The Office Finale: 'Company Picnic' Review - Featured

Spoilers for "The Office" fifth season finale coming up just as soon as I get a pair of chair pants...


"So what do you have planned for us today?" -Holly


What a great end to what may have been my favorite season of "The Office" to date. The show has had overall funnier years (notably season two), but I don't know that it's ever been this consistently satisfying, because the characters have become so richly-drawn, and because the writers (led by showrunners Paul Lieberstein and Jennifer Celotta, who teamed up to write "Company Picnic") have really learned to trust their actors to convey so much emotion in really quiet moments. As we've been saying for a while now, the show has become as much of a kitchen-sink drama as it is a comedy, but it's a great drama when it wants to be.


"Company Picnic" featured a couple of sublime moments. The first is the one we were all expecting in some way as soon as we heard that the briliant Amy Ryan would be coming back as Holly, Michael's perfect woman: Michael and Holly, post-morteming their disastrous sketch show at the company picnic(*), with Michael waiting for the right moment to deliver his list of reasons why Holly should dump her boyfriend AJ and get back with him. What was so wonderful about the scene as written, and as played by Ryan and Steve Carell, was that Holly knew what Michael wanted to do, and Michael knew she knew -- when Holly's around, Michael's self-awareness, charm and ability to read social cues all skyrocket, which, as much as her own dorky sense of humor, is why the two are perfect for each other -- and in the end, he was able to recognize that they were experiencing a perfect moment right then, one that could only be ruined by him trying to win her back. The old Michael, the pre-Holly Michael, would have barreled on forward with the plan, and made an ass of himself, and mortified the woman he wanted, and basically killed any chance of the future. This Michael -- the Michael who has grown through his love of Holly, and his experience with The Michael Scott Paper Company -- has the maturity and patience to wait for the real moment, when Holly is unattached, or they live closer together, or in some other way the cosmic forces are better aligned to make this match happen.(**)


(*) I have to say, by the way, what happened with the Buffalo branch closing news was David Wallace's own damn fault. If he hasn't figured out by now not to share sensitive corporate information with Michael Scott, he needs to learn.


(**) That, or Michael's been paying a lot of attention to Jim and Pam's story, and he assumes he and Holly are destined to end up like those two.


Read the full review:

The Office, "Company Picnic": Holly's back, and Jim and Pam have news


Related Stories:

'The Office' Reaches 100th Episode Milestone

The Office 5.25: 'Cafe Disco' Review


Comments

10 comments

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May 16, 2009 10:34AM EDT

In quote of Charles to Jim, "Look who just woke up"......what an ass. Why the guy likes to pick on Jim is beyond me.
The other big news is........Pam is pregnant. Im guesing the next season ends with JAMS wedding.
OOOO and huge props to Michael for being kinda cruel to A.J. " Ill have an iced tea"(A.J) , "Youuu can go to hell"(Michael) lol

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May 16, 2009 8:07PM EDT

Okay, this week's show was a bit better than last week's. Still not as satisfying as previous episodes, however.
This week's episode was good in parts, it was lukewarm. I like the idea of bringing back Holly, Charles playing volleyball against team Scranton and Dwight secretly forgiving Angela.
What wasn't so good was the lackluster plot. It was probably the most boring plot yet. I usually can't help watching an episode again and again. This is the first episode I am never going to watch again.
Also, I disagree with Kendra, the characters were totally constrained by the script writers. We hardly saw any of our favourites do anything funny. Michael was more emotional than funny, Pam and Jim were celebrating, and the rest of the comedy titans like Andy were almost completely absent.
On a different note, I quite like Paul Lieberstein actually and you can notice his magic in some scenes. I am sure Steve Carrel writes most of his own dialogue but what is most amazing is his dialogue delivery. He is the saving grace of this episode, which is to be watched and not repeated.

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May 17, 2009 12:31AM EDT

Andy's "are you BLIND?!" "These are expensive rayban's jackass" haha amazing!

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May 17, 2009 10:13AM EDT

Chair pants......genius! Nice end to the season, Dwight's friend Rolf was quite funny as well. Especially when he described how they met in a shoe store hearing him ask a clerk for shoes that will increase his speed leaving any tracks.
Oh, and Hooray for Jim and Pam.

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May 19, 2009 10:55AM EDT

Last weeks episode wasn't my all time favorite, but Dwight's prank on Pam ("Oh my god, I can't believe it. I just won an art contest!") was hilarious. lmao!

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May 19, 2009 8:59PM EDT

LOVED this episode! A feel good episode can be so refreshing now and again, just like with cafe disco. Amazing scene when Pam finds out she is pregnant,maybe the best PBandJ moment in the show! This show is great because it dares to go where no show has gone before, and does it well! I trust the writers with whatever plot they put out there. Love it

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May 19, 2009 9:01PM EDT

I have to say, i think they want us to think she is pregnant and they are going to spring something else on us. As this show is so good at doing. It would be a great way to make us al want to see an addition to the Pam and Jim family to be.

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Jun 5, 2009 4:44PM EDT

i agree with shannon that it could be something else, other than a pregnancy...but what else could it be?
which is why i'm thinking they're pregnant. they wouldnt be that happy for anything else.
also, the nurse asked if there was any way that she was pregnant before the xrays, and i'm thinking that's foreshadowing.

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Jun 10, 2009 12:53PM EDT

-Agreed with michealscornThe writing in this episode seemed childish.Almost all of the events seemed forced and unrealistic, which is very uncharacteristic of this show.Honestly this season finale was one of the worst I've seen in a while, and I say that because I know writers are capable of so much more (e.g. Season 2)

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Jul 6, 2009 6:47PM EDT

@ Kendra
(*) I have to say, by the way, what happened with the Buffalo branch closing news was David Wallace's own damn fault. If he hasn't figured out by now not to share sensitive corporate information with Michael Scott, he needs to learn.
That is just classic.

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