‘Viewing Party’ was perhaps the funniest episode of ‘The Office’ in a while – not necessarily because the plot was brilliant, but because there were so many good lines and performances.  Clearly the writers know the actors' strengths, inside and out, at this point.

The opening tag – where everyone’s watching images of The Scranton Strangler chase on TV – was average.  But once Erin and Gabe invited the whole crew over to Gabe’s place for a ‘Glee’ viewing party, the laughs really picked up.

Where to begin?  Michael, surprisingly, is a self-declared Gleek: “ You know who my favorite character is?  The invalid.”  Erin, meanwhile, is determined to get Michael and Gabe, who have a rather frosty relationship at best, to become best buds.  “Take Gabe, take Michael, you make Gay Mike.   Best friends,” she coos.  Uh huh.  Before the party, Kevin makes the mistake of referring to Gabe as “the boss,” prompting Michael’s jealousy to ooze out of his pores.

In addition to watching ‘Glee,’ Erin and Gabe’s party features lots of red wine and a “make your own pizza” theme.  Michael, intent on upholding traditions, tosses his pizza into the ceiling fan, nearly sticking Gabe with pizza dough cake face.

Once the show starts, Michael’s rivalry with Gabe just won’t die down.  He fights with him over the volume, then retreats to a bedroom and invites everyone to the “real” Glee party with uncensored volume.

Speaking of jealousy (who knew Gabe was such a force to be reckoned with?), Andy still has the hots for Erin, and then some.  In Gabe’s Japanese-themed man-cave, Andy consumes powdered sea horse to feel manly, which prompts a hilarious vomit scene later.  He also asks Phyllis to awkwardly ask Erin the status of the physical aspect of her relationship with Gabe.  “The anticipation can be exquisite!” Phyllis whispers disturbingly to Erin.

Pam and Jim, it seems, are struggling with Cece’s “reverse cycling,” where she’ll sleep all day and keep them up all night.  Shockingly, Pam discovers Dwight is a genius at keeping babies asleep (“I’ve been raising children since I was a baby,” he says), prompting a hysterical showdown where Jim is forced to mouth-feed Dwight pizza and beer.  “Beer me, Jim.  Gently.”

Michael’s mounting jealousy of Gabe prompts him to cut the cable, which Erin later calls him on.  Her desperation to get Michael to like Gabe is rather touching, as it becomes clear she’s lacking a suitable father figure.  Their father-daughter banter at the end, while odd, is strangely poignant at the same time.

Here are the best quotes of the night.  This was tough:

-Erin (re: Waco, Texas): “It’s pronounced ‘Wacko.’”

-Michael (after collecting gravel to give to his grandchildren): “You go sell these and buy yourself a nice spaceship.”

-Dwight: “’Thirst’: Now that’s a show I’d watch.”  Angela: “I’d watch that.”

-Phyllis (watching ‘Glee’): “Who’s that?  Who’s that?  Which one’s Glee?”

-Michael (to Pam): “Pam, I have a loaded gun in my desk.  And if I ever start acting like that weenie Gabe, I want you to take that gun and I want you to shoot me like 100 times in the groin until I’m dead.  OK?”

-Darryl (to Andy, who asks why Erin prefers Gabe): “All I know is, if I was a girl and I had to choose between a tall dude who loved Asia and a you-looking dude who loved sweaters and wearing sweaters, I’d choose you.”  Andy: “That’s very nice, thank you.”  Darryl: “And I’d blow your mind.”

-Gabe: “You’re making this harder than it has to be.”  Michael: “That’s what she said.”

-Dwight (to Jim re: pizza): “Insert it in my mouth.”

-Dwight (re: Angela to Pam): “She’s in heat.  She will eat your face off.”

-Phyllis (to Erin re: Bob): “The first time we saw each other naked, we didn’t even make love.  We just stared at each other until we fell asleep.  It was magical.  Magical.”

-Michael (to Gabe re: Erin): “If you break that girl’s heart, I will kill you.  That’s just a figure of speech.  But seriously, if you break that girl’s heart, I will kill you and your entire family.”


-What do you find more disturbing: Kevin’s need to eat pigs in a blanket while under a blanket, or Creed’s knowledge of Asian languages?

-Phyllis apparently wears White Diamonds perfume, as detected by a drunk-on-powdered-sea-horse Andy.  Was that the “offensive” cologne from a few seasons ago?

-Erin’s exclamation of Glee coming on – “The show’s starting!  The show’s starting!” is endearing.  She’s kind of like a grown-up child, in synch with Michael. I still find her relative stupidity, however, to be a problem.

-Not surprisingly, Kelly is really, really into ‘Glee.’

-Do you think NBC execs shuddered at how many times FOX’s ‘Glee’ was mentioned in this episode?