Television Review: "The Office's Sabre"

2/07/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Matt Jussim

"Sabre" is the 15th episode of “The Office” this season, and also the first ‘real’ episode of 2010 after “The Banker” clip show from two weeks ago. It was written by Jennifer Celotta, who previously had written "The Promotion," "Company Picnic" and "The Duel," and it was directed by John Krasinski, who made his television directorial debut with the episode.

In "Sabre," the Dunder-Mifflin crew is forced to endure a merger with Sabre, an electronics giant that purchased the infamous paper company. With a new company and new characters added to the mix, last week’s episode had the potential to be one of the funniest we’ve seen this season, but it was just so-so.  It was a rare episode in which I felt some of the minor characters (Andy Bernard, David Wallace) had more funny moments than Michael (Steve Carell).

It was nice to see the storyline of the show move along. Most of 2009 was an uncertain time for Dunder Mifflin, with the threat of downsizing and bankruptcy looming. With some stability coming, as well as a new owner, change was imminent. One of the downfalls of the episode was how the writer’s made Michael handle the changes. Although it’s in Michael’s nature to be childish, it felt too similar to episodes from the fifth season, when Michael was forced out of his regional manager job.

Nevertheless, Michael still was funny. He decides the only way to stop the problems at Dunder Mifflin is to go see former boss David Wallace, who now spends his days inside with his son, who plays the drums way too loud. I always felt Wallace was an underused character, so it was nice to see him back on the show after he was fired.

One of the episode's funniest scenes found Wallace and Michael taking a dip in the Jacuzzi to talk about the new management. Instead, David tries to get him to invest in 'Suck It,' a new invention that will help kids pick up their toys. Michael isn’t impressed, and so he leaves Wallace’s house damp and without an idea of what to do. The interaction between the two is offers big laughs, and sends Michael back to the office without a plan.

Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper as Andy and Erin continue to be adorable and funny as the oblivious, junior high school version of Jim and Pam. In this episode, Andy and Erin are flirting hardcore, both super eager to go out with the other one. Only problem? Andy thinks Erin will ask him out. Erin thinks Andy will ask her out. And round and round we go. I think the longer the writer’s drag this storyline out, the better. We all know the two are going to get together, so as long as their courtship is funny, I’m in for watching it.

In the least interesting part of the episode, Jim and Pam are preparing to go for an interview to see if they can get their as-of-yet unborn child into a top-of-the-line day care center. It goes completely wrong due to a misunderstanding when Jim walks in on someone in the bathroom. Nothing really that funny happens, and it’s pretty much filler, although it’s interesting to see Jim and Pam unable to show how ‘perfect’ their relationship is.

As with so many episodes of "The Office," this one also includedguest stars. No other show does guest stars like “The Office.” In the fifth season, they had Jack Black, Jessica Alba and Cloris Leachman, but they never set foot in the office. Instead, they all starred in a fictional bootleg movie Andy downloaded.

The guest stars pull a similar move in this episode, with Kathy Bates as the new owner only appearing on a video chat, and Christian Slater (as himself) appearing in a ‘Sabre’ introduction video. Neither star added much to the episode, although I have to admit it was pretty funny watching Christian Slater try to sell some new company methods to the employees of Dunder Mifflin.

Another solid episode for “The Office” and an awesome television-directing debut for Krasinski. Next week brings Kathy Bates to Scranton in "Manager and Salesman," whose plot goes like this: “The office is eager to welcome Sabre CEO Jo Bennett to Scranton, and are dazzled by her Southern ways. When Jo finds out there are two branch managers, she says either Michael or Jim must go back to being a salesman. Meanwhile, Andy's Valentine's Day plan backfires."

It was written by Mindy Kaling, who also wrote "Secret Santa," "Niagara," and "Golden Ticket," and was directed by Marc Webb, the helmer of “(500) Days of Summer.” It will air February 11, 2010, so be sure to tune in.

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