Ahhh, Christmas. A time for singing, giving, wrapping your co-worker's desk in paper, and staging interventions! Wait...what?
Christmases around The Office are rarely normal, but none of them have been quite as out-of -the-ordinary as the Moroccan Christmas. (Sidenote: I'm still mad we didn't get a Christmas episode last year due to the friggin' AMPTP.) The show is usually 50/50 when they have something extremely random happen in the office. Burn your foot on a George Foreman grill? Win! (Sidenote #2: Will somebody please buy me this shirt for Christmas?) Bring in Ben Franklin for a bachelorette party? Fail, in my opinion. Race for a cure for rabies? Win! Have a Moroccan-themed Christmas party just like your grandmother might possibly have? Mostly made of fail. I liked quite a bit about this episode, so it's not gonna be all Debbie Downer.
The party kicks off with vingettes that were reminiscent of the early parties, like Meredith's birthday and the Yankee Swap turned White Elephant. Pam and Jim are flirting at her desk and it's adorable, natch. Michael's serving up drinks despite the no-alcohol rule from corporate that we learned about when Michael got everyone plastered with 15 bottles of vodka. Meredith, as the token alcoholic, is downing drinks left and right. The dancing leads to belly dancing leads to catching her hair on fire. Dwight the Fire Marshall leaps to the rescue with his handy-dandy fire extinguisher--there is a man I want to have around in case of emergencies. (Maybe.)
Back from the commercial break, the men are discussing their schedules. Michael's is problematic because he has a monthly dental appointment for his soft teeth and likes to celebrate Groundhog's Day in private. In true male style, they decide to go for it right then, because it shouldn't take too long, right? Everyone gathers around in the front part of the office, which is still festively decorated in true Moroccan style. The list of "How to tell if you're an alchie" is helpful, with questions like drinking on holidays and if when you drink, you start to question the teachings of the Mormon church.
HAHAHAHA. AWESOME. Okay, I've been waiting for, like, ever for a good Mormon shout-out on the show and they delivered the goods. It's even funnier because my dad pretty much wrote the manual on addiction recovery for the church. (Probably just funny to me.)
Toby tries half-heartedly to stop the intervention, but like most everything else in his life, he fails. Burn! No one has any good examples of how Mer's drinking has affected them, unless you count that time that Kevin scored free movie tickets from her. I, for one, liked the Schrute five-step method of intervention: Awareness, Education, Control, Acceptance and Punching.
Top Three Things Meredith and Amy Winehouse Have In Common
1. Really lousy hair
2. People tried to make them go to rehab, but they said no, no, no.
3. That's it.
My main beef with the episode was the dragging-out of the rehab scene. It wasn't even the kind of uncomfortable-awkward that can be laughed at--it was the kind of pointless-uncomfortable that doesn't belong even in The Office. "I'd like to deposit an alcoholic" made me chuckle, but the rest of the scene felt poorly timed and out-of-character for Michael. Yes, he's needlessly "helpful" at times, but why for Meredith? Wait, I can answer that. His workers are his family and he'll go to any length to do what it takes to aid them. I guess it makes sense, but I still didn't like it.
Maybe the issue I have with the plot is that Meredith has never been a worthy personality of having multiple storylines devoted to her. She's a sex-crazed/boozy single mom which should be enough to make a good character, but it's never worked for me. She's static--exactly the same as she was from day one. And I'm okay with that, as long as they keep her in the background. Yet I can think of at least four episodes where she had a central role. Why are they attemping to flesh out (pun, because she has an affinity for going topless) her character now? I need to mull this over some more.
I'm done with that for now. Let's talk about Dwight. Gaining the upper hand in all aspects of life is important to him, which is why he bought out all of the stores of the hot holiday toy--Princess Unicorn! Her horn can pierce a hole in the sky! It's shiny and vaguely phallic! Dwight's marketing them to local parents for 200 bucks a pop. Way to turn a tidy profit there, dude. Even Darryl gets in on the action, until a desperate Toby buys it for twice the price. Annnnnd Sasha's getting an African-American Barbie for Christmas. Dear Office writers, this was on par with 30 Rock. Make sure you check out every page on the new Princess Unicorn website, found here. "Do not play with Princess Unicorn if you are allergic to lead based paint."
Ever since she caught Dwangela deep in the throes of passion, Phyllis has used that to blackmail-but-not-really Angela into doing her bidding. Well played, Mrs. Vance, well played. From tossing Baby Jesus into the drawer to making Angela double-toast the hummus, it's been quite the reign of terror. Angela, as power-hungry as Dwight, can't take it and claims that Phyllis will never tell. Oh, let's not speak too soon! She spills the secret to everyone BUT Michael, Meredith, and Andy. Oops. Notice the smirk on Dwight's face? This couldn't be more perfect for him.
Andy comes out for a Christmas-themed sitar piece he learned just for his darling. It might be sweet, if it weren't so painful. Clueless as ever, Andy takes Angela home and he wishes them all a good night. Fun fact: Ed Helms is extremely good at learning musical instruments. I bet that in writer's room, they say to themselves, "What can we have Ed pick up this week? I know, the sitar!"
Well, kids, this is the last new episode for A WHOLE MONTH. (weeps quietly to herself) Did you think it was a worthy episode to end on or did it feel like Santa didn't bring you a Princess Unicorn doll?
Endnote: My favorite throwaway moment was Michael nailing Toby in the head with the pen. And here's a testimonial for Princess Unicorn from Gov. Sarah Palin! "Princess Unicorn not only is a wonderful Christmas gift for children but she is also utilitarian as she assists in drilling for oil. Not only does she pierce the sky but she can go through the depths of ice-covered shale."