‘The Office’: Mustaches All Around!

Photo: Courtesy of NBC
Show
The Office
Episode Title
Branch Wars
Season
4
Episode
6

Last night brought the (presumably temporary) return of Karen Filippelli, who, as far as we're concerned, is always welcome. Karen doesn't quite fit into The Office's universe, which is why she's so perfect: She's too rational, too composed, too calculating … too much a functional member of corporate America. When she and Jim were together, a few people tried to argue that Karen was actually better for Jim than Pam. But Jim, dopey, sated by Scranton, and a little too nice, does fit into The Office. Karen was the one slumming — which, you know, she probably realized when Jim, Michael, and a still-mustached Dwight broke in her Utica office this episode.

The show was vaguely reminiscent of “The Injury,” the one where Michael burns his foot and Dwight gets a concussion (and the one fans voted as the best episode of all time). Mindy Kaling (who plays Kelly Kapur) wrote them both, and each of them features the three male characters wreaking havoc in the outside world. (Utica’s office is much nicer, by the way.) Director Joss Whedon was smart to focus the camera on Jim during Dwight and Michael’s “raid” on the Utica office; we're not sure what they were doing in there, but hearing it on a walkie-talkie is funnier than anything they could have shown us. And it probably helped that Jim was wearing a fake mustache.

The “Finer Things” club with Pam, Oscar, and Toby is probably a one-off, which is a shame; they could really milk that for some comedy, especially with more shots of Toby in a tenured professor's bow tie. What show other than The Office could precede “Imagine a life in which all you had to do was summer in the town countryside” with “I think I cut my penis on the lip.” And honestly: Ed Helms is absolutely out of control right now. He's incapable of not stealing any scene he’s in … and plenty of scenes he’s not. Two weeks back into the half-hour format, the show is again on top of its game. And we’re buying a fake mustache. —Will Leitch