Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

The Office, "Stress Relief"

Like Super Bowl games, post–Super Bowl sitcom episodes are often less fun than the commercials. Like Super Bowl fans, they are frequently bloated. But few comic scenes this year could compete with the chaos in the pre-credits sequence of this brilliant episode, in which Dwight fakes a fire to test Dunder-Mifflin's safety readiness and unleashes mayhem worthy of 2012. (Kevin loots a vending machine, Angela hurls her cat Bandit through a ceiling panel, and Stanley has a heart attack, forcing Michael to try to save him: "Stanley! Barack is President! You are black, Stanley!") That set up a story about Michael organizing a roast for himself and being confronted with how his co-workers see him (giving us the all-purpose catchphrase "Boom! Roasted!"). The silliest and most perceptive episode of The Office, wrapped up in one super package.