The Office s4e12 Did I Stutter brings a bit of a welcome grounding back to Season 4 of The Office that has seen Michael become increasingly cartoonish and out of touch with any concept of reality. The Office 4x12Did I Stutter is far from the funniest episode this season and indeed from the deleted scenes, what little there was in the way of funny got trimmed, but from Stanley’s slap down of Michael, Michael finally acting like an adult for approximately 2 seconds, Ryan and Toby persecuting Jim and Pam feeling uncomfortable in The Office when she has to wear glasses and winds up beset by Michael and the other women and finally Dwight berating and belittling Andy out of his SUV only to flip it on eBay, it’s a look at realistic life in an office that is significantly more realistic than The Office has been in some time.
A lot of The Office 4×12 Did I Stutter is more uncomfortable than funny, but uncomfortable has been part of The Office tradition and The Office 4×12 Did I Stutter returns to the tradition of the original UK Office and the first two seasons of the American office, showcasing the life of the office drone, the discomfort, the backstabbing, the ways that you have to find to make life worth living when working at a pointless job that has no future and with people who are downright insane.
As The Office has given viewers the Pam and Jim relationship they want and amped up the caricature factor on the characters on The Office beginning with Michael, The Office has grown cartoonish, detached from any kind of workplace reality and just a chance to see Michael and the wackier gang go through their antics, something that has been particularly a problem on Season 4. When Stanley challenges Michael and tells him off, forcing Michael to actually remember what he’s supposed to be doing, it’s a reminder that the show is taking place in some analogue of the real world and when Ryan and Toby come down on Jim, it’s a step back to what made Jim an appealing character, as an individual who doesn’t quite fit in a senseless workplace whose pointlessness he is well aware of. The bitterness, the backstabbing, the sabotage, the formal warning bring in a little of Office Space and keeps The Office a little further away from turning into just another sitcom where nothing matters but the punchline and reality is as far away as the evening news.