Tori’s Review: Night Out

This episode was strange.

It was dark, but I don’t mind dark. “Money” was dark, and it is my favorite episode of Season 4. This was just a little strange.

“Night Out” begins with Ryan making a visit to the office to, once again, try and get the employees of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, to embrace the website. The only people who have embraced it so far are not allowed to live near schools or playgrounds — or are named Creed.

Much like Jan, the pressure of corporate life has affected Ryan. He was hyper, paranoid, and let Michael make full-body contact with a hug. It also probably doesn’t help that he is now a coke head. Good job, intern.

I’m not sure why this character twist caught me so off guard. I know better than to ever think there is anywhere The Office won’t go. We have been laughing at Meredith’s alcoholism for 4 seasons. I am never above laughing at someone with a problem.

The difference is Meredith has always been presented to us as a drunk. She hid vodka in a Big Gulp, slept with the Captain of the Booze Cruise, and took her shirt off at the Christmas party. When we see her lick hand sanitizer to get a fix, it is awesome — not sad. (Okay, maybe a little sad.)

But with Ryan, we have watched him grow up. He started out as a little, wide-eyed, pompous, ass, and has now gone all “Bright Lights, Big City” on us. It is a little strange.

I can only hope this will eventually lead to a Michael Scott version of A&E’s Intervention. But, that’s the thing about Michael: he calls his mother from a nightclub, and he doesn’t understand The Wire. Ryan could act out the last scene in Scarface (I’m really dating myself now, aren’t I?), and Michael still wouldn’t get that he has a drug problem. Dwight might figure it out.

Drugs aside, in the long run, I think I am more worried for Jim than Ryan. When Michael and Dwight aren’t around; he completely loses his cool. It is like he needs them in his universe to stay balanced. And, now it is spreading to Pam.

What if Jim and Pam are only cool in comparison to Michael and Dwight? What if on their own they are both as awkward and weird just in different ways? If they ever leave Dunder Mifflin, they are going to have to keep Michael and Dwight chained in their basement so they aren’t total idiots. We might need two interventions.

As awkward as it was, when Pam hit Meredith in the face with the football, it was my one laugh-out-loud moment. (Maybe things are just funnier when they happen to Meredith?)

And now Jim has a reason to hate Toby just as much as Michael. Pam definitely has power over men. She caused one guy to cry and move to Connecticut, and another guy to throw himself over a fence and move to Costa Rica. All while wearing sensible shoes! Girl has got some super powers. Sorry, Toby.

Unlike Jan, Michael cannot be held responsible for Ryan’s downfall. As much as he may have wanted to, I’m pretty sure Michael never slept with Ryan. Ryan did this to himself. Michael may not be the smartest guy, but he has made it to 40-something without ever waking up next to Dwight, covered in cocaine sweat, in a 150 square foot apartment.

I’d like to think the overbearing mother on the other end of that cell phone had a hand in that.

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.

52 comments

  1. This was great. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking that this episode was just…strange. Funny in parts, but *strange*.

  2. Maybe that corporate postion is “cursed”…just like the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teaching position in Harry Potter series.

    Nice review as always!

  3. Hey Tori!

    Thanks for your reviews! I enjoy reading them.

    I must disagree with you on one point though, and that is Michael being responsible for Jan’s downfall. Yes, he was center-stage in her tragedy, but that doesn’t mean he wrote the play. She made her own choices.

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I was tickled by your take on Jim and Pam’s “coolness” being dependent on constant comparison with Michael and Dwight! I never thought about it that way before. I’m going to have to ponder that for a while!

    Keep ’em comin’! (TWSS) :-)

  4. Thanks for the review! It’s quite a challenge to recap such a full episode so well after only having one day to absorb it.

    We are definitely being thrown a lot of Plot (capital P) here recently to make up for the shorter season. The writers may not be able to take us where they wanted to go initially, but they’re taking us somewhere.

    I do disagree about one thing. I think whenever Jim is thrown into the leadership position it tells us more about the job itself than about Jim. We’ve been shown that Michael was not too unlike Jim before he took the job (at least at work). In other words, the writers are furthering Jim’s story by forcing him, and all of us, to examine his future. But I don’t think they’re forcing him into becoming Michael (a paraphrase of general sentiment, not the reviewer’s words).

    Besides, Jim went to Stamford and he did quite well without Dwight and Michael.

  5. Great review!

    “What if Jim and Pam are only cool in comparison to Michael and Dwight? What if on their own they are both as awkward and weird just in different ways?”

    You’re right. They aren’t nearly as collected in situations as I thought they’d be. Jim has me seriously worried. Someone give him some sense and confidence, stat.

  6. I’m going to say, I loved Michael’s “Back to the Future” reference. That girl not understanding was sacrilege.

  7. Great review, couldn’t agree more with the “strangeness comment.” It had a few laugh out loud moments but mostly I was shaking my head trying to figure out what was going on and then having to rewind it on my DVR.

  8. Nice review, Tori. When I discussed this episode with my Office-obsessed friend (aren’t we all though?), she was upset that I just didn’t think it was funny.

    I agree – my one laugh out loud moment was when Pam hit Meredith in the face, but other than that – it really was strange!

    Not only was the peanut butter skit too much even for this show, I felt awkward watching Ryan shake at the night club, and I absolutely cringed during the Toby-Costa Rica scene.

    Just a little too heavy if you ask me.

    Needless to say, I love Mindy Kaling anyway and I still hope to see a lot more of her work in the future :)

  9. Good review Tori. Glad to know I wasn’t alone in thinking how completely strange this episode was…

  10. There was so much in that episode! I watched it 3 times and got something extra each time I watched it.

  11. long time reader, 1st time commenter.

    i think they are making jim into michael, Toby into jim (kinda), and ryan into jan. they all will see themselves going into paths they do not want to go to and big changes will occur. proposals? changing careers? moving to colombia to work as a mule?

    these last episodes have been getting darker, although sometimes i miss the silliness, dark is good indeed

  12. I watch The Office religiously, and this episode was pretty disappointing. This season is becoming more and more over-the-top and in my opinion, dumbed down. Where has the subtle humor gone? I’de like to think its just the cramming of the storyline because of the strike, but it’s all a little much..

  13. I definitely see all your points in your review of this episode – but I guess I just wasn’t as creeped out by things as everyone else was. I had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and I thought it was a very interesting idea to have a favorite Office member have an addiction problem. I will admit, the only cringe worthy moment I had was when Jim, for that brief minute, acted very much like Michael.

    It’s obvious they’re setting something up for the future and i’m interested to see where they go with it. Maybe this means Ryan will lose his job and come back to DM? I can only hope. I can’t wait for next weeks though and I hope that we get some yummy JAMness :)

  14. Yes, a bit strange, but I would rather watch a show where the writers push the envelope a bit and try new things, rather than relying on tried and true jokes and storylines. Some things will work, some won’t, I’m encouraged they’re willing to take chances. FWIW, I found everything in this episode very believable. This says something about my own business experiences, not sure I want to examine this too closely.

    Kudos, cast, writers and crew. Keep us on our toes for a long time, please.

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