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The Office – Stanley’s meatball fetish

The titular pool party was a wild mix of characters, activities, and a scary house tour given by Robert California of what his home could have been had it only lived up to its debauch potential … and had he not gotten married to his current wife.

- Season 8, Episode 12 - "Pool Party"

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That was another five star cold open from The Office last night. First of all, kudos to the writers for finally acknowledging that Pam’s not around … I think it’s the first time they’ve done so since she was training her replacement. Not that it wasn’t obvious, but you’d think that Jim having a newborn at home might come up once or twice. Just a thought.

Anyway, because of Pam’s absence Jim apparently needed a replacement audience for his Dwight pranks. Color me surprised that he found his audience in Stanley, and it’s interesting to think that Jim would tailor his humor to Stanley’s preferences. Does that mean that Pam was in favor of all the things that Jim’s done to Dwight over the years?

Be that as it may, Stanley seems to be partial to meatball pranks. Did not know that that was a thing, but as it turns out, it was all a set-up between Dwight and Stanley to get Jim to keep them flush with meatballs for their eating pleasure. Um, gross? Think about where some of those meatballs have been … can you imagine popping one of those bad boys into your mouth after it sat in Dwight’s dirty desk drawer? Still, I loved the concept.

In fact, it was the only part of the episode that really had a cohesive concept. Well, I suppose Erin’s story did too, but it didn’t interest me too much. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Erin and Dwight fake-flirt in an attempt to get Andy jealous, but I’m not an Erin fan, so I’m never rooting for her to be at the center of any story. She did make a great observation after talking to Andy — “I guess Andy isn’t totally over his current girlfriend” — but I find that her odd combination of crazy and naive comes across poorly.

While I wasn’t a big fan of the mishmash that was the pool party, what I did find hilarious was the end of the party, or rather what ended the party: when Robert mistakenly observed that one of those orgy-filled nights he so longed for was happening right before his very eyes, leading him to strip down and jump into the pool. I do not like Gabe or Ryan, and I couldn’t stand their sycophantic kissing up all episode long, but the fact that they ended up like puppets being manipulated on strings was awesome. I watched the final scene a number of times, and the looks on their faces … that resigned and broken expression that resonated from their very essences. And when Ryan started dancing again after Robert had fallen asleep and Gabe had refused to leave….

The best of the rest?

  • Stanley telling Andy that “Pants only need a chair if there’s a person in them” after he tosses Andy’s pants to the floor
  • Toby talking to himself after getting mixed up in wine and Oscar’s wine club: “Toby, you are playing a dangerous game. Guess I’m through the gateway now, though, right?” And chug.
  • Kevin telling Val that her asking if Darryl doesn’t swim was racist
  • Gabe upping the ante and telling Robert (and Ryan) that “I’ll stay even later than you’d like.” Super.

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Photo Credit: NBC

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3 Responses to “The Office – Stanley’s meatball fetish”

January 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM

I also loved Kevin’s second response to Val based on Darryl’s physique: “looking at Darryl … I’d say no he doesn’t swim.”

January 22, 2012 at 12:01 AM

This wasn’t how I took the joke, though I could be wrong. As I understood it, Kevin admonishes Val for being racist by assuming a black man can’t swim. Then, to tiptoe around it, Kevin says, “Looking at him… I’d say no, he doesn’t swim.” In other words, he’s being racist while trying not to be.

January 20, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Did Jim drive home drunk? For shame!