The Office “Baby Shower” Recap Thursday, October 16, 2008Posted by dylancaseyjohnson in dcjrecaps.
Tags: Baby Shower, Dwight Schrute, Ed Helms, Jan's Baby, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Michael Scott, nbc, Pam and Jim, Rainn Wilson, Scranton, Scranton Pennsylvania, Steve Carell, Television, the office, The Office Episode #5.03, The Office Season Five Episode Three, TV
As a brand new father of a beautiful baby girl, I can tell you that a baby shower is a stressful, sometimes awkward event. There were six people at the shower that I didn’t know. Flat out had no clue who they were, and moreover spoke to for about five minutes without ever figuring out their names or just how in the world they knew my soon-to-be-born daughter.
So what could potentially make a baby shower more awkward than it inherently is? How about if the baby’s “father” knows he isn’t the father, yet wants to be the father figure anyways? How about if said “father” is Michael Scott? I think this funny speaks for itself, so go ahead and click that jump, you know you wanna.
I preface by saying this summary is quote heavy. That is due to the fact that no matter how many ways you slice it, you can simply not get much better than the joke formation by the writers of “The Office.”
The episode opened with an absolutely hilarious sequence of Dwight (Rainn Wilson) staging a birth (complete with contraction monitoring) so that Michael (Steve Carell) can prepare himself for the arrival of Jan’s (Melora Hardin) sperm bank baby. The watermelon that Dwight has placed in the stead of a baby is coated in butter because “newborns are slippery.” Michael, of course, throws the watermelon on the ground due to it’s unpleasant texture, then we have a cut to a shot with Michael in the foreground eating watermelon and Dwight in the background zipping up while Michael says, “this is the happiest day of my life.” This is the part where a blog recap can not substitute for watching the episode. I thought I ruptured my spleen laughing at the events.
Michael is pressing the Party Planning Committee to make sure Jan’s baby shower is perfect. He screams “Dammit Phyllis!” upon learning that she failed to attain live storks for the occasion, but recognizes he is just overly anxious about Jan’s arrival. So he corrects himself by repeating his damning of Phyllis (Phyllis Smith), just more calmly. There are two bowls of customized M&M’s, one with candies reading “Chevy” (Michael’s choice) in case the child is a boy, the other with candies reading “Astird” (Ass-turd, supposed to be Astrid, Jan’s informed choice) in case the baby is a girl. He then attempts to guilt Phyllis for her failure by reminding her of the “golden shower” that was her wedding shower. Next we cut to a confessional of Michael saying: “It doesn’t matter if the baby is mine, I’m going to love it anyways. It’s like when the dog nurses the tiger cub, have you seen that video? It’s so bizarre and unnatural but it happens.” That’s the part where I soiled my boxers. A couple other staggeringly hilarious Scottisms on the subject: “I try to pick up and hold a baby everyday because it nourishes me. They’re drawn to me because they see me as one of them, only cooler.” And “If a baby was president there would be no taxes, there would be no war, there would be no government. It makes a better screenplay idea than a serious suggestion.”
Jan arrives with a baby in a $1200 car seat/stroller travel system, which is pure irony because the employees of Dunder-Mifflin have all chipped in to buy her a cheap travel system as their sole baby showering gift. The party proceeds to fail harder when Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) points out that the presence of the baby ruins the whole point of the baby shower. Michael desperately tries to regain ground by forcing the employees to play games, at which point Kevin suggests a game about guessing when the baby will be born.
Jan informs the office that she had a tub birth, which apparently is supposed to comfort the baby by replicating the womb in the child’s earliest outside environment. The downside to this birth method, as Creed so aptly put it, is that after delivery the bathtub “must look like the tide at Omaha Beach.” Jan doesn’t seem too bothered, instead she sings “Son of a Preacher Man” for twenty minutes straight. Not quite sure exactly what this means, maybe the sperm donor was a priest, maybe Jan lost her virginity to Marvin Gaye in the grass outside a church somewhere.
Michael finally reaches his weekly nervous breakdown and heads to the warehouse for reassurance. He seeks out Darrell’s (Craig Robinson) advice, “from one baby daddy to another.” Darrell responds with his characteristic attempt to reign Michael into sanity: “Hell yeah, you know why [I had a connection with the baby when I first held it]? Because it was my baby.” Further: “You want to hold me and see how it feels?” / “Can I?” / “No.”
Holly and Michael: a Romance built on Mutual Awkwardness
Before Jan’s arrival, Michael walks up to Holly’s (Amy Ryan) desk and greets here with a reciprocated, painfully awkward “Ahoy!” How can they make me shudder with embarrassment through the screen? Michael informs Holly that he has to treat her poorly in Jan’s presence due to Jan’s fragility in the “terminal stages of her pregnancy.” You know, to prevent jealousy, and he’ll be “treating Ryan the same way.” The first instance is at Holly’s entry into the conference room for the baby shower where Michael says “HR weirdo, try not suck all of the air out of the room when you walk in.” Could her sad face really be sadder than Toby’s sad face? I think so.
Later Holly walks into the break room where Jan and Michael are attempting to work things out in their own epically dysfunctional manner. To make Jan more comfortable, Michael says he was going to talk to Holly about her hygiene and how she smelled like “old tomatoes and dirt.” Holly actually seems upset by this.
Jan throws another wrench into the whole thing by telling Michael that not to date Holly. All is well however, because Michael ends up holding Holly, finding solace in the fact that he feels something in that embrace that he did not while embracing his “baby.” By the look on her face in the over-the-shoulder shot, Holly felt something too.
The Inevitably Failing Romance of Jim and Pam
I’ll be honest, this storyline has begun to bore me. The whole impending love thing had been going on since Season 1. Then the question became, “When will Jim finally propose?” After that question was answered, the new one immediately became “When is this relationship going to fail?” The lack of fulfillment is painful. But since this storyline is one of the main reasons many watch the show, an update is obligatory.
The first failed conversation comes when Pam calls Jim before her class starts and attempts to tell him some gossip about classmates who he does not know. Obviously Jim is detached and somewhat uninterested, then class starts. Fail.
The second failed conversation comes while Pam is at the laundromat surrounded by whirring washers and dryers. Jim attempts to describe the ludicrous events of Jan’s baby shower but Pam can not hear him. Fail.
The third failed conversation and the closing scene of the episode is an exercise in synchronicity. They call each other at the exact same moment, forcing both phones to go to voicemail, where they leave basically identical messages. Pretty cute how their minds align. Pretty sad that it will never last. Fail.
The Just Plain Weird Romance of Andy and Angela
First Andy (Ed Helms) puts his baby picture on the baby picture bulletin board game next to Phyllis’s baby picture, thinking it’s Angela’s and also thinking it’s a sign of love. Angela calls him a pervert. I know, she knows, he knows, that insult doesn’t even make sense. Has there ever been a pair more unsuited for each other?
We next see them posing and photographing the baby among fruits, vegetables, and a wicker horn of plenty. Andy: “She’s nature’s bounty.” I thought the gag was quite the humdinger; Jan did not.
I don’t even think this relationship can quietly fail, I think Andy’s going to relapse into anger problems and murder someone.
Dwight’s Weekly Vendetta
Upon learning from the consummate shopper Kelly (Mindy Kaling) that Jan’s stroller cost $1200 Dwight is astonished. He takes it upon himself to test the integrity of the stroller. With the same watermelon he birthed earlier strapped into the stroller, Dwight begins by throwing the stroller into the chain-linked parking lot fence. When this is not sufficient he climbs a tower of tires and throw the stroller from the top, but it was still not enough to destruct the bad ass stroller. It must be a Volvo.
The final test is what Dwight calls the “Bumper Test.” It consists of tying the stroller to the bumper of his Thunderbird, accelerating to about 35, then slamming on the breaks. No, it doesn’t end there, he rolls backward and forward over it for good measure. Again, my verbosity is not enough to convey the side-splitting nature of this scene.
Peripheral Character Quote of the Week
Stanley: “I do not like pregnant women in my workplace, they’re always complaining. I have varicose veins too! I have swollen ankles, I’m constantly hungry, do you think my nipples don’t get sore too? Do you think I don’t need to know the fastest way to the hospital?”
Well I’ve again illustrated my penchant for composing 1,500 words on network television shows. Is there a more productive way to spend my time? Maybe. Is there a better way to spend my time? I think not. Until next week, remember, just because you once dated an abusive woman who has now artificially inseminated herself, that doesn’t mean you have to throw her a baby shower.
UPDATE: Here’s the full episode for your viewing pleasure.