Office_benfranklin_1 Oh my. So many jokes in tonight’s jam-packed Office, plus some killer awkward stuff with Pam, Karen and Jim. Where even to begin?

I mean, on a night with lines like "I want some man-meat!" and "He hasn’t said a word yet. He’s just giggling" and "Is that the same grill you grilled your foot on?," it’s hard to pick a starting point.

Suffice to say that after a couple of January episodes that were funny, but not all-world funny, this episode really hit it out of the park (big ups to writer Mindy Kaling for the non-stop joke count; I could scarcely keep up).

In advance of Phyllis’ wedding to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, the Party Planning Committee is throwing a shower for her, while Michael is in charge of a bachelor party — excuse me, Guys Afternoon In — in the warehouse. And it’s every bit avert-your-eyes-no-I-can’t weird as you’d figure.

Let’s start with Jim’s decision not to hire a male entertainer from Banana Slings, instead going to the Pennsylvania Scholastic Speakers Bureau for a Ben Franklin impersonator (much to Meredith’s displeasure; loved her screeching "Shut UP, Angela!" when Angela protested the hiring of a male stripper). Pam and Karen eventually catch on, lobbing questions like "Mr. Franklin, don’t you have a lot of girlfriends in Paris?" and "Do you wear boxers, briefs or pantaloons?" at the guy, who clearly should not be around schoolchildren.

What was great, too, about those sequences was how well they set up the tremendously awkward conversation the two have about Jim. Pam’s stammering, Freudian-slippery response to Karen’s query about whether she still likes Jim was just so spot-on ("I was confused by your phrasing … Sorry") and so very hard to watch. And even if she’s completely overcompensating, I think I’d kinda like to see her on a date with one of Ryan’s business school classmates.

And oh good lord, the stripper. I pretty much didn’t stop laughing the entire time she was on screen, particularly when Michael showed yet again just how fantastically out of his element he is in situations that carry even a whiff of sex. His "You smell like Tide" line was just priceless.

Other good stuff from Thursday:

  • Roy: "You know what I find sexy? Pam’s art. … It’s very moving. And sexy — the art."
  • Dwight: "Redhead or brunette?" Jim: "Blonde." Nice camera work catching the reactions from Pam and Karen.
  • Elizabeth the stripper: "I’d get so fat if I worked here." Pam: "I lose my appetite all the time."
  • I have not even mentioned Michael’s videotape to his future son, which ended up being just a throwaway bit. Wouldn’t mind seeing the show return to that.
  • It bears repeating: "Is that the same grill you grilled your foot on?" Yes, it was, but it’s OK, because Michael "got all the foot off."

I’m sure I’ve left stuff out here, so fellow Mifflinites, please do contribute your favorite moments from tonight’s Office in the space below.

Posted by:Rick Porter