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"The boot, the bat, and the bastinada."
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February 15 2007

(SPOILER) Tonight on NBC - Joss Whedon's 'The Office' episode. And without resorting to any form of cliche, this'll no doubt be a major televisual feast. After all, it's been nearly three years since a new Joss directed episode has been on the telly.

So, any bets on who he's going to kill off? ;)
Don't know if words can express how excited I am to see this...dare I ask, as this is Joss' return to the half-hour comedy format after the lengthiest of absences, should we expect a Rosanne reference in there somewhere? OK, purposely dumb question but the wife and I always yell "JOSS!" as we channel surf past the TV Land channel and inevitably see part of a Roseanne episode playing. A sign of our desperation at having been denied regular weekly Joss for so long. Hope this is the first of many upcoming instances of this great talent getting behind the camera!
Can. not. wait.
I'm looking forward to it also, I read down through some of the comments at the linked site and boy, there sure are a lot of haters out there...I realize not everybody is gonna be a Joss fan but I never understood the need to attack like so many posters do on the net.
Actually, I was more thinking, "BAT!"

Robert Bianco mentioned in USA TODAY today:

•Buffy/Firefly creator Joss Whedon makes a one-week return to the small screen, directing tonight's episode of The Office (NBC, 8:30 ET/PT). Great. Now how about dumping the movies and doing a new show of your own, Mr. Whedon? Television misses you desperately.
I don't know if it makes it better, or worse, but most AICN talkbacks are like that. As far as Joss goes, Herc is such an unabashed fan that it has created quite a talkbacklash. I've learned not to sweat it, and just appreciate the intelligent discussion on this site all the more. =)
Yeah the issue of AICN talkbackers have come up before here, rule of thumb of us is that we don't comment on posters at other sites. And if anyone can tell me when the new series of The Office comes on ITV2 here in the UK, I'll be a very happy bunny.
Has Joss directed anything else for TV other than Buffy/Angel/Firefly and tonights Office?
Has Joss directed anything else for TV other than Buffy/Angel/Firefly and tonights Office?

Not that I know of.
Has it really been three years? What the heck has he been up to all of this time?
Oh, wait. There was that project with the spaceship. Nevermind.
It's a fruit bat! A flying fox! They... only live in the tropics. And are often people's pets.

But who cares about that?
I want a broom like Dwight's!
I am SO gunna buy the dvds!
Ha! I just watched it. HILarious. I laughed and I even teared up a little over poor Pam.

Do you have something in your pocket?
Joss really can't get away from vampires! I guess Dwight was Buffy in this episode. ;-)
Oh wow, that was great! And I LOVE Dwight!
That was an awesome ep! Funny, touching.... Great job, Joss!
*claps* Bravo, sir. Bravo. has a video Q&A with Joss at

Kevin: "I'm a hero!" *grin*
awww, Pam...Sometimes Michael does the perfect thing.

The Dwight pose needs to make it into the comic. That was awesome.
Damn you, Joss; you made me cry again!

And I *heart* Michael. He may be a schmuck, but he's a schmuck with a heart of gold. :-)

And hey! A Skip-Numfar reunion, as it were, right?!? :-D
When I saw Dwight with his stake/broom, all I could think of was Buffy and her scythe. If it hadn't been in an episode directed by him, I would've thought it was an homage to Joss.

Overall, I thought it was a really great episode. Those moments with Pam at the art show were heartbreaking.
I knew this would be a classic but have to say it exceeded all expectations on all levels--simply brilliant t.v. I wish we had Joss every week, we were so spoiled for so long...fantastic job, Boss.
Great. Thanks to that Joss Q&A at NBC's website I bought a video iPod. Fantastic episode. Love the show so much and it's awesome that Joss got involved in an episode. Hope for more in the future.
What was wrong with the students in that classroom? Those were full-size candy bars! Those weren't normal students I tell ya.
What was wrong with the students in that classroom? Those were full-size candy bars! Those weren't normal students I tell ya.

They were zombies.
La, la, la, I'm not reading these 'cause I'm watching it as we speak.

A few minutes in and already it's gold - some cool shots and I'm laughing out loud, which is disturbing to the cats on my lap. And, gods, I love those actors.
There were so many great touches in the episode, I lost count. Putting a plastic bag over someone's head to trap a bat while it's flailing around in their hair and face ... classic. The Jim turns into a vampire joke, candy bars used an example of economic success in running a business. On and on and on.

"It's raining poop from the ceiling. Poop." Which is a genteel way to express that shit happens for several of the cast members in this particular episode.

So inventive, so great, as I knew it would be.
When Dwight donned the helmet, I expected him to declare himself "Dwight the Vampire Slayer".
Incredible. Unreal. I'm about to watch it again, and I'm sure I'll cry again.

This was just magic. The man has yet do wrong.
Here's a question, where there any noticeable Joss Whedon touches to the episode in terms of directorial style?
I was thinking the whole episode would be one, long, 20-odd minute take, but it never happened. ;-)
Simon, I'd have to watch it again but I do recall one particular moment that I thought of as pure Joss, direction-wise...pretty sure it was during the scene with Michael and Pam at the gallery.
Aww. I teared up. At Michael Scott. Damn you, Joss.
I really liked the parts of the episode I could watch and I see why everyone likes it so much. I am just a real wimp when it comes to embarrassment humor. I just could not watch the classroom scenes. (Sorry Joss.) I tried. Then I tried muting it, but even the visual was too much for me and I ended up holding the remote in front of me so I could only see part of the screen. That way I could turn the sound back on for the scenes in the office, which I enjoyed. The ending was lovely.

As far as direction, since I have never seen the show before, I don't know for sure what is normal, though I can guess. The scenes in the car using the mirror and not using the mirror were nicely done, especially the one going to the school and if I remember correctly they were each a oner. (I think so, looking back on it, but I may be wrong.) In that the camera man had to be in the back seat I'm not sure how many other ways it could have been done, but the way it was shot was quite elegant.
It was a fun episode, but nothing lept out at me as "supremely-Jossy." Since that was his stated goal, I say "well done!"
I've never watched the show before, but I tuned in during the wonderfully ridiculous candy bar "lesson" in Capitalism 101. Very funny, especially the reactions of the students, who were clearly turned off by the instructor's condescension. Loved how startled the one student was when the instructor flung the $100,000 bar at him. As for Joss touches, I can't point to anything "signature" in the five minutes or so that I sampled, except perhaps the vampire website that briefly appeared.

[ edited by 1starbuckstown on 2007-02-16 16:21 ]
Yeah, Simon, this wasn't some kind of special episode that was clearly distinct from the rest of the series. Totally well done behind the camera, though. I think we need more animals loose in the office.
I think it's a compliment to Joss that this episode of The Office seemed like, well, an episode of The Office! A really, really good episode of The Office it must be said, which is much better than having a director come in and try to bend the tone and feel of the show to his will or style instead of going with the flow and respecting what works. Stunt directing can be as bad as stunt casting.

Unfortunately the banner on my TV screen with all the closings and cancellations because of the snow/sleet/freezing rain combo squashed everyone down into toadstools so I couldn't appreciate everything fully. Still, the script was great the direction was perfect and I don't think it was my imagination that everyone seemed just a touch more inspired.

I loved this episode, especially "vampire" Jim, Dwight with the trash bag over his co-workers head (horrible yet hilarious!)and especially the scene with Michael and Pam at her exhibit.
Although the bat/vampire storyline was a clear nod to Joss in the script, I really liked the overall message of the ep. Business is personal, people are always at the center of everything. That seemed really well suited to Joss's own work.
That was an incredible ep. Just awesome. I loved Dwight's 'I shot a werewolf once and then it turned into my neighbors dog'. And the broomstake - classic- where can I get one of those... And the "chunky" bit. I too cannot believe that Michael Scott made me tear up, that nearly turned my entire world-view on its head. ;)
One Whedonish moment: when Pam is talking to the camera, she says "Is that braggy? I don't mean it to be braggy." That struck me as a Joss-like use of language. I'm not sure if that was his touch, or if it was written into the script that way.
Joss touch: Dramatic exit. Michael leaving the classroom yelling "Suck on that!" Other favorite lines (paraphrased from memory):

Michael: "Can anyone tell me why today is special?"
Kevin: "I almost died."

Dwight: "Are you prepared to commit acts of sudden violence?"
Creepy guy whose name I can't remember: "Yes."
Dwight: "Do you have anything to sharpen broom handles into stakes?"
Creepy: "What size do you need?"

Lovin' it. Glad to see My Master behind the cam on TV again. Comic books are keen, Boss, and movies are nifty, but you have network TV in your veins, boy. Please God find someway to get FF back on, in some iteration or other, and you can have my firstborn. He's seven and starting to ask "Why questions."

[ edited by Caroline on 2007-02-16 20:19 ]
For me, anyway, unless maybe I could see the script, it's neigh-onto-impossible to sort out what comes from the director and what is written into the teleplay. That's as it should be, I think. I can only tell direction when it's bad, as in the actors haven't been reigned in or the shots are confuzzling or it's obvious that a meaningful moment or significant opportunity was lost, or a funny line bungled. (That's the kinda stuff that really makes me squirm.) None of that, of course, happened in "Business School." Every moment was hit.

Joss was certainly handed a good script (wonder if he performed any Jossification on it?) - the writing was lovely - the dialogue so hi-larious and spot-on. Loved the Vampire Moments. And these were gold: "You cannot learn from books." "Real business is done on paper." "Animals don't feel pain." "...motel art." (ouch) and finally, "Your art was the prettiest art of all the art."

I think Joss should be proud of this episode - it feels like great Office, only moreso. No one could possibly say that he did anything but make the brights a little brighter, the whites a little whiter, imbuing everything with a fresh, clean, lemon scent. He took his time with the slow, touching moments, and the pacing in the faster scenes was perfection. No wonder actors love him, and I'd be surprised if most writers didn't love him, too. He makes everyone look good.

The whole show flew by in what felt like a few minutes, further illustrating Einstein's Theory of Relativity. We should have More Joss, More Often, and yes, damn him, he (and the actors and the script) made me cry...

I'm sorry, newcj, that you don't enjoy the (plentiful) Scenes of Great Embarassment in this show - for me, though I may and do squirm, they are such a part of the fun. Um, as in life.
Although the bat/vampire storyline was a clear nod to Joss in the script

Jenna Fischer insists that was a coincidence. You can read what she posted about the episode in her MySpace.
QG, love your, the whites a little whiter, and fresh, clean, lemon scent sentence.

"Real business is done on paper." Is it right after that he says "Write that down!" and the whole class starts typing on their laptops? I almost fell out of my chair. Thank goodness I taped it so I can re-watch.
Check out Novak's intonation at the beginning when he states " I think bringing Michael is a good idea..." Tres Joss. Many other moments too.
"Real business is done on paper." Is it right after that he says "Write that down!" and the whole class starts typing on their laptops?

One of my favorite moments in the episode.

Of course I think I have about 35 favorite moments in it.
ElectricSpaceGirl: "Jenna Fischer insists that was a coincidence. You can read what she posted about the episode in her MySpace."

Yeah, so does Joss:

"Didn't write the ep, and if I did my job right, no one will be able to tell I directed it (despite an odd, and as God is my hostile witness, TOTAL coincidence...) - Joss, whedonesque, 1/26/07

... but I can't help picturing the exec producer or showrunner right after they bought the script, and someone said, "Wouldn't it be a hoot if we could actually get Joss Whedon to direct this one?" I mean, c'mon...

And three cheers and a tip of the hat or something like that for writer Brent Forrester. Gotta check out what else he's done...

(Thanks, TonyaJ-lamb, my whole life is sadly a series of clips and bites from TV commercials and pulp novels...)
Absolutely loved the episode. Good review of it here: Televisionary Blog. (That's the guy who broke the story that Joss would be directing this episode. I've been reading his blog ever since.)
After a couple of less-than-perfect weeks (and I mean that, the show has been close to perfect all season), this episode was another classic mix of Office humour. Joss did nice work stepping in to direct but staying out of the way.

The one small moment I will credit to him was Jim in his overcoat and the upturned collar walking away - a classic vampiric image. Other directors might have found that moment, but Joss definitely did.

Otherwise, it was what has made The Office the best sitcom on television - some broad slapstick, some embarassment, some spot-on humanist humour and a little bit of sentiment plus a tear or two.

Observant minds think alike crossoverman. I noted that coat with the pointy collar moment in the preview video thread (it well could have been the actor's idea but it just felt like a Joss touch).

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