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The Office: "Moroccan Christmas"

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Ah, Christmas parties, that special time of year when people blessed and cursed to see each other every day of their endless, interminable lives drink way too much and say and do things they will regret mightily once they sober up. In tonight's episode of The Office, the sordid not-quite-secrets of the Dunder-Mifflin gang spilled messily out into the open.

Phyllis, mad with power, decides to passive-aggressively thumb her nose at former party planning committee Fuhrer Angela by throwing a Moroccan themed Christmas party. An equally opportunistic Dwight, meanwhile, sadistically exploits parent's Yuletide desperation by buying up all the remaining copy of the year's hot toy, a princess doll with a unicorn horn, so that he can sell them to panicky parents for a massive profit.


To the surprise of absolutely no one, sour-faced Meredith got completely wasted and began doing the kind of creepy, free-flowing, quasi-tribal hippie sashay that was omnipresent during New Year's Eve parties at my old co-op. Even more embarrassingly, Meredith's hair caught fire while she was grooving to some strange internal rhythm, leading Michael to propose an impromptu intervention.

The aforementioned intervention forced Meredith's co-workers to finally confront their complete indifference concerning Meredith's self-destructive tendencies and, to a much lesser extent, Meredith's alcoholism. Interventions are tricky things; if successful, they can save their subject from complete self-destruction.

But The Office is a comedy, albeit of the often dark variety, so tonight we saw the lighter side of interventions, as Kelly fiddled around on her phone out of boredom and Michael tried to save Meredith's soul through an intervention manual apparently downloaded from the Mormon Church's website. That would certainly explain why the questionnaire asked if the addict's drug abusage affected their relationship with the Church of Latter Day Saints.

But that wasn't even tonight's darkest subplot. No, that would have to be when Angela, disgusted by Phyllis' embrace of the culture and food of other countries, brusquely confronted Phyllis on her non-abuse of power. In one of the episode's sharpest moments, Angela responds to the revelation that some of the food they're eating is made specifically for Ramadan with the visceral, stomach-churning disgust of a picky eater who'd just been told they're eating food chockablock with rat feces.


In retaliation, Phyllis squanders her power and her one big bargaining chip with Angela by telling everyone in the office about Dwight and Angela's affair. Like a lot of recent episodes, the moment was more awkward than funny, especially since oblivious old Andy missed the big disclosure, having spent most of the episode hammering away at a sitar while drunk off his ass.

This was actually a pretty great Andy episode. It was awesome to finally see him knocked off his pedestal and embarrassed a little. I loved Andy's big monologue where he talked about his secret history as a furtive Cornell alcoholic and the various semi-insulting nicknames he picked up in school. Ace and Buzz were two. I forget the third. I'm guessing you beautiful people will help me remember. Once Andy's impregnable wall of self-delusion comes down he's in for a whole fuckload of pain.


There were some other deliciously awkward moments in the show as well, many of them revolving around Toby's desire to be a hero to his daddy for once by buying his daughter the doll she wants. Just when it seemed like Toby couldn't get any more heartbreakingly pathetic Darryl exploits his insecurity by charging four hundred dollars for the black version of the doll his daughter wants. Good ol' Eeyore, I mean, Toby's reaction was priceless, a sad, defeated yet culturally sensitive, "It's even better than the one I wanted."

After his group intervention dies a miserable death, Michael takes matters into his own hands by tricking Meredith into going to rehab with him, though he's flummoxed to learn that he can't just drop an addict off at rehab like an overdue video tape or library book.


Tonight's episode was brutally funny and amusingly awkward in the best Office holiday tradition. Oh, and Dwight introduced to the concept of a five-finger intervention, a singular Shrute tradition whose last step, appropriately enough, involves punching. And I think I'm going to try Michael's Orang-Vod Juice drink. It sounds like a winner, especially if the Vodka in question is orange Grey Goose. What's that, fictional Grey Goose publicist person who exists only in my mind? You want to send me a case of orange Grey Goose at the Chicago offices of the Onion in appreciation of me pimping your fine product, which I swear by and drink religiously? Well, if you insist.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations–

–Who'd win in a pathetic-off, Toby or Andy?

–Who wants to start a pool as to when Andy will crack?

–Man, Creed was hitting that hookah hard. He must really love that funny-tasting fruit-flavored tobacco.


–"I think in order for it to be blackmail I'd have to send a letter."

–"It's Christmas and you're singing about nudity. And France."

–"I took orange juice and mixed it with Vodka. I call it Orang-Vod juice"

–"This is what every day would be like if you'd never left India."

–"That is the image, I think we can all agree, is disgusting."

–"What is going to happen tomorrow when you come into work and are dead?"

–"I have a deposit, alcoholic. Do I have to sign?