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'The Office': Michael Scott's night out

April 25, 2008 |  7:59 am

Office Is it possible that Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is now the weakest part of "The Office"?  The same complaint has been lodged here in this column: that when it's at its zaniest, "The Office" is at its worst. Lately, there is almost nothing that Michael does that's not ridiculous.  In last night's episode alone he got gum stuck in his hair by crawling under a car, had his head massaged with peanut butter and left work early to go clubbing in New York with Ryan (B.J. Novak) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) in order to find a one-night stand.  That list would seem like something out of a subpar slapstick sitcom, not a smart, reality-based comedy.  The most realistic thing Michael did in the episode? Admit that he had a hard time understanding the characters on "The Wire."  Frustratingly, Dwight also behaves as fatuously when he serves as Michael's sidekick.  There was Dwight, doing the massaging of the peanut butter into Michael's scalp at work, convinced a short man was a hobbit, singing Ryan a lullaby. It's just too silly to be funny.

Thank goodness for Toby (Paul Lieberstein). It could of course be argued that his big moment in last night's episode was nearly as bizarre as Michael and Dwight's, but because it was Toby, because it was set in the real-life situation of being stranded late at work, because it was borne of his longstanding crush on Pam, it was hilarious to see him let his hand more-than-linger on her knee and then abruptly flee the premises by jumping over the fence and running home.  Hopefully he wasn't serious about moving to Costa Rica.

--Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy NBC Universal)