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‘The Office’ Review: “Promos”

The Office "Promos"
NBC

It’s been three weeks since the last episode of ‘The Office,’ and though that episode (“The Farm“) wasn’t great, it did hint that the documentary about our Dunder-Miflin crew was about to be shown to the world. And with a title like “Promos” it looks like the final stretch of episodes is going to focus on what happens when the world sees theirs. Oh, and Jim and Pam’s rocky marriage. That too.

The episode starts with Phyllis listening to ‘50 Shades of Grey,’ which makes much of the office uncomfortable. Everyone wants Andy to talk to Phyllis, but Toby points out they can’t fire her unless she touches herself. Dwight reacts by dumping a bucket of water on her, and Andy confiscates her iPod, only to listen to it himself (which results in another bucket of water).

Dwight asks for some girlfriend advice from Clark, and tells Clark that his new girlfriend’s father wants to co-lease a tractor with him. Angela overhears, and is obviously a little jealous. Pam and Jim talk over the phone and it’s a little awkward, while everyone gathers around to watch the promo for the documentary about them. It looks to be a nine part series on TV.

Everyone is watching the promo over and over, with Angela slo-mo-ing through a part where Dwight touches her butt. Dwight’s girlfriend’s family show up, and his girlfriend Ester is a hottie. JIm and Darryl meet with a baseball player Ryan Howard who tells them that he’s written a script that’s half auto-biography and half-superhero story, and then gives the two his script. The gang at the office find a Danish promo of the show where Kevin is nicknamed “Dumpster Man” and Angela “3 PM Girl” because of the sex she had with Dwight in the office. Everyone’s shocked they were filmed when they didn’t know it and then look at the camera (very cute).

Angela says she fine with it, but Oscar is freaked out because of his relationship with Angela’s husband, which leads to Angela and Oscar having a private talk about what might be on tape. Andy is stoked because of the online comments until he gets sucked into a negative comment vortex. Everyone else goes to the warehouse to talk about the documentary, and they ask Pam to go to Brian the boom guy. Clark goes to flirt with Ester’s sisters on the new tractor, while Dwight gets sucked into a 60/40 split with her father, which he reluctantly accepts. But Clark tells Dwight that he thinks they’re likely being hustled because of the hot chicks, so Dwight thinks about. Pam goes to Brian the boom guy’s house to ask about the documentary, and instead of her asking about the content of documentary, she asks if Jim has changed, and Brian says Jim has. She then asks about their privacy, and Brian says that they basically have been watched almost every minute for the last ten years, which makes Pam storm out.

Jim and Darryl read the script aloud and it’s pretty terrible and requires the rights to Darth Vader. Clark has Dwight convinced they’re being hustled when Ester comes in and tells them that her father is trying to hustle Dwight, and it confirms their courtship is real. Angela and Oscar call her husband that it will probably out him as gay and that she cheated on him with Dwight. To get back at the haters Andy plays his banjo, while it’s revealed that Nellie is the one leaving the negative comments. The episode ends with Pam looking fondly back on her and Jim’s courtship, and Dwight driving the new tractor with Ester resting her head on his shoulders.

Here is the question raised by this episode: If the documentary is about to air, why are they still filming? There are two things that were great about this episode, one is that it was generally funny, and nothing too obnoxious happened with Brian. There was a moment where it seemed like their intimacy might translate into a stolen kiss or something, but Pam was way too freaked out by knowing how much of her life was recorded to go forward. Of course how this season plays out will be weighed on how far they try to go to separate Jim and Pam. But if the last episodes of the series are all about how the Office deals with their private lives being made public, that’s a pretty good hook to close out the show, and it definitely opens a door to how Jim and Pam can resolve their tensions. Perhaps.

But perhaps more than anything — even though not all of the cast got much to do — this shows a sense of focus, and that everyone knows they’re in the final stretch. There’s only five episodes left, so here’s hoping they stick the landing.

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