Oscarnunez_theoffice_s2_240"Ughhh … ahhh … awww … arghh."

That’s an approximation of Oscar’s reaction to what may well be the ickiest, funniest, most fantastically awkward kiss in, what? The last decade? 25 years? Ever?

NBC spent an entire summer building up the Jim-and-Pam kiss on The Office, and in Thursday’s season premiere, it’s the B story. A really good and nicely handled B story, to be sure: Loved Jim’s slow revelation that he misses the other nutbags in Scranton almost as much as he misses Pam (and that Stamford co-worker Rashida Jones called out his mugging to the camera), and Pam’s habitual stares at Ryan, now occupying Jim’s old desk (and a full-time employee).

That left lots of room for Steve Carell to give his most squirm-inducing performance in quite some time. It almost physically hurt watching Michael dig further and further into this ditch ("Did you know that gay used to mean happy? When I was growing up it meant lame.") And then the crying, and then the kiss. I’m laughing just replaying it in my head.

Other bits of beauty from the premiere:

  • Creed: "It’s possible a man may have slipped in. There’s no way of knowing." Creed’s ’60s remembrances are all the funnier knowing they’re pretty much real.
  • Stanley’s toaster lament.
  • Roy’s realization of the good thing he’s lost in Pam. The brief flashes of humanity he’s shown in the past have been fun, but this could get really interesting, particularly if Jim ends up back in Scranton.
  • Phyllis to Michael: "You knew me in high school. Of course we all thought you were gay in high school."
  • Michael: "That’s what she said. Or he said."
  • Pam’s reaction to Jim’s Gaydar tool as the final credits rolled. As cringingly hilarious as much of the rest of the episode was, Pam’s rueful smile was a really sweet, quiet note to end on.

So, what else? Were you able to keep your eyes on screen the whole time, or was Michael just too much to take?

Posted by:Rick Porter