The Office Season 9 Review “Dwight Christmas”

If this is going to be the final Christmas-themed episode of “The Office”– and given as it’s the final season of the show, that seems a safe bet- then having a “Dwight Christmas” is clearly the way to go. Perhaps the writers have been listening long and hard from fans and critics of the show, because they have been leaning heavily on everyone’s favorite “Office” misfit as of late- not that I’m complaining, by any means.

As Jim prepared to leave early for his big business meeting in Philadelphia- or as Dwight called it: “The city that loves Adolph”- Erin realized that no one had bothered to plan the big Christmas party. Typically, this would be Angela’s area of expertise, but with recent events, that must have slipped her mind, understandably. Not that anyone was giving her grief for it, least of all Oscar.

Oscar: “I didn’t realize how many of Angela’s opinions I agreed with until she tried to have my kneecaps shattered for sleeping with her husband.” (Yep, that would do it. Is it me, or is it unexpectedly fun seeing Oscar scared to death of Angela?)

Everyone pitched ideas, but Dwight’s got Jim’s attention, which in turn got Pam’s and she conspired to successfully get everyone behind his pitch of a “Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas.” It featured a visit from St. Nicholas’ rural German companion, Belsnickel, as well as any number of celebratory traditions, including the wish-bone-like “ceremonial pig-rib” and others I’m not even going to try and spell correctly as my spell check might commit suicide. Jim mangled it best, anyway.

Jim: “Am I the only one who wants to try Hufflepuffs and Snauzerhosen and meet this Glenpickle guy?” (Nice going with the “Harry Potter” reference, “Office” writers- well played.)

Meanwhile, Pete extolled the awesomeness of everyone’s favorite Xmas-themed action movie, “Die Hard,” which Erin had never seen. I know exactly what it’s like to not recognize pop culture references everyone seems to get, so I felt Erin’s pain. At the same time, when Pete confessed he essentially had the entire film memorized, I realized there were probably a few films I could do the same thing with, so I can’t really talk. Still, part of me wanted to see Pete keep going with his “Die Hard” recreation, or as Erin put it, enthusiastically: “The movie is starting…”

Meanwhile, Pam broke the good news to Dwight: “This is one rule you need to take very seriously…”
Dwight groaned.
Pam: “And that is that there are no rules.”
Dwight: “You have never been cooler.”
(How adorable was the look on Pam’s face when he said that? And how thrilled was Jim: “Best Christmas ever.” Indeed.)

Dwight set up the festivities, pointing out the various intricacies of the tradition, including a ceremonial family ladle for the punch, “the very spoon that guided my soft skull through the birth canal when I was born.” (Um, eew. But funny.)

Dwight had no love for any traditional Xmas stuff, waving off candy canes, which he informed everyone were based on “shepherd’s crooks” which didn’t taste anything like peppermint but rather like “sheep feces.” (How did he know? On second thought, I don’t want to know…)

Later, the gang got a visit from the man himself, Belsnickel, in his fully-costumed regalia, looking like Santa’s backwoods cousin. Jim was pumped, announcing: “Yes! He is finally nigh!” and adding: “So, he’s kind of like Santa, only dirty and worse.” Naturally, it was Dwight himself, who had planned on Belsnickel’s black-faced sidekick to make an appearance before thinking better of it when Oscar commented on the politically incorrect-edness of it all. (We caught a glimpse of said sidekick as he grumpily retreated.)

Belsnickel had his own rules, as he determined who was “impish or admirable” and who had reason for “cheer or fear” for it was time for him to “judge your year.” Those who were nice got absurdly obtuse presents that were pure Dwight and those who were naughty got a whack or two from his wooden switches, which Jim ended up getting a taste of, as did Oscar. Meredith, liking what she saw, volunteered hilariously, leaning spread-eagled against the wall to await her spanking: “Belsnickel, I’m impish, too!”

Meanwhile, Darryl was getting a bit too drunk because he thought Jim had forgotten to include him in the Philly fest- which he almost did, so it wasn’t entirely unjustified. Still, Darryl ended up getting a little too beer-goggled when he started to eye Meredith lustily: “Meredith is a little cute- she got like an Emma Stone thing.” LOL.

Dwight was upset when Jim bailed early, but not nearly as upset as Pam, who had arranged everything for his benefit, only to have him bail on her. As Dwight himself withdrew from further celebration, he lamented how everyone thought “Belsnickel was some darkly erotic freak.” Said Pam: “No one thought that. At all.”

Thankfully, Jim opted to take a later flight at the last minute and returned and the festivities resumed, complete with the aforementioned ceremonial pig-rib pull-off, which Jim won, much to Dwight’s chagrin. Darryl charged in, letting his anger get the best of him, but was stopped dead in his tracks when Jim finally remembered to reassure him he’d have his place in the new business. Then he unceremoniously plopped down right in the center of the party table and that was all she wrote. “Very impish,” Dwight noted.

And as a final button on the episode, the most unlikely hook-up in perhaps the show’s entire history occurred when Toby, who had been regaling Nellie with his own tales about the “Scranton Strangler” the entire episode, made a move and the episode ended with the two in full-on make-out mode. Go, Toby! Well, it is the final season. Why not let the much-maligned Toby get a little?

So, what did you think of “Dwight Christmas”? Was it classic “Office” or just so-so? What about the unexpected hook-up between Toby and Nellie? Do you wish Darryl and Meredith had done the same? Between the two it would have made for a pretty awkward morning after at “The Office.” Let me know what you thought in the comments!