The Office "Roy's Wedding" Review: The Big Plan to Unbland Jam

The Office S09E02: "Roy's Wedding"

I had some directives for the final season of The Office, a few things I wanted to see and a few that I'd rather not see. Near the top of the list was to make Jim and Pam's lives just a little more interesting than watching paint dry. They don't need to become something out of an action movie or anything, but, you know, we just need to shake things up a little. I suggested an affair. Most commenters agreed that was the stupidest thing they ever heard.

I'm willing to concede now that I see the alternative. A storyline I figured was going to play out in two weeks, Jim going into business with his friend without telling Pam, looks like it's starting to grow legs and—let me tell you, this is hard for me to say about The Office—I like where this is going. This is a narrative awareness I wasn't prepared for.

We, the fans of the show, have remarked at least once if not for years that Jim and Pam are the blandest blands who've ever blanded. Not in the first few seasons, obviously, but definitely since the marriage and especially after the kids were born. If it weren't for the fact that they're so adorable and that they're our proxies into a realm of quirkdom, we probably wouldn't miss their absence. They'd be like Gabe. Yeah, you forgot you haven't seen Gabe in a while, right?

With this season, the show is starting to explore that boredom. They've turned a situation that became stale with consummation into an examination of the ennui Jim suffered from the beginning and that Pam has (apparently) accepted. It's about how being one with a person means that sometimes there aren't any more surprises and there's nothing left to discover. It's about achieving individual dreams sometimes at the sacrifice of the person you love. It's heady stuff for this show.

I applaud The Office for taking it on, too. It's necessary. I also love that Roy's life took them down a few pegs, this power couple that generally holds themselves above the rabble, only to find out they were the white trash at the wedding (I've maintained this show is at its best when Jim is either getting the best of Dwight or life is getting the best of Jim). Roy didn't just come back to the show for a couple quick quips before exiting forever. His reintroduction into their lives means something. It's a catalyst to examination. Stakes are something Jim and Pam have been unfamiliar with for some time and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

That being said, the rest of the episode was pretty effing stupid.

The Taliban Law story was amazingly contrived, even for a latter-season Office episode. It was mildly amusing when we got to the punchline, but a terrible journey. I think the reason the journey was so awful was mostly that Nellie doesn't belong here. She was a good short-term character during the Tallahassee arc last season, but she should've stayed in Florida. Complicate things with that tag at the episode where Nellie and Dwight were flirting like middle-schoolers and all I can do is facepalm. The possible love triangle between Nellie, Dwight, and Angela (once she finds out that the Senator is gay) is enough to fill my chest with dread.

Speaking of chests, Ellie Kemper got to show off a little of hers in this episode. Clark's scheme was just as contrived as the Nellie/Dwight story but it was supposed to be contrived. It played on our understanding that Erin has a childlike naivete, but she toes a line that Kevin has fallen over as time has worn down these characters. Sometimes she's too much like a child. She and Kevin can be too much of a caricature. I also have an issue with Andy, who seems inconsistent with his perception. There are times he seems to be hip to what's happening, but then we have stories like this week's, where he thought an intern's apartment was an appropriate space to audition for a news anchor position. I believed Erin would walk into the situation blind. With Andy, I'm not sure it made any sense. Clark said that "everything is higher cut on camera" in order to get Erin to wear low cut clothing. Why would Andy believe that?

Then there's the delivery that's so popular in the mockumentary-style format, the confessional where one character has an innocuous voiceover that lends context to what would otherwise seem to be an innocuous scene. Erin said the words "maybe it'll work out for Andy" while the image showed Pete and Erin enjoying a burger together. If you are to pit Clark and Pete against each other (and the show has been begging you to, by naming them Dwight, Jr. and Little Jim or whatever), and Clark is made out to be the black hat in this particular situation, you have to assume that Pete, the white hat, is the one schmoozing the girl. When Erin says something is working out for Andy, we're actually looking at something bad for him. Another possible love triangle. Another. Possible. Love triangle. Inside. The Office.

Dear coworkers at the Scranton branch, there's a whole wide world out there. Stop trying to hump people you can commute with.

The cobbled-together situations aside, I laughed a few times during this episode so that's a vast improvement. This season feels different than the past ones, doesn't it? The chemistry is slightly altered or there's some kind of new wit to it. Maybe I'm making that up. In any case, it seems like the show has things chugging along for this season and here's hoping it continues to improve. The secret: Let Creed open his mouth more often.


NOTES


– I was impressed by the Chore Wheel sequence. Slightly impossible (just slightly) but the situation, the language used, the twist at the end with Tiny Wheel, all reminded me of that clever wit prevalent in the opening seasons and so spare in the latter seasons. The prizes and punishments were awesome. My favorite: Stanley Gets Your Lunch. No whammy!

– Jim responding to Roy about what's going on in his life reminded me of how Ryan would respond to that question. Jim muttered that same douchey, my-life-is-empty response, saying he has some things cooking. Except he actually does have something.

– Phyllis and Bob Vance making out only showed how truly bland Jim and Pam are. You always get the feeling that they're soulmates. But they're never very... affectionate. I don't need a Jam sex tape or anything. Hmm, actually...

– Creed Line of the Night: "The Taliban is the worst. Good heroin, though."

– I wanted a quiz show episode so bad.

– How many shows in the past few years have done the door-closing scene from The Godfather? I think even when I try to picture the scene from the movie, I'm actually thinking about Weeds.

– I really like that Jim still calls Pam Beesley.

– I like the animosity between Clark and Pete. It's like watching the Smallville of The Office.



QUESTIONS


– Do we still feel like Pam will quickly forgive Jim's trespass?

– We had two insinuations of blossoming love interests (Erin and Pete, Dwight and Nellie). Chances that something will become of them?

– If something does become of Pete and Erin, that would mean that the new incarnation of Jim is crushing on the receptionist, one who works with her fiance. Is this show about to collapse in on itself?

– What was your favorite Chore Wheel prize?


The Office "Roy's Wedding" Photos

Comments (21)
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WHY DID ROY GET MARRIED AT 8am ON A WEEK DAY?!?!?!?!?!?!? HOW DO THEY OFFER ZERO EXPLANATION FOR THAT???



He's obviously doing well... why would he get married at 8am on a weekday IN HIS DRIVEWAY?!?! the show absolutely owed us more of a story on that one. It's not like the rest of the episode had all that much going on that we couldn't have spent a couple extra minutes at the wedding and a couple less minutes chopping stupid Neliie's hand off. And speaking of which, they are COMPLETELY wasting Dwight's character this season.



So disappointing.
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I don't watch this show but when you mentioned Clark and Pete was like watching the Smallville of The Office, is that an intentional reference to the characters Clark and Pete on Smallville?
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Ha. I forgot about ol' Pete Ross from Smallville. No, I meant the more pedestrian reference of Clark and Lex, seeing the origin of a rivalry. I wonder if Pete decided to go back to touring with OneRepublic.
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Aside from the development and potential of the Jam plot, I hated this episode. Absolutely nothing funny or interesting or creative. The Andy-Erin-Clark-Pete story could have been kind of funny if it wasn't ruined by both Andy and the payoff: the idea of seeing Pete and Erin together. There was also something odd about the directing and editing... the pacing and timing felt off.
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I haven't watched The Office consistently for about 3 season now, but I'm willing to check in to see how the show ends. Hoping it goes out on a good note and reclaims its status as must-see quotable tv. That being said,

ANSWERS:

1. Pam's is probably already thinking the worst (affair) so I think she'll be relieved on some level. But I think jealousy/anger will follow-remeber when she wanted to be an artist? What happened to Pam's dream? Maybe this will be her exit out of blandsville.

2.Dwight and Nellie-ugh, let's hope not. Jim Jr and Erin-um, yes please!

3. That would be a weird/awesome kinda full circle trip for the show.

4. TINY WHEEL! TINY WHEEL! Although, I would like to see Creed's choice...oh, Creed.

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Do we still feel like Pam will quickly forgive Jim's trespass?



I feel that it will be more interesting if she doesn't.



We had two insinuations of blossoming love interests (Erin and Pete, Dwight and Nellie). Chances that something will become of them?



I didn't see what you saw with Dwight and Nellie. But I loved the ending with Pete and Erin because Pete didn't do anything wrong. He tried to help Erin out!



If something does become of Pete and Erin, that would mean that the new incarnation of Jim is crushing on the receptionist, one who works with her fiance. Is this show about to collapse in on itself?



I LOVE IT! But I don't know enough about Pete. So it should be Kevin.



What was your favorite Chore Wheel prize?



Creed's Choice. Obvi.
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Kevin deserves some happiness. Has there been anyone after Stacy?
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There was the dog that wasn't actually dead.
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I really don't see where you're coming from with the Nellie-Dwight bit. Insinuations of blossoming love interests? Flirting? That seems like a leap to me.



The longer Jim puts off telling Pam, the worse it will be. She already suspects he's hiding something, it's just going to become more and more apparent. And when a spouse is hiding phonecalls and emails, maybe even money, there's only one thing their partner is going to assume and it has nothing to do with a secret business.
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I would have hated the writers if they had one of them have an affair. It's such an overused plot device and it always makes me hate the person that had the affair, in short it's never a good thing and I always hate it hen it happens.
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Only the beginning/opening was funny. :(
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Also, I like the fact that Jim and Pam have been bland. This show is called "The Office" after all. It takes place primarily from 9-5 during the work week and follows the lives of fairly unextraordinary, everyday people. Jim and Pam are not failures in their blandness; think about where you were at 30 years old and 2 kids?



I do agree that their egos have gotten out of hand in their superiority complexes, and I do like to see Jim having an opinion again, rather than just being the wuss who points out the obvious in everyone else's flaws.
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That's a good point you bring up. Jim and Pam as a couple isn't a failure in theme by being bland. The show is supposed to be about ordinary people. Absolutely. Although, after 8 years of this show, no one here is normal except them. I think the trouble people have with them being so bland is that they used to be the beating heart of this show, the same as Tim and Dawn were for the original series. Even though they headline in the credits, they've been pretty forgettable lately. This storyline creates a narrative out of what the fans complain about. I think it's great ownership of the characters.
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Andy is starting to remind me of Ryan, not in similarity, but in the fact that his motives and perspective seem to change with the wind. He ended last season with two goals: to get his hold job back and to stay committed to Erin.



Now, the once loyal and ethical manager seems like a complete idiot, ignorant to everything going on around him, and has also taken on the persona of what I will call "Vermont douche."



I liked Andy being sincere, and I need a reason as to why he all of the sudden is such an ass. Did the whole debacle with Nellie taking his job and him getting it back provide him with such a new perspective? These questions need to be answered.



Other than Andy, I love where this season is going. Especially between Jim and Pam and the yet-untouched storyline between Angela, the senator, and Oscar.
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"I also love that Roy's life took them down a few pegs, this power couple that generally holds themselves above the rabble, only to find out they were the white trash at the wedding"

This brings me to another problem that I've had with Jim and Pam in recent years: their egos have gotten out of control. They tend ham it up way more than they used to and expect everyone to find them so loveable. Its just so annoying. In early years they were far more grounded and humble. Nice to see the show take them down a peg! And yes, they absolutely are the blandest couple on tv. Didn't bother me before they got together, it was still interesting then. But after marriage/kids they've been just too dull.
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Andy's aspect to this episode is what brought it to its knees, here he's not being himself but playing the Michael Scott character - which isn't a good fit for the actor, as he comes off more unlikeable.

Your assessment on the potential for Erin and Pete and Andy is spot on, this is a big mistake in the making.

Of course Pam is going to forgive Jim quickly, the writers don't have the balls to do anything else because they're so enamored with the couple.

So let me ask, what was the point of making this about Roy's wedding? We barely played with that, it was like a pointless setting to move the Jim storyline forward some more.
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Roy is Jim's biggest adversary. While there are many people that don't necessarily love him (Dwight and Todd Packer), Jim competes with Roy on a personal level. To see Roy do well while Jim feels stagnate is blow to the latter. Roy has a beautiful house while Jim basically crawled into the space his parents left behind and pulled his wife in with him. Roy successfully launched a business while Jim is still working the same job at the paper company (albeit after some promotions and demotions). Roy learned to play the piano for his new bride while Jim's major creative contributions mostly have something to do with goofing on Dwight.



Jim didn't have a specific ambition in the beginning but he knew it wasn't being a lifer at the paper company. And while Jim and Pam dig into their boring ways, Roy is moving on.



Like you said, it's mostly about just moving the Jim storyline forward but inserting a successful Roy into the mix better establishes how completely stale Jim and Pam are and contributes to the stakes. Two birds with one stone kind of deal.
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Roy was Jim's adversary, but when we had Roy come back all defeated and Pam had already picked Jim, that cemented it IMO. Now Roy seems more like a reflection, and had Roy's success come when Jim was still looking at his life as stagnating at the cement company I could maybe understand the point of having him show off his successes, but here it seemed more like a reflection on Jim's move to action, on what Jim can achieve too now that he's taken that first step.
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Andy this whole season has been a huge question mark to me and I don't like the sudden change. He also seems to be less involved in the main storyline and more of an observing idiot.
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Great episode, I feel like Pam is willing to forgive Jim at this point but it depends how long he keeps this to himself. When Pam said "just tell me Jim" and we all clearly knew she was referring to his "secret" while he thought she was just looking for something new she didn't know. You could tell with the smile on her face had he admitted it she would have forgiven and even been happy for him.



The longer he doesn't tell her, the worse it will get and we will see her frustration grow each week this happens.



Dwight story arc was for sure a reach, but it was classic Dwight and that is always fun to see. Oscars reaction to Angela saying "there are still things I don't know about the Senator" was absolutely priceless, can't wait to see what comes of that storyline.
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I kept thinking you were wrong, Jim and Pam weren't bland, but you are right, they are. the only episode of recent times that makes them feel un-bland is their wedding. And maybe the one where Pam's dad does leave his mom because of what Jim said. That is it. They are mostly very boring. I'm thinking Jim's secrecy about the business is going to make Pam think something else is going on. I think it is easy to fall into the trap when you have kids, but it seems they stopped trying for each other. Pam had dreams of bring an artist. Jim had bigger dreams too. Maybe they need to think something else is going on to accomplish these dreams. I hope I'm right.



Plop and Erin and mini-Dwight and Andy. That was ridiculous. Andy's intelligence regarding Nellie (who should go away) disappeared in regards to these guys. Who is that stupid? Leave Andy and Erin alone and let them get married and have stupid little babies together.



Oscar, Angela and the Senator. This isn't exciting. It's lame. I get that her husband is gay and she is ignorant. But for Oscar to be cheating with him (just because he's gay) well, it isn't okay. It makes me like Oscar less though it is still hard to feel any sympathy for Angela. I guess what I really don't get is that there isn't a huge stigma associated with being gay. I mean, sure some people care, but very few any more. So, mostly, I think he is a douche for hurting his wife (and x"mistress")

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