You. Go. Girl.
Last Thursday, Pam took a big step outside her comfort zone on "The Office." In one exhilarating instant, she told Jim exactly how she felt about him, chastised her co-workers for not supporting her and finally came into her own. Oh, you know I was actually clapping out loud.
It was darn right brilliant moment and truly demonstrated how much faith "The Office" has in its viewers. Because story lines that have been lingering all season long finally came to fruition. "The Office" remains a show that doesn't spoon feed its viewers. They don't tell us Pam is still upset no one came to her art show, we just know it. They don't tell us Pam and Jim aren't friends any more, we just know it. It's the small things the show does that put it above all the other comedies on TV (like having the man who called Michael about the interview sound exactly like Jan). It certainly seems as if Karen is a lock to get the job at corporate in this week's season finale (Thursday, NBC, 8 p.m.). But I never assume anything with "The Office."
It got me thinking about the other shows that have stepped outside their comfort zone this season. Let's chat about a few.
This week's episode of "How I Met Your Mother": May I have you attention please. This is a public service announcement. Last week's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" (Monday, CBS, 8 p.m.) was not, I repeat, NOT the season finale. The season finale is in fact this week. So the show already took a big risk by not having the season end with Lily and Marshall's wedding (as so many sitcoms before them have done) and takes an even bigger risk with the directions it takes its characters this week. I found it poignant, hilarious and very, very clever. I can't wait to hear what you think.
A patient dies on "House": In "House Training," not only does a patient die but the patient dies because she was misdiagnosed. The seemingly infallible doctors make a mistake and must live with the consequences of their actions. It was heart-wrenching and made the show that much more compelling.
Hodges tries to solve the case on "CSI": In "Lab Rats," Hodges commandeers the other desk-bound lab techs to solve the mystery of the miniature killer. The miniature killer story line has provided a through line for the season and as with "House," sometimes story lines are more compelling when the case isn't neatly wrapped up by the end of the hour. Plus, I'm a huge fan of Wallace Langham (as are you guys, he was one of your top picks for favorite less is more actors) so I was thrilled for him to have more screen time. Now if I need to get him dating Chloe over on "24" so they can kick it "Veronica's Closet" style.
Nikki and Paulo die on "Lost": This is a show that always thinks outside the box, but I found "Expose" particularly witty. Clearly, no one liked these guys (where did they come from? Are we really supposed to believe they've been there the whole time? Why are they so boring?) yet the writers found a way to suddenly make dull characters interesting and actually made us care about their death. I also loved the "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" aspect. Nikki and Paulo were the main characters of their story, just not ours.
What other shows do you think have taken risks this season? Which shows do you wish would take more risks? Write me at email@example.com and let me know.
Best News of the Week
NBC has officially picked up "Friday Night Lights" for next season. So let's do our dance of joy and then let's all hold hands and think good thoughts about "Veronica Mars."
You there in Idaho: start thinking good thoughts. Okay, now everybody's with me.
This week all the networks announce their line ups for next fall. Here's the schedule:
Monday, May 14 -- NBC
Tuesday, May 15 -- ABC
Wednesday, May 16 -- CBS
Thursday, May 17 - CW and FOX
Just keep thinking good thoughts. It's worked so far for "Friday Night Lights" and "30 Rock."
Quotes of the Week