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'The Office': Stop trying to be "Friends!"

April 6, 2007 |  1:06 pm
PamatlunchFor fans of "The Office," the controversy that's been teasing viewers all season has been Pam v. Karen: The Battle for Jim. However, after the matter having been built to a head earlier this season (with Jim admitting to Karen that he still had feelings for Pam, the situation deflated some. Karen (Rashida Jones) and Jim (John Krasinski) talked. Pam (Jenna Fischer) got back with Roy (David Denman). The matter became a more minor plot point.

However, this week, it seemed, the situation would finally find some resolution. The previous episode found us with Roy, Pam's ex-fiancee and now ex-boyfriend, declaring "I'm gonna kill Jim Halpert," after Pam admitted to him that she kissed Jim. Yes! Face-to-face action. Drama! Would viewers get some satisfaction?

Well, sorta and not. As promised, the most recent, Super-Sized episode did begin with the promised altercation between Jim and Roy, which was broken up before it actually began by a mace-wielding Dwight (the kind in the can, not the medieval weapon). Jim seemed dazed by the attack, while Pam, realizing what a little innocent flirting and indecisiveness hath wrought, apologized to him. The episode, here, instead of giving us a tender Pam and Jim wow-I-can't-believe-that-happened-now-we're-friends-again moment, showed us how bitter Jim really is with Pam. After all, she sort of led him around, made him put himself on the line, caused him to move out to Stamford, and then almost get punched. While not romantic, it can be argued that story-wise, it's a strong tack for the "Office" to take -- the genius of Ricky Gervais' original version of the show was its real-life awkwardness.

Speaking of which, now might be a good time for the show to return more to the glimpses of everyday, to break away from the ever-deepening relationships for a few episodes.  "Will they won't they" is more for "Friends"--in the British version of the show, Tim and Dawn's (Martin Freeman and Lucy Davis) tension was a constant, but each episode didn't bring the harrowing tension of what new angle will the relationship might take.  The minor characters of the US "Office" are really what bring the series its sparkle: Toby's (Paul Lieberstein) intros and outros to last week's rerun marathon brought some new laughs to old episodes.  Bring on more Kelly, Meredith, Stanley,Toby, and Creed!  There's never enough Creed.

For fans of the Team Jam, though, never fear -- during their talk, Roy practically taunted Pam about not going after Jim, which ensures plenty of longing looks from the reception area to Jim's desk. And for the rest of us who are getting a little sick of their shenanigans, Ed Helms will be back. Yay!
-- Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy NBC Universal)
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