The Office: "Happy Hour"
B+

The Office: "Happy Hour"

B+

The Office

"Happy Hour"

Season 6, Episode 21

I do so enjoy it when The Office departs the office for nighttime fun and frolicking, followed closely by excruciating awkwardness, heartbreak and despair. It’s an opportunity for the gang to escape the drudgery of the workaday world and let loose in a suspiciously Dave & Buster’s-like quasi-adult playground.

Tonight the gang went on a Happy Hour that witnessed all manner of romantic shenanigans. Of course the whole nighttime excursion was really just an excuse for Oscar to try to hook up with the cute guy in the warehouse he chatted up during the Christmas party. I know I’ve never complained about this before, but I am so fucking sick of The Office shoving Oscar’s homosexuality down our collective throat. Jesus, it seems like the show can’t go longer than thirty or forty episodes without it playing a very minor role in a C story.

Yes, tonight was just like Valentine’s Day only not terrible. Actually, it was nothing like Valentine’s Day except that it involved love and a large ensemble. Erin and Andy’s fledgling romance experienced turbulence when the perpetually drama-prone Andy decides that he and Erin must go to ridiculous lengths to conceal their very chaste romance, including appearing to hit on strangers in a pointless attempt to deceive their co-workers.

This led to a very funny exchange where Andy pretends to chat up an understandably confused young woman while Erin—who once again seemed borderline mentally challenged, in an adorable way—groped a stranger’s leg, leading to the following banter:

Andy: Where did you learn to talk like that?

Erin: I don’t know. The movies.

Andy: What movies? Black Snake Moan?

In the past, The Office has gone to extreme lengths to keep Andy and Erin apart. That somehow hasn’t stopped since they began dating. In tonight’s episode Andy proved the biggest obstacle to their romance. Like Michael, Andy very much likes the idea of being in love. He adores the concept of romance and marriage and having a girlfriend but he lacks the maturity and emotional resources to sustain an adult relationship. So he sabotages himself. Tonight that meant swinging wildly between over-the-top attempts to keep his inter-office romance a secret and equally histrionic displays of undying devotion, like commandeering an open microphone and announcing to his co-workers and everyone else within earshot that he’s dating Erin. It’s as if Andy gets all his ideas about love and relationships from movies like Valentine’s Day. Or I Hate Valentine’s Day. Or My Bloody Valentine.

In that respect, he echoes Michael, who we learned tonight gets all of his ideas about romance from watching reality romance competitions. In a display of bad judgment, Pam tries to set Michael up with an attractive, friendly and available friend who has the added bonus of laughing at everything, no matter how brutally unfunny.

Being socially oblivious, Michael doesn’t realize that he’s being set up. As soon as he realizes that he’s on a date he morphs instantly into a preposterous sleazebag known as “Date Mike”. He puts on a Kangol hat and begins acting like Pennsylvania’s answer to The Situation or DJ Pauly D.

It’s Michael conception of how a cool, hip young man on the prowl behaves and it predictably horrifies Jim, Pam and Michael’s date yet unexpectedly ends up impressing the manager of the establishment where the magic is happening.

Dwight, meanwhile, runs into the ridiculously hot Isabelle and they resume their long-simmering flirtation, much to the horror of Angela, who does everything in her power to, as the young people say, cockblock him, including bringing up their plans to have a child together.

I am not a young woman so I am perhaps ill-equipped to answer this question: is Dwight at all sexy or attractive? I know he’s very confident, aggressive and intense and those can be attractive qualities but it seems like he has the kind of intensity found in serial killers and people who torture animals, not brooding Robert Pattinson types (the kids enjoy the big Twilight, right?) Am I completely off base here? Is Dwight sexy to any of you? Or are the stunning women of Scranton all just really desperate to ensnare warm bodies in their man-traps?

Tonight’s episode started out cute, then turned excruciatingly awkward before ending with a scene that elevated the whole show, a glorious monologue where a warehouse employee recounts how he killed a Yakuza boss during his previous life as a surgeon as a way of getting out of Southeast Asia and into God’s own United States. It was sublime.

Stray Observations—

—Phyllis and Bob have quite the sexual psychodrama going on

—“Talk to me that way again and I’ll cut your face off!”

—“That’s actually pretty funny but…in general”

—“Hi, I’m Date Mike. How do you like your eggs in the morning”

—I would so buy Somehow I Manage.  

—I loved Pam’s frustration as she tries to convey Michael’s personality non-verbally

—“You are an impressive specimen”

—“I kill Yakuza boss on purpose. I good surgeon. The best!”