“Koi Pond” turned out to be another awkward episode of The Office, with the drama between Pam and Michael being put on hold as the office obsessed over Michael’s most recent, ridiculous blunder. Was the episode as silly as “Mafia”? No. This one had some good moments but still, I hate to say it but I think this ep might be nearly as forgettable.

“I am going to scare these kids so bad.”

The episode opened with the Dunder Mifflin staff awaiting the arrival of some little kids who were visiting to see the haunted house that was set up in the warehouse. While Kelly sported a Fifth Element costume and Meredith dressed as a hobo that Darryl mistook to be the old crone from Drag Me to Hell, Michael topped them all, rocking a “Dick in a Box” costume. I’m not sure which aspect of this look was worse; the fact that he wore a costume like that for an event that involved kids or the ridiculously dated-ness of the ensemble. I think most of us would agree that if he wanted to be slightly more topical, and more fitting to his recent behavior, dressing as Justin or Andy from the SNL Mother Lover short would’ve been truly hysterical. But “genuinely funny” has never been Michael’s forte, has it? Instead, he opted for creepy, choosing to scare the kids not only with his costume but also by hanging himself from a harness with a noose around his neck. Too far, Michael. And that box is just… gross.

Points to Jim for his “Book Face” costume. The facebook gag was as dryly amusing as his three-hole-punch costume from a few years back. And points to Creed for getting some use out of the stuff he stole from the blood-truck.

"I know what a flounder is.”

Michael and Jim left the office for a business meeting and when they returned, Michael was soaking wet. It came out almost right away that he fell in a koi pond that was set up in the lobby of the office building. I loved that they didn’t start this story out by showing the trip into the pond. The lead up to the main event made what was otherwise just another bit of typical Michael-mess up more interesting than it would’ve been had they shown what really happened from the start. But in the end, it still wasn’t all that great. After spending a good portion of the day teasing Michael for falling in the pond, the staff got a hold of the security footage from the building and saw the fall, which included Jim leaning away from Michael as he slipped into the pond, rather than reaching out to catch him.

The point of the story seemed to emphasize the power-struggle between Michael and Jim. Earlier, we saw Jim resisting Michael’s attempts to coach him on the meeting before they left. So maybe when he saw Michael starting to fall, he decided to just let it happen, giving himself a lead in the situation. If that’s the case, it was pretty cold on Jim’s part, though he ended up being the butt of the rest of the jokes that ensued after the staff saw what actually transpired at the koi pond.

“Anything you put on this list, you cannot be teased about.”

The list could have turned the episode around. Each of the office staff seems to have no shortage of quirks, yet, when Michael decided to put a stop to the koi pond ribbing by creating a list of things that were off limits for teasing, I found myself wishing I was laughing more than I actually was. Is Dwight’s nose all that small? Not really. And sure, Angela wanting people to stop teasing her for eating like a squirrel was followed up later by a shot of her nibbling on nuts but still, the joke was just “eh” for me. Kevin didn’t want to be teased for his “huge gut” (as Michael listed it) and Meredith decided to out herself for sleeping with a terrorist, despite the fact that no one had teased her about it before because apparently, it hadn’t been public knowledge until now.

Jim’s attempt to get Michael to see the humor in the situation enough to let the joke die might have worked if Michael hadn’t taken it too far. He made a few jokes at his own expense and Phyllis actually came to his defense, speculating over who would put a koi pond in a lobby. Then Michael went on about once falling in a fountain at the Steamtown Mall and not having anyone to put in his “Five.” And then he felt like a big loser. At this point, he’s kind of right.

I’m usually amused by Michael being the class-moron but I think maybe the writers need to pull back on that a bit and get his story back on track. Maybe it’s the contrast of him working side-by-side with Jim but it’s just not as funny to me anymore. I feel like there’s a lot more they can do with Michael and Jim. Sure, Michael’s not the best boss. In fact, he’s really bad at the job in many respects but he has to have accumulated some wisdom in the job that he can share with Jim. We saw a little bit of that earlier in the season but now it seems like the show’s going back to silly shenanigans rather than building on the new dynamic of Jim and Michael’s relationship. They could make it really good if they actually used a story that was both funning and semi-realistic. The koi pond thing touched on the lack of a solid partnership between Michael and Jim but the execution of it just didn’t do anything for me.

“Two peas in a pod.”

While the rest of the staff was laughing at Michael, and later, Jim, Pam and Andy were off doing cold sales calls. Everyone they visited made the assumption that because Pam was pregnant, that she and Andy were a couple. At first they denied it, sticking it to each other by emphasizing how not together they were. Finally, they decided to use it to their advantage and lied to a potential client, going on about how they’re together. It might have worked if they hadn’t taken it too far. Andy’s knowledge of local birthing coaches was amusing but once he started calling Pam’s baby his little “soy bean” and kissing her belly, it got weird.

Of everything that came out of the B-story, I have to say that I feel sorry for Andy and I’m glad to see that it looks like he might actually be getting a real relationship sometime soon. He admitted to Pam that he likes Erin. That and his obvious desire to get started on marriage and a family inspired Pam to say a few nice words about him to Erin at the end of the episode. She responded by admitting to Pam that she thinks Andy’s the coolest guy she’s ever met. Like Marlon Wayans.

I’d love to see the Erin/Andy thing work out. We’ve seen Andy in a pathetic relationship, being the cheated-on doormat fiancé of Angela. Now let’s see how he is when he has a girl that actually thinks he’s pretty great. Andy’s a big doofus but he’s a romantic and deep down, a sweet guy (minus the anger issues we know are probably lurking in there somewhere). He deserves some real love.

Again, this episode kind of fell flat for me but there were some notable moments and I’m really hoping we’re going to see the Andy/Erin thing develop in a humorous but sweet way.

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