Wendy’s Review: Phyllis’ Wedding

This week, Phyllis wed Bob Vance (that’s PHYLOB to you.) If you’re like me, you were probably reduced to a shaken martini glass of emotions by the end of the half hour. Despite the happy occasion of a wedding, we were served a healthy spoonful of pathos mixed in with our Thursday night comedy.

After the familiar comic energy of a classic Jim prank on Dwight (Altoid, anyone?), the wedding mayhem commences. Creed attaches a card to someone else’s wedding gift (at least he didn’t steal anything this time), Kelly sets etiquette aside and shows up wearing white (because she looks awesome in it) and Scrantonicity rocks the house — sort of.

Savvy Phyllis asks Michael to push her wheelchair-bound father down the aisle, leveraging a six-week honeymoon in the process. This leads into a series of cringe-worthy Michael moments.

Michael’s need to be loved is so intense that it overshadows any self-awareness that might save him. (So much for his insight with Andy.) There’s no internal barometer telling him that it might be a bad idea to ask the bride if she broke wind on her wedding day, for example.

We do get some insight into Michael’s cringe-inducing behavior. The only other wedding Michael attended was when he was young and his mother remarried. He peed his pants at that one, so there’s been some growth over the years. So when Dwight throws Michael out as a wedding crasher, my heart breaks for the guy.

Speaking of heartbreak, what about the obvious awkwardness of Pam and Roy as guests? Add to that the fact that Phyllis copied all of Pam’s original wedding ideas, and I was waiting for Scrantonicity to break into the Twilight Zone theme for Pam.

Instead, Roy pays them $20 to play “their” song. While I question the song (Jewel — yuck), Roy’s sincerity toward his ex is hard to resist these days. And after Pam’s reaction to Jim’s slow dance with Karen, she’s probably thinking the same thing. Pam’s not a talker, not verbally anyway. Kudos to Jenna Fischer — the girl can communicate more in a brief glance of despair than most people can with an entire monologue.

Despite the obvious map of heartache on her face, she and Jim miss their moment yet again. Even the documentary crew seems fed up seeing these two apart and poses a “hypothetical” to Jim. Jim does a bad job convincing us (and himself) that he’s moved on. “I’m really happy I’m with Karen.” Yeah, Jim, and your “kicked puppy dog” expression when Pam leaves hand in hand with Roy is because you didn’t see those famous Beesly dance moves.

This brings us to the hot debate since the episode aired — did Pam sleep with Roy? Pam’s heart is bruised, so it wouldn’t be her fault if she fell back into what’s familiar. We may never know if they slept together that night … I’m not sure it matters. What matters is Pam’s frame of mind now and how that will affect her actions towards Jim.

I still think there’s hope, and while it’s frustrating for fans sometimes, this show is committed to what’s real over what’s contrived. The clear path to Happyville is often road-blocked with the conflicts that people need to work out within themselves first.

And if that doesn’t happen for JAM, Pam can always follow Kelly’s advice — freak out, get drunk and tell Jim she’s pregnant. Considering the latest debate in the chat rooms, though, that might not be something Office fans could bear …

Wendy is the founder of Limelight Media, an entertainment marketing company in Los Angeles. She enjoys procrastinating with friends (online and elsewhere) and laughing at her dogs when they snore in their sleep. Visit her here.

30 comments

  1. My partner in crime! Great review!

    “Michael’s need to be loved is so intense that it overshadows any self-awareness that might save him.”

    This describes him perfectly. Some weeks Michael is cringe-worthy, but lovable. This week, I found him just too cringe-worthy. It was sweet though when he apologized and was praised for finding Uncle Al.

    “And if that doesn’t happen for JAM, Pam can always follow Kelly’s advice — freak out, get drunk and tell Jim she’s pregnant.”

    LOL.

    I am in the camp that thinks Pam slept with Roy. I don’t think that makes her a bad person and I don’t think it means she feels any less for Jim. They aren’t together and girlfriend was SOOO sad and lonely. I think she slipped back into something that made her feel comfortable. The alternative was probably to go home and feel terrible about her. I can’t say I blame her. Plus, Roy was laying it on thick.

    Now we just need new Beesly to pick up her self esteem and go after what she really wants!

    Great review!

  2. I’m really excited to see that someone…SOMEONE can still appreciate the show despite the constant letdown of Pam and Jim not getting together. This show is about the entire office, not just them!

    And yes, kudos to Jenna Fischer indeed.

  3. I can’t believe my favorite show has been reduced to a series of tired, drawn out plot twists. Take that plus this umbelieveable over the top jerkass version of Michael and it’s just too painful to watch.

    Remember how simple and brilliantly funny episodes like “the Fire” “Diversity Day”, and “Sexual Harassment” were? I wonder if the show could return to that form? Probably not….

    I can understand now why the BBC version only made two seasons. It’s a short body of work, but they never had to have everybody start dating each other like “Friends” just to keep the thing going.

  4. Awesome job Wendy! :)

    Wow…Michael was way over the top in this one, but yet I still felt bad for him in the end sitting outside by himself singing.

    I don’t know if Pam slept with Roy, I would like to think not, but she was so sad and she basically saw her own wedding before her eyes. That Phyllis…who knew she was a wedding idea stealer? Plus, sitting there watching the man of her dreams be with someone else. Who wouldn’t run to a comfortable place after that?!? I wanted Jim to run after her but sadly he did not.

    And can we not forget about Toby?!?! I mean, I was so happy for him. That was my favorite part of the whole show “Yes!” Go Toby with your hot date!!

  5. There is no new Beesly. She’s worse than before. There probably isn’t an actual person alive who would be as timid as she is in the face of what she allegedly feels. It is completely pathetic. Buying some new shirts doesn’t constitute a sea change in personality.

  6. To clarify, the reference in my last post to “an actual person” is in response to claims that what’s going on with Jim and Pam is “real.” It most decidedly is not. It’s among the more contrived things I’ve seen on television recently, and that’s very unfortunate.

  7. Hey Pablo! I respect your comments and I really can see your perspective. I am responding because your comments bring up an excellent debate. Do you truly believe this whole thing is unrealistic? I will concede that elements of it are a bit contrived (For example, I liked Karen better as a strong, independent woman from earlier episodes than the somewhat desperate whiner she has become. It’s too easy now for Jim to leave her.)

    But I find it tiring when most tv shows put people together because the fans demand it even when it’s not always best for the show. I do think Pam and Jim will get together eventually and it will be great, but as frustrating as this road is, I have known women like Pam in my life. They get so comfortable with one path and are so afraid to take a chance on anything when it changes. So their inability to make a move becomes a choice in and of itself, whether it is going after a new job or someone they love. Pam has been this way her whole life and to change in the course of five or six months after her world was pulled out from under her would not be realistic to me. It’s going to be a series of a step forward and a few steps back for awhile. Remember, Roy is her first (and possibly only) real relationship. She’s never done this before, so she’s going to fumble her way through it. Fear and insecurity are her biggest issues right now and that can be frustrating to watch.

    What does everyone else think? Thanks for the different perspective, Pablo!

  8. I’m not sure it matter at this point whether Pam slept with roy or not (I’m 50/50, but I DO think Karen got some Jim that night). It only matters what Jim thinks. Unless he overhears some office gossip – from Kelly, no doubt, that Pam & Roy didn’t, he’s going to assume the worst. But maybe this is what it will take for the inevitable (in my opinion) Jam fight. Those two kids need to get mad/aggravated with each other, have a fight and let it all spill out. And then make several jars of Jam, if you get my drift. I think you do.

  9. “And if that doesn’t happen for JAM, Pam can always follow Kelly’s advice — freak out, get drunk and tell Jim she’s pregnant. Considering the latest debate in the chat rooms, though, that might not be something Office fans could bear …”

    This is so funny! I love it
    Great review Wendy

  10. Before I do my taxes this afternoon, I just wanted to say what a great re-cap this is.
    I agree about Jenna — when she looked at Roy after he told her he gave the band 20 bucks to play “their” song, the sad story of her life so far was contained in that one expression.
    One point – though I agree the Pam/Jim relationship is decidely “real,” I am not sure about much of the other hi-jinx and goings on. ..Some of it is so over-the-top, you really have to suspend disbelief much of the time. I’m not complaining, but the plots have become more and more implausible, compared with earlier seasons. One of the things that made the UK “Office” so enjoyable was its restraint.
    So, I wonder why the insistence on “reality” for only one facet of the story?
    Whaddya think?

  11. Good point, Rachel. As a fan of UK version, I know the style of that show was decidely more restrained. I don’t think that style would translate to a U.S. version which is why I think it’s great the creators found their own way. I do think some of the Michael hi-jinks this year are somewhat implausible and as Tori so accurately pointed out earlier, almost too cringe-worthy. I think there was a special kind of energy to Season 2 that is decidely absent in Season 3, but I think it is because all these characters took some serious chances and are finding their way again now. I am hopeful we get back to that Season 2 energy once they all come through the other side!

  12. Alison, I so hope the writers are reading this! A nice tension relieving fight and then several jars of JAM indeed.

  13. “Yeah, Jim, and your “kicked puppy dog” expression when Pam leaves hand in hand with Roy is because you didn’t see those famous Beesly dance moves.”
    You nailed that one, Wendy! Once again…great re-cap. Oh, and I fell in love with Creed all over again in this episode. He is awesome!

  14. I’m glad this episode finally gave us something to be happy for Toby about. If the writers take that away from him, I won’t know what to think.

  15. Very nicely captured, Wendy! I really found Jim’s TH’s to be SOOOO telling. Especially like you said, his last “I’m glad to be with Karen” – liar…!

    And I agree – it’s what Pam does next that matters. I’m in the camp that she wised up before she did something she regretted. But will Jim think she did? (fx: dramatic music!) :-)

  16. Tremendous recap and all kinds of good points for debate!!

    I am STILL cringing from Michael….I just used to think it was funny, but every since the first episode this season where he crawled under the desk and the whole thing with the baby, it just gets more and more uncomfortable every episode!!

    As far as Pam goes, I WISH she was the kind of person who could have a night with Roy and not have that mean they are back together (she needs to loosen up). It will be interesting to see how it evolves with Jim. I’m tired of the miserable Pam.

    Where’s Andy?

  17. This review was so great! My favorite line “The clear path to Happyville is often road blocked with the conflicts that people need to work out within themselves first”. That’s like, poetry. And so true to everyone, not just Jim and Pam.

    All in all, fantastic review, and I hope to be seeing more!

  18. After watching this episode again, I noticed that when Pam goes out to dance with Roy, she isn’t looking at him but instead glances back and seems to scan the room to see if Jim might be watching her. Maybe a nice reminder of where her mind is really at.

    Also, Lora, Andy is in anger management training. Apparently, it says so in one of the deleted scenes from “The Return”.

  19. Great review! I sometimes forget the little ‘overlooked’ moments [ie. Creed and the Card], so I love reading stuff like this that makes it hilarious all over agian. Wendy’s the best!

  20. I want to thank everyone as always for the very cool comments and a thank to all future ones!! I love writing these and love to see the different points of view of fellow Office fans. I’ll be seeing you all around OT!! :-)

  21. Thank you, Wendy!

    That was an excellent recap/review of this episode which will be added to my list of “least favorites.”

    I look forward to your next reviews.

  22. Sorry for the late post on this topic.

    I look at the characters as caricatures rather than actual real people. I think I have seen the cast say, “I hope you really don’t have a boss like Michael.”

    Some of my thoughts on Jim/Pam/Karen. In “The Secret”, Jim tells Pam about his crush and she tells him she thought he did like her. On Casino Night, he lays it on the line thinking if he is rejected, then he will move and presumably never see Pam again. Pam calls her wedding off and when he talks to her on the phone, she says nothing is new. NOTHING IS NEW – you called off your wedding!! She did give him a warm greeting back but I am sure his defenses were sky high. In fact, the Pavlov joke with Dwight in the beginning pertains to Jim; Pam gives him one of her looks and he melts. He realizes it – yet is powerless to resist her. It must kill him! My guess is at this point, and I am not sure I disagree, that Pam just does not like him like he cares for her.

    As for Karen, I think her response to Jim/Pam is actually exactly how someone would respond. She has liked Jim from the start; she recognizes he is not that into her. To try to change that, she reasons with him, she loves him more and more and in actuality is probably ultimately driving him away. But our human nature tells us to do the thing we know how to do or that we think would work in these situations.

    Season 3 has been great and very funny in my opinion. Season 2, however, was magical – in large part because of the interaction between Jim and Pam. They are telling a GREAT story – it just may not be what the story we wish they were telling.

  23. Wasn’t there a spoiler somewhere that Roy finds out why Pam called off the wedding? My thinking is that Pam went home with Roy but at some point Roy will make a case for how he’s changed; couldn’t they give it another chance? And Pam will confess that is isn’t about him – that Jim told her he loved her and that she thinks she has feelings for Jim. And I think that’s how Jim is going to find out that Pam might have feelings for him – because Roy confronts him.

  24. For anyone who thinks Michael is too over the top, and isn’t real, I have news for you. I had a boss EXACTLY like him. I can see her doing most of the things Michael does, and I can se it clearly! I swear some things from the office were taken straight from my life. The only difference is I am a basketball coach, not a paper salesman.

  25. Wendy – I love your take on the “did Pam sleep with Roy” issue. well done, bravo!

  26. I think The Office has stayed very realistic in it’s dealings with Pam & Jim, but has gone a bit too far with how far Michael goes in some of his needyness. I think it is brave of them to make Roy more sympathetic this season, instaed of just leaving him as the same jerk from season one. The way I see it, It’s been easy for Roy to stay the same immature jerk that he was in High School (where he and Pam met and got together), because nothing has come along to make him change. But, faced with losing Pam, he has began to mature, and is trying his best to fight for the woman he loves. As much as I’d like to see Pam & Jim get together, I just GOTTA feel for poor ol’ Roy.

  27. Like last week, great review, sucky episode. I am sorry, but this is so not the show I’ve grown to love and schedule my Thursday evenings around. Putting all the JAM drama aside, the way they are writing Michael as a buffoon is totally turning me off. Cringe-worthy does not a comedy make and they are capitalizing on it. Why? I don’t know. Clearly they are not seeing Michael as a human being but as a cartoon. This does not work for me and frankly I am sick of ff’ing through Michael’s antics. I want my Office back!
    (Yay, Wendy!)

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