What a weird episode. Hour-long Christmas jam packed with jokes and the return of Amy Ryan as Holly. And yet... not a lot actually happened.
Holly gets pressured into laying down an ultimatum to her boyfriend to marry her before year's end. But did she lay down that ultimatum? We saw the scene start and Michael and Kelly's reaction when they were inadvertently eavesdropping, but we don't know if it happened.
Dwight dominates Jim in a snowball fight. And dominates him throughout the episode. Jim is a nervous wreck and loses it by the end. One sided win for Dwight.
Pam throws her first Christmas party as Office Administrator after dismantling the party planning committee. And the Classy Christmas Party Michael overhauls for Holly... goes all right.
Angela's new boyfriend Senator Jack Coleman is gay, deduced by Oscar's gaydar and confirmed by Coleman checking out Ryan's ass. But nothing comes of it.
Darryl wants to spend Christmas with his daughter, brings her to the Dunder Mifflin party, where after some awkwardness, they raid the vending machines and hand out chips to everyone. And... that's it.
Pam is nervous that the comic book she had made for Jim's Christmas present isn't good enough for him. Everyone she consults in the office agrees. And Jim's reaction... is bizarre, especially his talking head reaction. Did he love it as he claimed to Pam's face or was he underwhelmed?
Just weird, you know. A million set ups for things and no real payoffs, at least not in the episode.
But there were a lot of good jokes, especially Kevin exploding in anger on Holly. "NOTHING'S EVER YOUR FAULT! YOU ATE THE CANDY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR US!"
The excitement surrounding Toby being in the jury for the Scranton Stranger case (a running gag that HAS paid off) was fun.
My favorite thing the whole episode was Erin visibly not liking Holly because she's not as pretty as Erin expected from the way Michael fawns all over her. "I'm sorry! I DON'T GET IT!" Ellie Kemper's facial expressions were unbelievably good the entire episode.
The Office Christmas episodes are usually consistently great, but this was... I dunno. Not as great. Especially not in light of Michael as Hurt, Petulant Jesus being a complete asshole last year. And the great Christmas episodes from prior seasons. Kind of a soft final Christmas for Michael Scott at Dunder Mifflin.
I kind of agree that it was a mixed bag. I really liked Erin getting super protective of Michael, and Pam's plot for the Adventures of Jimmy Halpert was a pitch-perfect take on a plot that might actually be in an issue of the Adventures of Jimmy Olsen somewhere. But while it's good to take Jim down a peg every so often, I'm finding that my problem with this season is that it's Dwight who's coming out on top of too many conflicts. It's a delicate balance, but I think that swinging it too far in either direction actually makes me like both characters less.
I'm amazed at how Dwight DESTROYED Jim with the snowballs. I'm surprised that Dwight wanted Jim to hit Pam with a snowball, given Dwight's soft spot for her.
I liked how Holly said Jim and Dwight were best friends before and they both looked at the camera like "what???"
Is the implication of Jack Coleman(!!!) checking out Ryan's ass that he's into younger men? Or was that simply to confirm that Oscar's intuition was correct?
During the episode, just after Toby's jury duty announcement, a news blurb that came up saying "video of latest serial strangler attack at 11" and it took me a minute to realize that wasn't part of the show.
Sadly though, my favorite joke of the night came from the Parks and Rec commercial, when Andy tried doing the search on the medical symptoms. I can't wait for that to return.
You believe me, don't you? Please believe what I just said...
Yeah, I wasn't as big a fan of this one. I think the stuff with Jim and Dwight got far too one-sided, and I just didn't see Jim's reactions as being in character for him. Seemed way too over the top. I would have found it more believable to have Dwight be the one leaving through the parking lot of snowmen as Jim looked on with a smile.
That said, I liked the present that opened to be a snowball to the face. That was funny. The bloodying and pounding ... not so much. More uncomfortable than funny.
Oh, and John, I don't think we saw the scene start with Holly and AJ. When Michael and Kelly were listening in, Michael's reaction was in response to Holly lying about what happened to Woody in order to protect him. I don't think that was supposed to be the start of the ultimatum (thought I must admit I was half expecting AJ's visit to be for a proposal).
The bloodying and pounding ... not so much. More uncomfortable than funny.
I liked it. I hate Dwight at his most cartoony malicious but I like Jim not being like ;-) so it evened out plus Jim hitting him in the face with the snowball started it plus the request at the end was great. I like to see Jim not win.
And Jim's reaction... is bizarre, especially his talking head reaction. Did he love it as he claimed to Pam's face or was he underwhelmed?
I thought it was pretty clear that Jim totally loved the comic and he was literally rendered speechless by the thought that Pam put into it.
I guess you're right. Maybe my reading of how John Krasinski played the scenes was off. Come to think of it, the story was that Jim used to always go all-out with super thoughtful and creative gifts for Pam. This year he took the expensive short cut and bought her jewelry. I guess he was overwhelmed when she turned the tables and did something super creative and thoughtful.
Dwight's antics during this episode had tears coming out of my eyes to the point I had to pause the PVR. Between the wigs, the booby-trapped present, and the snowmen, he made the episode for me, and it was awesome to see him get one over on Jim.
I really thought the final scene would have Jim throw a snowball at Pam's face to end his torture.
THE WEEK IN TV Monday: The Bachelorette and Here Come The Newlyweds on ABC; I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! and Dateline NBC on NBC. Tuesday: The Superstars (premiere), Better Off Ted, and Primetime: Family Secrets (premiere)