The Office – Third Season

I caught the premiere of the third season of The Office last night. This show was definitely a grower for me last year. Like many, I found the British version more immediately funny, especially the “boss character” (David Brent), but the American version has managed to carve its own identity by making the show more of an ensemble effort, and by toning down some of the original version’s bleakness.
That’s not to say that it’s as lighthearted as the average American sitcom. The Office is a show that doesn’t let it self step into the realm of whimsy or the fanticiful too often, and after ending the second season brilliantly with Jim and Pam finally hooking up, they deflate that balloon immediately in showing how fast reality set in to end that romantic moment.
The rest of the premiere clearly establishes that the feelings between the two characters are still there, and even suggests that there will be a little competition for Pam’s heart between a heartbroken Roy (the wedding didn’t happen) and a still smitten Jim. However, most of the focus in the episode is devoted to Michael unintentionally outing Oscar through a careless insult. As with any secret that Michael discovers, it’s not long before everyone knows, and he’s forced to try to prove that he not homophobic. Cue the world’s most uncomfortable guy-guy kiss.
I enjoy this show, though I don’t always like that so much of the humor comes from “cringe.” In a way, I find it funnier when I think back about the episodes post-viewing than when I’m actually watching them. In any case, the memories of the impressive story arc the writers unfolded last year will keep me watching this season. And geez, I gotta see what happens between Jim and Pam…