Ahh, yes, The Office we know and love is back!
After the amazing wedding episode, there were concerns The Office would go downhill having one of the main focuses of the show of the will-they-or-won't-they big couple settled, which could easily leave any show floundering for the next step.
Last week's 'Mafia' was floundering like The Office very rarely has with a completely pointless and not at all funny episode. It felt like a filler episode that sunk far below the usual Office expectations where it really seemed like the show writers, cast, and crew were all exhausted from the big effort of the hour-long wedding episode, and just threw something together for the sake of airing a following episode.
But thankfully, this week they were very much back on track with 'The Lover,' which I thought was one of the funniest Office episodes yet! Jim and Pam were back from their honeymoon, and as we suspected from the tail-end of the wedding episode, Michael is dating Pam's mom!
This led to some fantastically uncomfortable and hysterical moments as Michael revealed to Jim he was dating Pam's mom, leading to what I think was the first Office bleep-out with Jim's reaction, which was not the last of the episode.
The only thing that was off about this episode was the fact that most of the humor on The Office is about the awkwardness which is often all done very quietly, including the dullness of working in an office and all that comes with it. The only person we're used to being loud is Michael, so when something like this results in multiple yelling matches, the usual vibe of the show is thrown off. But I think it was well-worth it for the hilarious moments that came from all that loudness!
So, we started with Michael telling Jim who more than put his foot down with Michael that it was not cool he was dating Pam's mom and it had to stop. This included a fantastic moment of Jim freaking out on Toby for just walking in the break room and saying hi, and Michael describing the mom's car seats going allllll the way down (bang, bang, bang).
The next moment had that wonderful more quietly awkward Office humor we know that turned very quickly into the noisy freak-outs of the rest of the episode. As Jim and Pam gave Michael his Puerto Rico gift of the rum parrot, Erin was kind enough to pop in to mention she'd changed Michael's dinner reservations as requested - at a very nice restaurant that peeked Pam's interest.
My very favorite moment of the entire episode goes to Pam's expression change as she bugged Michael for the gossip after hearing it was not just a friend's mom, but a co-worker's mom, saying "who is it Michael, who is it??" Then as Michael's face indicated it was her, her face entirely dropped in as she said in a shaky voice, "who, Michael?" Annnnd cue Pam screaming for the rest of the episode.
Besides the weirdness of the loudness, it was also weird to have Pam being so outwardly rude to Michael. I suppose we're supposed to have picked up from Jim being so much more straight-forward with Michael progressively last season and this season that they've all decided that sometimes Michael just needs to be treated firmly for his ridiculous actions, and obviously Pam would be really upset hearing about her mom dating her boss who she always considered an idiot, but it was still a little uncomfortable to have anyone straight out screaming at and disrespecting their boss.
But, unlike Stanley and Michael's "did I stutter" showdown, this one turned more into family-type fight which is always much more acceptable to have a lot of yelling and cruelty... right?? As Pam was all about the temper-tantrum lividness to both Michael's face and to her mom on the phone, it got far too hilarious, and less awkward that Pam was yelling at her boss, as Michael was overheard on the phone calling Pam's mom "Pickle" and saying, "nobody talks to my baby that way," then telling Pam someday he could be her dad. It was also an improvement on the weirdness of it all to have them having this argument in front of the entire staff who flipped sides throughout the fight and who surprisingly restrained themselves from shouting, "Jerry, Jerry!"
So while the Michael-Pam fight was far from resolved, I was glad to see Pam at least start talking to Jim again after a brief stint of not for finding out Jim had known and not immediately told her about the situation. It was also great to relieve all that tension with the Dwight wooden Mallard situation where Jim thought he was the clever one finding Dwight's recording device in the duck. This led him to getting Dwight to wash and buff their car, which he got to pretend was because Pam had a rough day, and to Dwight showing us the real spy recording device was in the pen Dwight returned to Jim at the beginning of the episode! And so Dwight settled in to listen to the 8 hours of recording.
Overall, I thought this was a fantastic episode that brought the funny up about 100% from last week! While I adore all the characters on this show, it turns out it's just not the same without Jim and Pam around, and really just having the whole group dynamic working together.
So what will come next? Will Michael back down and this will be all the mama drama we get, or is this hardly the end of it? Will Michael in fact just start dating Pam's mom even harder? Will Pam have to give in or will they just not speak until Michael and Pam's mom naturally end things? And, even more importantly, where on earth did Ryan get that mysterious fedora??