The Office Coverage: Good Enough?

“The Office” Recap: “After Hours”

“The Office” is about work, and work will always go on, regardless of the changes in the constellation of personal lives that it abuts. Even with the departure of Michael Scott, the other employees of the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin show up every day and do their best to get through it.
“After Hours” proves that “The Office” still has a lot of laughs to offer, even if the show’s makers seem hesitant to take risks with established characters.

Life marches on: Sabre wants to establish a chain of retail stores. A contingent from Scranton are sent to Florida to make it happen, led by Dwight Schrute, who is determined to climb up the company ladder. Nellie Bertrand, one of the applicants for Michael Scott’s job from last season’s finale, is the project leader, and she gets to pick the Vice President. Dwight finds himself with considerable competition in the likes of Todd Packer, who sets out to seduce Nellie during a party at the hotel bar.

The set-up is funny, and the actors play it well, but at every important juncture Dwight degenerates into a spastic cartoon.

Meanwhile, Jim has to resist the advances of the severely under-developed Kathy, who has no qualities except a determination to get it on with Jim. Since Kathy is such a flat character, there is never a moment of tension. Kathy has never seemed mean enough to willfully try and destroy a marriage, nor to deserve the measures to which Jim goes to get her out of his room, leaving her behavior a head-scratcher.

The real breakthrough in the Tallahassee storyline is Stanley in vacation mode, sucking down rum, wearing Hawaiian shirts, and driving around in a Mustang. Jim’s half-hearted attempts to tag along in the previous episode were promising. Unfortunately, the producers chose to make it window dressing.

Back in Scranton, the focus is on Darryl’s pursuit of Val, the new head of the warehouse staff. The producers are looking for the next Jim and Pam. It’s hard to tell whether Val cares about Darryl or not. You want to root for Darryl, but the emotional depths aren’t there like they were with Jim. Darryl’s always seemed like a strong, confident guy—what makes him so sheepish all the sudden?

“After Hours” is funny, and the direction of the show is promising, but we need the real emotional goods sometime soon.

About Justin Mitchell 48 Articles
Justin Mitchell is a freelance multi-media journalist and writer working in New York. In addition to his work at Review Fix, Justin has written for Latitude News, The New York Daily News, and Feet in 2 Worlds. Follow him on twitter: @mittinjuschell

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