Christmas Challenge: The Office

THE OFFICE: 3.10 “A Benihana Christmas”

After the distaste in my mouth after watching Parks and Rec‘s “Christmas” episode, I needed to go with one that I thoroughly enjoy. So I went with an oldie but goody episode of The Office.

I went with the season three episode. As much as I liked the “Yankee Swap” episode, Michael is just much more entertaining in this one. Instead of constantly wincing at his bad behavior, you’re actually laughing. Ok, so his behavior is still horrible. After Carol breaks up with him, Michael and the boys go out for lunch and bring back waitresses as their dates. The only bad part? Michael can’t seem to tell them apart.

So, yes, I guess that was wince-worthy. But not in the same way. I mean, in season 1, he was hurting Phyllis. This time, the girls didn’t even know! (Wow, that doesn’t make it better, does it?)

In other news, did anyone else notice that though they say they’re taking the waitresses home, the actresses at the restaurant are not the same ones at the office party. I’m not sure if that was an error on casting part or what. Certainly, the audience can tell the difference, even if Michael can’t.

Poor Michael doesn’t hit it off with his lucky lady, but to him, it’s a “rebound,” so it works out. And hey, it was entertaining to watch.

The other main part of this episode was the fight between two parties. I think this might be the first time we’re really exposed to the dictatorship that is Angela and the Party Planning Committee. Reacting to how unreasonable Angela was during the Christmas party planning, Karen and Pam team up to plan their own party. This is one of the first (and only) times we get to see Karen and Pam as friends, and it’s almost disappointing that Jim gets in the way of that. It was actually really fun to see them interact, and seeing those two counter Angela was just great.

But in the end, the Christmas spirit won out. Pam saw how the other party was hurting Angela, and they combined forces. Everyone’s happy, and even Angela’s singing karaoke Christmas songs (aren’t the best TV Christmas episodes the ones that end in Christmas carols?). Plus, Michael’s off to Jamaica…but with who?

Yep, on top of the humor and glee, we’ve even got a mid-season cliffhanger, one that leads to the worst relationship in Michael’s life.

Recommendation: Given that I clearly had a hard time describing what I liked about this episode, it’s one I enjoy watching all year long, and it does get you in the Christmas spirit. It’s not on the top of my list, but it’s definitely worth watching.

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