem right to me.
Like others pointed out, there were a lot of discrepancies throughout the show like Toby telling Michael that Oscar was gay. Toby knows better.
I also thought that Jim & Pam looked at the camera way too much. Did anyone else notice that? I found it about as annoying as Mr Roper on Three's Company when he would look at the camera & smirk each time he told a joke.
Here are some things that I liked...the new & improved Roy, Dwight's performance was awesome, and the addition of the Stamford branch adds dimension to the show.
Anyway I hope & pray that the show picks up and that Pam & Jim eventually get together. They are so adorable!!!

45Posted by Soccer Mom on September 23, 2006

Nice recap, James, good to have those back.

Thanks, Katie, for driving me crazy...I know what you're talking about, but I can't place it either...

Oh, and I think we have seen Dwight tear up once: his "thank you, Michael" in the conference room in "Drug Testing".

46Posted by Nathan on September 23, 2006

Katie, are you thinking of the line where Jim says, "That is not the expression" after Dwight says "tit-for-tit?" I forget what episode that's from.

Great recap, James. I have missed them so much over the summer!

47Posted by Mdawg on September 23, 2006

Man, I love these recaps. I've loved hearing all the mixed opinions on this episode-I'm way excited for next week. There are still so many questions left...

48Posted by Gretchen on September 23, 2006

Katie, Jim says "That is not the expression" to Dwight when he says tit-for-tit in the beginning of Diversity Day. Ah good times.

49Posted by J on September 23, 2006

When are we going to get some clues as to what makes Pam tick? Why was she with Roy for so long, why did she call off the wedding only at the last minute, why, now that it's called off, doesn't she contact Jim? I can imagine lots of reasons, but it would be nice to see her do some "talking heads" that show us what she's thinking.

50Posted by chris on September 23, 2006

Anyone else end up wondering, as I did -- does Jim even know Pam and Roy are broken up? Was a reference made to that? It seemed to me that it's plausible that he might not even know about the breakup.

I loved the ep. I was sort of waiting for Toby to stop Michael in the conference room, that got so out of hand... but then the Oscar Michael kiss just cracked me up so I didn't care. Damn, Steve Carell can make you cringe and feel sorry for Michael and laugh all at the same time. That's talent.

51Posted by Mo Ryan on September 23, 2006

Love the recap, James! Dundie for my favorite line (awarding Superstar of episode):

The obvious choice wins out here: Michael, for his continued efforts to rid the world of social progress.

ha! Well done. Glad to have the recaps to look forward to each week.

52Posted by garbagethrower on September 23, 2006

Excellent recap, James, as always. Can't wait til next week!

53Posted by Catherine Zeta-Jones on September 23, 2006

Aw..That is why I love this site.

Sorry for stumping you Nathan! But Mdawg and J saved the day! Thanks so much guys. :)

54Posted by Katie on September 23, 2006

Mo Ryan -

I was thinking the exact same thing. I think there is a good chance that Jim doesn't know the wedding didn't happen.

55Posted by Nathan on September 23, 2006

Thanks, everyone. I have to admit I'm feeling a little rusty, but I'm glad you guys enjoyed the recap.

Great recap but I'm surprised you didn't cap Roy's mugshot or Rashida's Jim impression. Hilarious.

It was close, Katie. It's always difficult to make the final cut down to twelve. I almost included Rashida's impression, but Roy's mugshot honestly freaked me out a little.

Oh, and I think we have seen Dwight tear up once: his "thank you, Michael" in the conference room in "Drug Testing".

Good point, Nathan.

Anyone else end up wondering, as I did -- does Jim even know Pam and Roy are broken up? Was a reference made to that? It seemed to me that it's plausible that he might not even know about the breakup.

Thanks for bringing this up, Mo. I had planned on addressing this in the recap but it must have slipped my mind. Like Nathan above, I'm guessing that Jim is still working under the assumption that Pam went through with the wedding. It seems a little odd that such a significant detail could have eluded Jim all summer, but maybe Pam intentionally withheld the information. As much as she may want Jim to return, I have to believe that she's still recovering from the magnitude of her decision with Roy. Some downtime is probably in order.

56Posted by James on September 24, 2006

Regarding whether or not Jim knows about Pam and Roy, I recall in reading the summary for ep 2 "The Convention" that Jim will be seeking news from Michael about the folks at the Scranton office. So, I think this will probably clear the question up, whether Jim already knows, and if not, he will probably find out then. It will be interesting to see if Jim specifically asks about Pam.

57Posted by Lance on September 24, 2006

Great recap, James! You are kinder with the JPI than I would be :-) But I love that you included Creed's talking head in your summary!

"I’m not necessarily a subscriber to the philosophy that time apart does people any good in these situations, but I do believe that we can have it both ways. That is, the two of them can develop independently of one another without sacrificing the crowd-pleasing aspect of their relationship. Certainly, there are sides to both characters that deserve exploration; Pam’s aspirations as an artist and Jim’s struggle against routine are two such dimensions that I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of. Even if the final outcome isn’t the ending that we’re all seeking, I’ll be fine with it as long as the evolution to that point makes sense."

I love the way your wrote this, too. So eloquent, and so much more diplomatic than I...

58Posted by Loaded Teapot on September 24, 2006

Great recap, as always!

I found it interesting how much Jim has changed from last season. He is now a "super ambitious guy" who varies his lunch meat and volunteers for extra work in staff meetings. Yet he still has that fun "stuff in jello" sense of humor! :)

59Posted by Jacki on September 24, 2006

Love your site. Heard of you from the commentary on Disk 1 of the Season 2 series. Jenna Fischer mentions it.

60Posted by Christine on September 24, 2006

I don't think Jim knew that Pam hadn't married Roy.

I think in "The Convention" Michael will bring up Pam not marrying Roy and Jim will kind of react the way Pam does in "The Secret" when Michael says at the end "It wasn't that long ago" and Pam says "Jim had a crush on me on the Booze Cruise...or he told you about it then?" and Michael will tell himself to shut it.

I think that'll start to be a push factor for Jim to get back to Scranton or to just start contact with Pam again. Because Jim and Pam were kind of secretly having a relationship or contact, then she wouldn't have been so sad when she looked at Ryan in the conference room, or at the end when she saw the Gaydar he sent.

Such a great show.

61Posted by Nick on September 24, 2006

Wow. I never knew how much I missed this show. Wait, yes I did. This summer has been horrible. I loved this episode the first view, and then more the second time from DVR.

I got the Season 2 DVD the day it came out, and basically watched it until the premier. Then I watched the premier, then I went back to the DVD. Oh so good.

I am almost positive that Jim doesn't know that Pam didn't go through with it. You know that if he did, he would be back in Scranton in a snap.

62Posted by Eric Lobdell on September 24, 2006

Another thought occurred to me as I was reading the conjecture over whether or not Jim knows about Pam and Roy's cancelled wedding -- What about his trip to Australia??? No reference at ALL in the episode. (An episode I think was brilliant, by the way. All y'all haters who think it was sub-par should watch it again. ANd again. ANd again. T'was genius!)

63Posted by Call me Creed on September 25, 2006

I have watched it again, and again after that, and probably more times after that. And I still have to disagree with the "genius" assessment. I've seen all of the episodes multipe times and have been a fan since the beginning. I love the show, obviously, but this episode? Not so much.

64Posted by JK Smith on September 25, 2006

I'm a long-time fan of this site and message board lurker, and I have to throw my two cents in regarding whether or not Jim knows that the wedding was cancelled: It seems very implausible that, at the least, Phyllis would not have emailed Jim to tell him what happened (given her sympathetic nature and previously-demonstrated grasp of the JAM relationship)...

... maybe I should just shut up, go back to lurking, suspend disbelief, and enjoy the best show on TV. Good luck to the writers trying to keep this story thread tight!

65Posted by Jim on September 25, 2006

I think that maybe Jim does know about Pam cancelling the wedding- If Michael and Dwight call him up just to ask about 'gaydar,' then I bet that Michael (believing that he and Jim are the best of friends) would have told him, albeit accidentally? Just my two cents.

66Posted by Becky on September 25, 2006

This is by far my favorite show on tv. It's so smart and funny, and each episode gets better with time. I think Gay Witch Hunt will improve with viewings, much like Booze Cruise did for me. And Jim and Pam had a very realistic conclusion. The girl and guy every is rooting for don't always end up together; so many factors come into play in real life situations. That said, I still kinda hope they do end up together, after all I'm a romantic at heart just like everyone else. There were some great great lines in this one though. I can't wait to see next week, and the week after, and the week after.......

67Posted by Becky (but not the same previous Becky post) on September 25, 2006

I don't think it was completely out of character for Toby to tell Michael about Oscar being gay. "Casino Night" left an impression that Toby is going to go gunning for Michael.

I'm paraphrasing: "It felt good to take money from Michael. I'm going to chase that feeling."

I think he told Michael about Oscar because he knew Michael would make a complete mess of it. I think Toby is getting more ruthless. Has he reached his breaking point? Toby is one of my favorites. And Paul, the actor who plays him is freakin' hilarious. I read his blog. I peed a little.

As for Jim just leaving after the kiss? I think it makes sense. Like most people I've been the victim of unrequited love. It gets to the point where you get tired of torturing yourself. He took a huge risk and gave it his best shot. He left himself an out and he took it. I don't think he knows that Pam did not go through with the wedding. What will happen when he finds out? (giddy squeal)

68Posted by Dannyness on September 25, 2006

This is probably completely not important, but it's kind of amusing that Pam said she called off her June 10th wedding three days before, which would be the day before Jim would have left for Australia. That might be a little too movie melodramatic though.

69Posted by Katie on September 25, 2006

Got to meet Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski and Ken Kwamis in Howard Rosenberg's class at USC last night. Great people, they were so nice to all of us crazy student fans that just wanted to talk about Jim and Pam. Couldn't get a picture with them, but I can tell you than neither Jenna nor John plan on writing an episode on their own any time soon.

70Posted by Andrew on September 26, 2006

"Gay Witch Hunt" has to be one of the funniest episodes yet of the Office. When Michael kisses Oscar and they start groaning awkwardly, I laugh out loud every time I watch it. And I've watched it over 10 times. Best show on television, hands down.

71Posted by Mark on September 27, 2006

Scranford is my new favorite word, even better than Jam and Ram...

72Posted by Dolly on September 27, 2006

Great premiere-very funny,excellent writing as always.I am concerned though about the future of JAM (or lack of it).Roy definitely appeared more nice than he ever did before.I feel he and Pam will be back together. John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer have such a wonderful screen chemistry,it really is a joy to watch.I hope we see more of it,I'm worried though.As always,the writers make these stories very true to life,so I don't know about JAM having a future. Great comic relief on this episode though,from the "gaydar detector", to Creed's hilarious line(you know the one),to Michael and Oscar's big kiss,Jim placing the calculator in jello,etc,etc...

73Posted by Katrina on September 28, 2006

i loved this episode. especially when they kissed. that was amazing.

74Posted by Megan on September 29, 2006

Did anybody else get a good look at Kelly as they were gearing up toward the kiss? HEE-LARIOUS! She was leaning forward, grinning/leering excitedly, like she was seeing the best thing ever.

75Posted by Call me Creed on October 3, 2006

Just wanted to just on here. I'm new to the whole thing. I can't wait to become a featured fan here....

76Posted by Scrantonicity on October 3, 2006

[...] For me, it isn’t the word as such - it doesn’t really mean anything at all - that I like. Rather, the word is, as the Althusserians say, so overdetermined that it can only be funny regardless of context, but especially when it is absent (c.f., the episode of The Office where Michael says that he likes to watch “Queer as F—“). A song with the word “fuck” in it can only refer to the fact of its imminent censorship; it can only be used self-consciously and ironically. [...]

77Posted by theoria: blog » Musical Friday on November 2, 2006