Review: ‘The Office’ – ‘Junior Salesman/Vandalism’

A review of last night’s “The Office” double-feature coming up just as soon as I redact my resume…

When last week’s episode introduced Chris Diamantopoulos as Brian the friendly boom mic operator, I was intrigued with the idea of getting more information about this Dunder-Mifflin documentary – who’s behind it, where/when will it be shown, will it just be focusing on Jim and Pam (as suggested in the season premiere), etc. – and using that big emotional moment as a catalyst to put the crew on camera.

The one aspect of it that I was not interested in was, unfortunately, the one angle Greg Daniels seems to have decided to pursue: that Brian has fallen in love with Pam, and that Pam perhaps has feelings for him as well.

Like the documentary crew, I’m still watching at this point to see how Jim and Pam turn out. And I’ve been more than okay with the tension created by Jim’s new life in Philly. But the last thing the show needs is one more love triangle involving these two. Daniels has said in interviews that he likes the idea that the camera crew was always there for Jim and Pam’s little inside jokes and intimate moments, and that as a result someone like Brian might have felt the same intimacy and bond. But though I’m intrigued by the nature of the documentary itself, I couldn’t care less about the personality or life experience of the documentarians at this late stage of the game. There’s probably a single episode to be told about that story – like “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” or that issue of Grant Morrison’s “The Invisibles” told entirely from the point of view of a henchman who appeared in a couple of panels in an earlier issue – but it doesn’t work as an ongoing thing after all this time.

As for the rest of these two episodes, the first one gave us Mose, which was great, and then it gave us Badger from “Breaking Bad” as imitation Mose (a role Matt Jones played in the Dwight spin-off pilot, which we’ll see as an “Office” episode later this season), which mainly served as a reminder of what a strange and wonderful character the writers gave Mike Schur to play way back when. It felt, like so many Andy-centric stories, like it was a Michael Scott idea retrofitted to another character, though I at least appreciated that most of Dwight’s “friends” (Troy from “The Deposition,” James Urbaniak’s Rolf from “Company Picnic,” Beth Grant’s babysitter/girlfriend from “Dinner Party”) were people we’d met before. “Vandalism,” meanwhile, allowed Kevin to be briefly wise, and also revisited the idea that our beloved Jim can be kind of a self-centered jerk much of the time. And both episodes made good use of Clark Duke, who’s been a good addition to the cast this year when he’s been around.

So there were some decent ideas and gags sprinkled through those two episodes, but I’m not especially looking forward to Brian’s inevitable return, pledge of love, etc.

What did everybody else think?