Part of the magic of the Office is how it’s able to so gracefully develop the overall story of the office in such subtle ways. This episode is an excellent example of this in a surprising number of ways.
Plot and Story: Michael goes to New York to present to the new CFO, and the rest of the office celebrates Valentine’s Day. Within this episodes several major plot points of the series develop significantly:
- Ryan and Kelly officially kick off their series-long romantic back-and-forth which basically defines their characters
- David Wallace and Josh Porter are introduced. The former being a recurring presence Michael answers to, and the latter being a Manager that’s a foil to Micahel and ends up implicitly reuniting Pam and Jim
- Michael and Jan’s secret relationship starts in earnest
- Angela and Dwight continue to develop their secret relationship while Pam’s frustration with Roy grows
- The Phyllis and Bob story arch nears critical mass
Performance and Excecution: The scenes where Michael tours the audience around New York are truly a gem. I will forever reference this episode whenever I stumble upon a Sbarro.
Kelly and Ryan have particularly great genuine performances, displaying truly relatable emotions in relation to their poorly timed first date.
Intangibles: Michael’s ironically touristy New York your has me laughing every time I watch this episode. This culminates in a Conan O’Brien cameo, which gets significant kudos in my book!
Overall, I would consider this a very pivotal episode that acts as an accelerant for the overall series. It’s well balanced with great confessional scenes, adlibs, and plot development.