What I Just Watched: The Office Season 2 Episode 16: Valentine’s Day

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.

What I Just Watched: Consistency

In my mind, all media can be judged in a few key ways. As I begin to journalize and chronicle my experiences in media consumption I thought it be wise to give a framework and structure to each post. I thought about what I always reflect on on after the fact, and it boiled down to a few consistent criteria:

  • Plot and Story – The most significant driver here being agency, “why should I care”. This can even extend to the manufactured storylines in sports used to add tension and sensationalize the game. It can even be as simple as following through with a tantalizing video title. Without delivering on these elements all media feels empty, and fails to deliver a meaningful experience.
  • Performance and Execution – This category is equally as important as the last. Without a convincing performance, or skillful excecution of a plan, even the most interesting stories can be rendered unengaging and meaningless.
  • Intangibles – Sometimes, beyond all objective judgement, personal bias can prevail and lead to enjoyment of an experience. Be it a fandom, a favorite author, or nostalgia, sometimes these simply overules logic.

These will be the 3 criteria that I’ll judge everything that I watch by. I may or may not give a rating each time, but I’m hoping this will provide a thread of comparability to return to down the road.

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Begin: What I Just Watched

Everybody consumes an astounding amount of media. Whether it be an episodic series, movies, books, short films, vlogs, live streams, sports, etc. our eyes are almost always fixated on some sort of media. Recently, I’ve tackled with the issue of trying to recall and meaningfully reflect on past media experiences.

Due to the unprecedented and overwhelming exposure to media in today’s world, a significant pain point has been comparing different experiences to one another. I’ve decided to commit some of this dormant url to chronicling and reviewing my media experiences. This will act as an open journal of sorts, so feel free to share your experiences as well.