SitCombat’s days are numbered.
This week is the first of a two-part season finale for Archer. Once Archer’s finished, that removes the competition for The Office. No competition, no SitCombat.
I may still write a series finale piece on The Office, but that’s TBD. For now, SitCombat has two more rounds until it goes to that great, big blog in the sky.
Ok, that makes no sense, but the point is that The Office has only two more chances at SitCombat redemption, something that has eluded it for several weeks now.
Here, then is the belated edition of the weekly clash, postponed by my 4,000+ words on a wrestling pay-per-view. Yep.
This was SitCombat for April 4, 2013:
The Office (NBC) – “Promos”
Tonight’s Episode: Promos begin running for this documentary that’s been filming for the last decade, Dwight deals with a possible tractor purchase that may be entangled with romance, Jim and Darryl try to woo Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard, Pam worries that Jim may . . . you know what? It’s too much.
Good Stuff: The basic joke was lame (see below), but I did laugh at the very end of the open at Andy’s truncated scream . . . Surprisingly, I actually like that they at least tried to keep up a tiny pretense of continuity after “The Farm” . . . I also liked that they addressed the “Ryan Howard” thing . . . .”Did Gagnam Style put out a new song?” . . . Kevin turning the screen around and having the monitor turn off . . . “We’ve all changed…” . . . I enjoyed Ryan Howard being a narcissistic weirdo . . . “Dumpster Man” . . . Meredith saying she values her privacy, then flashing the camera two seconds later . . . “She does, but neither of them know about Lydia” . . . “I just spoke to the TV repairman, and he says we need to keep our TVs turned off for a couple of months…” . . . “Has the warranty expired on the auger you have now?!?” . . . I have no complaints whatsoever about Esther (Nora Kirkpatrick) continuing to show up every week. None . . . “I’m gonna need you to get me the rights to Darth Vader” . . . “A SCRANTON nine, but, yeah, point taken” . . . Ok, the voicemail to Senator Lipton was pretty strong.
Non-good Stuff: A Fifty Shades of Gray joke? Timely . . . I can’t get enough of Jim and Pam awkwardly talking about their children over the phone . . . Protip: A show in decline probably shouldn’t intersperse clips from when it was actually a good series while current characters stand around and make nostalgic noises . . . I have no idea what we’re supposed to think of Andy at this point in the series . . . Re-introducing the boom guy? Ok, they’re just trolling me now. We had closure on this, and now he’s back. No one wants this. No one . . . And now Pam is discussing her marriage with the boom guy in a scene entirely devoid of humor . . . And it’s some kind of revelation that people on a reality show had no privacy?
Line of the Night: “This is a documentary? Oh. I always thought we were, like, specimens in a human zoo.” – Kevin, finally getting the premise
Overall: WAY TOO MUCH IS HAPPENING. The Office is officially a mess. This show was dangerously close to being one in which the current cast sat around and just watched old episodes. It wasn’t without its moments, especially some of Kevin’s lines, Ryan Howard being insane, and the voicemail that Angela and Oscar left. But those funny bits don’t detract from the major problems. The show is trying to do a million things at once, which is an issue unto itself, but the bigger concern is that one of those million things is teasing a last-minute break-up between Pam and Jim that sends Pam into the arms of this random boom operator who was retconned to have been there, off-screen, all along. This is horrible. I made the declaration a few months back that I hoped that the plot of the show would totally crash and burn. I’d like to renew that wish. I hope Pam dumps Jim and winds up with the boom operator, I hope Jim’s business venture fails, I hope Dunder Mifflin also goes out of business, ruining the careers of most of the characters, and I hope that one or more of the popular major characters (e.g. Dwight) inexplicably and unnecessarily dies. Just go all-in on this show becoming unwatchable. Have the finale be Kevin and Creed sitting at lunch in realtime, saying things like, “Hey, Michael Scott was pretty funny sometimes, wasn’t he?”, then just looking off into the distance in silence (except for the sounds of their own chewing). I could at least respect that. Anyhow, a few funny moments salvage something this week, but the show had way too many plates spinning. I don’t think there’s enough time to pull the nose of this plane up before it explodes against the side of the mountain.
Archer (FX) – “Sea Tunt: Part 1”
Tonight’s Episode: Cheryl’s brother gets the entire ISIS team to come with him on an H-bomb recovery mission, but he may have ulterior motives.
Good Stuff: “Why would we invade Bermuda?” “Ah, Bermuda – Duh. I was thinking Bahamas” . . . “Give it up, folks: Mike Eruzione!” . . . “JESUS! READ A COFFEE-TABLE BOOK!” . . . Children Without Plates . . . Pam’s soy allergy . . . “Don’t say ‘high-functioning alcoholism’” . . . “Yeah, and, for like, six months, you ALSO thought you were a werewolf!” . . . “What do you mean “if,” and, also what are we talking about?!?” . . . “Would a crazy person do THIS?!?” (Cheryl crashes helicopter) . . . “That’s why she hijacks his helicopter? Man, talk about rich people problems” . . . Cheryl being able to hear the music in the background . . . “Since when do you carry a switchblade?!?” “IT’S A LONG STORY, MOTHER” (Cut to: Archer looking at a switchblade through a store window and saying “Neat!”) . . .”What about Pam?!?” “I’LL BUY YOU A NEW ONE!” . . . “She’s MY patient, Lana!” . . . Pam going back to the vegan crab legs at the end.
Non-good Stuff: Nothing much this week, although the laughs weren’t quite as “dense” as some of the better episodes.
Line of the Night: “Oh, put another man’s penis in it!” – Mallory, requesting Ray kindly stop speaking.
Overall: Good show, but, as always, the first portion of two-parters are at an inherent disadvantage because they can’t have a real conclusion. Shows like this where they have the entire gang in one confined space usually work, and Archer has done several such episodes during its four-season run. The writers have gotten very good at creating these sorts of shows. However, the show usually hits its highest highs when everyone isn’t all together, as incorporating so many characters at once ups the degree of difficulty. Anyway, this was a solid episode that reminded me a lot of last year’s season finale (the space station episodes), right down to the guest voice from an acclaimed AMC drama (Cranston last year, Hamm this time around). I think part two should be excellent, and this was a nice set-up.
Final Thoughts: The Office is frustrating, because there are still some funny bits in amongst the debris of far-too-busy storytelling. Yet, after a brief recovery, the show is now back on track to disaster. Archer, meanwhile, goes in the other direction with a very focused, semi-“bottle” episode. Archer is having probably its second-best season overall, with every episode being at least decent (and most of them being good). This week fit that pattern, as a quality “B” episode sets up next week’s season finale. Meanwhile, The Office needs either to figure out what it’s trying to do, and FAST, or simply descend further into madness and embrace awfulness. Pick one.
WINNER: Archer (retains title)