If you had only been watching advertisements over the last week, you might not have known last night’s episode of The Office was a clip show. Well, it was, a good old-fashioned montage of montages. We get the history of Pam and Jim’s relationship, a series of Dunder-Mifflin employees being punched in the head, and the classic scene in which Angela throws her cat through the roof. Even Creed gets his own montage. It’s difficult to dislike any piece of art that has a Creed montage. Plus: We had totally forgotten how fat Steve Carell was the first season.
After a full month since the last episode, it seemed a little surprising that The Office would return so tepidly; it’s as if they were gone so long that they needed to remind us why they were funny in the first place. The episode’s conceit is that a “banker” — who admits he’s pretty much “just a fact-checker,” which, as anyone who has ever worked at a magazine can tell you, is a much more difficult and noble job than this episode makes it seem — comes to talk to Toby to find out if the company has any outstanding debts or lawsuits pending. Toby then stares into the camera blankly as the montage rolls. To take a cue from the recent Onion story, you have to wonder why the fictional documentary crew following the Dunder-Mifflin gang felt obliged to cut together old clips for our amusement, but hey, thanks.
The amount of non-montage time was limited, but we did learn that Michael rides his Segway to impress people (and thinks Lady Gaga is a drag queen), Ryan is still sitting in the closet where Jim put him a month ago, and Dwight makes a brilliant computer (“Computron”) who experiences emotion. (Computron is such a great conceit that you have to hope the show doesn’t limit it to just this short bit.) All in all, though, this was just a clip show. It was funny, because The Office is a funny show. But with no new episodes for another couple of weeks, we’re ready for Dunder-Mifflin Scranton to get back in business, already.