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‘The Office’ Review: “Lice”

The Office: "Lice"
NBC

After a holiday break, ‘The Office‘ returns with “Lice,” the tenth episode of the season. Assuming there’s 23 episodes, we’re not yet at the halfway point of the season, but as this is their last season we’re guessing that the writers will put their house in order before the finale. That’s being saved for later episodes it seems as “Lice” feels like filler.

The episode opens with Jim biting his lip and storming out of the office in a very unfunny cold open. Pam talks about how hard it’s been with Jim in Philly a couple days a week and how one of their kids has lice. Jim is going to have a meeting with Julius “Dr. J” Erving and he’s super excited – he even gets a limo ride. Darryl relays that he’s recently become single in anticipation of moving away, while it seems that Meredith has lice. This freaks out Dwight (he blames his awkward childhood on showing up for the first day of school with lice), and he puts the office on lock-down. It turns out that almost everyone in the office has lice. Dwight comes back in a haz-mat suit, and sends Darryl, Kevin, Phyllis and Nellie to work in the warehouse, where Darryl’s ex works. Pam can’t admit that she may have given them all lice so she tries to defend Meredith, but when Pam goes in to talk to Meredith she walks in on Meredith shaving her head.

Dwight and Erin give a presentation, and Erin informs them that they’re going to have to use mayonnaise to kill the lice. Down in the warehouse, Darryl is using the break up to get his coworkers to get him chocolate cake, but instead they try to get him back together with his ex. They talk to the ex, but she has no interest until Kevin asks her out. Jim meets with Dr. J in his private gym and it seems to be going well, while Dwight accidentally rips his suit. As everyone pairs up, Angela and Oscar are teamed, while Pete and Erin also buddy up, leaving Pam with Creed. Pam – with mayonnaise all over her hands – puts the phone on speaker, and her mom reveals her dirty lice secret.

Everyone yells at Pam, especially Meredith. Dwight accidentally drops a bug killing bomb in his office, and because it has hallucinogenic effects, he starts tripping and then passes out. As the day ends, everyone washes the mayonnaise out of their hair and Darryl gets back together with his ex, while Meredith and Pam go out for a drink. Jim, however, is playing hoops with his hero and beaming like a child. For the stinger Pam and Meredith do a karaoke version of “Girls Just Want to Fun” (terribly at that).

The lice stuff is fun, but the fact that the Jim section goes nowhere makes it feel like either we’re in the calm before the storm, or this final season was more about finishing out a contract than ending on a high note. If everyone were in the same location this would be a bottle episode. That said, the interactions were fun, and everyone in the cast who was around for shooting (noticeably absent: Ed Helms, Clark Duke and Paul Lieberstein) have good things to do. But it felt like it should have been about ten minutes longer to give the Jim stuff a point. I guess he had a good meeting. ‘The Office’ returns next week with the episode “Suit Warehouse,” and hopefully that kicks thing up a notch.

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