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The Office recap: Golden Ticket (blows up in your face)


In the words of Stanley Hudson, “I do not think that is funny.”

“I’m talking about “Golden Ticket,” the episode of The Office that ended about 90 minutes ago. From the moment Michael walked in wearing that ridiculous Wilie Wonka outfit to the point at which David Wallace stormed out flabbergasted at the bizarre, disturbing and frustrating turn of events, I could only sit and wonder what had become of my Office.

I really felt kinship with the CFO at that moment, in fact, because like him I felt like little I saw made sense.

Michael is a fool, a sales savant perhaps, but a socially inept fool lacking in common sense. That’s the character, and all his actions proceed from there. Fine. But I can’t swallow that a guy who’s such a genius at sales and has worked at a job for 15 years not only doesn’t know that boxes of paper stacked together on pallets might ship together. He doesn’t even know what a pallet is! That’s not funny. It’s tiresome.

But let’s call it a stretch and run with it. Give the writer (Mindy Kaling, in this case) some credit and see where they take it, I thought. But they took it right to Dwight. It was “Drug Testing” all over again, with Michael looking to make Dwight the scapegoat for his dopiness. It was funnier the first time.

At least Dwight showed some character development and, consistent with who he’s become, he rejects Michael’s pleas until he sees that it will benefit him to take credit for the worst idea in company history. (He also lashed out at Michael during the roast a few weeks back.) But you could see a mile away that Michael would seek to take credit where he minutes earlier he sought to dodge blame. And it played out just that predictably.

There were several funny bits in this episode, but most of them were clouded for me by my annoyance at the overall episode arc. So when Michael called Darryl an idiot and Darryl shot back “Start over,” my reaction was more subdued than the moment deserved. Michael pretending to keep a diary, and Dwight knowing that he doesn’t but actually keeping one himself was pitch perfect. Yet I failed to fully appreciate it. And when Dwight dropped a nicely timed TWSS that brought Michael running — and prompted and a salt in the wound guffaw from Wallace — I smiled, but that’s about it.

Even Andy, good old reliable Nard Dog, irked me more than anything in this one. It was true to form that he’d consider it good dating advice to urge Kevin to be borderline psychologically abusive to charm a lady. And he took it to pathological extremes in what should have been a knee-slapper of a triple-talking head. But mostly I just wanted him to shut up.

There was a lot of good use of Jim and Pam for reality check-type reaction shots. Examples that come to mind include Pam fielding Michael’s calls, bickering with Jim over differing but basically sound advice and Jim’s “Nice one” after Pam asked Michael if a Golden Ticket idea is one that blows up in your face later.

I’m not the negative type, so I’ll tell you what I did like. I liked Kevin Malone. He said everything right in the tag and really turned on the charm. Heck, even when he said the wrong thing (can’t repeat it here, I don’t think), her smile proved it was the right thing. And Kevin calling himself a classic overthinker was awesome.

The cold open was good stuff, too. I don’t know where the heck Dwight got that KGB bit from or what it meant, but it was dang funny. And man-slaps are always funny. Plus, Michael declaring an end to knock-knock jokes then immediately turning when Jim said ding-dong and asking who’s there was funny stuff.

If only the episode as a whole was a little funnier, though. Instead we get “What’s a pallet?” and “Shoe La La.”


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 10:00 pm by Brian Howard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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