Drunks, humiliating moments, gifts, love triangles, porcupines, fartcusations – in last night’s episode “Christmas Wishes,” all sorts of bubbles break at the Dunder Mifflin holiday party. First it’s the growing tension between Erin and Andy when Andy brings steady girlfriend Jessica to the party to show her off. After some fatherly encouragement from Robert (“Does some small part of you want something a little stronger?”), Erin downs multiple shots of Maker’s Mark and blurts to Andy that for Christmas, she wishes his new girlfriend, a perky assistant cross-country coach at Bryn Mawr, were dead: “I wish she was in a graveyard, under the ground, with worms coming out of her mouth.”
Then there’s the new warehouse worker Val, who shows up to the party in an overly-formal plum gown and refers to the office workers as “popsicles” because according to her, “they have a stick up their butt.” Val’s shy flirtations reminded me of Jim and Pam back in the good days, but who wants to start all over again on that tired horse? Still, Darryl deserves a good lady, and I’m glad that The Office finally gave Val and fellow warehouse worker Nate (Mark Proksch) some long-overdue screen time. Instead of complimenting Val’s dress, Darryl tells her “I meant dress up like compared to normal. You usually dress like a Ghostbuster.”
This episode came with a lot of little gems like Tobey’s writing project (the Chad Flenderman series – “Tobey, nobody cares about your sex-crazed black detective,” Angela tells him), Kelly asking Jessica “Did you just fart?”, and Oscar taking over bartending duties (“Does anyone have any chocolate shavings?”). Jim and Dwight get into a typical feud after Andy tells them that whoever behaves best will earn both of their end-of-the-year bonuses, and after a round of tiresome gags including a porcupine in a drawer and a fake credit card number, Andy ends up revoking his original offer and Dwight preoccupies himself with some Trans-Siberian Orchestra jamming.
The only moment of true adult human believability is when Robert drives the super-drunk Erin home and gives her a hug and some kind words, and Andy spies on them from his car with Meredith. With no regard for his own girlfriend, Andy follows Erin and Robert and grows more and more suspicious of their connection until he finds out that Robert’s intentions were purely friendly, even though Robert split up with his wife after the humiliation he put her through in last week’s episode “Mrs. California.” It’s disappointing to see Andy as that guy who expects his ex-girlfriends to stay eternally available, and hopefully he’ll continue to be a cockblocking nuisance until he loses both his girl and his managerial position – and Robert California will come in and take both his job and Erin – this would be a great Christmas present not just for Erin, but for those of us still stuck at The Office.
Megh Wright misses Harrisburg, lives in Brooklyn, and answers phones in Manhattan.