‘the office’ recap: we’re having a baby!

Having been Office-free for a while, thanks to the Olympics, made the anticipation for this momentous event even higher. I had so many questions going into last night’s episode: Boy or girl? What kind of Michael Scott antics could we expect? And, most importantly, would Pam make it to the hospital or would it be a Dunder Mifflin delivery?

Since this is my first time blogging about the Office, I need to admit that I’m a total Office-aholic. I own all the seasons on DVD, and I have calendars, posters, Schrute Bucks at my desk, etc. I can quote the show at length, and now that I’m a receptionist, I feel like Pam Beesly and I are kindred spirits. (Except for the whole married and pregnant thing.) I anticipate big Office events, such as weddings and birthdays and mergers more than things that happen in my life.

Now that that’s out of the way (because the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem), on to last night’s episode. I was a teeny tiny bit worried as to how this episode would unfold, but I had faith in the stellar Office writers, who always take a potentially saccharine, sentimental moment and turn it into the awkward, true-to-life comedy that has become the show’s trademark. See the “Niagara” episode for proof. I think the baby-related plotline was handled well; I could see a young couple like Pam and Jim trying to make the most out of their HMO, but after a while I just wanted to shout, “Get in the car, Beesly!” John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer do a great job of playing frazzled father-to-be and panicked mother-to-be trying to play it cool. I’ll admit, I had tears in my eyes during the scene where Pam accidentally reveals the gender of their baby, and hopes Jim isn’t mad that it’s a girl. The reaction shots of Jim processing the news in the car were touching.
After 19 hours of labor, Cecilia Marie Halpert was born, and the other Dunder Mifflin-ites were there to celebrate, safely confined to the waiting room, of course. I thought the whole lactation plot was handled in a funny and realistic way, although the whole nursing-the-wrong-baby thing reeked of lesser sitcoms. I’ll give it a pass, however, because the rest of the episode was great. I was very glad that Michael actually acted like a real person instead of the caricature he’s become lately; the moment where he held Cecilia was cute.
His desire to then play matchmaker for everyone else in the office because of his “success” in matching Jim and Pam? Not so cute, although I did enjoy his description of the new parents before they became Pam and Jim: “She sat here, engaged to an animal, and he sat here, being tall and lanky.” (Not verbatim, but close.)
Obviously the spotlight was on the Halpert family, but in true Office form, the supporting players had some great moments too:
-Dwight had some great moments this episode, including,”I’ve been noticing a gaping hole in my life. Sometimes I wake up cradling a gourd,” being recognized by name by the Scranton police department, and destroying the Halperts’ kitchen to eradicate the mold, although I take the latter act to be a Schrute-ian form of affection.
-Kevin and Pam’s marathon meals together
-Angela’s reaction shot to Jim putting a diaper on her cat
-Meredith vowing to never get married because she’s “like Clooney!”
-Andy attempting to give Pam and Jim advice by saying, “Speaking as a former baby…”
-“I don’t want the first thing the baby hears to be the 8 Mile soundtrack!”
-Michael offering to set up the singletons in his office: “Who wants to live in a world where Stanley has two lovers and you don’t have any?”
-Hands-down my favorite little joke of the evening was Oscar telling Michael to bring a thesaurus, because “the hospital provides a dictionary,” complete with a sidelong glance at the camera.
-The nurse who was having no part of Jim and Pam’s know-it-all parenting: “Oh good. You know everything.”
-Ryan’s ever-evolving hipster look. There has to be a reason behind it, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.
-I like the potential of the Angela/Dwight parenting contract to fall to the wayside because Dwight may still have feelings for Pam’s pediatric hygenist friend Isabelle.
Now that baby Cecilia has entered the world of the Office, it will be interesting to see how big of a role she plays in the plot going forward.

Photo courtesy of the Halpert Baby Blog/NBC.