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'The Office' Recap: 'Pam's Replacement'

Jonathan Teigland Jonathan Teigland
November 12th, 2011 6:02pm EST

James SpaderAre we used to Robert California yet? Didn’t think so. It’s interesting that he does unexpected things (playing harmonica in a blues band?) yet how he goes about it is the same. He manipulates people into letting him have his way. In the course of this episode’s 22 minutes, he goes from expressing admiration for “Kevin and the Zits” to taking over their band with entirely new members.

Parts of it are funny, including Andy playing the drums on his own body to feel like he is participating. But it is sweet to see him, Darryl and Kevin reunite in the parking lot for a good, old-fashioned jam, even if it is with a bucket.

This episode is really about Pam’s insecurity. You’d think after snagging Jim years ago and being pregnant with their second child, she’d be over that by now. But in the comedy world, insecurity is important. Just ask Lucy Ricardo or Laura Petrie.

It all starts when Pam asks Jim if she thinks her replacement for while she’s on maternity leave is hot. Jim insists he doesn’t think so, but Pam thinks that’s impossible. She makes this episode her mission to prove him wrong, and she even enlists the help of Dwight, whose painful honesty is something Pam seems to admire.

The result, instead of being humdrum and repetitive, is surprisingly funny. The best scene between Dwight, Pam and Jim in some time involves taking Jim’s blood pressure at a drug store. It starts with mean jokes (Dwight yelling at the old man who waits his turn) but ends with Pam’s genuine concern for Jim’s health. All it takes is a little health scare to snap her back into reality. But, to be fair, she is nine months pregnant.

So, what do we think? Is next week’s episode going to involve Jim getting a prescription for Lipitor? Is there going to be a big “Pam has her baby” episode? And how do you think her replacement will do?

 

Jenna Fischer

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Photo Credits: NBC Universal Inc.; Janet Mayer