The Office Review: Self-Prankervation

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The Office has knocked Christmas episodes out of the park in the past, so a high bar was set for "Christmas Wishes.  It didn't live up to the original "Christmas Party" or last season's "Classy Christmas," but it was certainly one of the funnier outings of season eight.

There were a lot of things that make up a good Office episode at play here. Jim and Dwight were in a pranking zone, there was a whole lot of Erin Hannon, Andy Bernard wasn't ridiculously annoying, and of course, there was an amazing montage/air band rock out set to TSO's "Carol of the Bells."

Meredith and Robert

Dunder Mifflin has done holiday music well in the past - Angela's "Little Drummer Boy" comes to mind - but nothing like this. Between Kevin and Jim receiving a cookie jar and a vasectomy pamphlet as gifts, Erin pounding shots with Phyllis, and Creed, Nate and Gabe joining Dwight on air guitar, air keyboard, and air bass, respectively, it hit on all levels. Great montage.

Not only were Jim and Dwight back to doing what they do best, pranking, but it wasn't the same old song and dance. No, no, Jim and Dwight were pranking themselves, which made it that much funnier. Whether it was Jim reading his credit card info aloud - leading to Dwight buying $200 flowers for Pam - Dwight putting a porcupine into his own drawer - leading to him calling the animal by name - or Jim drawing devil horns and a beard on a picture of CeCe but then backing down so Dwight wouldn't get fired... these two were on fire.

Then there was Ellie Kemper yet again lighting up the screen, this time by being jealous and drunk. One of the characteristics that makes Erin such a funny character is how serious she takes things, and how important she thinks everything is. That trait was definitely exemplified when she was amazed that Jessica was an assistant cross country coach at Bryn Mawr.

She also gave us a fantastic Stanley impression and that entire awkward moment when she forced Andy and Jess to kiss in front of her.

Sure, there were a few misses. They still don't hit nearly as often as they used to on the emotional moments. Andy and Erin are not Jim and Pam, nor are they Michael and Holly. It just isn't the same, and when Andy drove off in the car after checking up on Erin and Robert, I really couldn't have cared less.  

Then again, "Christmas Wishes" also gave us Creed trying to cozy up with Andy's Gam Gam, Angela comparing porcupines to dogs because neither have souls, and Kevin consoling Erin after her blow up with Andy only to ask about the oatmeal situation, so there was much more good than bad as The Office heads into the winter break.

We'll leave you with some of our favorite quotes from the evening, and don't forget to hit up our The Office quotes page for all the best one-liners.

What did all you TV Fanatics think of the episode?

Dwight: I am always acting in self-defense...occasionally preemptive self-defense. | permalink
Nate: You had me at clookies. I can't wait to find out what they are. | permalink
Darryl: I meant dressed up compared to normal. You usually dress like a ghostbuster. | permalink
Erin: I'm gonna go do another reverse spit. That's how the cool kids say, get a drink. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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At one time I Loved the office. Now that they have Andy taking Michaels place --I hate The Office. Andy comes off as a slime ball. Michael was a slime ball too but he pulled off. The show is no longet worth watching. Is there a cool slime ball out there anywhere that could have taken Michaels place???

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Definitely one of my favorite episodes this season. They have really been playing to the strengths of their ensemble cast lately, and tonight was no exception. I especially liked Oscar's bartending and everything about Erin and Ellie Kemper's continuously brilliant performances. Great stuff!

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They need to add more of a role for Nate and Erin. They are funny!

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this was the first really good episode of this season. I really enjoyed the dwight/jim time, getting to know robert california better (this was actually the first episode in which I kind of liked him!) and Erin was simply awesome! Fav quote: "The Black Eyed Peas are rock for people who don't like rock, rap for people who don't like rap and pop for people who don't like pop." ---> Word!

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I really enjoyed the focus on Erin. Ellie Kempler was just great. @Deb, I also started warming up to Robert California in this episode.

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Well. This was certainly interesting. I was amazed at the polish of the writing, for the most part. NOT focusing on Andy "being the bumbling boss" and instead utilizing the ensemble cast = far, far better episode than we've been seeing. Ellie Kemper is such a gem; she carried a strong A-story and played the fool brilliantly as usual. Many of the characters had great contributions and interactions in this one. Andy's GF was great and seemed like a real, normal person, which was a stark contrast to the increasingly two-dimensional characters around her. Negatives: The Jim/Dwight feud thing was overdone and almost trite at this point in the series' maturity. Hated Toby's part, and missed the satisfaction of Michael being there to say it openly. Still no lines for Pam's replacement?? (At least she got a mention.) Robert California's meddling between Andy & Erin had no payoff. Final (negative) comment: Is this show still a comedy? OK, it had genuinely funny moments (straight-faced Andy with "hard-ass" hat = LOL) but if I had to categorize this episode, it would be more drama than comedy. Which is... actually kind of OK with me? 4/5 stars. (Sorry I accidentally posted this on the preview, feel free to delete that other one if you want.)

Fortyseven

I agree with the review. Loved Erin, the pranks, and the ghostbuster line. I don't remember Nate having lines before but he's funnier than Andy.

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i am really starting to warm up to Robert California. He actually was kind of cuddly in this episode. I thought the scene of Kevin and Robert hugging was great. Loved how Robert tried to cuddle back in after he mentioned not having intercourse in ten days...LOL, poor Kevin! Also liked his Black Eyed Peas comment and when he was bar tending. He certainly is starting to win me over.