The Office “After Hours” Review

We got another great cold open in “After Hours,” this week’s episode of The Office, where Oscar, Pam and Angela took turns to gang up and rant behind one another’s backs. The cuts back and forth between the three of them hanging out in the break room and their asides to the camera played up the gossip gag perfectly.

Fully recovered from his appendectomy, Dwight still had the title of “Vice President of Special Projects” on his mind. From his standpoint, Packer was his only serious competition. I’m not completely convinced that Packer is even interested in the position. I get the feeling that he’s much more interested in screwing over Dwight and seducing Nellie in the process.

Dwight has shown an uncanny ability to manipulate attractive women in the past, so I was a bit surprised that he was doing so poorly with Nellie at the bar. The women that end up falling for Dwight usually do so after he treats them with a sort of disinterested roughness. He wasn’t using that same strategy with Nellie and was fumbling all over the place when Packer was around. Once Gabe helped get Packer out of the picture, womanizer Dwight stepped back onto the playing field and Nellie fell for that odd and inexplicably irresistible machismo.

Meanwhile, the Kathy and Jim nonsense that I had been dreading made its way into the plot line. I was happy with the way The Office handled this story line and thought it was wise to keep Jim out of a position where he might become a dislikeable character.

Being the epitome of non-confrontational, Jim wasn’t able to directly tell Kathy to leave his room. Stanley’s casual commentary about the scene in Jim’s room was hilarious (actually everything Stanley has done in Florida has been hilarious – I love Tallahassee Stanley) and you could tell by Jim’s great facial expressions that he was desperate for anyone to help him out without having to actually confront Kathy.

Jim eventually did end up being straightforward with Kathy, but she turned out to be a little bit of a psychopath. I couldn’t believe how ballsy her seduction routine was and that she act that way without the tiniest hint of humiliation. Somehow she managed to spin it so that Jim felt like he was the one being strange. She’s got to be a professional at this kind of thing.

Dwight’s obsessive hunt for bedbugs broke up the tension in Jim’s room with a nice dose of simple physical comedy. I cracked up at the end when the two of them wound up bunking together and eating ice cream in bed to avoid the women who had been determined to spend a wild night with them.

I’m hoping that Jim will tell Pam about his uncomfortable experience with Kathy right away. Sure, Pam would flip out, but I doubt Jim would be the target of Pam’s wrath. Drama between Kathy and Pam seems like it would be more entertaining than the potential drama between Jim and Pam if he kept this awkward experience a secret.

Ryan and Erin had a funny little side story to hunt down a hotel waffle. Ryan took Erin’s confession that she planned to stay in Tallahassee as a signal that she was looking for a no-strings-attached good time. Ryan’s scummy deadpan lines were great against Erin’s honest simplicity. There wasn’t a whole lot going on in terms of plot, but that didn’t stop me from laughing at all their scenes.

Back at the Scranton office, the staff was working late to pick up the slack for the special project team. They ended up with a front row seat to the drama between Darryl, Val and her boyfriend, Brandon. It was the kind of office drama that Kelly had always longed for and her excitement was palpable.

Darryl took a cue from Jim and Pam’s story and told Val that he didn’t think the two of them together would be “ridiculous.” It didn’t make my stomach flutter the same way it did when I watched Jim and Pam go through a similar situation seasons ago, but I think that’s because I don’t know Val well enough to care yet. Maybe I will eventually.

There was a lot going on in this episode of The Office and it felt like things were being rushed to cram all the stories in. That said, I’d have a hard time suggesting exactly what parts of the plot might have been sacrificed to ease the pacing because I was entertained by most of what I saw and ultimately, I enjoyed the episode.