It’s inevitable that the episode where Jim and Pam finally marry, closing a four-season–long story line, would veer toward schmaltz (even if it is earned). So the writers acknowledge this right away: Inspired by Pam’s morning sickness, the whole office starts things off vomiting. You’ll get your lovey-dovey payoff, they seem to be saying, but you’re watching this first.
We do get our payoff, of course; projectile vomiting won’t get you on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, after all. For this early in the season, it’s a rather sprawling episode, the sort of game-changer usually reserved for a season finale. Michael has a wedding hookup with Pam’s divorced mother (yuck); Dwight takes another step toward misogynist jerkhood by hooking up with a bridesmaid and then blowing her off; and, most promisingly, Andy Bernard’s flirtation with secretary Erin goes to another level. (Ed Helms keeps killing it this season — “She smells like my mom” — and UCB veteran Ellie Kemper is very likable as Erin.) How could love not spring from a torn scrotum? Still, Andy really needs to be more mindful of where he keeps his keys when he does his splits.
The first half of the episode meanders, with Pam’s judgmental grandmother accidentally finding out about Pam’s pregnancy, typical asshole high jinks from Jim’s brothers, and an endless, clueless speech from Michael about how “you can’t be careful every time, because it’s a different sensation.” But once the wedding day actually arrives, the episode soars. Having watched the famous wedding dance video, Michael, Dwight, and the jerk brothers Halpert put together a surprise dance routine, which doesn’t go nearly as well, but does feature Andy using a walker and Dwight kicking a bridesmaid in the face. Fortunately, Pam and Jim had seen something like this coming. They had taken off and had a private wedding under Niagara Falls an hour before.
Which led to the perfect Office montage, a crosscutting between the lunacy of the “dance routine” and the quiet sweetness of Jim and Pam’s actual vows. It really has been a long journey for Pam and Jim, and for the show, which, as Alan Sepinwall said earlier this week, finally resolved the sitcom-couple dilemma. Jim and Pam are together and happy, we get the wedding and resolution we all wanted — and now the show goes on. That’s not easy to pull off. In fact, it’s hardly ever done at all. The Office sustained a will-they-or-won’t-they plotline for nearly four seasons, brought the couple together, got them married, and made us cheer for them, all without losing any momentum. And it all culminated in a sweet episode featuring vomiting and ripped scrotums. That works.