Alcoholism. A near self-immolation. An intervention. And an affair revealed. Welcome to The Office's Christmas spectacular!
Before we dive into this most merry episode, check out the exclusive blog by the excellent Kate Flannery, who plays the porn-addicted Meredith.
"The gift that gave"
The cold opening was a classically extravagant prank by Jim: he gift wraps Dwight's desk - or so it seems. Dwight heaves his briefcase onto his desk and it turns out it's nothing but an empty box. I actually wondered how many times they did this take, because Dwight's physical reaction to this is so authentic. Also, we learned that Dwight can skin a mule deer in less than ten minutes. Can Sarah Palin do that?
"This isn't your grandmother's Christmas Party"
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We learned this lesson recently with Blagojevich, and now once more with Phyllis. Ah Phyllis - sweet, good-natured, harmless Phyllis - you turned into something like a monster with your treatment of Angela. Ordering her around like a servant, dumping her baby Jesus into her drawer, banishing the Christmas tree from the Christmas party, making her wear a hair net like my middle school cafeteria "chef": this is not the Phyllis we expect everybody to step all over. I never thought I'd find myself siding and rooting for Angela against Phyllis - but there I was, even cheering on Angela - briefly - for standing up to Phyllis at the end. That is, until the bottom dropped out. But we'll get to that at the end.
"My Horn Will Pierce the Sky"
Dwight Schrute sucks the soul out of the holiday spirit by hording the latest, greatest and must-have toy of the holiday season: a unicorn princess. First off - I loved that Michael instantly sang the jingle. And the scene where that father comes in and makes the unicorn sign to signal that he wants to buy the toy - priceless! But the best was Toby begging Darryl for the toy, paying $400 for the thing, and then realizing that ...it wasn't quite what he wanted. Honestly, The Office sends up race consistently and at times provocatively - this was just another example of it.
"The Fiery Red-Head"
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
In The Office office parties, Meredith has bared her breasts and lit her hair on fire. I can't wait to see what she does next year.
In typical not-what-you-expect Office fashion, there's a sober (no pun intended) moment where Michael and Meredith are having an intense 45 minute conversation after the intervention. After Michael comes out and quietly asks Toby for the number of the rehab center (and then throws the pencil at his forehead after getting it), the employees begin to think that Michael has managed a breakthrough. Cut to two minutes later, and Michael is physically dragging Meredith into rehab like a caveman bringing in his woman-folk back into the cave. Awesome.
This was really intense stuff. Angela underestimated Phyllis, and paid a heavy price. Phyllis shockingly broadcast Angela's infidelity to the entire staff, sans Andy, who was locked up in his own room practicing a Christmas jingle on that sitar-like thing. What a perfect metaphor for Andy's obliviousness. And it was so well played: Dwight's smug reaction, the stunned silence of the employees, and finally Andy bounding in. I actually thought Ed Helms has never been better with his "where's these people's Christmas spirit" reaction.