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With Pam and Jim's story arc pretty much resolved at this point, The Office has been struggling noticeably to make lightning strike twice with another inter-office romance. Those conscious efforts have never been clearer than they are in "Happy Hour", an episode so concerned with match-making that it almost feels like an episode of Love Connection. Thankfully it's funny enough to compensate for the fact that the show's writers are so clearly grasping at straws to come up with another successful romantic subplot.
Before it ever got down to the business of match making, the episode began with one of the funniest cold openings in recent memory. I wasn't quite sure where they'd go with Michael's push-up contest, but that changed fairly quickly once I saw Stanley hit the floor with a crazed determination to break Michael's mark and go home early. Oscar hit the nail right on the head when he compared Stanley's sudden burst of strength with a mother lifting a car to save her child, which very well might have been the funniest line of the episode. Hilarious.
"Happy Hour" dealt with no less than four separate dates (or at least attempted dates), but the one that kick started the main storyline unfortunately received the shortest shrift. I've been anxious to see the writers return to Oscar's crush on Matt from the warehouse, and the fact that they used this subplot as little more than an impetus to get the gang together at the bar was a tad disappointing. All we really got from this thread was a few measly shots of Oscar trying and failing to fit in with the warehouse guys, then a throwaway gag involving Pop-a-Shot. The only truly funny joke to come out of this storyline came from Daryl when he responded to Oscar's feeble attempts to hide his true motivations for the happy hour get-together by saying "you can be gay with Matt, but be straight with me."
For the full review, see: Happy Hour Review.
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