After the last season of NBC’s The Office produced just 14 episodes, plagued by the writers’ strike, Dunder Mifflinites are parched and gathered at the water cooler for tonight’s season premier, titled “Weight Loss.”
The dry-humor sitcom enters its fifth season, and my expectations are high for two reasons: The opening episode of season four (“Fun Run”) was bangin’; the writers sure aren’t afraid to set the bar high early on. Secondly, the last episode ended in so many cliff hangers that even a few partial resolutions will help me to breath easy again.
Take Jan’s pregnancy for example (played by Melora Hardin). After accepting that his ex-girlfriend chose artificial insemination over a donation from his own bank, leading man Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) decides to support Jan through the pregnancy and lamas classes and to be “kind of a Daddy.”
Michael will undoubtedly be consumed by his partial-parental status, which could un-focus him from the opportunity at hand – the best chance he’s had at a successful relationship since the show began. Replacing Toby (Paul Lieberstein) in Human Resources – a department that, to this point, Michael assumed to be a “breeding ground for monsters” – is Holly (Amy Ryan), a quirky blond who could possibly, dare I say it, equal Michael in dorkiness. She’ll probably manage to do so in a much less inappropriate and cringe-inducing manner, though.
Michael tells Jim (John Krasinski) that after hearing Holly speak for the first time, it was love at first see, with his ears. At this, Jim spends part of the episode coaching his boss through taking a relationship slow. Serving as a perfect example is his own office romance with receptionist, Pam (Jenna Fischer), to whom Jim spends the rest of the episode planning his proposal to. Jim, Pam, and Toby’s glory are all overshadowed at Toby’s going-away party by Andy’s (Ed Helms) sudden, awkward proposal to office-priss, Angela (Angela Kinsey), while Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is clearly left heartbroken… But not for long, as he and Angela are caught doing the nasty in a cubical by Phyllis (Phyllis Lapin) at the end of the episode.
The sneak peaks (http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/) promise huge possibilities but are vague, as to be expected. Michael leads the office to believe that he is not just “kind of a Daddy” to Jan’s unborn but the actual father. It is hinted that Holly may be Michael’s perfect match, while Jim’s perfect match is replaced at the receptionist desk by a blonde, middle-aged woman named Ronnie.
Available on the Dunder Mifflin Infinity site is a press release from Corporate Management to the Dunder Mifflin branches, announcing a Summer Weight Loss Initiative. For seven weeks, the branches will compete to lose the most weight, and the winners receive three extra vacation days. “Here at Dunder Mifflin, we think our employees are great the way they are. However, studies indicate that a healthy lifestyle is likely to make you happier. Plus, your healthy lifestyle will help lower our insurance premiums, which makes the company happier. So we’ll all be twice as happy” (http://www.dundermifflin.com/media/summer_08.shtml). The written preview indicates that the office becomes obsessed with their weight as a result.
The real juicy tips can be found on spoiler sites like Office Tally (http://www.officetally.com/the-office-season-5-spoilers). WARNING: If you do not want to know anymore before watching tonight, read no further. These are a few of the tips I read from the site, before realizing that I myself didn’t even want to know this much this early:
· Pam meets Jim’s brothers, played by Blake Robbins and Tug Coker, who eerily look a lot like Jim.
· Also eerie is the way that Jim is now taking his job seriously – A job that was the butt of all his jokes (Well, the ones that Dwight was not the butt of) in the first four seasons.
· Meredith (Kate Flannery) will experience some sort of “natural disaster” in the first episode. Considering in the opener last season, Michael drove into her with his car and she discovered that she had rabies all in the same day, I’d say the writers are creating a trend.
· This season is the most scandalous so far, according to Mindy Kaling who plays Kelly. She reports having several make-out scenes coming up. She neglects to say if any of them are with long-time love interest, Ryan (B.J. Novak), a corporate member who was just jailed for fraud.
· Dwight is applying to Cornell. Perhaps he is trying to be like someone else we all know “went to Cornell” – A someone who also happens to have just proposed to Dwight’s woman.
Read these with a grain of salt; the bloggers include a disclaimer that they cannot verify all the information, but each rumor is linked to the source. Additionally, Office Tally was officially nominated for the bloggers choice awards for Best Entertainment Blog, so I expect their research skills can’t be too shabby.
So some of these tips may be rumored, but one thing is for certain—I will be sprinting from my evening class to catch the 9:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. Central time) start tonight. See you at the water cooler?