We were treated to another episode in a fantastic stretch of The Office this week. Between "Classy Christmas," "Ultimatum," last week's "PDA," and now "Threat Level Midnight," we've witnessed some of the best episodes in years.
Back in the early days of the show, some of my favorite scenes were when Michael went to improv class and turned every sketch into an action movie about Michael Scarn. When I realized we were about to witness an entire movie of Michael over-acting as an action hero, I didn't know how to contain myself.
Michael's ridiculous antics as Scarn were enough to make it great. Catch phrases like "clean up on aisle five," and "go puck yourself" don't just grow on trees. Combining that with the unbelievable ways Scarn could dodge bullets, sweat profusely during his workouts and dance The Scarn, and you got one heck of a performance by Steve Carrell.What made "Threat Level Midnight" - both the episode and the movie - work so well was how the other players got into it. Except Holly. But we'll get back to her later.
It also helped that the characters were into making the film at the time of the shooting, especially in the case of Jim. I dislike Jim when he is against the things Michael does. Although he claims that he didn't like the dialogue or the role, and was only doing it to get in good with the receptionist, his performance on the screen said otherwise. His portrayal of Goldenface was evil, funny, and strange. A perfect combination.
I loved the continuity and the callbacks that occurred from bringing back some of our past favorites. Jan and Packer have been around a few times as of late, but it was nice to see them get into the movie for a bit. Roy and Karen, on the other hand, have been out of sight and out of mind for a while. While Roy just sat their as a hostage, Rashida Jones' appearance and complaint about the cameraman singling out her line so many years later was an extremely pleasant surprise.
Let us circle back to Holly, who surprisingly wasn't on the same page as Michael for once. We think of these two as kindred spirits, so it was strange to see her not understanding the brilliance that was Threat Level Midnight. But by the end, when Holly tried to apologize, Michael didn't allow her to because he agreed the movie was bad. It was poor, but his employees were enjoying it, and that made him happy.
These final moments between Michael and Holly were easing the viewers towards the end of Carrell's stay at The Office. The growth of Michael Scott is starting to become evident, and as it continues, him leaving us will become easier and easier. After all, is it even funny to watch a respectful, balanced, mentally healthy Michael Scott?
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Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.