Stevecarell_theoffice_240 We knew we weren’t going to see Holly tonight on The Office, if only because there was no way the show could have kept an appearance by her such a secret. But what we did see of the Nashua branch of Dunder Mifflin was more than enough to form the backbone of an emotionally satisfying and, by the way, funny episode.

These spoilers don’t have a theme. I know, there’s always a theme. Sorry.

Michael and Pam do, in fact, make a detour on the lecture tour to Nashua, where Michael is hoping to see Holly and get some kind of finish to their relationship. Which he does almost immediately, when the receptionist there tells him Holly isn’t here, but if he needs to get in touch with her, he should talk to A.J. — her boyfriend.

Oh Holly. How could you?

It goes without saying that Michael completely falls apart both before and after his presentation — the point where he collapses to the floor and backs out of the conference room on his hands and knees was a particularly squirmy/funny — and that Pam is not much better when she tries to pick up the pieces (“And … I have a chainsaw! Rrreerrryyrrnnngg. Cutting down the competition?”).

He also can’t help himself from going over to Holly’s desk and taking a look around — although it probably would have been best if he hadn’t cut off the sleeve of her sweater. But the real uh-oh moment comes when he sees a document on her computer’s desktop labeled “Dear Michael,” and copies it onto a flash drive. Michael. How could you?

As she was last week, though, Pam is generous and supportive of her boss — although I have to question her offer to read the note and tell Michael what it said. On the one hand, it’s a sweet gesture to let him know that Holly still has feelings for him. But even dismissing the invasion of privacy, do you really want to fill a guy like Michael with what could possibly be false hope?

The show’s producers say they’re trying very hard to get Amy Ryan to make another appearance before the season ends. I really hope they can, because doggone it, I need some closure too.

Meanwhile …

Rainnwilson_theoffice_240 Jim and Dwight continue to be inept as co-heads of the party planning committee. Jim thinks he’s got things under control now that he’s got a cake … with nothing on it. That’s not good — and neither is the fracas between Dwight and Kelly as he grills her about what she did to land in juvie (“My boyfriend dumped me and I stole his boat. Or he told me it was his, but it was actually his father’s — I thought it would be really romantic, like Thelma & Louise but with a boat.” Or, you know, a Gilmore Girls episode).

After brainstorming — “So far our ideal party consists of beer, fights to the death, cupcakes, blood pudding, blood, touch football, mating, charades and horse hunting.” “You’re right; forget horse hunting. It’s stupid” — Jim (or mostly Jim, anyway) manages to come up with something that Kelly (not Kelley) will enjoy: She gets to pick either an hour of TV or an hour of napping. Since it’s daytime, she wisely chooses napping (not much on TV) and actually seems touched by the gesture. And the cake is good too.

Add in Dwight’s impressive sign-making skills, and these two may just have a future as party planners. Or, yeah, probably not.

Then there’s Angela. Oh sweet merciful jeebus was this funny. The new, hypoallergenic $7,000 cat (paid for by selling Andy’s engagement ring on eBay), the nanny cam, the leaving on of the nanny cam … just, wow. Angela Kinsey, you have your Emmy reel. The footage of her on the nanny cam, speaking cat and, uh, grooming her brood … words fail.

I think Oscar may have put it best: “I want to get that image out of my head. The psychological issues that go behind licking a cat aren’t things I want to get into. Also, I’m pretty sure she coughed up a hairball.”

More good stuff from part two of “Lecture Circuit”:

  • Pam, trying to commiserate with Michael: “When Jim was dating Karen, I didn’t want to come to work. I hated it. I wanted to quit.” Michael: “Please, come on. I’m going through something, OK?”
  • Angela: “This company still doesn’t recognize cat maternity. It’s like, ‘Oh, you had a kid, take a year off.'” Meredith: “She’s right — I had my second kid just for the vacation.”
  • For those of you keeping score at home, Michael’s presentation opener went Good Morning, Vietnam-Princess Bride-Gone with the Wind-Jerry Maguire, and probably then Forrest Gump had he not fixated on A.J. and decided to go off script.
  • Jim fondly recalls his seventh birthday at the natural history museum, which ended with his dad buying him a little plastic triceratops. Dwight: “Hmm. You know what’s even cooler than a triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed.” Jim: “Didn’t see that one coming.”
  • More mnemonic goodness from Michael, as he recalls Tony, the overweight guy from Stamford whom he made quit: “Jabba the Hutt … Pizza the Hut … fat guys like pizza … pepperoni pizza … pepperoni Tony.”

What did you think of the conclusion of “Lecture Circuit”? Holly pretty much has to come back now, right? And how honest do you think Pam was being about the note?

Posted by:Rick Porter