Tori’s Review: Beach Games

Paaaaameeeeeela Beeeeeesly!

It didn’t take calling off her wedding.

It didn’t take seeing the guy she loves with a new girl.

It didn’t take her ex-fiancé trying to punch the guy she loves while he made plans with the new girl.

No.

It took burns that will need butter and bubble-wrap, but you know what? I’ll take it, because Pam finally had her Oprah moment!

Let’s start at the beginning — Michael’s an idiot.

The CFO of Dunder Mifflin called to ask Michael to interview for a corporate position. While most would practice interview tactics, do some soul-searching, and buy a new suit (not a woman’s—unless you are a woman), Michael did none of these things.

Instead, he planned beach games to find his successor. I gotta admit — not a terrible idea. When I’m old and the end is near, I plan to decide which grandkid gets the most in the same manner. It just makes sense.

Toby was cut before they left the office. The only lasting impression he’ll have of the day is the thought of Pam in a two-piece. I love Paul Lieberstein’s voice inflections. One of my favorite Toby lines is when Pam calls him from the conference room in The Convict, “Hey Pam. Where ya calling from?” Last night it was, “But it’s beach day.”

It was “beach” day.

Michael used Survivor-like games to find the next regional manager. Here’s a reason why I love The Office. The egg and spoon game was funny, but predictable. The sumo wrestling was hilarious, but also what you might expect. But, when Sumo!Andy fell in the lake and floated away like a bloated tick, I lost it. I did not expect that.

Game after game, Michael only found disappointment, and competition when he realized Jim and Karen planned to interview for the position (in) well. The only person who showed strength, courage or honesty was the one not allowed to participate.

I crave moments when we connect to this dysfunctional group. I love to laugh, but I love to laugh at the people I love even more. Someone said courage and honesty were not Pam’s strong points. Last night, she proved him wrong. (BTW, Gil, you’re getting dumped. Sorry you had to find out this way.)

I know it wasn’t the coal walk that pushed Pam to her breaking point. This has been building since one night last May. It took her longer than most, but I feel Pam is still a teenager in so many ways. Being with Roy sheltered her from experiences she needed to find her voice. Pam’s probably only had one or two first dates, one or two first kisses, and certainly only one serious relationship.

People were upset when she asked Jim to get coffee on his first day back. But, Pam has probably never asked anyone on a date. Coffee was safe.

This year has been a lesson she needs to ask for what she wants in life, or she will literally spend it watching from the sidelines.

The look on Jim’s face when Pam “said a few things” was awesome. Now he hopefully understands the dumbstruck look Pam had when he spilled his guts — last night he was the one wearing it.

Whether this leads to a broken heart, or a new beginning, Pam had one of the important experiences she needs to make better choices for herself.

I’m sure Halpert will agree when he picks his jaw up out of the sand.

Only one episode left. If there is a group hug, I want you to stand next to me.

Tori Weber is a Web Producer and writer for a television news station in Orlando, FL. Writing keeps her sane, and ice cream makes her happy. Dogs are good too. Visit her here.

26 comments

  1. WOW!

    Finally, Pam speaks up! I am so proud! Jim has had it easy. “I love you, drop your boyfriend, oh you did? Got a new date.”

    Doormat no more, You go girl.

    What a great turn. The writers of this show certainly know how to lead you down a path and then Powie!

    Tori, your review is really great and insightful.

  2. This might have been my favorite episode of the season, if not just for Pam’s speech. But the supporting characters were great as well. I loved the look on Ryan’s face when Kelly asked who Bob Hope was. Priceless!

  3. I have to say, I’ve always been very much in favor of the Jim and the Pam together. But after last night, I hardly even care. I’m not even really sure Jim deserves the awesomeness that is Pam Beesly.

    Pam is going to be awesome with or without Jim, and I can’t imagine feeling more thrilled about anything that’s going to happen on this show than I did when Pam said what she had to say.

  4. Great review for a great episode! Just the image of Andy bobbing in the water . . . I think I missed half the episode because I was doubled over laughing so hard! Luckily I recovered in time for Pam’s speech. Boy is the season finale gonna be a humdinger – I can’t wait!

  5. Question: Who will end up together?

    Will it be Jim and Karen? False

    Fact: Jim and Pam

  6. As always, great review!
    I disagree with comment 4 though…Pam is certainly awesome, but lest we forget what Pam put Jim through. So it would be ridiculous to say that Jim doesn’t deserve Pam.

    Sidenote: Steve Carell singing harmonies (in this episode: “You gotta know when to hold ’em…”; also in his birthday episode, he sings out-of-tune to his own birthday song) for some reason just cracks me up uncontrollably…if you look closely, you can see some of the cast breaking character…

  7. I love Paul’s voice inflections too.

    Also, Pam, I have some Country Crock with your name on it.

  8. One of my favorite things about this show is the fans. After watching an episode (for the first time), I just cannot wait to read the reviews and comments. Tory’s are my favorite, followed by TV Guide, etc. It’s always hard to put into words what I love about this show, so it’s great to have others do it for me! This is going to be a long week…

  9. I LOVE YOU! you give the best episode reviews EVER.

    seriously. that was awesome to read. :)

  10. Tori…

    There have been over 500 posts here on Office Tally from fans discussing every nuance of Pam’s speech. Some didn’t understand it, some thought it was inappropriate, some thought it was out of character. I think those folks need to read your review, especially these two lines:

    “I know it wasn’t the coal walk that pushed Pam to her breaking point. This has been building since one night last May. It took her longer than most, but I feel Pam is still a teenager in so many ways. Being with Roy sheltered her from experiences she needed to find her voice.”

    “The only person who showed strength, courage or honesty was the one not allowed to participate.”

    This explains so much. You’ve once again hit the nail on the head. Also, refering to Andy as a “bloated tick” made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks for the excellent review!

  11. Oh Tori! I heart you because you make me laugh. I love your re-caps like Jim loves Pam. Awesome job, once again!

  12. We finally got to see the FNB we’ve been waiting for!

    Great review Tori!
    You really have a gift for writing.
    Your review makes me want to watch the episode all over again!

    Larry

  13. Great review! I love your insight. It’s rough seeing that haters come out and bag the character development that has occurred during this season. I think it’s just added depth and I’m glad to see that you’re on the same page with me.

  14. Awesome, awesome episode. I was literally jumping up and down when Pam made her speech. It was about time! And for those who say it was out of character, I couldn’t disagree more. This has been building for a long time, and it’s awesome how spontaneous it was. I’m glad she finally said the things not only Jim should hear, but everyone else in the circle. After all, she’s right that everyone acts like she doesn’t exist sometimes, and I really felt for her when no one showed to her art show. (Besides Roy for 2 seconds and Michael, which I thought was very sweet.)

    I can’t wait until next Thursday.. although most likely Jim and Pam won’t be getting together. And even if something DOES happen, or gets said… it probably won’t be until the last few minutes for the cliffhanger.

  15. Great insights. They make me wonder why there is all this negativity about Jim and how he has treated Pam this season. Jim thinks he has read her non-verbal cues and spills his guts (and catches her off guard) in CN, but Pam does not tell him she called off the wedding (let alone it was because of him), they speak on the phone and Pam says “not much is different”, she leaves with Roy at Phyllis’ wedding, etc. And I see Pam’s side in all of this as well. They are just 2 star-crossed crazy sitcom kids.

  16. Tori, I agree with Jake (comment 15). This moment of Pam’s has been building for a year. Thanks for reminding people that Pam is/was a timid girl who spent 10 years taken for granted in a controlling relationship. She has been sheltered! Don’t we all know at least one person just like Pam! She has made a ton of changes this year that, maybe don’t seem like a big deal to others, but are HUGE for her. Which led to her comment that “some of you don’t seem to know I exist.” She feels like a different person than she was a year ago, but no one in the office seems to notice — including Jim! The firewalk was symbolic of her new found courage. Then, of course, her speech was Pam’s version of a “I’ve-Had-Enough-And-I’m-Not-going-To-Take-It-Anymore” speech. But very much in character because it was so heartfelt and sweet — just like Pam!

    Great review Tori.

  17. Excellent review! This was my favortie Pam moment. Jenna Fischer is truly a brilliant actress, and Pam is a wonderful character. I wish all of us Office Fanatics could get together in person and watch the finale together! Thank goodness for websites like this that let us talk about it :)

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