Space Ramblings

The Office 4×02 Dunder Mifflin Infinity review

Well after the disastrous Greg Daniels written and directed Fun Run, Dunder Mifflin Infinity, the second episode of The Office’s expanded fourth season is much more balanced and cohesive. Yes there are going to be the usual scenes of Michael behaving in his usual deranged way but he’s a person again motivated by his own fears and inadequacies instead of the dementedly cartoonish behavior in Fun Fun. Because in the end what makes Michael is interesting is that he isn’t Homer Simpson. He’s a real person.

For fans of the Jim Pam arc, there are a number of cute and understated scenes as the producers surprisingly display a continued commitment to realism. Any other sitcom would have jumped on the Jim-Pam relationship and promptly chocked it to death. Though Jim’s hesitation in committing when Toby and Pam prompt him suggest the usual commitment issues may be coming up ahead. Toby’s behavior is a little out there, but that’s part of who Toby is, the opposite of Jim, well meaning but also frustrated and ineffectual.

Ryan’s return is fairly plausible though it’s hard to believe Dunder Mifflin would really not have any website up. Also this contradicts the Creed blog and the various Office promotional efforts online, which I suppose aren’t canon anyway. The irony is that Ryan is basically right, he’s just pitching over their heads and his inability to deal with people doesn’t help matters any. Ryan is great at drawing up plans but terrible at implementing them because that requires dealing with people who are basically unpredictable. Meanwhile though the writing has fun poking at the usual office upgrade cliches, younger, more agile, etc…

Dunder Mifflin Infinity isn’t the kind of episode you’ll remember but it shows it’s possible for the team to churn out one hour episodes that are up to snuff in quality, but it’s still well below the high points of Seasons 1 and 2.

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