The Office – “Customer Loyalty”

Season Nine, Episode Twelve

the-office-customer-loyalty

Grade: B+

Jim and Pam have been the main focus since the first season of The Office. The show sort of shot itself in the foot by putting them together so early on in the show’s run (though maybe if they didn’t get together so quickly, we’d be cursing at them like we are with HIMYM), but they’re still the perfect TV-couple: attractive, cute, quirky, and down to earth. Who hasn’t ever made eyes at someone at work and thought they’d make a great couple together? When you see someone everyday, it’s the closest you can grow with someone after school.

So in “Customer Loyalty” it’s quite surprising when PB&J have quite a fight over the phone. Pam is disappointed that Jim can’t make it to Cece’s recital, but she promises to record it so Jim can watch it later. Jim’s stuck at his new job in Philly and loses a client that really sets back the new company, AthLead. Obviously upset, Jim asks Pam to send him the recital video to cheer him up. But while recording, Pam received a phone call that ruined the video. Jim lashes out at Pam. They fight.

It was like witnessing your parents fight for the first time. The two people in the world that you have so much faith in and know love each other, fighting with one another. This leaves Pam in tears. Jenna Fischer had her work cut out for her in the last scene and absolutely delivers. All she wanted to do was tell Jim that her mural was picked, but he was too stressed out to ask or even care. It was a difficult scene to watch, but one that made you feel closer to these two characters than ever.

But then something happens. The creators of The Office takes a risk and breaks that wall between the “documentarians” and the characters on the show. After everyone has left in the office, you hear a voice asking Pam if she’s okay. It’s Brian, the boom-mic guy. And then he walks over to console Pam and tells the camera-man to stop shooting.

I know this is going to upset a lot of viewers, but I applaud it. After all, this is a show that is supposed to show what goes on in the office by a group of documentarians. It’s a wonder that we’ve never seen any of them for all these years. I understand that this will raise plenty of questions, such as why haven’t we seen them earlier, especially when characters were making incredibly dumb decisions. You think they would’ve allowed Michael Scott to jump off the roof onto the trampoline (good thing he did a test-run with a watermelon)?

While I did enjoy incorporating Brian into the last scene, I hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence (though at the same time, doesn’t it have to now?). There were other story-lines in the episode like Dwight trying to win Daryl back over to Dunder Mifflin and the rest of the office trying to determine if Erin and Pete should be together, but all of that got squashed from the final few minutes. For what it’s worth, it was a very powerful few minutes.

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