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There’s been a lot of hype for the season finale of The Office and part of me wondered if the episode could ever live up to our expectations. Rumors of proposals, pregnancies and someone leaving were circulating but how would it all play out? The answer to that, for me is: totally not the way I expected it to but I’m definitely not complaining there.
I have to give credit to the writers of The Office. They really know how to twist things up on this show. The pregnancy rumor turned out to be true. Jan’s having a baby and it’s not Michael’s. The proposal rumor also turned out to be true only it wasn’t Jim proposing to Pam, but rather Andy popping the question to Angela. And as for the character leaving, we could assume by the way the episode ended that it’s still Toby but maybe it’s really Ryan.
“If the devil were to explode and evil were gone forever, what sort of party would you have?”
Michael wants to throw a good-bye party for Toby. It’s not so much that he wants to give Toby a proper farewell as it is that he’s just so overjoyed to know that Toby’s leaving. Toby’s been torturing Michael with his awfulness for 12 years and now he’s finally going. It’s time to celebrate! He tells Pam, Angela and Phyllis that he wants to throw Toby a New Orleans funeral-style party. All Angela has set up is a butter cream cake and a slide show consisting of two nearly identical photos of Toby. Michael has a grander vision in mind and offers the stack of cash that he got from his senile grandmother to Angela to use towards getting an anti-gravity machine and some other amazing things for the party. Angela’s had enough of Michael’s unrealistic expectations and refuses to plan this party any further so Michael offers the task to Phyllis, who accepts it gladly.
Phyllis gets no help from Angela in the party-planning. While she tries to find a place that rents out anti-gravity machines, Angela shreds her list of vendors so Phyllis can’t use it.
“She stinks with her ways… and her head…"
Since Toby’s leaving Dunder-Mifflin to move to Costa Rica, his replacement starts her first day at DM Scranton that same day. As Michael is convinced that HR is bad, he’s determined to dislike her as much as he dislikes Toby. While Toby’s introducing Holly (played by Amy Ryan) to everyone and giving her a riveting tour of the files, Michael and Dwight watch them through the blinds in his office. Michael swears she’s evil and Dwight agrees. Strangely enough, Dwight’s agreement irritates Michael and he calls Dwight out for never having an original thought.
When Toby brings Holly into Michael’s office, he’s rude to her right away and starts talking about how much he can’t stand Toby. Holly remarks on how boring Toby’s tour of the files was and Michael is caught off guard. It looks like the last thing he expected was her to say something negative about his arch nemesis. This changes everything. So while Dwight sets out to haze Holly to show her how unwelcome she is, Michael develops a fast crush on her.
He’s all set to show Holly how much he digs her by making her a mix CD filled with sappy Dave Matthews “n3p’s” but after talking to Jim, he changes his plan. Knowing that they’re all in for a flood of lame jokes and awkward moments if Michael decides to express his “love” to Holly, Jim tells Michael about how he took his time courting Pam and that the office is a great place to take it slow and get to know someone.
After this, Michael changes his approach and backs off but he still takes some time out to hang out with Holly. While she’s dismantling Toby’s chair, Michael stops by to chat with her. After she mentions yoga, Michael, in his typical lame way, does a Yoda impression. Any other woman probably would’ve rolled her eyes or stared blankly at him in response to this but not Holly. She quotes Yoda back and you can just see the sparks flying. They also share a chuckle over a Jon Lovitz quote and it’s clear that these two are made for each other. Here’s the thing though; despite the fact that she’s clearly attracted to Michael there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with her. She’s very pretty, very nice and seems to be intelligent and educated. At the same time, it also appears that she’s got the same kind of sense of humor as Michael and perhaps she sees the good side to him that comes out every once in a while. She even politely overlooks Michael’s rudeness to Toby during his exit interview when he presents Toby with a gift that turns out to be a rock with a note that says “Suck on this” rubber-banded to it. Michael’s plan to give Toby the bruisin’ he was cruising for doesn’t exactly go as planned and the exit interview ends with Michael giving Toby his watch.
The only two people in the office that appear to dislike Holly are Creed (because she’s asking questions that are nobody’s business, like “What do you do here?”) and Dwight, who only dislikes her because he thinks Michael wants him to.
Kevin, on the other hand, thinks Holly’s great. This could have something to do with Dwight having told Holly that Kevin’s part of some work program for mentally disabled people. I’ve always loved the way Kevin acts. His slow, low-talking behavior has always cracked me up but I never would’ve considered his behavior as being comparable to a mentally handicapped person – until tonight. Holly proves what a good person she is by going out of her way to be nice to Kevin, believing him to be mentally disabled. Kevin responds to her niceness the way he normally would. He offers her some M&M’s (explaining that he keeps them at his desk so people won’t eat all of them), asks her for help at the vending machine and asking her if she drives her own car. Later on, Kevin tells the camera that he’s totally going to bang Holly. Based on how nice she’s being to him, he figures it’s in the bag.
“The real crime, I think – was the beard.”
Jim calls Ryan to brag about the huge sale he made. Ryan isn’t impressed with Jim’s awesomeness and is only concerned about whether Jim logged the sale in through the website (giving the website credit for his sale). Jim says no, he logged it in normally, to which Ryan responds by ordering him to re-log the sale in through the website. Later, Jim leaves an angry voicemail for Ryan, telling him off and saying he’s not going to get rid of him that easily. Was anyone else worried that this stunt might cost Jim his job? Wrong.
It definitely seemed like something was a bit crooked with Ryan’s whole strategy to force the sales people to give the website credit for their sales. Apparently that’s fraud and Ryan gets busted for it. The video is up on YouTube and everyone at the office sees the cops carting Ryan away. Poor temp. Poor, coked-out douchy temp, Ryan. Wait a minute – does this mean Ryan’s not going to be on the show anymore? I seriously hope that’s not the case.
Carnivals, Racoons, Mose and IHoP Babies
Between Pam going away for three months to the Pratt School of Design in NYC and his reminiscing about all of the first-times he had with Pam at the office (their first meal, first kiss, etc), Jim decides that he wants to propose to Pam tonight at Toby’s party. He gives Phyllis a stack of cash and asks her to get some fireworks set up. Phyllis comes through with the request. In addition to getting a space-themed bouncy-house as a substitute for the anti-gravity machine she couldn’t find (Kevin ran straight for it when they all went outside), Phyllis also got the fireworks, a ferris wheel and a little stage set up for Darryl and the guys to rock out. Pam spots the fireworks piled up near a booth and you can see by the expression on her face that she knows that was Jim’s doing. She asks the camera person if Jim’s going to propose to her and she looks totally excited about it.
Dwight and Meredith break into Holly’s car and Dwight’s cousin Mose (yes! Mose!) brings a caged raccoon to the car and sets it loose in her backseat. My immediate reaction was to think that Meredith was somehow going to get bit but once again, I was wrong. Dwight says the racoon’s not rabid but Michael, coming to the defense of Holly (who spotted them messing with her car) tells them all it’s not cool and gives a speech about Holly being great. Holly’s happy that Michael stood up for her and she flirts with him a little bit. She even likes the song parody Michael did for Toby and requests a performance of “Beers in Heaven.” Michael says it’s too soon for that because his parody of the extremely sad Clapton song is “too sexual.”
Just when it seems like Michael and Holly are totally clicking, Michael gets a call from Kevin, who went to the supermarket to pick up some more food for the party. Kevin tells Michael to come down to the market as soon as he can. When Michael arrives he sees Jan coming out of the market and she’s very pregnant. He seems excited about her pregnancy but she explains to him that it’s not his baby. No, she didn’t cheat on Michael. She just decided that she’d rather have a sperm donor’s baby than her own boyfriend’s. She explains to the camera that since she’s getting older, she can’t afford to give Michael a shot at one or two of her kids. She “needs to make this one count.” Jan explains to Michael that the place where she got the sperm is really nice. It’s next to the breakfast place he loves to eat at in the city where you can write on the tables - IHoP. She invites him to join her at her next Lamaze class, saying that she’s just been using a foam noodle as a partner.
Michael returns to the carnival and politely ignores any more of Holly’s subtle advances. He even lets Kevin escort her to the local diner where they’re going to eat pie.
“Mr. Andrew Bernard – That’s got a nice ring to it.”
When the fireworks start, Pam and Jim cuddle up on lawn chairs in the parking lot to watch them. Jim reaches into his pocket and we see him pull out the ring box. At this point I’m wondering if this is really how it’s going to happen. I felt like the whole thing seemed so staged and a little bit cliché (regardless of how romantic it is.) Just when Jim opens his mouth to ask Pam the big question, Andy (who was nowhere to be found earlier in the episode) gets up onto the stage and begins to propose to Angela. He announces that his parents are there and sure enough, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard are standing in the parking lot. Angela refuses to go up onto the stage, forcing Andy to take the microphone down to her, knocking Darryl’s keyboard down in the process.
He asks Angela to marry him and she reluctantly says OK. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman seem less happy over accepting a proposal as Angela does in this scene. Out of everyone there, only Dwight looks unhappier than Angela. Kelly immediately asks if she can be a bridesmaid. Angela says no. Dwight’s reaction to the camera later is just to say that it’s his own fault. Meanwhile, Andy explains that he’s been carrying around that ring in his pocket for six years just in case the right moment for a proposal (to whoever) came along. He has no idea that he completely stole Jim’s moment.
Now things are all askew for Jim and Pam. During Andy’s proposal, Jim puts the ring back in his pocket and it looks like we’ll be waiting a while for the real proposal. Meanwhile, Toby asks Pam to get a picture with him (using the brand new digital camera he bought just so he could get this picture taken) and she agrees but while Meredith’s taking the picture, it looks like Pam’s using every ounce of strength she has to smile. Her minds’ clearly on the almost-proposal. She tells the camera later that she really thought tonight was going to be the night.
The episode ends with Michael calling Jan and telling her he’ll go to Lamaze with her (and asking her what Lamaze is). He’s excited to be a dad – sort of. Poor Michael finally finds his true soul mate and he’s apparently prepared to give that up for the opportunity to be a surrogate daddy to a child that was artificially conceived next to an IHop and whose mother treats him like crap.
In the closing scene, Phyllis, who’s on a runners’ high from the party planning goes back into the office and hears the sounds of moans and sex noises. When she gets inside she sees a half-dressed Dwight with Angela. Oooh, this is good! Not long after accepting Andy’s proposal, Angela’s fooling around with Dwight and who should be the one to catch her but the very woman Angela’s been especially rude to all day long. I love the idea of Phyllis holding this little secret over Angela’s head.
So what did you think of the finale? Were you disappointed that Jim and Pam didn’t get engaged? What do you think will happen to Ryan? And is Michael really going to get back together with Jan or will he get a chance at true happiness with Holly? Oh, and how great was it to see Jim messing with Dwight with the phones in the cold opening? It was like old times there.