The Office: "Crime Aid"
B+

The Office: "Crime Aid"

B+

The Office

"Crime Aid"

Season 5, Episode 4

In a bizarre, unheard of turn of events, Michael Scott tonight did something really stupid, then did something even stupider in an attempt to fix his first colossal fuck-up. But at least he fucked up old school for a good cause: making sweet, sweet love with Holly. I gotta say, though, that I was more than a little miffed at The Office for sadistically stretching out the whole "Michael and Holly will they or won't they sexual tension thing" too fucking long. I don't know about you, but I don't want to wait five whole episodes to find out whether these adorable kids would end up knocking the boots, making the beast with two backs, getting busy, swapping sex juice and also having sexual intercourse.

Tonight's episode finds Michael in a state of high anxiety over whether Holly will put out on their third date. Like all red-blooded heterosexual males, Michael subscribes to the conventional wisdom that any woman who puts out before a third date is a whore and any woman who waits until after a third date to put out is frigid. So Michael is understandably relieved when the magic happens on date number 3. As the good folks over at Schoolhouse Rock taught us long ago, 3 is indeed the magic number.

Of course, no one can have sex without horrible consequences, so when Michael and Holly engage in after-hours sweaty staircase sex they neglect to lock the doors behind them. The offices are burglarized. In a desperate bid to raise money to reimburse his employees for their stolen goods, Michael decides to hold a charity auction where, in a neat bit of symmetry, the beneficiaries double as the donors.

In a b-plot Andy and Angela's impending marriage becomes horribly concrete for Dwight when Andy announces a date for the blessed/cursed event and doles out wedding invitations. A despondent Dwight turns to Phyllis for advice and gives Angela an ultimatum: either she breaks it off with Andy or he will withhold sex from her. Who wouldn't break under such pressure?

I really like the Machiavellian turn Phyllis' character has taken this season. She's the woman who knows everyone's dirty little secrets and has grown quite adept at manipulating situations to her advantage. It was a vulnerable, needy Dwight we saw in tonight's episode, a man who actively sought out help and guidance from his co-workers. I especially loved Dwight's little monologue about all the things Angela has introduced him to, like Monotheism and pasteurized milk. Angela apparently taught Dwight to be a human being and live in this world, which is ironic, considering ice queen Angela barely seems to be human herself.

In the c plot, Jim's anxiety that Pam will find someone new or lose interest in him increases when he runs into Roy at a bar and Pam's ex inflames his paranoia. The mockumentary elements of The Office tend to oscillate. There are episodes where it barely comes into play. Then there are episodes where it plays a huge role. Tonight was such an episode. There were a number of moments where the characters became incredibly self-conscious about being filmed doing furtive, dirty deeds, whether it was shtupping in an office environment or fucking a co-worker's fiancé. This opens up a whole can of worms. When Phyllis told Dwight, for example, that "they" knew about him and Angela sneaking around behind Andy's back was she referencing the film crew or the unseen audience? I'm guessing the cameramen but it's a little ambiguous, in my mind at least.

What do you guys think of the mockumentary aspects of the show? I generally find it a little distracting. It leads to some clever gags but it's awfully fuzzy. Who is ostensibly seeing this footage? Has it aired yet? Is it still being assembled? Just thinking about it makes my fragile brain hurt. But back to the show: tonight was a solid, if less than transcendent episode. It lacked some of the dramatic weight of previous episodes, though it had its share of big laughs.

Could Holly be on her way out? Dunder-Mifflin exec David Wallace showed up late in the episode, partially to bid on a hug from Phyllis, and he seemed mighty miffed that Holly was fucking a co-worker. Could this spell serious trouble for Holly and Michael? I hope not. I've grown quite attached to her. Judging from the comments she's become an instant fan favorite. Besides, doesn't Michael deserve a little happiness?

Grade: B+ Stray Observations– –I didn't write down any choice lines. What were your favorites? –There was some great Creed stuff in this episode. My favorite Creed line, however, was when he boasted that he faked his own death and was now collecting a pension as his own widow. I think that was from a deleted scene –I loved Michael's contention that Farm Aid was all about farmers raising money for AIDS –I also loved Michael mistaking Huey Lewis and The News and Randy Newman for Bruce Springsteen. Incidentally, I was just listening to a Jake One album where MF DOOM dropped a "Short People" reference. That shit was awesome.